Browsing blogs this week, I came across two interestingly contrasting posts: both responding to religious people doing weird things, but in very different ways.
planning post-Rapture parties later today to celebrate still being here.
Two well publicised examples of weird things being done by religious people ... note, by the way, that I am carefully not saying they are (necessarily) weird people - just people doing weird things. Inevitably, blogs worldwide (not to mention Facebook and Twitter) took up the subjects, in their many and varied ways. Two blogs I follow (you can see both in my sidebar) made me think, by taking radically different approaches to this weirdness.
One blog, by the English Bishop of Buckingham, went for righteous indignation: how dare these Hasidic editors oppress women in this way. The title of the post, Airbrushing Out Women, indicates his take on the subject. My reading of his post is that he is taking a small group doing something weird (and wrong), then loading a whole pile of other sins onto them, like a Levitical scape-goat, which he can then blast away at, to a chorus of approval from his like-minded choir. Standard fare for the religious right (to generalise unfairly), but a little disappointing in a highly intelligent writer who I see as generally on the liberal wing of 'moderate'.
Another blog, by US author Rachel Held Evans, took a rather more thoughtful (and humble) approach to the Rapture story. Yes, Rampling and his followers are doing something weird, yet another demonstration of the daftness of religion. But, for Held Evans, that's a reason to look at ourselves. Not to bask in how wonderful and right-on we are, at least in comparison, but to ask ourselves what strange things we do; how our behaviour is sometimes similarly weird. Also, if we are less weird than some other people, might that reflect on a lack of commitment to our professed faith?
It's easy to mock and attack others for the strange things they do, but are we really always so rational in our behaviour? It's part of human nature to have odd beliefs that we don't question, and to do weird things sometimes - religious, agnostic, atheist, whatever. Mocking and attacking people, for example. Is that really such a wonderful way to behave?