Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weekend Round-up

A number of interesting op-eds in Sunday's Commentary section of the Orange County Register, but I'll just comment on my favorite. Paul Campos is very much a man of the left but he managed to write a column with which I am in complete agreement. Campos writes:

This view [that our politicians must be "persons of faith"] regarding the role of religion in American politics has given birth to its own set of rather bizarre orthodoxies. On this view, it's crucial that our political leaders be sincere religious believers. But apparently it's of no importance what religious beliefs they actually hold, as long as they have "faith."
In other words, religious belief is apparently a unique kind of belief, which requires believing that one's views regarding the most important questions in the world – things that by comparison to which all political and scientific disputes are insignificant – are no better or worse than anyone else's views regarding these questions of supposedly infinite importance.

Campos makes an excellent point. I have long pointed this out to friends of mine who are sympathetic to the notion that religion, not a particular religion, but religion in general, plays a positive role in society. By now, many have modified their view and usually include an exception for Islam. Religion is supposed to provide absolute answers to important issues, particularly moral issues. However, it is obvious to anyone who takes the ideas of religion seriously (whether because they support them or oppose them), that different religions offer quite different answers and recommendations to individuals on the same issues. So which one is right?On what basis does one follow one over another? And what are the implications of preferring one religion over another? There are answers to these questions but they would destroy the illusions of the advocates of so-called "Judeo-Christian" values. I hope to write more on this topic in a future post.

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