While religion and spirituality bloggers may be fewer in number than the gossip, entertainment and here’s-what’s-in-my-refrigerator-this-week types, we can be just as feisty. Case in point: the anti-religion crowd.
I’m not going to name the blogs, but I am amazed at the amount of angst (and even sometimes pure hate) that comes out of certain people when they discuss their dislike for Christianity, organized religion or even people who simply want to believe that something is at work in the Universe. And let’s be certain: some of the anti-religion things I’ve seen on blogs recently are plain-and-simple rage in a written, electronic format.
I realize that religion has slightly more dimensions than, say, the polarizing discussion that is taking place on my neighborhood e-mail list about whether or not dogs should be allowed on an underused athletic field that was home to drug dealers just a couple of years ago. I think people have a natural tendency to take sides, and the passion they generate for an issue is often directly proportional to the amount of zeal they encounter from people who take the opposite position.
Still, the extreme position that I’ve seen some anti-religion bloggers take (and, more to the point, the crazy, border-line dangerous rants that are posted on these blogs as comments) surprises me.
I’m the first to say that talking to people about religion can be difficult, especially when your perspective is even a little different. Take my word for it: nothing is harder than explaining your beliefs to someone without making their beliefs sound wrong, backward, bad or obscene. But why so much seething anger toward people who are content believing in God or Jesus?
Two reasons, I think. First, for everyone out there who decides to take a different path (or, perhaps, to give up on paths altogether), there are at least five others who are ready to condemn them, and when you take that discussion online, where anonymous people can blast away at each other from their keyboards, it can get ugly. So I wonder how much the anti-religion/pro-atheist crowd gets attacked, even before they ever start blogging.
Second, and perhaps most important, is that religion is simply an explosive issue. I would guess that we, as mankind, have fought and killed each other over religion for as long as we’ve had it. But why? Does it play to our worst natural tendencies? Does it give us justification to act like barbarians toward our fellow man?
Or is it that religion or spirituality is at the fundamental core of who we are as beings? After all, look at what Christianity and other faiths have at their ends: Heaven, a place of absolute peace and tranquility, and Hell, a place of indescribable suffering. Clouds and fire – the contrast couldn’t be starker, so much so that it defines just about everything about us.
I say, relax. Take a deep breath. Look around you. No matter who the guy sitting next to you prays to, religion is not what defines us. We are humans, bound together whether we like it or not (and regardless of who or what we believe in), hurling through space on a really big piece of rock.
Let’s take it easy on each other and spread a little compassion.