mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Summer reading...

When I was in grade school and high school, I had summer reading. Since I've always been a procrasinator, I wouldn't touch that reading until the last couple days before class started, and I would then have to try to force myself to get all the reading done. It's not that I hated reading - I would read a ton of books over the summer - but I hated being told what to read, and I generally wasn't a big fan of the books we were assigned.

So it's ironic that I've spent a large portion of my Memorial Day weekend in an armchair in the same living room that I spent so much time doing my summer reading in, trying to make my way through the 380-odd pages of Diane Eck's A New Religious America. I have a night MBA class - a management elective dealing with, well, how evil white males like myself have oppressed women and minorities - and we had to pick a book. Most of the other ones were taken, and this was about the best of what was left.

It has some interesting points - the author is a big beliver that all religions are equally good, that none are more valid than others, that they all are different manifestations of the same ideas. It's a warm and fuzzy idea, and it's compelling - after all, who wants to believe that people with different religion, religion that was passed down by culture and family, will be condemmed for that? On the other hand, you can probably go too far with this kind of thinking - if anything goes, why beleive in anything?

But while there are some interesting points in the book, and while I agree that the way the US was founded has made us a country that is far more religiously diverse and tolerant than most, I am perfectly willing to accept that theisis without having to hear her talk about every Mosque, Hindu or Buddhist temple that she has ever visited, which makes up a large portion of the book. And she goes a little far in portraying every religiously-motivated attack as an example of racism and intolerance, when they are excepts generally caused by the crazy and the drunk and not manifestations of the mainstream. She also sees zoning battles as evidence of prejudice against religion. Given that the Catholic college I attended and work for seems to be regularly batling zoning laws - in building a sports facility on an old landfill in Baltimore City or in opening a retreat center in rual Maryland - I tend to think most of these battles are more that people don't like change in their neigborhoods, and don't want to risk lowering their property values, more than the religion that the new worship center is.

I still have about 150 more pages to struggle through. I wonder if I will ever get to a point in my life where I am no longer a student, where I no longer need to read what I don't want to read. But there is a certain familiarity about it, a structure that I may miss.


At 9:58 AM, Blogger Muneer said...

Meh, if you miss it too much, you can move up to Whitewater and go to school for the rest of your life...

Oh, and congrats on the house! Guess you should go buy a lawnmower.


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