Saturday, October 11, 2008

Faithless and Foolish

A rabbi weighs in on the latest ridiculous attempt to mock people of faith.
What Maher seems not to know, or to understand, is that religion is not a fantasy flung upward but an intuition of something far greater than ourselves. Everyone who lives with open eyes has reason to question. In the search there will be missteps, even cruelties and division, but also sublimity, kindness, beauty, wonder and faith.

Perhaps Maher's greatest misunderstanding of religion is his central indictment: that religion is responsible for the world's violence. It is not. Violence is a product of human nature. Before monotheism, the Assyrians were not kind; the Romans were bloodthirsty beyond the imagination of religious regimes. When religion became less potent in people's lives after the French Revolution, instead of making the world less violent, it became far more violent: World War I and WWII, communism, Nazism -- all shed blood on an unprecedented scale. None were religious regimes or religious wars.

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