Sunday, May 11, 2008

What Truth Is There In Belief?

From Love Thy Neighbor by Tim Townsend:

In the Gospel of Matthew, it doesn’t take long for the author to show his readers two different sides of Jesus Christ. One minute Jesus is sitting on a mountain, delivering a powerful sermon to a presumably rapt audience: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth….Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” But just five chapters later, Jesus, again preaching to his apostles, changes his tune. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword,” he says. “For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.” That’s quite a change from the sandal-wearing, peace-loving hippie we’ve come to expect.
But again, journalists who cover religion also need to weigh that broad respect for belief against a larger truth. If a particular tenet of a particular faith has the potential to influence the public discourse outside the walls of the church, synagogue, or mosque, reporters are responsible for holding it up to the same scrutiny as any other idea tossed into the public square for debate. Which brings us back to The Devil in Dover. Toward the end of the book, Lebo sits down with Judge Jones and expresses her anxieties about the next round of “attacks on this country’s civil liberties.” Jones smiles reassuringly at the author and affirms his faith in the great American experiment. “Democracy is messy,” he tells her. “It’s supposed to be that way.”
 Why do we need to respect belief at all? Where is the truth in belief?

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