Generally speaking, there seem to be two secular perspectives on religion. The one is characterised by sentimental appreciation. This blog also focuses on sentimentality, but in a different sense. I mean here the type of sentimentality that would make people judge a ritual that they witness as being “moving”. They claim that it does something to them and makes them say things like “oh if only I could believe like that”. There seems to be some envy involved in the process of appreciation. A slight yearning one might call it. Usually the people that are moved thus by religion also tend to apologize on it’s behalf or in fact feel that they should. Karen Armstrong is perhaps the most popular representative of this view.
Alternatively then you have the hardcore atheists. Not a good word do they utter for this disgrace to humanity called religion. They claim it is irrational, suppressive and all things bad. It must be fought and eradicated. They feel nothing but disgust when they witness religious ritual and in stead of envy might experience pity at best but more likely outright hatred. Nothing close to the words of praise to come from these people, only sharp and direct attacks aimed at any religion in particular and in fact aimed at religion in general. The most popular representative of this view is probably Richard Dawkins.
I can’t deny that both extreme types of sentiment sometimes get the better of me. Yet as an alternative to both, I’d propose a third option: that of humor rather than that of appreciation or attack. Now both an Armstrong and a Dawkins might use humor in the presentation of their respective opinions. But that is usually not the type of humor I am talking about. When I see an image by Danny Hahlbohm, my first reaction is not one of appreciation or condemnation but one of amusement. Yes in fact one of hilarity. This reaction however, seems not to be too common. My endeavors are also meant then as a cry in the dark, to see if there are more people out there that share this idea about religious expressions.
Finally then, a word on truth. It is easy to think that when a religious explanation of reality is being presented as something comical, it therefore cannot be believed to be true by the one laughing. This is not necessarily the case. If God indeed moves in mysterious ways, it is likely that those ways are also funny. To ask the question if you believe the things that make you laugh to be true is to miss the point. I don’t know if these things are true or not, but what is more, I don’t really care. These things truly make me laugh and that’s just about good enough for me.