There's a very interesting discussion on CNN that grows out of a bizarre kidnapping case here in the United States: for those of you unfamiliar with it, a 14-year old girl was kidnapped in the night from her home and forced to be the "bride" and sexual slave of a self-proclaimed "prophet" who claimed his bed was an altar. She was later rescued and the "prophet" arrested, and the man is now on trial for the crime.
But is it a crime?
Lawyers for Brian David Mitchell, the accused kidnapper, say in his defense that his bizarre religious beliefs were delusions, and that he is mentally ill and, therefore, not responsible for his actions - not guilty by reason of insanity.
When does intense, blind religious faith turn from worship of God to delusion to murderous criminality? It's no small issue in a world where young men and women strap explosives to themselves and believe they will spend eternity in paradise for killing infidels, and where a woman can face death by stoning for the "crime" of adultery. Blind religious faith gave us the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, 9/11, and the horrific massacre in Mumbai.
Where is the line between extreme religious faith and criminal insanity?
I have faith in some things. I have faith that the sun will rise this morning. I have faith in the love of my wife, children, and grandchildren. I have faith that Congress will continue to be a worthless swamp of partisan bickering.
Unfortunately, I also have faith that men will continue to be motivated by religious fervor to do terrible things. As Voltaire once observed, "Men will continue to commit atrocities so long as they believe in absurdities."
Does your faith comfort you and bring you closer to others, or does it inspire you to bend others to your will, and murder or enslave them if they resist?
It's a serious question, and it gets more serious by the day.
Think about it.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.