Oct 04 2009
I took the above photo in a small, Sicilian coastal town two summers ago. The religious statue is protected by a thick plexiglass sheet. Looking at the image this morning I recalled one of my favorite freethought quotes by Salman Rushdie:
“The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas – uncertainty, progress, change – into crimes.”
If any of a person’s ideas are protected by a sort of internal, intellectual/emotional plexiglass barrier, it seems to me that the extent of their ability to think freely has been limited. Their psychological horizon thus narrowed. If a person additionally insists that other people stand back from their cherished ideas – Don’t touch, keep your meddling hands at your side! – he or she is limiting the freedom and potential progress of others.
I like to encourage “getting your hands dirty,” intellectually speaking, on any subject that interests a person. Or any matter plainly important. Freethinkers do just that in the realm of religion. And one might say that atheists have progressed beyond any internal plexiglass in the arena of religion and have found nothing out of the ordinary. Just statues made by humans, etc.
To sample some works of minds venturing beyond the sacred, I recommend checking out Carnival Of The Godless #127 over at Camels With Hammers.