Why does everything have to be God vs Dawkins?

Why does everything have to be God vs Dawkins?


norman lebrecht

September 03, 2009

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. 


  • RL says:

    Oh, come on. Israel is a secular society in which the vast majority don’t practice Judaism in any structured or organized way. That is where the religious conflict lies between the two cultures, not between the two religions (insofar as religion is an issue in the conflict at all — it’s certainly not at the “root” of it). Religious observance (not necessarily belief) is a part of Palestinian identity to a far greater extent than it is to most Israelis. Fiona Maddocks mistakenly assumes a symmetry of religions, and of the respective religious conditions of the two groups — and you don’t appear to have given that any consideration.

  • I’d better post this for your earlier review for the Divan, but, as far as I know, no one except I have pointed out that Prom’s ‘Fidelio’ had changed Edward Said original narrations.
    Worth cheking them out.
    Yoshiyuki Mukudai

  • casta diva says:

    Finally, a realistic view on the situation in both the Middle East confliict and Barenboim’s attempt to “save” the people from annihilating each other. Indeed, a balance needs to be struck between reconciliation and promoting one people’s interest at the expense of the other’s. The answer is not to bash the Israeli people for any mistakes they have made in the past with respect to their Paliestian neighbors. Both people have the right to maintain their respective cultures and religions, without one ceding to the other.

  • gurdonark says:

    Well said. Tolerance is a key value, and one too often neglected in the current debate. Dialogue rather than diatribes should rule the day.