When Religions Do Harm
Join us for our next God on Tap on Tuesday, March 10th from 7:30-9:00pm upstairs at Forest & Main. Our topic will be the capacity for religion to do great good and great harm.
You may have heard some of the chatter following the White House Prayer Breakfast when President Obama talked about how religious extemism is not exclusive to Islam, but that the history of Christianity is also marked by extremism like the Crusades, to which we might also add The Spanish Inquisition and, particularly difficult for Lutherans—the Holocaust.
Some of the questions that come to mind for our conversation are: how do we acknowledge the pain our religion traditions have caused? What makes that difficult? How do we own up to our own history and recognize the intended or unintended consequences of the ways we read the Bible, practice faith, and organize our religious communities?
Of course, it would be nice to think that all the harm Christianity has done is all in the past. It would be easy to say, and many do, that Islam is somehow a primitive religious culture whereas Christians are now more enlightened. In fact, Islam has been at the forefront of scientific and artistic culture for centuries—at times well ahead of Christianity. And Christianity, while priding itself on its Western enlightenment, often remains blind to the way we still do harm.
So, what are the ways the church may still do harm today? How can we rectify that? How do we remain faithful members of a religious tradition while still being honest enough to critique it? On the flip side, is this capacity for harm something keeps you away from organized religion? Does the difficult history of organized religions invalidate the entire tradition?
See you on Tuesday!