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The Stillborn God By Zachary Karabell, Truthdig. Posted… 
29th-Dec-2007 11:03 am
The Stillborn God
By Zachary Karabell, Truthdig. Posted December 29, 2007.
Is separation of church and state a myth in America?

One of the bedrock assumptions of our society is that we have, after centuries of struggle, finally achieved an enviable balance that allows individuals to have their own religious beliefs but does not permit religion to dictate public life and thereby enflame passions and generate deadly conflict. That balance was hardly easy to create, and only after many years of two steps forward and one step back did we in the West finally -- supposedly -- arrive at the right formula. But arrive we did, says Mark Lilla in "The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics and the Modern West," his provocative, passionate essay on what he calls "the Great Separation."

With the rise of a virulent strain of radical fundamentalism in the Muslim world, that separation is being assailed, and we seem bewildered that anyone could argue against it. Lilla, however, contends that it is not the fundamentalists -- Muslim, Christian and Jewish -- who are seeing the world askew; it is Western culture and its defenders. "We must remind ourselves," he writes, "that we are living in an experiment, that we are the exceptions. We have little reason to expect other civilizations to follow our unusual path, which was opened up by a unique theological-political crisis within Christendom." In short, Lilla believes that we> have gotten one thing utterly wrong: We are not us. We are them. We are not the rule; we are the exception.

29th-Dec-2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
Interesting perspective, thanks!

2nd-Jan-2008 11:44 pm (UTC)
well.. as a brit i can say that from where im standing it seems that religion has a mahoosive influence in U.S politics. and looking at britain (i may be blinded by my closeness here..) it has always seemed to me that religion only expresses opinions occasionally (and usually on related issues only) and the political process is not steered or dictated by its interests.this allows a quite rightful input of various opinions, but does not lead to religious 'mob rule'
its just the way we are.
2nd-Jan-2008 11:53 pm (UTC)
okay..lol having said that ..are societies like ours the exception? are they unusual....could well be.. so should we be more aware that for many..religion 'is' politics? and more tolerant of such a fact? well ..yeah in a way.. however,they need a completely different approach in diplomatic terms

aaaand imma sush now
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