As Syrians fleeing civil war pour over the border to Lebanon, the village priest here, Elian Nasrallah, trudges through muddy fields to deliver blankets. His family runs a medical clinic for refugees. When Christian villagers fret about the flood of Sunni Muslims, he replies that welcoming them is “the real Christianity.”
- “Swollen With Syrian Refugees, Lebanon Feels Its Stitching Fray.” The New York Times. 24 Feb. 2013.
A Catholic Classmate Rethinks His Religion
A few highlights from a short essay written by one of my favorite NYT columnists, Frank Bruni. Read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/opinion/sunday/bruni-a-catholic-classmate-rethinks-his-religion.html?_r=1&ref=frankbruni
- This man attended Catholic services every Sunday in a jacket and tie, feeling that church deserved such respect. He grew up in the South, in a setting so homogenous and a family so untroubled that, he said, he had no cause to question his parents’ religious convictions, which became his.
- He also read books on church history and, he said, “was appalled at the behavior of the church while it presumed to teach all of us moral behavior.” How often had it pushed back at important science? Vilified important thinkers?
- “There’s a lot of wisdom [in the Bible],” he added, “but it’s a real mistake not to think about it critically.”
- "In all centuries, through all history, women have ended pregnancies somehow,” he said. “They feel so strongly about this that they will attempt abortion even when it’s illegal, unsafe and often lethal. In decades past, many American women died from botched abortions. But with abortion’s legalization, “those deaths virtually vanished."
- And in too many religious people he sees inconsistencies. They speak of life’s preciousness when railing against abortion but fail to acknowledge how they let other values override that concern when they support war, the death penalty or governments that do nothing for people in perilous need.
- He has not raised his young children in any church, or told them that God exists, because he no longer believes that. But he wants them to have the community-minded values and altruism that he indeed credits many religions with fostering. He wants them to be soulful, philosophical.
- “Religion too often demands belief in physical absurdities and anachronistic traditions despite all scientific evidence and moral progress.”