Re "The (Culture) War of the Word," Opinion, May 29: So Dennis Prager believes that a literal interpretation of the Bible is a better guide to morality than an individual's "heart." But what does he do with the Book of Joshua, in which God orders the Hebrews to slaughter every man, woman and child living in the land of Canaan?
Call me a "liberal," if you must, but personally, when it comes to genocide and the killing of innocent children, I'll stick with what my "heart" says over what the Bible says any day of the week.
Roland E. Zwick
Prager displays a remarkable ignorance of the Jewish tradition by applying Christian fundamentalist logic to the reading of Jewish holy texts. As a religious Jew, Prager should know that what constitutes Jewish textual tradition more than anything else is its multiple points of view. Neither Moses nor Maimonides -- nor even Prager -- has the last word.
Perhaps Prager should be more concerned with searching out God's will in the text and less obsessed with proclaiming his righteousness over the heathen liberals. Were he to do so, he may just stumble upon another principle in the Bible that he neglected to mention -- humility before man and God.
of Jewish History
Hebrew Union College
Prager hit the nail right plunk on the head. The acceptance or rejection of the inspired scriptures is indeed the fence that divides the religious left from the right. The puzzle is how those who reject divine inspiration can call themselves Jews or Christians.
Rev. Gerald A. Buckley OP
St. Dominic Priory
I think I might know why Prager would subordinate the findings of his formidable intellect to the writings of ancient scribes, but his definition of "liberal/conservative" in his essay is part of the alarming theocratic trend in American politics. The labels "liberal" and "conservative" describe the views one holds toward the role of government and its relationship to the governed, not one's perspective on religious texts.
Is Prager really suggesting that a person's opinion on tax policy is shaped by his or her religious belief?
In typical Prager style, his article on the basic differences between religious conservatives and religious liberals was thoughtful and thought-provoking. As a Christian and a liberal, it is nice to know that there is at least one conservative who doesn't consider the terms mutually exclusive. Thank you, Mr. Prager.
Since Prager believes that the Bible is the revealed word of God, does he advocate, say, putting to death anyone who curses his parents (Exodus 21:17) or works on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:15) or blasphemes God (Levitius 24:16)? If he does, then he's a fanatic who cannot be taken seriously. If he doesn't, then he obviously picks and chooses what revealed words of God to believe, and his argument falls apart.