So, I started reading this a while ago, and then picked it up not long after finishing Ruth Roberts book… and do you know what, they ask some remarkably similar questions, but come to rather different conclusions…
Much of this book is funny, some of it misses the point, and some of it makes me uncomfortable … but one thing you can’t accuse Marcus Bridgstocke of is of picking on any particular religion (or non-religion). Though he’s – at the moment – decided on secular humanism … non of the main faithss, and atheism itself, escape his wit and humour (nor does his middle-class-ness).
As I’ve been looking at ways to engage graciously with other Christians (or anyone to be honest – there’s lots of things we can disagree over) … this bit particularly struck me (although there’s often a deeper theological reason for disagreements, but we just don’t seem to be good at expressing it):
Religious people will fight over almost anything. In a loving and forgiving way, of course. Take two people born in the same community, educated in the same school: they go to the same places, drink in the same pubs, they attend the same church, they read the same Holy Book. But crucially, one of those books is printed in Arial font, the other in Times New Roman, and that’s it. There’s a schism. A fight over the font, which I’m certain must be blasphemous. There then follows a thousand years of bloodshed. ‘Don’t talk to them, they’re Times New Roman Catholics’. This is war. They all say ‘Oh, no, ours is a peaceful faith built on charity and forgiveness,’ and they mean it too. Until they meet almost anyone who doesn’t agree with them and then it’s fighty, smashy, kicky, punchy all the way. ‘Did you come in the side door of the church and sit near the altar? Die, heretic.’
Makes me think back to what we were talking about at Spring Harvest. Going back to ‘the source‘, and focusing on what’s important, rather than the many small things that we argue about!