Archive for July, 2009

Revelate this

Posted in Baseless Musing on July 8, 2009 by Krazmaz

So I’m watching this show from Channel 4 called ‘Revelations’. It’s about Religion, as you may well imagine, and being of a religious bent (at least from an academic standpoint – myself being an atheist but one who studies religions) I found the prospect interesting. The concept remains interesting, having been watching for a while I am finding the execution rather lacking.

These are going to be some fairly personal little things that I’ve come up with while watching and some of them are going to be pretty petty, but that’s me, son.

First things first and you can’t get much more first than the narrator. He sounds like he’s falling asleep. And when he doesn’t sound like that he sounds either filled with childlike wonder about things like ‘sentences’ and ‘talking over video footage’ or as if he takes great, soporific pleasure in patronizing the hell out of us, the viewer. Since this is the first show of the series I suppose we’ll have to settle in and get used to it; this aural chloroform.

On the subject of this being the first show I will also mention that this first show is on the Alpha Course. Some may have heard of this – I know I have – but for those who haven’t it’s basically a very friendly, warm, lovey-dovey course designed to gentle introduce people to the Christian faith. It’s rather tepid, all told, and the footage we’re shown of the little tea-and-biscuits meetings and little discussion groups seems to confirm this. The speeches we hear snippets of confirm it. I was vaguely reminded of a Beyond The Fringe sketch about a priest attempting to modernise his church, but I digress.

The show itself attempts (in its own quiet, sleepy way) to try and make the Alpha Course to be rather more ominous than it probably is. It’s kinda of subtle and could just be me but I swear it’s attempting to set the course up as some odd cult with its booklets that say non-Christians won’t be going to heaven and so on. Then again, with the Alpha Course being evangelical this kind of thing is to be expected. Also to be expected, would be rather eyebrow-raising speeches.

These, of which we hear a few (they made my eyebrows raise at least as they always suggest a viewpoint influenced as much by personal feelings as by actual, proper theology) were seemingly all delivered by Americans. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Americans, but there is a very particular kind of American accent that is really not lent well to talking about Jesus. It could just be me, really, but it always puts me on edge. And when they start talking about how all cool, fun things that are quick are probably in some way affiliated with the Devil always makes me feel they’re doing God a disservice; he can make cool stuff, too, ya know! I mean, damnit, he made everything, surely? Silly people.

The show’s apparent amazment that praying silently for a few minutes in a room full of strangers made a couple of the agnostics they were following uncomfortable instead of instantly calm and serene was very amusing. Were you expecting God to suddenly inject himself into their minds and souls and bring them instant peace? They’re human beings in a room full of strangers trying something new and, let’s face it, rather spiritually hefty; cut them some slack.

However, the slack cutting must stop instantly when we hear how quite frankly Religiously ignorant some of these agnostics are. It’s probably just me being unfair on people who don’t study religion (which is rather a lot of people…) but seriously, unbridled hostility towards religion (and in this case, oddly, specifically Jesus) really is rather silly. Religion, like most anything, is not an inherently bad thing. You get bad people, and that’s the problem. Some things lend themselves more easily to abuse and you could argue that religion is one of them or whatever, but that’s still not religion’s fault.

I’m beginning to lose the thread now. What am I saying? Bah, the above paragraph sucks.

But yeah, these damn people.
“Do all you Christians have to take the Bible literally? It sounds silly to me.”
I paraphrase, but still, talk about painting with a wide-brush.

Also, you can’t just bring up some religious things without context or explanation then lay them on people or they look odd and ridiculous. The Toronto Blessing and inviting the holy spirit into oneself being brought in is unhelpful and smacks a little to me like “hah, look at these simps” but again, probably just me.

Personally, I find evangelicalism stupid and in some severe cases highly Un-Christian but then what do I know? I may have studied lightly but I’m nowhere near competent and I’m not a Christian,  so hell. Either way, I might give the Alpha Course a go now, if just for kicks…

Either way, I’m probably wrong.