Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why do I even think about this?

It's funny to me that I have opinions about Christianity and Christian doctrine. I mean, I'm not a Christian. I don't have any particular authority to speak to these topics, and for the most part it's not my problem anyway. As a rule, I can giggle and walk away, any time I want to. So why write those sorts of blog posts?

Some of it is left over from having been raised a Christian. I see these odd, destructive, not-terribly-Biblical ideas masquerading as Christianity, and I have this reflexive reaction: "But that's not how it's supposed to be!"

Some of it is a more general humanitarian reaction: how can you not notice that these are extremely misguided, and in some cases potentially quite harmful, ideas and approaches?

And some of it, I think, is a simple human inability to mind my own freakin' business.


  1. Religion is a disease of civilization; skepticism is the cure.

  2. I feel fortunate that I've managed to reach adulthood without feeling obligated to have an opinion on this. The way I see it, pretty much every human believes something stupid, and as a human, I don't have the right to point out others' idiocy unless and until it threatens me directly. Just because Christianity's one of the more famous pieces of stupidity* doesn't make it more important to me than, say, Bokononism.

    *Not the story itself; it has some literary value. What people have done with it has been a net negative, because as I said, people believe stupid things.

  3. I'd have to disagree; I have yet to be convinced that the effects of religion itself are a net anything. In fact, for the most part I don't see religion per se as a cause. I'm more sympathetic to the argument that religion acts as an enabler for bad behavior rising from the worst of our parochial/tribal instincts, but even then I'm not sure that religion itself is the root problem.

    I tend to see religion, rather like art, as being an expression of humanity. To the extent that it's repressive and reactionary and vicious and ugly, it's because people are repressive and reactionary and vicious and ugly. To the extent that it's inspiring and uplifting and noble and beautiful, it's so because people are inspiring and noble and etc. And I'm very dubious of the idea that religion can (let alone should) be cured; it seems to be an outgrowth of the way people are wired, and anything sufficient to cure us entirely might very well cure us of being human as well.

  4. Well... Yeah, it's entirely likely that we'd still have people acting in repressive, reactionary, vicious and ugly ways in a world without religion. I think where we differ is I view the state of being human itself as an overwhelming negative. And insofar as religion is just an expression of humanity, well, I think it expresses us pretty faithfully (Ha.) But the reason I don't waste too much time thinking on Christianity itself is because I absolutely agree with you: People are prone to stupidity, and on occasion, also kindness and nobility and heroism. I don't really care in whose name they're doing those things.

  5. I was just telling a friend of mine today that there are these moments where I'm entirely embarrassed that I fall in the nearly exact same camp as some of these egregiously ridiculous people who say things that cause me shame. I told her it's sort of like going out to dinner with my family, and trying to disassociate myself from some of the family members who are spouting off at the top of their lungs in the restaurant....

  6. On the other hand, if they cause you shame, I tend to think that means that you aren't in the same camp as them... at least, not where it counts. And... well, there's a host of related thoughts that I'd like to explore there - about how everybody trusts their sort of people, but there are important differences in what criteria determines if someone is your sort of people - but that's going to have to wait until my brain is more together, I'm afraid.

  7. Also... purely as a statistical matter, somebody out there somewhere does not have those sort of family members. And whoever they are, I cordially despise them, the lucky so-and-sos.


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