um… what? this is incredibly gross and problematic and full of hyperbole and assumptions, starting with the implied assumption that a) religious people don’t read any other books aside from their primary religious text and b) they don’t even take the time to properly read and study that. sure, plenty of religious people “barely” read — since I am a Christian and have the most direct experience with Christianity I’ll stick with it for examples — the Bible, but that’s hardly reflective of Christianity as a religion as a whole. my father doesn’t make a big fuss about it, but he reads his Bible every night before bed. (I know this because I’ve been camping with him and sometimes I’m a little tetchy because ARGH DAD TURN OUT THE LIGHT but also I really respect that.) he has also studied it through many times through many different lenses, both during the times when he was in school (he has a Masters degree in religious studies with a concentration on missions, and over the last several years was taking online college courses to beef up said degree so he can go on to get a PhD so he was studying a lot of different areas of the Bible, including doing a lengthy essay on the book of Job) and when he was working as a pastor and was preaching a sermon every week, and in between times because like me he is a person who goes out and learns about stuff just on instinct. he has dozens of scholarly books on the Bible and will read different books on differing opinions of how to interpret one single section of the Bible when he’s studying that particular book. his office is also piled with hundreds of books — there’s a shelf that cracks me up because next to each other it has, like, a book of Dali paintings, the Koran, a book on sociology, a biography of Van Morrison, and a book on church building. he has really terrible eyesight and reads very slowly these days, but he still tries to read a lot despite that, and listens to a lot of audiobooks while driving. he loves biographies; most of his are about folk musicians and presidents. (I stole his Woody Guthrie biography. oops.) he doesn’t claim to know everything. even though he has the kind of personality that makes him be a know-it-all my-opinion-is-fact sort sometimes, he does not claim to know everything about the universe or about Christianity. I mean, he’s studied the Bible enough times to know that JESUS SAYS TO QUESTION EVERYTHING. Jesus doesn’t want blind followers, he wants informed belief! the Bible does not encourage acting as though you know everything! some things just aren’t possible for the human mind to comprehend! and that’s okay, and kind of beautiful, that we’re freed from having to UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING.
now, my dad isn’t necessarily the Average Christian — for one thing, like me, he’s a big intellectual artsy nerd. but I wouldn’t say he’s SUPER RARE, either. (I do not read my Bible often enough, but nor do I claim to know everything… okay, except in youth groups; I have had many many terrible youth group experiences in which I knew far more than the twenty-something youth leader and/or had to correct their mistakes and/or was the only member of the class who knew the answers to questions and THIS WAS REALLY AWKWARD, OKAY. IT WAS ACTUALLY NOT VERY MUCH FUN AT ALL.)
also this implies that Christians cannot be scientists. which is, of course, absurd. (Creationism vs. evoluution debate aside; I’m not even going to go near that can of worms on the internet.) anyway if you are a scientist I CERTAINLY HOPE YOU READ MORE THAN “DOZENS” OF BOOKS THAT IS NOT A LOT OF BOOKS.
lastly, if the jab this is meant to be making is “how dare religious people claim their religion is the true one”, well… personally, I don’t see the point in following a religion I do not believe is based on truth. yes, I do believe that there is a God, that this is an absolute truth, that he created the world, that Jesus was the Son of God and lived on this earth and died for our sins. if I didn’t believe these things were true, I would not even bother with Christianity. honestly, something has to be true. everything cannot be true. there has to be something that is the truth. I will respect others’ rights to believe that their religions are the truth, but that means I may also retain my belief that what I believe is factual: because if I did not believe it was, then I would not believe. (and the only people who believe all religions lead to the same place, I think, are people who do not know the various major religions very well. they are compatible in some parts, but to say that they are all the exact same thing in different guises is frankly insulting to everyone.)
I’m not explaining this very well, but in short: this post is simplistic and deliberately incendiary and problematic and also incorrect, and it is not okay with me.
Reblogging for truth and beauty (by which I mean the commentary, not the rubbishy and bigoted statement that inspired it).
That statement is also an insult to my husband, who is a career biologist with a degree from a well established and respected non-religious university, and who regularly carries out scientific experiments and writes up papers and reports on his research which are valued by many people in his field — yet is also a committed Christian who believes in the reliability and integrity of the Bible.
Plus I’ve just spent half the day doing hard scientific research for the novel I’m currently writing, because I am anxious not to get my facts wrong. I most certainly do NOT think I “know it all,” or I wouldn’t be doing that. So this kind of ignorant mud-slinging really grinds my gears.