This was on Facebook. I shared it to my page yesterday. I initially posted above, “Hey: this is what I think.” Because I utterly agree with this sentiment.
Then I thought to myself, “Oh no! somebody might think I made that up! Better make sure I don’t take credit for someone else’s brilliance.” I am witty after all.
So I commented below it: “i think what i mean is I agree with this. I didn’t think this first. Somebody else did. And then put it on wrinkly paper in photoshop. I just shared it from Kelli Travis‘s wall.”
So then somebody I know peripherally from bible quizzing in my youth, and who married someone I grew up around, posted about being offended on “many” levels: that I would both share and justify.
Not to be a boob, but that only makes up two levels, and those two levels are more personal than ideological. I’m kind of okay with people finding me to be obnoxious: it’s a hazard of being a writer who also has the powers of critical thinking.
And I was really looking forward to a rant! I want to know WHY this rubbed that person so wrong! I want to know on which specific (and how many) levels the person is offended. Because it seems to me that, while maybe the analog is a little bit PG-13, this is a sentiment that could be shared by anybody! Agreed upon by folks who do and who do not profess to be religious. This is a religiously non-partisan sentiment.
I was raised up in a Christian home. While I presently consider myself to be religiously disaffiliated, I’m reasonably certain that the particular faction of Christianity to which I was exposed as a youth would agree that people who practice a different religion (even as similar a different religion as Catholicism) are totally allowed to (with certain limitations), and even to be proud of it, but that they should definitely not try to convert its children: its lambs.
Late in high school and more in college, I was exposed to Judaism, and I love the heck out of that very formal, ritualistic (even in its less orthodox forms) religion. I went to a few services in synagogues, and I love listening to Hebrew. I think about converting often. I reckon I will once I get a little older and tamer than I’ve already become. But when I suggested to my family that I may convert, my father explained that there are Zionist Jews who believe that Jesus was the savior, and if I’m going to convert, I should be a Zionist Jew. My dad didn’t want any of that stinky Hebrew penis in my mouth.
I want to point out for the record that a person can’t just become a Jew. It’s not a costume. It’s my perception that a Gentile can practice Judaism, but couldn’t call himself a Jew. Jewishness is different from Judaism.
I’ve recently learned a little bit about new age spirituality and paganism. I think that both of those religions are as completely legitimate as any other. But new age and pagan are both dirty words to a lot of people, religiousness or lack thereof notwithstanding.
When I was in elementary school, my favorite teacher of all time was accused of practicing Wicca (which is a faction of paganism) because she dressed like a witch at Halloween, and exhibited some open-mindedness. Her job was in jeopardy for a time, and I can’t think of a more tangible example of folks who didn’t want an unfamiliar religion shoved down their kids’ throats! That the fact of her Halloween costume was a basis for diagnosing her was a Wiccan shows the depth and breadth of folks’ ignorance and fear about that ancient set of rituals and faiths.
My mom and dad take my daughter to church every chance they get. And I’d be lying if I said that it is 100% completely a-okay with me; if I posited that when my sweet girl tells me things like God and Jesus are two different things but the same thing and she Wants to Understand, I am filled with delight and happiness. I am not.
But I recognize that my parents’ feelings on the topic are fraught with matters of mortality, and I don’t mind giving them the peace they get by taking their granddaughter to church, and I don’t mind admitting that whenever she starts spouting Christian rhetoric, I am sure to tell her that it’s totally all right to believe what she believes, but that there are tons of other options and ideas. And whenever she asks me a question that my parents would answer “because of God,” I say, for example, “Well grandma and grandpa think that God made everything, but some people say there was a massive explosion, and the truth of the matter is that nobody really knows where the world came from.”
So as I grapple with the thesis of this post, I think my point is that it’s right to be offended by someone suggesting that all religious people are committing kiddie rape. But that’s not what’s going on here, and I think that that reading of the penis analog is, well, analogous to people believing that Jesus was actually Zombified on the third day after his crucifixion and that it’s more than a morality tale meant to control the behaviors and views of folks who subscribe to the notion that the Bible is nonfiction.
Maybe I shouldn’t be confused.