Monday, August 29, 2005

Father Bauer on Religion

Once a week I drop in at the China Post, the pro-KMT English newspaper, to see what Daniel Bauer has to say. Bauer is a priest and a prof at Fu Jen U, whose beautiful campus is just outside of Taipei. This week he is writing on religion:

Religion is all around us. Religion often intrudes into politics (or does politics intrude into religion?). Religion may try to tell us how we should do our work, use our leisure time, raise our children, or how to treat our bodies by proscribing certain foods or beverages. And, always and everywhere, religion will insist on a dialogue with us about the four great questions.

You can probably guess the questions I have in mind. What is the meaning of suffering? What is the meaning of death? What do I do about sex in my life? How can I be happy?

What a strange selection of questions....the question of sex is important for religious authorities, part of the urgent need of religions to control the behavior of their adherents, but I sincerely doubt that it belongs in the Big Four (note that none of these is a question about the behavior of society as a whole or our privileges and responsibilities in it-- only about individuals. For religions, society is an annoying interference in the assertion of control over the individual). More importantly, what would be the Big Four for a Taiwanese, and how would they approach them?

No comments: