Saturday, April 30, 2011

Perspectives (II)

The Burning Scarecrow

There’s something that bothers me. It doesn’t bother me terribly, but I find it a little frustrating. There’s this man, made completely out of straw, who I’m constantly running into. The poor guy is always being set on fire by people I talk to. It’s embarrassing, really. I don’t know why people feel so comfortable to set straw men ablaze right in front of me, but it seems to happen often.

Let me explain a little so you can understand what I mean. The other day I was out with some co-workers. I had a disagreement about something with one of the guys, and his response was as follows: ‘maybe we should all believe in magical beings in the sky.’ That charge was meant to cut off my legs and invalidate whatever meaningless topic we were discussing. He set a straw man ablaze.

In situations like this it’s very difficult to know how to respond. Usually I just throw one hand up to my forehead in a visible display of disbelief. I cannot believe how arrogant and mindless these people are. People have been dismissing Theists for years in this manner. Why? Hasn’t there been enough death in the name of irreligion that they need to bring the poor scarecrow before the flames again?

To end these types of awkward encounters, let me state two things clearly. First of all, belief in a personal power who created the universe is not the same as belief in a fairy, unicorn or magic. Belief that something suddenly appears out of nothing is actually magic. This is possibly the most tragic thing, is to have someone burning a straw man in front of me, and the whole time I know the straw man is their father. Secondly, having not given my reasons for belief in God to you personally, it’s a little arrogant and presumptuous to assume I only believe because that’s what I’ve been taught. You’d have to look me in the eyes to know that, though, which is a little difficult with your nose up in the air.

It’s time for this senseless slaughter of scarecrows to end. It’s time for real, open dialogue. I don’t personally care if you believe in God or not. In order for us to have meaningful discussion, though, you need to stop dressing up arguments, putting my face on them and then setting them ablaze. It really makes it uncomfortably hot for everyone. Straw really burns well.

No comments: