Sunday, August 29, 2010

Restoring Religion

I suppose it was inevitable that the event in D.C. held by Glenn Beck, a wretch once lost but now found, would ultimately become a kind of salvation show.  Like other such wretches, he's determined that others find what he found.  He seems a strange fellow; one can see why he was lost, why he was blind and now "sees."  He is emotional, even sentimental, and his appeal, such as it is, is emotional and sentimental.  One can argue that one must willfully forsake reason to accept wholesale the claims of the Mormon and other institutionalized religions.

One need not be vapid and weepy in order to be religious.  It's possible to be thoughtfully religious.  But thought doesn't bring in the crowds, nor does it make believers of the kind sought by Beck and others of his kind.

It's unfortunate that the kind of religion most seem to favor and seek in this great republic and elsewhere requires that one give up thinking.  What is necessary instead is the belief that all thinking--to the extent thought is even required--has been done already by a kind of Law-Giver, who seems oddly human for the creator of such a vast universe.  He's determined what is good and bad, what we should and should not do, what we should and should not think, and that's all there is to it.  It's merely necessary that we accept this and all will be well, with us and and the world.  We need only follow His orders.   We don't have to determine what the appropriate course may be; we don't have to resolve problems by intelligently considering the circumstances and making reasoned decisions.

It's hard to think--to think well, in any case--and it's comforting to believe that it isn't really needed.  But it seems a pathetic, hypocritical and even cowardly  response to the problems of life to dispense with reason and accept instead as governing in all cases a set of rules which we have in fact always managed not to follow whenever it pleased us to ignore them.

It's surely hard to think, but it's dangerous not to, particularly where our politics are concerned.  If we would rather not think, if we become convinced that there are predetermined rules which merely need to be enforced and that there are those who know these rules and how to enforce them, the kind of politics we're likely to favor and accept are anti-democratic; totalitarian, authoritarian and even theocratic.

No comments:

Post a Comment