“Since prehistoric times, religion has played a formative role in human society. It shaped the burial customs of primitive tribes and inspired their art on the walls of caves. As nations and empires emerged, religion provided a cosmic vision for social and political institutions. Throughout history, religion has been a wellspring of cultural creativity. Much of the great art of the world … has been religious in inspiration and function. Religion has preached justice, brotherhood, and universal peace. It has defused hatred, deflected aggression, and humanized society, disciplining conduct and evoking noble actions through lofty ideals.
Yet religion has a dark side. It has launched wars and persecutions, has justified slavery, discrimination, and oppression, and has blocked the advance of knowledge. It has been used, both consciously and unconsciously, as a tool for social, political, and economic exploitation.
Throughout its long history, religion has revealed its paradoxical nature. At its best, it is a most creative force in a culture; at its worst, it can be distorted to destroy the very ideals it espouses.” – Ewert Cousins
There are always two (or more) sides to every story. Because I know so many amazing folk who espouse the values mentioned in the first half of this quote… I simply cannot justify joining the ranks of those who call for religion’s death.
I don’t write much about religion in this blog… but every now and then, I see a quote worth re-quoting… and this was one of those times.