Wednesday, September 20, 2006

On Religion

Quaker Agitator: The final post.

A few days ago, Quaker Dave considered giving up blogging because:
the Left wing of the "blogosphere," the folks who call themselves tolerant and open-minded and "progressive" - some of them - are amongst the most abusive, intolerant folks I have ever dealt with. Patronizing, sneering, dismissive, smirking, condescending, mean-spirited, insulting. I'm tired of it.And when does this happen? Whenever I mention God or my faith.
Ohhhh, he's so right. Now, I haven't caught that much flak in the blogosphere, but that's because I purposely don't write much about religion. I know the eyerolls I get from some of my more secular friends.

Real life is another story. I have a dear friend who often laments that it's too bad that I've been brainwashed. I'm continually surprised by the people who smirk or give me a gentle, sympathetic look when they find out I'm Christian. And to be a "practicing" Christian in the academy? I get the feeling that some people are thinking I should know better!! I think the assumption, in my case, is that because my parents (and especially my mom) are devout and brought us up in the church, I've never taken the time to question anything, to reason and think analytically, to consider how and why and where.

But my faith is not inherited. And the one thing I will say is that my life has been too extraordinarily blessed, that I have survived too many situations, that I have triumphed way too many times for me to think in terms of luck and coincidence. Not to get too Baptist on y'all, but when I think about what He's brought me from and through...

Don't get me wrong--I poke as much fun at Christian fanatics as anyone. And I think I'm pretty vocal about how I feel about the hijacking of Christianity by conservative Republicans and the "Jesus or Hell" crew. But just as Christianity doesn't equal Republican (or mentally ill or vapid or whatever), progressive doesn't equal secularist.

For people who call ourselves progressives, I think we need a closer examination of our own politics of exclusion.

4 comments:

Gwyneth Bolton said...

Elle,

This is sad but true. Many folk in academia fail to show the tolerance they tout in other situations to folk who a strong in their faith. The reasons for the Left's distrust of religion and religious folks has a lot to do with the harm that got done and is still being done in the name of religion. It's sad and I don't have a clue how that can be rectified. I hope the Quaker Agitator doesn't throw in the towel. Now I'm not saying I'm the model academic Christian, but I do believe. I know that I made it as far as I have by the Grace of God. So keep the faith...

Gwyneth

Elle said...

Gwyneth,

Girl, I am soooo far from perfect that some Christians are probably cringing that I include myself in their ranks!

Still, sins, flaws and all, I believe, too.

quakerdave said...

Thanks for your response to my post.

I'm sticking around, though!

Elle said...

I saw! I'm glad ;-)

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...