A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.
Zeal was like gas, most dangerous when you could not see it. The wrong spark could light it at any time.
Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.
Conversion and zealotry, just like revelation and apostasy, are flip sides of the same coin, the currency of a political culture having more in common with religion than rational discourse.
That's what you get,' he said, nodding towards a group of the men engaged in some close-order military drill, 'when you give people Bibles and guns. You should give 'em either one or the other, but not both. It just messes up their brains.
During the Bosnian war in the late 1990s, I spent several days traveling around the country with Susan Sontag and her son, my dear friend David Rieff. On one occasion, we made a special detour to the town of Zenica, where there was reported to be a serious infiltration of outside Muslim extremists: a charge that was often used to slander the Bosnian government of the time. We found very little evidence of that, but the community itself was much riven as between Muslim, Croat, and Serb. No faction was strong enough to predominate, each was strong enough to veto the other's candidate for the chairmanship of the city council. Eventually, and in a way that was characteristically Bosnian, all three parties called on one of the town's few Jews and asked him to assume the job. We called on him, and found that he was also the resident intellectual, with a natural gift for synthesizing matters. After we left him, Susan began to chortle in the car. 'What do you think?' she asked. 'Do you think that the only dentist and the only shrink in Zenica are Jewish also?' It would be dense to have pretended not to see her joke.
Long before it was known to me as a place where my ancestry was even remotely involved, the idea of a state for Jews (or a Jewish state; not quite the same thing, as I failed at first to see) had been 'sold' to me as an essentially secular and democratic one. The idea was a haven for the persecuted and the survivors, a democracy in a region where the idea was poorly understood, and a place where—as Philip Roth had put it in a one-handed novel that I read when I was about nineteen—even the traffic cops and soldiers were Jews. This, like the other emphases of that novel, I could grasp. Indeed, my first visit was sponsored by a group in London called the Friends of Israel. They offered to pay my expenses, that is, if on my return I would come and speak to one of their mee
You see, it doesn't matter if they're wrong. From 9/11 to recent shootings here in the United States, there's nothing more dangerous than a true believer on his own crazy mission.
You know all about love, but that is not enough. You must also learn that hate comes from God as well, that it too is in the Lord's service. And in times like these, with the world fallen to the state it has, hate serves God more than love.
Extremism stifles true progression in all fields of human advancement; it is a detriment to everything but war, tribalism and the personal power of Nietzschean entities, striving only for the narcissistic vindication of their ego and will. The enlightened mind knows that all is challengeable, ergo questions all and thus, learns and grows; progression. The weak and narrow mind makes its beliefs sacrosanct; fearful of challenge, their creed becomes unalterable, defended with violence. Political extremists, much like religious zealots, are the latter. They destroy what they cannot convert. They annihilate those they cannot control, or force to conform. They have found no peace in life, no love, and so promote war and division, as emotional cripples – inflicting their own pain and misery and malignant stupidity on the world. Their language binds people together, but only by stirring the darkest excesses of the soul; language of hate, and intolerance, fear and conspiracy, and the need for vengeance. In war-scarred Europe, these cripples direct mass-psychology, and would make the world in their own likeness; mutilated by violence and tribalism and hate.
Men speak of God’s love for man… but if providence does not come in this hour, where is He then? My conclusion is simple. The Semitic texts from Bronze Age Palestine of which Christianity is comprised still fit uncomfortably well with contemporary life. The Old Testament depicts a God capricious and cruel; blood sacrifice, vengeance, genocide; death and destruction et al. Would He not approve of Herr Hitler and the brutal, tribalistic crusade against Hebrews and non-Christian ‘untermensch?’One thing is inarguable. His church on Earth has produced some of the most vigorous and violent contribution to the European fascist cause.It is synergy. Man Created God, even if God Created Man; it all exists in the hubris and apotheosis of the narcissistic soul, and alas, all too many of the human herd are willing to follow the beastly trait of leadership. The idea of self-emancipation and advancement, with Europe under the jackboot of fascism, would be Quixotic to the point of mirthless lunacy.