AJC Radio Message: Religion a Force of Good or Evil?

October 3, 2006 New York – In his weekly national radio commentary, American Jewish Committee Executive Director David A. Harris discusses religious belief, with the hope that those who value its positive attributes will triumph over those who seek to use religion to bring harm to others.

 

“Who will prevail? Those who affirm life and our common humanity? Or those who celebrate triumphalism and death?” asks Harris. “At AJC, for nearly a century, we’ve worked daily to strengthen interreligious understanding and cooperation. You might call that one of our articles of faith.”

 

The full text of this week’s commentary follows:

Religion.

 

For many, it’s a primary source of identity.

 

At its best, religious belief provides us with a sense of awe, of the sacred.

 

It answers questions about our place in the world—and our purpose.

 

It creates a road map for ethical behavior, for reaching beyond ourselves.

 

It offers a sense of community.

 

But at its worst, religious belief can divide and destroy.

 

It can pit one group against another.

 

It can allow some to believe that they alone have a monopoly on truth, on a link to the divine.

 

It can lead some to kill in the name of a supreme being, who, they convince themselves, welcomes the bloodshed.

 

Who will prevail?

 

Those who affirm life and our common humanity? Or those who celebrate triumphalism and death?

 

At AJC, for nearly a century, we’ve worked daily to strengthen interreligious understanding and cooperation. You might call that one of our articles of faith.

 

Visit us at ajc.org.

 

This is David Harris of the American Jewish Committee.

Copyright 2014/2015 AJC