I do not mean to insult or ridicule. I do mean to lampoon. I lampoon fantasy-based religion. The art of lampoon is to wake people up. When we lose our courage to lampoon, we will have handed over our freedom. Three points:
1) Fantasy-based religion is not Christianity as a whole.
2) Fantasy-based religion is not Islam (or any other religion) as a whole.
3) "Fantasy-based" is not limited to religion (but religion is my focus).
Fantasy exists within all religions. As I said in a previous post, fantasy-based religion is about itself. It is a belief about itself (by appeal to some sort of special revelation) that it is true and correct. In my last post I lampooned the Creation Museum. Check out Street Prophets for a review of this museum from various sources.
A couple of years ago, a Danish newspaper lampooned fantasy-based religion as expressed in Islam. Again, Islam is not fantasy-based. But it can become so, just like Christianity.
I like this cartoon. You can see more here.
Fantasy-based religion takes many forms. Remember the Heaven's Gate crowd in the 90's? They killed themselves in a belief that they would fly off to heaven trailing Halley's Comet. My daughter, a student at the University of Montana, took a couple of courses from sociology professor, Rob Balch, there. His work is on religious cults. He infiltrated Heaven's Gate as well as a number of others to study and understand them. These various cults are extreme examples of fantasy-based religion. All people interested in religion should read Eric Hoffer's, The True Believer.
The fantasy-based movement in Christianity, especially in the United States, is growing. It is not limited to any one denomination of Christianity. There are adherents in all denominations at various degrees of reality denial. Ultimately, fantasy-based religion is the denial of reality.
In contrast to fantasy-based religion, I am an adherent of reality-based religion. Reality-based religion does not deny what we know through the sciences and our intellect about the material universe. Reality-based religion does not limit itself to what we know, but it does not dismiss or deny what we know. Reality-based religion is open-ended. It welcomes discovery. It embraces scholarship. It seeks to discover what is. At the same time, it seeks to re-discover our traditions, particularly our religious traditions. It does not assume, for instance, that our forebears were stupid or unenlightened. It seeks to understand them in their time, and through that, to acknowledge what was timeless about their message.
Like love, according to the Apostle Paul, reality-based religion never ends. Why? Because it is curious.
I have observed that fantasy-based religion has the following characteristics:
1) It is humorless. [It can't take a joke (ie. the reaction to the Danish cartoons)].
2) It is apocalyptic.
3) Its God is violent.
I am sure there are more. I am not talking about conservative vs. liberal. I am talking about fantasy vs. reality. Nor am I talking about the freedom to believe in whatever you want to believe. There is no law against being stupid. This is not about freedom of religion.
This is about our future. More on that to come.