This is NOT a post about Star Trek (OK, turns out it is, kinda), but I must start with a scene from the S-T episode "Devil in the Dark" because it captures how I feel:
In this episode, which I watched last night, Spock mind-melds with a silicon- (not carbon-) based creature,
which looks remarkably like regurgitated pepperoni pizza,
fringed with carpet tassles.
Spock extends his hands toward the wounded creature and begins to moan loudly,
"Pain! Pain!" before stumbling backward in agony.
(Into Kirk's arms, but that's not part of my story.)
This is exactly how I feel having spent most of today vetting a manuscript about spirituality for teenagers.
When I read the author's contention that Christianity offered something new and wonderful to the world, but that Hinduism is very difficult to understand with all its "fantastic" gods I began to moan.
When he went on to say Shiva is a goddess (he is not), I doubled over.
You can recognize Hassidic Jews by their black clothes? The brain staggers.(What if you misidentified a beatnik?)
But when I got to Islam and it was all about suicide bombers, (this is supposed to be about spirituality, remember), then I truly got out of my chair and cried aloud, "Pain! Pain!"
If your average schmuck on the street said any of these things, I would only cringe slightly, but this is not only the work of a professional writer, it has passed through the hands of a professional editor...
...and come out looking like that silicon-based thing.
But without its inner beauty.
One of the things Spock is always reminding his doltish human colleagues of is that not all life in the universe looks like you.
Same as it ever was.