Showing posts with label fanaticism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fanaticism. Show all posts

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fighting Words

Page from a Gutenberg Bible (1454)
This week I stopped at the downtown public library and saw an exhibition of rare religious texts. With permission, I photographed some of the treasures they had on display. The images you see here are presented in the order of the document’s dating, oldest first.

Witness to the Generations

I meditated on these centuries-old relics for quite a while, considering the many human lifetimes that have passed since the words were pressed and penned onto their pages. Even back then, the sources of those words were already ancient. Most of the books were Bibles, their text copied or translated from a succession of painstakingly hand-copied manuscripts whose original sources have been almost entirely lost in antiquity.

Two columns of clean, bold type stared out at me from the page of a Gutenberg Bible, 558 years after the ink went dry. So much history has passed since then, so many generations born into lives that were “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Thomas Hobbes, 1651). The black and red of the letters seemed not to have faded at all, unlike the colors of whoever pressed the type onto the page in Mainz, Germany–and his child, and that child, and so on. At least twenty generations of lives blooming and fading: a succession of pink-faced infancy transforming into the gray of old age and death, or worse, a dark red death on the endless battlefields of crusade and conquest.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Faith or Fanaticism?

As we near November 2nd, it is hard to think of anything but the election and what it will bring to our country and the world. This weekend I've been chasing the kids, puttering at my computer, sewing Halloween costumes and taking frequent detours to read the news. I just found this article, by Arianna Huffington, (click title) that expresses my own frustration with political and religious zealotry.

", , , great thinkers throughout history have extolled the virtues of doubt. As Paul Tillich put it: "Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith." But not in the Bush White House, where doubters are treated as traitors, and inconvenient facts are the work of the Devil — because facts can lead to questioning, and questioning undermines faith. And that would be blasphemy in an Oval Office where unbending resolve has become a holy sacrament."

"What the president calls faith is actually nothing of the sort. It is fanaticism, pure and simple. The defining trait of the fanatic is an utter refusal to allow anything as piddling as evidence to get in the way of an unshakable belief."

Hmmm. Try re-reading above excerpt, substituting OALC for Bush. Does it work?

On Tuesday, my own faith-based initiative is to vote for Kerry. I trust someone who is willing to change his mind, and his actions, based on new knowledge.

You can disagree with me, cancel my vote, unbookmark my blog. it's a free country. So far.