Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Why? Because Religion Matters

One cannot work in a job like mine and not be concious of the essential role that religion has to play in society--no less today than at any time in the past.

Fr Richard John Neuhaus' "Public Square" column in the latest edition of First Things provides a few pertinent quotations in this regard.
Because the U.S. foreign policy establishment is religiously illiterate, because none of its members can imagine serious people taking God ­seriously, it cannot understand a world that is overwhelmingly religious. Having concluded that mankind is outgrowing religion, our experts react to religion’s presence in the Islamic world—and in America—by inventing the distinction between ‘moderate’ religion, acceptable because not taken seriously, and ‘fundamentalism,’ i.e., actually believing in God and His commandments, the immoderate first of which reads in part: ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me.’

...For those who see the world through this lens, no religion is better or worse than any other, and certainly no truer, and the distinction between orthodoxy and heresy is merely between winners and losers. ...Hence our experts have been unable to tell the difference between serious Muslims and the secular legions that clothe their hate and contempt for us in Muslim garb. Our establishment thinks that because religion is the mother of strife, the enemy of modernity, it must be humored and subdued in the short term, then marginalized and eventually eliminated. This mindset ­prevents intelligent judgments about why we might prefer some religious expressions to others, and ensures the enmity of all who believe in God. [Angelo M. Codevilla]
And this from one Professor Pinker of Harvard University in opposition to the proposal to make some study of religion compulsory for all undergraduates of that institution:
For us to magnify the significance of religion as a topic equivalent in scope to all of science, all of ­culture, or all of world history and current affairs, is to give it far too much prominence. It is an American anachronism, I think, in an era in which the rest of the West is moving beyond it.
But this one is my favourite:
One who has never disagreed with others about religion is not thereby tolerant but is treating religious differences as trivial, as if religious beliefs do not matter. That is just a soft form of religious bigotry. [Carl Esbeck]
No one reading any entry on Sentire Cum Ecclesia can doubt that its author expounds energy both on this blog and in his work because he is convinced that religon matters. Which is why I have probably disagreed with you at some point on the subject. And why I respect and welcome your right to debate religious issues with me.

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