“…everything is dead where they’ve been.” I read this in a novel by a local novelist decades ago and could not help but laugh. And I still find it very funny, even though then and now I consider myself a Christian. That novelist might have been a complete cynic or perhaps like me he could appreciate the fact that, for all of its great contributions to human culture, the Christian faith has sure introduced some nonsense from time to time, some of which is tragic and some of which is just amusing. And this brings to mind the comedian Bill Maher who regular jabs Christians for their “imaginary friend” and points out ludicrous things about contemporary Christianity. Though he is an avowed atheist, I give him an hearty “amen” as he points out absurd dimensions of the Christian faith that Christians are not capable of, or not willing to, see.
BUT, back then and even now, I don’t find myself having any thoughts about violent responses to those who would ridicule my faith. Yes, decades ago I would have been less likely to find amusement in those who would offer ridicule but now in hind sight I realize that the problem even then was that I took my faith too seriously because I took my self too seriously. To be more precise, back in my youth the “god” that I worshipped was only a projection of my own ego and thus when that “god” was criticized or ridiculed, I took it personally and reacted defensively. But now I see that God is the Wholly Other, not just a “being among other beings but the Ground of Being” (Richard Rohr) and He is not so insecure that he needs us to defend Him. Those who attempt to defend him, especially to the point of violence, are merely demonstrating personal insecurity and alienation and have projected their soul “out there” and called it “god.” There is a sense in which that leaves them without a soul and people without a soul can do heinous things without any capacity to self-reflect. “They call it Reason, using light celestial, just to outdo the beasts in being bestial.” (Shakespeare)