When Comment is Superfluous: A J Heschel on Why Religion Declines
"It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy
for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats.
Religion declined not because it was refuted,
but because it became
When faith is completely replaced by creed,
worship by discipline,
love by habit;
when the crisis of today is ignored
because of the splendor of the past;
when faith becomes an heirloom
rather than a living fountain;
when religion speaks only in the name of authority
rather than with the voice of compassion--
its message becomes meaningless."
— Abraham Joshua Heschel, God in Search of Man. A Philosophy of Judaism.
Heschel is a privileged presence in my Canon of Essential Writers. The Anthology, I Asked for Wonder is a treasure. Few writers combine so powerfully fierce honesty, spiritual passion, and laser accuracy in detecting human fallibility, with a disposition of compassion fueled by faith in the transcendence and mercy of God.