But that is not the place to start when it comes to trying to understand the history, import and value of a story so many hold sacred, to say nothing of a story that some of the most thoughtful and creative people who have ever lived have been wrestling with in theology and philosophy (Augustine, Rashi, Maimonides, Luther, Kierkegaard and Buber); painting (Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Chagall); fiction (Yizhar, Oz, Yehoshua and Grossman); poetry (Dickinson, Owen and Amichai) and song (Britten, Stravinsky, Dylan and Cohen) for more than two thousand years. And, because the story raises questions that still engage us, there is no end to that wrestling in sight. I don’t believe that anyone should do something to someone else simply because God says so. I resent as much as anyone the politics and social policy that comes clothed in clerical garb. I think that Dawkins’ “modern standard of morality” is great for judging how people behave today. — James Goodman








I happen to share Hitchens’ and Dawkin’s skepticism that there is a God like the one portrayed in the Bible.


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