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Reply to Mr. Horne

Reader comment on item: Christianity Dying in Its Birthplace
in response to reader comment: Can't We All Just Get Along?

Submitted by Kierkegaard (United States), Sep 19, 2005 at 15:36

It is with some astonishment I learn that I am an 'ultra-relativist' ... according to Reuben Horne's otherwise kind, though rather tangential, response to my earlier comment. I believe Mr. Horne may be confusing me with my more famous namesake and imagining a philosophical, rather than genetic, kinship, which is non-existent.

Without further abusing the patience of this forum, may I point out that Mr. Horne, who is evidently resident in Australia, is unlikely to realize that the title of my plea for civility in religious matters was a quotation of Rodney King's famous cry for racial calm in the wake of the riots his own actions helped provoke in Los Angeles; admittedly it was a rather low-brow attempt at irony on my part, but life has been a bit dull lately. If it weren't, we wouldn't be blogging at each other to begin with.

Let me reiterate; insofar as I worship anything, aside from the God who binds us all together, it is History. History does not merely teach detachment; it provides a clear Users' Manual for nearly every political and military event imaginable, complete with cost and consequences. Sectarian, ethnic, and religious strife inevitably spell the death of mighty empires and websites alike. I deplore the death of religion in the West not because I am a proponent of traditional 'organized' religion, but because along with simple moral values (and reluctantly I must agree with Mr. Horne's assertion that socialism has utterly failed to provide any viable alternative model of inculcation), History is always the first casualty when religion is abused. A brief tour of any modern American institution of learning will provide the reader with ample evidence of that. And, as the world drifts further into collective amnesia (and here I must point out that the Salafist version of history is as sketchy, ill-informed, and revisionist as a craft-fair on the Herstory of Native Peoples at any Berkeley elementary school), we forget and forget again at our peril. Like sleepwalkers, we may find ourselves once more treading the ancient paths to Madgeburg and Katowice and Auschwitz; only the banners and the badges will have changed. I find much to glory in and admire in your faith, Mr. Horne, and I respect the wisdom of its teachers and the purity of its martyrs, but History fills me with a Babel of other voices, as well: Lutheran and Jew, Ethiope and Caribe. And their message is clear. Forgiveness and unity of purpose between all men and women of good faith.

And for those of ill faith, turn to his page in the Users' Manual and look to the no-nonsense example of President Truman...or an even earlier and more pertinent act by Kublai Khan, as related by Messer Marco Polo. If our current President Bush were a student of History perhaps we Americans need not have sacrificed any more of our precious young lives in the extermination of an inimical sect of rather minor importance (one is reminded of a dreary gang out of a Sax Rohmer novel confronting a Belle Epoque society fainting at phantasms); a terrified Islam would have done it for us in exchange for Geiger counters and potassium tablets. But as I never tire of pointing out to my European friends, Mr. Bush is a genuine believer, a 'compassionate conservative' who by all accounts spends a part of each day in prayer. I'm afraid that in his shoes I would not be so nice. Hey ho, back to my retreat from the world.
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