Tuesday, December 18, 2007

‘In God’s Name’ probes various faiths
By asking basic but perennial questions (like about theodicy: if God is almighty and good why’s there evil? Why do bad things happen to good people?) of 12 religious leaders including the Pope, the Patriarch of Moscow (head of the world’s biggest Orthodox church), the Archbishop of Canterbury, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Israel, Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim leaders, a Shinto priest, the Dalai Lama and a Hindu spokeswoman.

Brilliant! There’s nothing to lose and much to gain by talking to each other — at least learning the truth/detoxifying views about ‘the other’. Vatican II had a point.

Of course those of us who follow religion will see the redundancies and gaps in the coverage, especially of Christians. I imagine the filmmakers thought they had Protestantism covered with Anglicanism, ELCA Lutheranism (redundant given ELCA’s strong resemblance to and now intercommunion with Anglicanism?) and the SBC. What about the Methodists, really a via media (ha) between the liturgical-episcopal world (Catholics — infallible church — and high-church Protestants — ecclesial but a fallible church) and the evangelicals and with numbers dwarfing the Lutherans and Episcopalians and approaching the Baptists? (Before the rise of the Baptists I think they were America’s No. 1 church in the early 1800s.) Or the non-SBC Baptists like Tripp?

Given what I think the scope of the topics is (of course I could be wrong) — very basic but profound issues not surface Controversial Issues™ — of course I’m happy the Catholic position is being covered in at least three ways, Roman, Orthodox and I imagine Dr Williams credibly representing Anglo-Catholic thought (his liberalism on some issues probably won’t come into it).

P.S. Of course 9/11 isn’t that hard to explain. I understood as soon as I realised it wasn’t an accident. It was payback for bad foreign policy. Not excusable (the end doesn’t justify the means, just like the US dropping nukes), explainable.

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