Some years ago I had the bright idea of starting a zine devoted to the exploration of religious faith. The idea germinated over some years and preceded the advent of superfast gratification that is the blogging world.
I interviewed a couple of revivalist ministers with a set of questions that sought to get to the heart of what big T truth might consist of. My thinking was driven by the randomness of faith. It seemed then (and still does) that people chose religious belief on rather spurious grounds: because that was what their friends and/or family believed; because they were the notions inculcated by school or community; because they happened upon - or were accosted by - the disciples of one denomination before that of another. Sure that's also how many choose their politics and that is similarly unwise but the prospect of living in a country governed by dickheads is not as daunting as placing your immortal soul in jeopardy over a rash decision so it is something of a puzzlement as to why we are so cavalier about such a big issue.
Regardless, my zine would propel acolytes away from such unworthy foolhardiness and give them an objective measure with which to make a more considered decision as to where they would spend their Afterlife. And how they might conduct themselves in this one.
To this end, I placed an ad in the Sunday classifieds to gauge interest in contributing to the project. The response was overwhelming.
Callers confused a clear message with obscene propositions. Somehow. Or they got the drift of what I was intending but naysayed it on various grounds. It is the naysaying I seek to canvass here:
- You shouldn't criticise other people's beliefs
- this would work fine if other people didn't hold beliefs that spill over into tangible effects on we non-believers and followers of other faiths; didn't impact on the law and the social strata
- All religions are the same
- some profess to be for peace and brotherhood but do nothing but stir unrest, others quietly achieve betterment and enlightenment
- Belief is personal
- Yes, but it is also shared, and religious experiences are tempered by enculturation
- There's no right or wrong when it comes to religion
- Sorry, I have a problem with women being treated as second class citizens. And much of this treatment has been codified in religious belief.
- Also: some faiths can co-exist despite having differences but others are mutually exclusive. That being the case, some must be right and others wrong. Or at least some must be more right than others