We must admit that there is something wrong. The current representation of religion does not respond to the needs of society, nor does it answer the pressing questions of our time. There is a gap between our understanding of religion and the current era, born as a result of the lack of interaction between religion and contemporary life.
The public discussion about the causes of violent extremism has focused mainly on the socioeconomic and political conditions that exist in Arab countries. But we must also carefully consider how the events in the wake of World Wars I and II have impacted the psychological disposition of the Arab population throughout the Middle East.
The wrestling match now unfolding in California over a proposed ballot measure aimed at exterminating gay people is actually a teachable moment, and not only about religious extremism and violent hate. It calls attention to the value of a simple screen test for the subjects of initiatives and constitutional amendments. In this area, California might take a lesson from New Mexico.
If Charlie Hebdo were to close because of this senseless, horrific massacre, then we're all lessened by its loss. The magazine stands for a lot more than just a few thousand subscribers and a few uncomfortable French politicians. It stands for the ability of humanity to transcend its darkest impulses.