Welcome to Cellar Religion

As reported by James Carroll in a Boston Globe editorial, a new Islamic Sunni extremist group in Iraq has as its motto, “God shall torture them by your hands.”  This is cellar religion– devoid of reason, devoid of  ethics, devoid of morality, devoid of spirituality.  Throughout the Near East, in Africa and in Asia, most recently in Myanmar (formerly Burma), where rampaging Buddhists attacked minority Muslims, cellar religion predominates. The mission of religion is to serve as an elevator, lifting people from the cellar of emotional religious enthusiasm and zeal, which needs to be purified, to a higher level.  It is at the mezzanine level of reason, ethics and morality and at the top floor of spirituality and mysticism that primal religious emotion and zeal are purified. Each level is necessary for the evolved religious personality.  But in a secular age, the top floor of spirituality and mysticism is often ridiculed as only for kooks.  Then, the genuine search for authentic religious emotion has no place to go but back to the cellar. Much of our world is victimized by these stuck elevators.


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About Rabbi Joseph Schultz, PhD

Dr. Joseph Schultz served as Rabbi for congregations in Brookline, MA, Norwich, CT and Cambridge, MA. Dr. Schultz founded the Jewish Studies Program at Boston University where he was Assistant Professor of Religion and at the University of Missouri-Kansas City where he was Oppenstein Brothers Distinguished Professor of Judaic Studies. He helped establish the Center for Religious Studies in 1996, a consortium of six colleges, theological schools and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, offering an interdisciplinary graduate program for the PhD in Religious Studies. Dr. Schultz was its first director.

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