Q: I’m obsessed with fact checking politicians. It occurs to me that we need to fact check religion as well. How might we do this?
Rabbi Rami: Fact checking requires facts against which one can test claims. While this is often the case in politics, it is rarely the case in religion. Religions aren’t based on facts we can check but on fictions in which we can only believe. Instead of fact checking religions, I would values check them. For example: How do followers of a religion treat “the other” in this life and imagine the fate of “the other” in the afterlife? We need a cool icon for this. The Washington Post uses Pinocchios in its fact checking. We might consider using the evil eye in our values checking. The more vicious the values, the greater number of evil eyes a religion earns.
In this era of COVID-19, I am struggling with how to open and close an email. In the past I’d usually say “hello” followed by something like “I hope this finds you well,” but now that just feels off, if not insulting. And to close with something similar seems lifeless. You …
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. In the print version of our magazine, he has an advice column, “Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler,” addressing reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more. His latest book is Surrendered—The Sacred Art. Rabbi Rami hosts our podcast, “Essential Conversations.”