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View Diary: A Pope Too Good To Be True (259 comments)

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  •  Kung came to speak at my college 30 years ago (11+ / 0-)

    I had never heard of him at the time and had no idea that people were still seriously discussing theology in the mostly secular west. I still remember a friend of mine at the time raving over him and eagerly awaiting his talk. But she was a European from an intellectual background and was hardly typical of most students back then, who then as now seemed mostly concerned with partying and career, not the life of the mind or spirit.

    As for your other points, having majored in mostly European history I studied a bit of church history in college, so am familiar with (but certainly far from expert in) the evolution of church theology and the increasingly reactionary way in which it has dealt with heresy and dissent. Plus, being a Sephardic Jew, I'm sure that my distant ancestors, some of whom lived in medieval Barcelona, were much more familiar with a certain very dark era in that history.

    And, as to those points, like you I spend very, very little time thinking about these issues, partly because of the tragic history that is inseparable from them (e.g. Crusades, Inquisition, expulsions, collaboration with brutal regimes), and partly because, well, they have absolutely no bearing on my life. And not just because I'm not Catholic, but because I find discussion of god and the soul and damnation and salvation and such to be, well, silly, since I, like many, don't believe in any of these things, which I view as anachronistic relics of a pre-scientific era. I have the same bored and annoyed reaction when religious Jews start talking to (more like preaching at) me about such things, and want to tell them (but don't), "Dude, it's the 21st century, this stuff belongs in a museum along with eugenics, the rack and diving rods!".

    I think that all religions, like all societies, tend to get stuck at a certain point of development and evolution, and not only can't and won't get past it, but actively and often brutally resist any efforts to do so by the non-complacent, non-lazy, non-dishonest few, at which point it becomes about power, politics and suppression, and not saving souls or bettering peoples' lives, or one's relationship to god. At which point, most sensible people check out.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Mar 24, 2013 at 08:21:23 AM PDT

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