Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Anti-religious prejudice (2)

Thanks for the comments on yesterday’s entry. They are well taken.

Since my blog is not a discussion board (thank goodness!) I’ll be sparing in my response.

First: Yes the Church has much to answer for in her failure to live the mind of Christ. But it is not only the Church. I too will stand before the judgement seat of Christ.

Second: I know that the Church has perpetuated horrors on some good people. She has been evil in the way that she has inflicted wounds, wounds which defy all attempts at healing.

Third: But not all who have been wounded by the Church have been mortally wounded. There are hurts which can be forgiven and forgotten. (I’ve had to do this with parents, family members and friends, and with the fundamentalist Church of my youth).

Sooner or later I knew that in hanging on to old hurts I was simply self hurting - there were many things which I could simple “let go”.

(I was whining about my fundamentalist past one day when a wise friend said “but that is but one of the rings in the tree of your life”. Point well taken!)

The friends who assailed my last Saturday at lunch were well educated, prosperous and intelligent folks.

Neither had been hurt by the Church. One was an atheist who decided when he was a little boy that religion was nonsense, and had only graced the doors of Churches or Synagogues for funerals, or to hear good music. The other was a non-religious Jew who seeks to live an ethical life in the spirit of Torah.

So I felt that it was rude (to say the least), or perhaps disrespectful when they launched into an attack on religion, but only on the Christian faith.

They employed that old “yellow journalism” tactic of referring to the extreme nonsenses in the Church (the Pope in Africa, Pentecostal preachers) – and thereby concluded that Christianity was all nonsense.

I protested their singling out of Christianity: it seemed to me to be a “cheap shot”, coming as it did from an atheist, and a member of another religion.

At this point, fearing that I would blow a gasket I excused myself and took solace in a cigarette!

When I returned it was to be told that my faith had been chosen for attack since it made such great claims for itself.

Indeed it does. And so do other faiths. It is true that many religious adherents fail to live up to the highest standards of their faith.

But it is also true that some lawyers fail to live up to the call to be agents of justice.

It is true that the “academy”, a place of learning, can also be a place of the vilest professional jealousies, and the abuse of students.

Medicine is an honourable calling, but doctors have been known to assist in cruel experimentation on other humans, (check what happened in Porton Down, England or Tuskegee, U.S.A.)

Psychiatry has brought untold goodness to many people, but it has also been practised in evil ways, to the detriment of mentally ill people.

The list could go on. But my point is simple. “Why”, I ask, “is religion one of the few human institutions against which it is fashionable to be prejudiced?” Should not all human institutions be subject to a common canon of critique.

And why is it that religious leaders can be verbally abused by even their closest friends?

Forgive me if my skin is too thin.

Understand my frustration at illiberal liberals!


  1. Illiberal liberals- oh you are onto something there my friend! So well put.

    It is maddening. None of these arguments makes much sense. I recently was in one where I basically said what you said - although with less clarity (lawyers, doctors, etc) and eloquence. People often fail but I never give up humanity. I can't give up on my community. Jesus leads with his wounds after the resurrection and so does Christianity. And pretty much everything else.

    This is all so well put, albeit upsetting. Thank you for sharing it with us here. I know I hardly ever comment; time is not my friend. That said, I read a lot of your words in the reader and I am always grateful to do so.


  2. Agreed. I guess I just try (the best I can) to remain in relationship with such folks, and explain and educate. You are in a different position than I am, though, and I expect folks challenge you about religion and Christianity more than they might the average lay person.

    Unfortunately, intolerance extends to everyone -- even the supposedly tolerant liberals! If I smoked, I'd probably have been right out there with you. :)