Does religion make us moral? 9-25-14
Antisemitism's ugly resurgence: 9-27/28-14

Stop the bullets, please, God: 9-26-14

Divine intervention.

BulletsIt's what people of faith sometimes pray for. Heal my brother. Don't let cancer strike me. Let the Royals beat the Tigers. Let me drive safely from here to there and back. Help me find a parking spot. And on and on.

One of the questions of faith is why God can seem so silent. When is it God's turn to act and when is it ours?

Anastasia Basil, a Huffington Post contributor, has figured out (I hope I don't have to explain to you what satire is) that it's completely up to God to stop bullets fired from American-owned guns so they don't kill children and other innocents.

She's convinced that divine intervention will soon rule the day in this regard and that we're about to see headlines like these:

School Shooter's AR-15 Temporarily Disabled by God

Shooter Unable to Fire at Mall Shoppers, Claims "Gun Worked Fine Yesterday"

Toddler Opens Father's Gun Cabinet, Finds Lollipops Instead of Glocks

Responsible Gun Owner Attempts to Kill Wife: God Intervenes, Reminds Him of Responsibilities

Hunter Mistakenly Fires at Son, God Embodies Rare Albino Moose, Takes Bullet

Well, folks, it's about time God started paying some attention here. So let's stay on our knees. (For one thing, that way the bullets might zip over our heads and miss us.)

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On a much more serious note, the author and theological scholar Karen Armstrong writes here that it's helpful when thinking about violence coming from ISIS and other faith-based terrorist groups to remember that the idea of separating church and state (or religion and politics) is quite new and is unique to the West: "We now take the secular state so much for granted that it is hard for us to appreciate its novelty, since before the modern period, there were no 'secular' institutions and no 'secular' states in our sense of the word. Their creation required the development of an entirely different understanding of religion, one that was unique to the modern west. No other culture has had anything remotely like it, and before the 18th century, it would have been incomprehensible even to European Catholics." Armstrong's piece is not a one-minute read, but it's worth a look.


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