Saturday, May 9, 2009

In the Name of Religion

     I finished two books this week:  Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel and Incantation by Alice Hoffman.  At first glance, these two books seem to be very dissimilar:  one a biography written for adults and one a work of fiction written for a mostly teenage-girl audience.  One important similarity between the books, however, occurred to me.  Both teach the dangers of religion run amok.  Both exhibit the damage that religion did in Europe for hundreds of years.  
     The church persecuted and imprisoned Galileo for recognizing and teaching the truth.  In Incantation, the main character's family is killed by the church during the Spanish Inquisition for remaining true to their Jewish identity.  The great irony to me in both of these examples lies in the church's persecuting and punishing people for speaking and living the truth, while continuing to teach the lessons of the ten commandments, at least one of which, I believe, addresses honesty.  

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