Responding to Boston

Last night, before the show, I felt compelled to address the terrorist attacks in Boston that day. To start the show without talking about that tragedy felt wrong. Since I was recording, I’ve released my remarks as a special podcast episode.

It’s available in Stitcher, iTunes, RSS, and direct download.

My statements, as prepared (I deviated a bit in the recording), appear below:

There’s something I need to address. As you hear this, this happened more than a week ago, but just a few hours ago, there were two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. We don’t really know anything right now. Two people are dead and there are reports of over a hundred wounded.

This is awful and has made me sick to my stomach. My heart goes out to everyone affected by these apparently deliberate attacks. I have family in Boston and I got in touch with them and they’re ok—but there are a lot of people who aren’t.

These was a moment this afternoon when I considered cancelling tonight’s show. Something about my taking such a cavalier attitude to a text so many people consider sacred in the wake of such a tragedy seemed a bit insensitive.

But then I realized that’s exactly why I should perform tonight.

This book is at the center of millions of peoples’ ideologies.  For a lot of the world, morality is driven by the book I’m going to make fun of tonight. And sometimes, some people (a very small minority, but some) stand so firm in their ideologies, whether they come from this book or not, that they reject all other points of view. And they kill.

You’ll see seemingly righteous killing in this month’s chapter. And a lot of people base certain moral judgements on what we’re about to read. Part of the reason this show must go on is to point out the ambiguity that exists even within this ideology—that those who stake a claim to absolute truth and morality might just be mistaken. And if they are, they probably shouldn’t condemn anyone. Or kill them.

The other reason, and this is more of a traditional reading than I usually do in this show, is because of the conversation Avraham has with God. As you’ll see, Avraham convinces Yehovah to spare the cities of S’dom and G’mora if He can find 10 innocent men within.

Presumably God, if you believe in Him, knows what lies in the hearts of men. He is the only entity that can know whether a soul is truly innocent. And he relents for the sake of 10 innocents. How can anyone, especially one who professes a belief in an Almighty, possibly claim to know what lies in the hearts of others and condemn countless times more than 10 innocents to death—when even God wouldn’t do such a thing?

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