Friday, 27 July 2012

A Response to 'How to suck at your religion'

The Oatmeal is a very clever and funny, internet based comment blog (is that a good description?) which deals with a huge variety of the world's issues, specifically those popularly discussed online, using the medium of the comic.  The blog also has strong (and I'd suggest mainstream) views on religion, specifically Chirstianity.  A recent comic was titled 'How to suck at your religion' which implies a list of objections to religion held in Western culture.

Do have a look, it's quite funny and a good read.  The list has some reasonable objections but, in my opinion and from a Chrisrian perspective, they are based on misunderstandings.

  • From the outside, religion can seem judgemental, deciding that only a certain type of person is right etc.  In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus calls those who judge others hypocrites and warns that if you judge someone, you will be judged just as harshly.  Maybe Christians don't follow this teaching but that says more about Christians than Christ.
  • It often seems that in the name of religion, some people will hinder the advancement of science, technology and medicine but you only need to look at the many Christian scientists to see that that is not the case.  As a Christian, science does a very good job of telling me how but I look to God to find out why.
  • It is often that you believe something because that is what your parents taught you but it is often that that is the thing you flee from the most.  I personally feel very lucky to have been taught about Christianity as a child in retrospect after having looked into it for myself and made my own decision.  Either way, it is not right to teach something to your children in blind faith; I hope that when I bring up my children I will explain what I teach them through experiences in the world and mainly through what the Bible teaches.  I totally agree that informed discussion is the best method.
  • The sexuality question is rearing its ugly head today more than in the recent past but humanity's obsession with sex isn't a new thing.  In fact, God didn't make sex so amazing for nothing; it's because He wants us to enjoy it.  He has set boundaries for it because they are the best environment for us to enjoy it in; sexual ethics.  If you believe certain sexual behaviours (incest, rape for example) are wrong then you must agree sexual ethics exist.  Where do you get your idea of them from?
  • Christians usually share their faith through a desire to tell others of what they have and an urgency to have them know the truth about reality.  In most cases, validation has nothing to do with it.
  • Christianity is pretty crazy but there is so much evidence, both physical and theoretical (the historical validity of the New Testament, for example), that it must at least be considered?  As far as I know, the more crazy religions (Scientology, for example, in The Oatmeal's example) have little evidence for their sources.  After all, who would make up such a crazy story?!
  • Voting is done on the priorities of the voter, surely?  Religion may be high up on certain voters' priorities list but anyone would be foolish to ignore other important factors in an election.
  • There's not much to say about the Islamic cartoons situation that occurred in Denmark in 2005.  Terrorism never has a place in society.
  • Many believers have died for their religion, often under persecution and executed for not recanting their belief.  This surely shows how important the message they believe in was to them...something to be looked into?
  • Again, killing has no place in society.  It has been done in the name of religion in the past but that also was wrong.  The actions of the past do not change truth.
Informed discussion is definitely the best way to talk about this kind of thing but unfortunately there are those on both 'sides' that are too stubborn to listen to the other.  I hope The Oatmeal producers aren't like these people and they have taken the time to truly look into what billions of people throughout history have based their lives on...