Just Considering
Posted on February 9, 2015

I have begun to think seriously about the nra. No, I did not make an error in not capitalizing that. I’m not referring to armed America. My concern is the 20% of our population that has “no religious affiliation.”

On Feb. 3 David Brooks had a column in the NY TIMES that set me to reconsidering the secularists. They certainly haven’t asked for my concern but, since I ride the same subways, walk the same concrete and jump the same slushy crosswalks as they, we are constantly rubbing elbows. I do care how they think.

They are missing so much that I, as a non-nra, take for granted. I have an ethic to evaluate my day: have I been conscious of God in myself and in my neighbor? My faith calls upon me to love both. Where does one find the motivation to set up rules of conduct without God as a frame of reference? It has to be hard.

Those of us with church communities are also blessed to be a part of a group with whom we share certain values that help us see others with common eyes. For example, last Sunday I sat in a pew with a friend on one side but with, until then, a perfect stranger on the other. He had come into a church community and, on those grounds alone, he was welcome. It was so much more freeing than the human angst that often accompanies our finding ourselves in the presence of strangers and wondering who or what they are.

The nras have to find substitutes for so much that I take for granted as they create their own moral creed. It must be such a challenge for them to set up parameters to moral living.


David Bram on February 14, 2015

As a bit of a fan of yours, but as an nra, I do have a comment and a question to ask. It has been my experience that the agnostics and atheists I have known are no better or worse regarding their moral life than the non-iras I have known. In fact, nras might think about morals a bit more than non-iras since they know that they are living their lives without participating in a formal religious life. If you would like to say "well then, that's the God IN them talking", that is fine with me. The nra idea also raises the issue of "what about all those people who lived over 3000 years ago before the beginnings of the Judeo-Christian era; did they all live immoral lives absent the 10 Commandments, etc.?" Of course not. Thanks for your continuing intellectual stimulation!

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