Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nothing Sacred

From God's Word by Wendy Kaminer:

Whether the media lead or follow cultural trends, they rarely, if ever, challenge them. The mass media cover religious belief faithfully, in accordance with conventional wisdom about its virtues. Mark Silk, author of Unsecular Media, observes that print coverage of religion "tends to be softball" because "a lot of readers go to church" and, in general, "newspapers and newsweeklies are not in the business of offending their readers."
I'm not arguing that the media should make a practice of attacking religious beliefs as mindlessly as it promotes them, airing the invectives of militant atheists along with the pieties of believers. I am suggesting that "nothing sacred" is a good motto for critics and journalists. It doesn't imply cynicism or nihilism, but rather a purposeful skepticism--a willingness to interrogate our most passionate beliefs and assumptions. Religions exert immense social and political power; how can we abdicate our responsibility to critique them? Religions are collections of ideas about God, and ideas should be subject to hazing.

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