Friday, November 28, 2014

Advice from Gilead, on prophets and pharisees

'The article is called "God and the American People," and it says 95 percent of us say we believe in God. But our religion doesn't meet the writer's standards, not at all. To his mind, all those people in all those churches are the scribes and the Pharisees. He seems to me to be a bit of a scribe himself, scorning and rebuking the way he does. How do you tell a scribe from a prophet, which is what he clearly takes himself to be? The prophets love the people they chastise, a thing this writer does not appear to me to do.'

'But people of any degree of religious sensibility are always vulnerable to the accusation that their consciousness or their understanding does not attain to the highest standards of their faith, because that is always true of everyone.... It seems that the spirit of self-righteousness this article deplores is precisely the spirit in which it is written. Of course he's right about many things, one of them being the destructive potency of religious self-righteousness.'


- John Ames
in Marilynne Robinson's Gilead
pages 162 and 166

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