(189) Modrá obloha
Paradox: I found that I got on much better with Christianity when I admitted that I did not like it—and that I preferred the pagan gods altogether. Prior to that admission—even when I was a teenage Marxist—I would express respect for Christianity in general. I wouldn’t just trample on the religion: I would admit its positive aspects, but say I didn’t believe in it—yet I would never say I didn’t like it. There are some people—like Christopher Hitchens—who say they “hate” religion, hate Christianity; somehow, that seems contrived—I don’t hate Christianity, I just don’t like it; and it doesn’t feel right to me.
Yet this admission that I don’t like it seems to have opened the door to a straightforward veneration of Jesus. To change register, I had a teenage crush and though I masturbated often to many different women at the time I would never masturbate and imagine her—it seemed profane to do so; she was too perfect to think about sexually (I did it once and it felt wrong, a desecration); and yet, on reflection, I think I should have masturbated to her a lot—it was this very idealisation that was a problem, it was unreal. Indeed, perhaps I should have sexually fixated on her, not “unreal” women.
In the same way, to retain a formal respect for religions you do not like is somehow the true profanity; perhaps because the respect is not real, it’s just based on their power and historic prestige and mass support. To say you “hate them” is also contrived—I don’t think people really “hate” Christianity; or, at least, the New Atheists didn’t really. It’s the difference between your emotions and your rational evaluation—we’re trained to think it’s the rational position that counts (“I respect your views, but your beliefs are not scientific”)—how you feel about it is irrelevant, almost rude; and yet perhaps it is not unconnected to what you think about it.