Religion At All? (Let Alone in the Balance…)

In response to my recent post on Salman Taseer’s assassination, my friend Paul writes:

Violence is rarely the answer, perhaps never. And it leaves me to wonder if John Lennon wasn’t onto something when he said, “imagine no religion …” Can the good ever outweigh the evil done in religions’ name(s)?

Thankfully, the critique of religion is not just the province of atheists– of whatever historical moment and philosophical stripe– but is also the province of religious people themselves. In a recent article in The Christian Century, Douglas John Hall quotes Swiss theologian Karl Barth as having remarked, “‘The message of the Bible is that God hates religion.'” The idea is to contrast religion– understood as the way to capture and own God– with faith: faith being a lived and living trust in the transformative power of the Transcendent One,  Who by definition is beyond being controlled or captured.

As long as human beings are around, religion isn’t going away. That means that the need for the critique of religion isn’t going away either. And that’s the spirit of this blog: that true religion opens individuals and orients communities toward active trust in the mystery and power of God– and that it is precisely this kind of faith that can provide a balancing counterweight to the violence and narcissism of our time.

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