“Why Do You Even Read Harry Potter If You Don’t Even Believe In Him?”

Sounds kind of ridiculous, right? Is believing that Harry Potter is a real person or that any of the events that occur inside the series are real a prerequisite for reading or enjoying the book?

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Christianity is famous for its all-or-nothing kind of mentality. I’ve written posts about the need to “Jesus” a little bit harder, and how that mentality of never really doing it hard enough or never being Christian enough can really eat away at you after a while.

And that all-or-nothing verve can be a great attitude when it comes to sports or getting tickets for The Force Awakens, but when it comes into the realm of beliefs, it can be a bit tricky. In the world that we live in, if you do not adapt, you will die, and ideas are no different. Ideological flexibility allows us to get along with our neighbors, combat cognitive dissonance, and just know what we don’t know in general.

Which is what confuses me about many people who believe in the Bible. One, I’m not even sure what “believe in the Bible” really means. There is an entire set of assumptions in that statement, and given the incredible amount of diversity in Christian belief, I’m never sure which one applies. And two, I’m never sure about what assumptions are tied to the fact that I don’t believe it’s true. Let me give you scenario.

Why do you even read Harry Potter if you don’t believe in him?

Sounds kind of ridiculous, right? Is believing that Harry Potter is a real person or that any of the events that occur inside the series are real a prerequisite for reading or enjoying the book? I sure hope not. Even if I don’t think Harry rose from the dead to save us all or rode a dragon out of Gringotts, I think I can still say I love that guy.

The point is that an atheist is a person who doesn’t think that God is real, but when Jesus says “Love your neighbor”, they’re not muttering under their breath, “*cough* BULLSHIT *cough*”. Who doesn’t believe that you should love your neighbor? Anyone who doesn’t probably isn’t someone I want to hang out with, either.

Christians are the only people that set up this false distinction between themselves and the non-religious – that if someone is an atheist, there is no meaning or value for them in any religious book, song, movie, or church service ever again – and pushing  this narrative along further serves to tear us apart more than it brings us together.

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