Welcome to Part 4 of PUP’s Stanley Fish series,
Fish Food for Thought. All selections are excerpted from Fish’s new book, Think Again: Contrarian Reflections on Life, Culture, Politics, Religion, Law, and Education .
Fish Food for Thought
Part 4: Reflections on Religion
6.1 The Three Atheists
June 10, 2007
Fish on why God did not create a perfect species.
If Adam and Eve were faithful because they were programmed to be so, then the act of obedience (had they performed it) would not in any sense have been theirs. For what they do or don’t do to be meaningful, it must be free, (240)
6.4 God Talk
May 3, 2009
Fish on answering theological questions.
The fact that science, liberal rationalism, and economic calculation cannot ask – never mind answer – such questions should not be held against them, for that is not what they do. And, conversely, the fact that religion and theology cannot provide a technology for explaining how that material world works should not be held against them, either, for that is not what they do, (249-250)
6.8 Serving Two Masters: Sharia Law and the Secular State
October 25, 2010
Fish on people abiding by state laws when it conflicts with religious laws.
On the one hand, there is the liberal desire to accord one’s fellow human beings the dignity of respecting their deepest beliefs. On the other hand, there is the fear that if those beliefs are allowed their full scope, individual rights and the rule of law may be eroded beyond repair,(273)
6.10 Religion Without Truth
March 31, 2007
Fish on the truths of religion in secular environments.
Of course, the ‘one true God’ stuff is what the secular project runs away from, or ‘brackets.’ It counsels respect for all religions and calls upon us to celebrate their diversity. But religion’s truth claims don’t want your respect. They want your belief and, finally, your soul. They are jealous claims. Though shalt have no other God before me, (282)
6.13 When Is a Cross a Cross?
May 3, 2010
Fish on the the argument for religious symbols in public places.
It is one of the ironies of the sequence of cases dealing with religious symbols on public land that those who argue for their lawful presence must first deny them the significance that provokes the desire to put them there in the first place… So you save the symbols by leeching the life out of them. The operation is successful, but the patient is dead, (292)