Billy Collins: I’m not sure about the deep historical view, but I think what’s happening now is tribalism. It’s .Tribalism seems to be a perversion of faith.
You can think of religion when you look through the New York Times as being the cause of most of the world’s violent problems these days. Or not problems, but conflicts. But I think, we mistake religion for tribalism there. We see that religion; I think it’s something very human about wanting to be better than the people next door, or the people in the next country. Even like, you know, Mississippi and Alabama can’t stand each other. And my mother’s family is from a little Island called South ___________. And that’s a Catholic island. And right next door is a Protestant Island. I mean they’re both rocks.
They have like five sheep on them, and wind and rain; but they see themselves as very separate rocks. And obviously one rock thinks it’s better than the other rock. I don’t know.
Then if you pour religion into that mindset where this desire for communal superiority to another group, then flames come out of that. And I think those are the flames we’re seeing, you know, bursting out around the globe today.
July 4, 2007