Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Heart of Darkness


Once again, I do not, even in these concluding moves, wish to deny that most religions have, at one time or another, invoked creedal partisanship to prove their superiority over others. In hoc signo. We have God on our side. There is no God in all the earth apart from ours. These are not catchcries of the past. One need only mention the ongoing struggles between Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir, between Buddhist Singhalese and Hindu Tamils in Sri Lanka, between Muslims and Jews in Jerusalem, between Christians and Muslims in Kosovo—not to mention countless examples of intrareligious wars in places like Northern Ireland, Iraq, and North Africa. These are sorry truths, and there is no point pretending that our secular post-Enlightenment world has exorcised such atavisms. There is, it would seem, a tendency in the “inaugural energy” of almost every religion (with possible exceptions like Buddhism and Jainism) toward some form of exclusivism, exceptionalism, or absolutism.
(from Anatheism by Richard Kearney)

But is this true? I read much the same thing the other day in the opininator piece by Prof. Gary Gutting offered as a Western liberal mea culpa self accusation when condemning the violent tendency of the Muslim religion, as he sees it. He forgot to mention the astrolabe and the golden age of Islamic Culture and so on and so forth. Christendom produced some fine works of art too. And so on and so forth, boilerplate claptrap. No sense of evil, no sense of the heart of darkness that must be surrounded by the guiding light of ideology. Then blithely we can crush, maim, torture and persecute so that you good people can sleep in your beds at night. These ideologies are like the logos on a sportsman's shirt with a major breastplate and minor chevrons to overdetermine their supremacy.

Kearney should know that 'consubstantiation' or 'transubstantiation' was never mentioned in the Good Friday agreement. Maybe they agreed to the concept of 'commemoration'. When the state papers are opened we shall know for sure.

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