Given the latest round of ethnic/religious violence wracking the Middle East, I applaud the NYT times for acknowledging one of the people who reminded us that the ultimate source of wisdom lies in humanity's capacity for reason.
350 years ago Baruch Spinoza was excommunicated by his fellow Jews. He then went on to shock the rest of Europe with his ideas:
Spinoza argued that no group or religion could rightly claim infallible knowledge of the Creator’s partiality to its beliefs and ways. After the excommunication, he spent the rest of his life — he died in 1677 at the age of 44 — studying the varieties of religious intolerance. The conclusions he drew are still of dismaying relevance.
Read the whole article here.