They all contain interpretive traditions

Jonathan Sacks is all wrong part 2.

He goes on from his wrong assertion that religion can provide meaning to say that religion (being so good at providing meaning) has returned.

The religion that has returned is not the gentle, quietist and ecumenical form that we in the West have increasingly come to expect. Instead it is religion at its most adversarial and aggressive. It is the greatest threat to freedom in the postmodern world. It is the face of what I call “altruistic evil” in our time: evil committed in a sacred cause, in the name of high ideals.

Well isn’t that just like him. It’s not remotely altruistic; that’s entirely the wrong word. Altruism is concern for others; as a technical word it means concern for others at one’s own expense. It’s concern for other human beings, and if extended, for other animals and the planet. It’s not “high ideals” and it’s not about “a sacred cause.” The evil done by adversarial and aggressive religion is not altruistic, it’s goddy. The two are not the same. Religion is about doing what god wants, not what fellow humans need. It’s misdirection, it’s displacement behavior; it’s not altruism. It’s so annoying the way religions try to corral all the virtues for themselves when in fact they have no truck with most of the important ones.

Yes, there are passages in the sacred scriptures of each of the Abrahamic monotheisms that, interpreted literally, can lead to hatred, cruelty and war. But Judaism, Christianity and Islam all contain interpretive traditions that in the past have read them in the larger context of coexistence, respect for difference and the pursuit of peace, and can do so today. Fundamentalism—text without context, and application without interpretation—is not faith but an aberration of faith.

That’s such an easy out. Yes, all the monotheisms are cruel and bloodthirsty, but hey, just ignore the actual words, and interpret them to mean something completely different. Obey god, follow the good old religion, and pretend that all that murderous violence is just a mistake of interpretation.

Not credible.

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