My companion on my past few rides has been Karen Armstrong’s new book “Fields of Blood.” I’m “reading” a great audiobook version, featuring the author’s own lovely British accent.
This is a deeply important book about a deeply important subject: The relationship of religion and violence.
Armstrong does a marvelous job holding all religions to account for the violence in their individual traditions. However, she does an equally important thing: she emphatically shows that not only have religions *not* caused all wars, but that they are often a mediating influence that has often helped to reduce human violence.
In our culture, there’s no more obvious day to remember this than on the day we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As the movie Selma reminds us, King was compelled forward in his vision of nonviolent change by his Christian faith, and not just the teachings of Gandhi.
King showed us that imperialistic power that always sought the baptism of Christianity could also be dismantled by that same Christian faith.
We do well to remember this in our own time, when religious people are routinely lampooned as idiots by more secular members of our society, who often fail to it knowledge the common cause of justice that they hold with these religious persons.
There is indeed a place for atheists, secularists, and other folks in movements for social change. But there is also a place for those whose faith compel them to social action and the cause of justice.
There’s no better day to remember this than today.