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Weekend Bonus: Five Pillars Week

Friday, July 19, 2013 - 02:55 PM

(drakoheart/flickr)

This was Five Pillars week on The Brian Lehrer Show -- five interfaith conversations based around the Five Pillars of Islam: Shahadah (faith), Salat (prayer), Sawm (Ramadan), Zakat (charity) and Hajj (pilgrimage). This podcast compiles all five of the conversations into one file. Thanks for listening! Tune in to the Brian Lehrer Show every day at 10am on WNYC.

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To all of the reflexive, doctrinaire* /anti/-Religious types who seem to take glee at making simplistic, reflexive, blanket, unqualified condemnations of religion, much like a child takes glee, upon learning a taboo word, in using it at every possible opportunity:

As I've noted in a past post, Noam Chomsky is one individual who is no less atheist than any of you but who has a far more intelligent, mature, sophisticated, nuanced view of and approach toward religion than any of you.

Here is a quote from Chomsky, from the transcript of a 1995 America On Line chat:

"I think religion has often played a very positive role. Take western civilization, the Catholic Church has played an honorable role in helping those in need. In contrast, the US carried out a virtual war against the church in central America in the 1980's primarily because prime elements in the church were working with great courage and honor to help those in need. And to organize them to help themselves. It is more than symbolic that the decade opened with the assassination of an archbishop and ended with the murder of 6 Jesuit intellectuals, in both cases by military forces armed and trained by the US government. [...]"

More at:
http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/1990----.htm

*Yes, you are no less doctrinaire and reflexive in /your/ views-- at least when it comes to religion-- than even the most doctrinaire, reflexive, fundamentalist religious adherents. That is the great irony that never ceases to amuse me about you types. (I'm thinking, most especially, about certain BL Show regulars who I haven't seen post to this thread.)

NOTE: Unfortunately, while I have a great deal of respect for Chomsky's intellect and scholarship, there are at least some areas where I have not found him to be above doctrinaire, simplistic and reflexive thinking himself. Particularly, when it comes to certain highly-charged cultural and social issues on which there is virtually unanimous consensus on the left. Were Chomsky to dare to dissent from this orthodoxy, he would no doubt face considerable backlash and lose much of the respect and admiration (often almost cult-like) that he has so long enjoyed. I am rather convinced that an awareness (albeit likely a subconscious one) of this reality prevents Chomsky from approaching and dealing with the areas in question with the incisiveness, scrutiny and independence that characterize so much of his work. Particularly ironic in light of how cogently Chomsky speaks of the ways in which thought and opinion are controlled in free societies.

Jul. 19 2013 07:53 PM

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