Of all the major religions, or lack thereof, the atheist's is one of the best pretenders: his foundation for all existences, as well as moral behaviors for the permanent good of mankind, begins at science but ends at himself, the Napoleon complex of both intelligence and imagination. On the other hand the anti-theist wouldn't survive without a deity beyond himself to hunt. He doesn't pretend, he simply nullifies his own position.
In an age when nations and individuals routinely exchange murder for murder, when the healing grace of authentic spirituality is usurped by the divisive politics of religious organizations, and when broken hearts bleed pain in darkness without the relief of compassion, the voice of an exceptional poet producing exceptional work is not something the world can afford to dismiss.
It is undoubtedly true that religion is often socially conservative. By binding a people together under a shared God, a common cosmology and a common morality, religion creates order and stability and its rituals create social cohesio...n. By promising to the pious poor rewards in the next life, it reconciles them to their fate in this one and thus discourages them from rebelling against their condition...[also] religion [is] an inspiration to radicalism and rebellion. religion is a potential threat to any political or social order because it claims an authority higher than any available in this world. pp. 10-11
Yet rather than calling the earliest religions, which embraced such an open acceptance of all human sexuality, 'fertility cults,' we might consider the religions of today as strange in that they seem to associate shame and even sin with the very process of conceiving new human life. Perhaps centuries from now scholars and historians will be classifying them as 'sterility cults.
Jerusalem! My Love,My TownI wept until my tears were dryI prayed until the candles flickeredI knelt until the floor creakedI asked about Mohammed and ChristOh Jerusalem, the fragrance of prophetsThe shortest path between earth and skyOh Jerusalem, the citadel of lawsA beautiful child with fingers charredand downcast eyesYou are the shady oasis passed by the ProphetYour streets are melancholyYour minarets are mourningYou, the young maiden dressed in blackWho rings the bells at the Nativity Church, On sunday morning?Who brings toys for the childrenOn Christmas eve?Oh Jerusalem, the city of sorrowA big tear wandering in the eyeWho will halt the aggressionOn you, the pearl of religions?Who will wash your bloody walls?Who will safeguard the Bible?Who will rescue the Quran?Who will save Christ, From those who have killed Christ?Who will save man?Oh Jerusalem my townOh Jerusalem my loveTomorrow the lemon trees will blossomAnd the olive trees will rejoiceYour eyes will danceThe migrant pigeons will returnTo your sacred roofsAnd your children will play againAnd fathers and sons will meetOn your rosy hillsMy townThe town of peace and olives
The sun began to set behind Bethlehem and the beams were breaking through some white and gray clouds. There was a slight and beautiful chill from the autumn air. I gave thanks for that beautiful day and for the fact that the sun does not know Palestinian from Israeli, Christian from Muslim or Jew, and Asian from American or African, and I asked myself: If the sun shines on all of us as one, how much more does the sun's Creator see and love us all as one?
I wanted to confront her, to make her see the folly of her religion, to change her diet, to help her spend less on makeup and other nonessentials, to make her worship every biological moment she was offered instead of some badly punctured deity. I also wanted to kiss her for some reason, feel the life pulsing in those big Catholic lips, remind myself of the primacy of the living animal, of my time amongst the Romans.