"We're a virus with shoes."
This article from the NYT Magazine on political theology and the separation of church and state in the West is the single most depressing thing I've read in years. In a nutshell, people believe silly and dangerous things. Those who are trying to protect the single most important legacy of the Enlightenment - the realization that theologies cannot be used as a basis for politics - must confront that fact directly, because gently nudging believers towards moderate interpretations of those silly beliefs only tends to make them turn to fanaticism. But the separation of theology and politics is a fragile, probably accidental, fluke of Western Christianity, unlikely to be repeated in the societies whose despairing children are now purposelessly blowing themselves to bits. So, the situation is hopeless, we're probably going to lose the precious secularism of the past three hundred years to a seething mass of fearful ignorance - and that's perfectly natural, and to be expected, and even tolerated, because people are so stupid and so violent and so pathetic that they cannot ever hope to simply live and let live. Whee. Well, you can just rock me to sleep tonight.