According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Terrorism Is Wrong; So Is Ridiculing People’s Faiths


Roger Olson
January 17, 2015

I agree with Pope Francis. Terrorism is bad, wrong, evil, condemnable. But viciously ridiculing people’s sincerely held religious beliefs and convictions and life forms is also bad and, while violence is not a justified response to it, some kind of reaction is predictable.

Satire is one thing; ridicule is something else. But the line between them is thin. But here’s one line between that people might consider respecting: It’s okay to satirize beliefs and practices that are abhorrent to common humanity (such as terrorism, abuse, “holy war,” etc.) and not okay to ridicule innocent people who do not engage in such–even if their beliefs are odd in comparison to “mainstream” beliefs. It’s also not okay to hold up for ridicule people’s holy relics, shrines, symbols, etc.

Years ago I read this maxim: “Do not blaspheme the sacrament you do not understand.” Amen.

Having said that, I will add that I think it demonstrates a certain amount of insecurity about one’s own religion to get very worked up about unbelievers’ ridiculing of it. If the ridicule could lead to persecution and oppression, that’s one thing. That needs to be pointed out and strongly opposed. However, if the ridicule (which I never endorse or defend) is aimed at a powerful, strong religion that tends to enforce its particular beliefs and practices on others, well, the adherents of that religion ought to consider whether they brought the ridicule on themselves.

I grew up in a religious form of life that was widely ridiculed by others–so much so that anyone who would publicly identify with it could count on being considered a “holy roller,” religious fanatic, probably ignorant, stupid and maybe crazy. I suffered much religious ridicule and even persecution for reading my Bible during “study hall” and for handing out “The Four Spiritual Laws” (a tract) to classmates. It made me very sensitive to ridicule and persecution of others. Today, when Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my door I always speak kindly to them, congratulate them for taking time to share their faith with others and say to them “We ought to be doing more of that.” And I apologize for any of my neighbors who might slam the door in their faces.

None of that means I don’t criticize Jehovah’s Witnesses’ beliefs; I do. But it means no matter how much I may disagree, I must treat them respectfully as persons.

Ridicule has no place in religious discourse except in the rare instances where a religion is simply invented for profit and/or engages in abuse (sexual, physical or spiritual). But in those cases it is the leaders, not the poor, benighted followers, who ought to be ridiculed. But, in my opinion, it is never appropriate to ridicule an entire religious tradition and when it happens a strong reaction is predictable even if violence is never justified.