While Mr. Dew is essentially correct that the religious motivations and perceptions of Mr. Dorner can be, and should be, linked with his behavior and alleged decision to commit murder, I was more disturbed by Mr. Dew's assumption that "The rationalizations passing off fury as "righteous" and the conceptualizations and categorizations that demarcate a worldview: these are the basic data of the study of religion." So is the article meant to help us understand the actions of a wounded and disturbed individual who sought justice in the wrong way but still deserves compassion? Or is it meant to be a backhanded slight condemning religion for being a system of justification for immoral behavior? To claim that these kinds of justifications are "the basic data of the study of religion" is patently false and smacks of the attitude of the new atheist camp that passes a priori judgement on religious behavior without really understanding it. I would suggest that the rationalization and justification of moral (or immoral) behavior is a universal human behavior that cannot be categorized as "religious", though obviously religious people do it too. But religious behavior can (and has, I would argue) just as easily provided the justification for people to act with compassion, forgiveness and grace in the face of suffering and injustice. Mr. Dorner has obviously suffered the deep racism and injustice of modernity, and though his actions are horrific and ultimately unjustifiable, the cold categorization and contextualization of his motives as the empty rhetoric of religion by Mr. Dew is simply another injustice. I'm surprised that "On Being" has opted to post this, it lacks the compassion and search for understanding you normally find here.
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