Monday, May 10, 2010

Whence Salvation?

The reason I like guys (and gals) like Chris Hedges is that he doesn't pull any punches. He has strong convictions and he states them plainly. He's passionate about peace; he hates hypocrisy, and he has nothing but contempt for contemporary religious practice. Here's a guy who is the son of a minister and a graduate of a seminary who knows what he's talking about. And here's what he says about religion today:
It is hard to muster much sympathy over the implosion of the Catholic Church, traditional Protestant denominations or Jewish synagogues. These institutions were passive as the Christian right, which peddles magical thinking and a Jesus-as-warrior philosophy, hijacked the language and iconography of traditional Christianity. They have busied themselves with the boutique activism of the culture wars. They have failed to unequivocally denounce unfettered capitalism, globalization and pre-emptive war. The obsession with personal piety and “How-is-it-with-me?” spirituality that permeates most congregations is narcissism. And while the Protestant church and reformed Judaism have not replicated the perfidiousness of the Catholic bishops, who protect child-molesting priests, they have little to say in an age when we desperately need moral guidance.
He goes on to point out how wishy-washy and mealy-mouthed mainstream religion was in opposing the Iraq war . . . none of these religions opposed the war.
But I cannot rejoice in the collapse of these institutions. We are not going to be saved by faith in reason, science and technology, which the dead zone of oil forming in the Gulf of Mexico and our production of costly and redundant weapons systems illustrate. Frederick Nietzsche’s √úbermensch, or “Superman”—our secular religion—is as fantasy-driven as religious magical thinking.
Precisely so. Looking to the madness that causes the madness for salvation is beyond insanity. So then comes the question . . . what then is there upon which to put one's faith. Is faith a futility? My gut tells me no, it isn't, but maintaining these days is a full-time profession.
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