Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mainstream faiths flop at Virginia Tech

As mourners gathered on the Virginia Tech campus in communal reflection over the tragedy that overwhelmed the university yesterday, I couldn't help but lean a little closer to the TV today as representatives of Islam, Buddhism, Judaism and Christianity took the stage to offer these hurting people the best their religions presumably have to offer.

In case you missed it, here's the abridged version:

Islam -- You're going to die. Allah wills it. Blessed be Allah the most merciful and compassionate.

Buddhism -- You're going to die. But life is precious, so let's connect. Don't let yesterday and the whole of human history to this point fool you, we're all born with an inherently good nature. Now "let's reflect on everything."

Judaism -- The memory of good people is a blessing, but...you're going to die. [Repeat in Hebrew]. As a wise man once wrote, there is a time to be born and a time to die. (Sorry, but Ecclesiastes is the best we have to offer for situations like this.)

Liberal Protestantism -- My colleagues all make great points. Plus, don't hate. That's real important. Let's have a moment of prayer-like silence.

I do this not to make light of the situation but because a lot of people are hurting right now, and none of these pluralistic, equal-time toastmasters did an ounce of good.

None could offer the missing key ingredient: hope.

Notice, though, how all those faces in the crowd -- so understandably blank during the above -- melted in genuine tears as Christ-focused "Amazing Grace" began to play just after.

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