Friday, April 10, 2009

"This I (don't really) believe"

Judith Warner has a reflection up at her NYT blog, titled "This I believe", in which she describes her hodge-podge of varying religious or hardly-religious inspirations, which include some residual Jewish fragments.

The result isn't malign, you've got to grant that; in a human history chock-full of religions people were willing to kill for, that's no small achievement. Yet along the way, whatever it is she's describing, it's not something she'd be likely to lay down her life to preserve, either. Actually, the theme of her post is that she has no idea how to pass on a significant religious inheritance to her daughter.
About six months ago, I asked Julia and Emilie if they’d consider trying out a Unitarian service one day with me.

“No way,” Emilie, then eight, declared, before I could even finish the sentence.

“I think that enough harm has been done in the name of religion,” said Julia, who had not long before studied the conquest of the Incas and had moved on to the colonization of Africa. “I don’t want to be a part of it.”

8-year-olds don't have original ideas, they reflect the adults around them (as do too many 18, 28, and 78-year-olds). Apparently none of the adults in Emilie's world have ever thought to explain to her that in the fundamentally flawed world we live in, religion, when done right, can be the richest source of human dignity, consolation, hope, and belonging she'll ever have. Sad.


Yaniv said...

Apparently, no one has bothered to *show* it to her, either.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is eight,too.I will try to tell her about this and let you know.I'm sure she will feel pity for Emilie and her sister.I do!

Anonymous said...

That was a very dumb blog indeed (how do I get a job blogging at the NYT?). And I also think religion can be [ONE of the]richest sources of human dignity, consolation, hope, and belonging.

But I always thought eight year olds ask all the right questions about religion, and get all the wrong answers.

Yaacov said...

Hi Bunbury! Haven't heard from you for awhile. I'll bet if I put my mind to it and used Google well enough, I could figure out who you are, Oscar Wilde notwithstanding, but I don't think I'll get around to it soon. Ah, well.