The discussion of whether one religion is respected more than another in Daniel Barenboim’s Diwan orchestra is degenerating into a tedious slew of smug atheism. Why bother about religion at all, some respondents seem to feel, if God is dead and everyone knows it?
OK, let’s get this straight. The issue is not whether it is good or bad to be religious in the 21st century. I have a view on the matter, but it’s a private one between me and my conscience. The question here is whether the practice of Islam is treated more kindly in the Barenboim orchestra than the practice of Judaism. If it is – and there is some evidence to suggest that it is – then the orchestra needs to re-examine its attitudes towards the faith dimension of the Middle East conflict.
I get very irritated when anyone, believer or denier, claims ownership of an absolute truth and manitains that all right-minded people think the same. That is a totalitarian atittude and it is all too much in evidence in the Church of Dawkins. My guess is that this synthetic, pseudo-scientific cult will be undone like all others. In the meantime, I shall try for the sake of my good mood to avoid people who peddle spritiual certainties.