Perpetuating his remarkably shallow critique of James Cameron’s Avatar, Goldberg notes with horror the depths of sorrow and misguided zeal that a faux-religious film has inspired in these kids today. You see, he seems to ask, how dangerous the faith instinct can be when misused?
Indeed I do. In the 300s, martyrdom was such a problem in some corners of the late Roman world that bishops had to forbid “intentional martyrdom” — the process of acknowledging one’s Christian faith to a Roman official, or a member of an alternate sect, for the sole purpose of becoming a martyr. Call it the ancient version of “death by cop.”
Again, Goldberg’s problem with the film appear to be a problem with religion generally. Human stupidity needs little motivation to make itself manifest, and any religion is surely adequate to the task, as is any source of strong emotion, like love or patriotism. Moderation is its own virtue, and one that our friend Goldberg cannot claim.