Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's hard to be rude to Christianity

I've often been involved in conversations at parties and what not, in which people begin poking fun at some fringe religion, sometimes far fringe like "cults" but other times, somewhat less fringe like Mormon or Scientology. They joke around about how absurd the stories and so on, similar to how people speak about ancient Roman or Greek Mythology. What I usually try to point out in these situations is that the stories of modern "accepted" religions, including the most accepted one, Christianity, are no less far-fetched and fantastic.

Daniel Dennett, in an interview by Jonathan Miller says it much better than I do, of course. Listen below.









Here's a few quotes:

If somebody's a member of a cult, as we say, we have no trouble being rude with them, with laughing at the Raliens, or those people that got interested in the comet, various doomsday prophesiers when the prophesies don't come true, we laugh at those people and the world laughs with us at them. So we have a line where we consider some religious belief to be just too kooky to take seriously, and we are rude with impunity when talking about those.


If Christianity were a small sect in the world, I think it wouldn't receive the respect, but look at all the churches that the Christians have built, look at all the great art, look at all the great music. It's hard to be rude to a religion which has created so much great culture.


The biggest point for me is that, if one is informed and is being intellectually honest, Christianity is in fact just as "kooky" as any other religion across all time. The only thing that makes it seem less "kooky" is that it is so widely accepted and practiced and that most people are only exposed to a "sanitized" version of its traditions, edited to be more G-rated, one more consistent with 21st century morals and norms. If Christianity were a small sect in the world, it would receive no more respect than any cult or mythology in the world.

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