"Whether I am ushered into the next world by a choir of cherubs or a bevy of trident-bearing imps, or whether I just compost quietly in nature’s great recycling system is not a matter on which I spend a great deal of thought.
I am, by genetic endowment half-Jewish, by upbringing Roman Catholic, and by choice, agnostic.
I neither deny nor assert the existence of God.
I have seen the great comfort and goodness wrought by small churches of all persuasions in the small communities in which I have lived.
I also see the hell-born misery ultra-orthodoxies of all religious types wreak on people the world over.
Be it the Taliban, ultra-Orthodox Jews, the far-right Christians or the Sunni-Shiite internecine wars, you name the orthodoxy, and history books and news archives will drown you in tales of persecution, torture and death.
...During the European Holocaust, Muslim Morocco prided itself on defying Vichy’s order to its French colonies to round up their Jews.
The Islamic monarchy instead sheltered them from German and French persecution.
But examples like these have been rare.
And human carnage done in the name of various deities or “with God on our side” as Dylan sings, is common.
The subjugation of women across all orthodoxies and the persecution of religious minorities and homosexuals is as prevalent today as the burning of non-Catholics was in the streets of Seville during the Spanish Inquisition.
...observing the ongoing persecution and slaughter conducted on religious grounds, I can’t embrace or even trust religions managed by man in God’s name.
I miss the spiritual discipline I knew as a child, but I can’t muster enough faith to forgive institutions willing to fight to accumulate earthly riches and political power — while at the same time perpetuating sexual subjugation of women and children."