I am very fortunate to have a rather brilliant Mother-In-Law: Simone Klugman. At age 91, she has not only a very sharp mind, but a lot of experience and insight. From time to time, she has emailed her thoughts to me and it’s my view that these are worth sharing. They are funny, insightful and pithy. So here we go, with an email I received just a few days ago…
Religion is thriving and flourishing all over the world. Pope Francis attracted crowds of millions in Brazil and is rekindling the flames of Catholicism. He is opening windows and letting in a mild breeze of change . He is emphasizing morality over faith and will redeem anyone who does good, even a homosexual, even an atheist. Nobody asked him whether they wanted this redemption.The Russian Orthodox Church is also in a celebratory mood. It is commemorating the arrival of Christianity 1025 years ago when Prince Vladimir of Kiev staged a mass baptism of his subjects. Their Pope is Patriarch Kirill. His views on homosexuality are not so benevolent. Same sex marriage is an apocalyptic threat. He also opposes the encroachment on religion of secular values. No atheists welcome here.Two years after the eruption of the Arab Spring, the Middle East is engulfed in Islamism. There are radicals with confrontational mindsets in Tunisia and in Egypt. In Libya, the Jihadists are gaining strength and Al Qaeda wants to establish an anti-Western state in Syria. Homosexuality is not only a sin but a crime punishable by beating and/or death by stoning. As for atheism: “The worst creature in the sight of God is one who rejects him and will not believe”. In Iran apostasy is punishable by death.George Bernard Shaw said:”All great truths begin as blasphemy”. Someone else said “There was a time when religion ruled the world. It was called the Middle Ages.”We need a world where responsibility and critical thinking are valued above submission and obscurantism.Editors note…obscurantism is defined as: Opposition to the spread of knowledge.