Theism? Atheism? - Israel: Day 12 of Trip

So, I am here in Israel on the 12th day of our trip and tonight is the Passover Seder. Last Sunday was the Wedding, the "Main Event" and reason for our trip. Aftr the wedding, my daughter And I went to Jerusalem for two days. Mostly, we wandered the narrow paths of the Arab shooks in the Old City. We also spent a bit of time in the Jewish Quarter. These experiences will come to bear in my thoughts, later in this post.

I have just come from my cyber friend, Marco's blog http://multisententiae.blogspot.com/2006/04/hypatia-of-alexandria.html#comments and because Marcos is an Atheist, much of his blog deals with discussions between Atheists and Theists. On his post about Hypatia of Alexandria, another cyber-friend, Diane http://anunfounddoor.blogspot.com/ , commented and ended it with a question for me. Rather than be the 32nd commentor (I'd already commented once) I will respond to Diane's queston here, on my blog. Diane asked, what are my thoughts on the notion that the problem is not with Religion per se, but with fanatacism.

I will start with the statement that I am an agnostic. Perhaps some consider this a cop-out. For me personally, it is simply in keeping with my overall inner-personality than anything. That is to say, I am often ambivalent regarding many of my beliefs and feelings. So, why wouldn't I also be ambivalent in my belief as to whether or not there is a god. It makes perfect sense that I would be and I am.

In response to Diane's remarks, I do not believe it is only the fanatics at fault for the distortions of religious beliefs and for the horrors that have been done in the name of "The Holy One", whomever that may be. Yes, it may be the fantic who lights the flame, but we humans are inclined to sheep-like behavior in response to a strong charismatic individual who attempts to lead the crowd to do his evil bidding. Once that flame is lit, the crowd will gladly spread the fire, and it seems, most especially, if that fire wraps itself around "RELIGION."

I sometimes wish there were no relgions at all and we lived John Lennon song, Imagine. But, as for this moment, the guests are arriving for the Seder and I am not yet ready, so I will close and return to this later. I have more to say.


Dave said...

Someday I would like an explanation of why John Lennon's "Imagine" is some people's idea of utopia, apparently including yours. "Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too" sounds to me like "nothing to live for, either, and no cause greater than myself." Had it been written by anyone else, it would have been dismissed as the work of a nihilistic crank (which by then he had become), but by 1970 there was an entire cult phenomenon that said a bunch of guys who once made great rock 'n' roll had somehow become gurus for wise living.

Sherril said...

Though I appreciate your remarks, I really didn't get to finish my thoughts on the subjects at hand. I think that Lennon's words to Imagine are simplistic. However, it is really all in the way you read the words. You read them as selfish and hihilistic. I read them as a plea for tolerance and acceptance. Nothing to kill or die for doesn't mean nothing is more important than self; quite the opposite. It means that all things considered, there really are few good reasons beyond greed and megalomania that necessitate the death and destruction of war. Their are of course exceptions like self-preservation and protection of others and perhaps even protection of your property, but the violence should be as a last resort.

What I would ask of you, Dave, as I know you expect of me is to try to give me the benefit of the doubt that for the most part, my reactions and thinking are not knee-jerk ones.

Dave said...

A fair request which I hope I am a good enough person to grant, Sharona.

Amishav said...

Hey, I certainly hope that all went well for you in your wanderings through the Arab quarter and that the seder in Jerusalem was wonderful! Looking forward to reading more, and thank you for the thoughtful comments you left on my blog. Enjoy the rest of your trip!