Friday, June 17, 2005

It's a particular kind of religiosity

It's the American version of the same fundamentalist impluse that we see in Saudi Arabia, in Kashmir, in religions around the world: Hindu, Jewish, Christian, Muslim. They all have certain features in common. In a world of disconcerting change, when large and complex forces threaten familiar and comfortable guideposts, the natural impluse is to grab hold of the tree trunk that seems to have the deepest roots and hold on for dear life and never question the possibility that it's not going to be the source of your salvation. And the deepest roots are in philosophical and religious traditions that go way back. You don't hear very much about the Sermon on the Mount, or about the teachings of Jesus on giving to the poor, or the beatitudes. Today all I hear about is vengeance, the brimstone.

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