That Dream Again

I just wanted to call your attention to this post on Normblog. It’s his reaction to yet another of those helpful lectures on how impoverished and pathetic secularism is and how we have to give up and admit that we ‘need’ religion. Of course, as always, the writer makes the case by 1) pretending that religion is the only possible source of things like meaning and solidarity, and 2) by redefining religion. Okay. At that rate – if there’s enough taking away combined with enough redefinition – I could be brought to agree with that idea too. But what of it? Of what use is it to assume that secularism is something it isn’t and that religion isn’t what most people take it to be? Of what use is an argument that depends on a bunch of fictions?

Enabling dreams of Paradise, a world where swords will be beaten into ploughshares, a counter-reality which glimpses an alternative republic of heaven on earth, where peace is built on justice rather than conquest… this, not virgin births, second comings, holy wars and infallible books, is the real stuff: hard-core religion in action. And we have a basic need for that, even if we know the need can never be wholly satisfied, the itch never healed.

No it isn’t. That is not the real stuff of religion. Religion has no monopoly on dreams of peace and justice, and plenty of religion has nothing whatever to do with peace and justice. I do wish if people are going to try to make a case for religion they could manage to do it honestly.

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