by Susan Neiman

Intriguing thoughts about how to think about religion, reason, and the Enlightenment. While I might disagree with much, I appreciate a number of the questions opened up here…

“Much of our vision of happiness is derived from the Enlightenment: the bold and restless striving to advance beyond what you’ve already been given. So is, properly understood, our conception of human reason: the refusal to accept the given as such. Reverence is the moment you are simply thankful for it. When you put them all together what you have is not a zero-sum game. You needn’t mortify the human in order to feel reverence for what goes beyond it, nor scorn religion in order to dignify humanity. Whatever else the idea of God may be, or not be, it’s above all the idea that human beings have limits – but to understand limits as fetters is to misunderstand what it means to be human.”

“In Moral Clarity, I refused to identify myself as religious or secular in the hope of appealing to both. My hope was to undercut the prejudices and condescension, whether spoken or silent, that each group usually feels towards the other, for I believe more things unite than divide us. But the worldview I’ve proposed only has a chance of success if it acknowledges and takes on the forces arrayed against it – and I believe the most dangerous of these are not religious fundamentalists but market ones.”