In our modern age of apathy and egoism, there is cause for hope whenever people care about something beyond themselves. But there is more to being human than feeling deeply, for we risk becoming impassioned fools. Our minds must conspire with our hearts. We should care enough to think—and think with great care.
No human endeavor shows the double-edged nature of caring like religion, with its boundless capacity to foster our humanity and its vulnerability to thoughtless passion. In a world of suffering, to devote our spiritual energy to theological trifles is not just absurd, it is immoral. Yet we persist, as if such details mattered.
Who cares whether Jesus was divine if we treat the homeless man in the alley as less than human?
Who cares whether God is omnipotent if we don’t use our power to help others?
Who cares whether the Bible’s authors were divinely inspired if we write laws that are profane?
Who cares whether there is a heaven if the hell of domestic violence burns next door?
Who cares whether Mary was a virgin if we do not heed the cries of a woman being raped?
Who cares whether we are saved when a child loses all hope?
Who cares whether the earth was created in seven days if seventy species disappear every day?
The answer is, of course, that many people care about religious matters. And perhaps care, like love, is not a finite resource. Maybe some people have such a capacity for caring that worries about God don’t detract from their concern for people. But I am not so blessed. So, for everyone else like me, let us try to build a life in which we care about the things that matter most.