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Oh this is a hot take that just popped into my mind: by treating "religion" as something that should be kept private, we allow "religion" to be defined by people who refuse to keep it private. The "I'm going to make my religion your problem" crowd. You know the type.

That's not to say that you HAVE to talk about your religion if you don't want to. You are entitled to privacy! And you have the right to choose how much you disclose about your religion, and to whom, and in what context.

But don't let people tell you that you can't/shouldn't have a public side to your religion, if you want one.

I'm trying to find a way to word this. Here in the US, we actually have a really fucked-up relationship with public/private religious practices and expectations. A lot of people think that ALL religious stuff should be ABSOLUTELY public, which is how you get the appropriation of closed practices (looking at you, "witches" who "smudge") and complete randos asking you about your underwear when they find out that you're Mormon (you would not believe the questions people feel comfortable asking me).

If someone tries to maintain a boundary between public and private religion, they must be a gatekeeper with something to hide or maybe they're just a snob who doesn't want to share. (They don't have to share!!!!)

On the other hand, the maintenance of religious privacy CAN and DOES lead to the concealment of various forms of misconduct, which is unacceptable. People are keeping things "private" which should absolutely be exposed to sunlight.

Some things should be public. Some things should be private. I can't tell everyone how they should navigate this, but SO OFTEN I find myself going "were you raised in a barn???" when I see people with a fucked-up sense of public/private religious boundaries

@alpine_thistle that makes me think that talking about religion is a lot like talking about either sexuality, or sex in general. Although I can't decide which one is more appropriate comparison, and I feel like there's a some difference.

Either way, there's a component of different people having different comfort levels when talking about it, even when they agree that the topic itself is not negative or shameful in itself.

@annathecrow yeah, that's a good comparison! Like, me just having a rainbow flag or talking about having a wife is not oversharing, and neither is having a saint statue in my yard or talking about a religious practice/holiday.

But I don't talk to everyone about my personal history with family homophobia, the difficult aspects of my religious background, my journey to believing in God, or private sexual preferences. There's like multiple layers of public/private information going on here

@alpine_thistle yeah, but also, people have different levels. Like I would feel uncomfortable if a group of people around me discussed, say, their intense religious experiences. Because that's just something I'm not comfortable with.

@annathecrow yeah, and as a religious person, I would say that it's not polite (and also possibly not respectful to God) to talk super openly/to an unconsenting audience about your spiritual experiences.

@annathecrow @alpine_thistle in the US one of the wildest cultural divides I have personally observed two sides of is people's idea of whether sex/religion is publicly appropriate because of *just* how symmetrically mirrored people's opinions are

@annathecrow @alpine_thistle "haha weird but it's good people can express themselves" vs. "it's bad for all of us that they shove this stuff in front of uninvolved people--and think of the children": attitudes toward fursuits with bondage gear or, like, Baptists with signs threatening hellfire.

@alpine_thistle honestly i love hearing about what makes religion special to the people who practice it! it's refreshing and has really given me an appreciation for what that kind of belief can do for people

@lm yes! And hearing other people's perspectives always gives me new perspectives on my own religion

@alpine_thistle You probably have a point. But I also don't see how by making religion more public you avoid those folk. Assholes will find a way to asshole, I'm sure.

@jens I don't think you can avoid them, at least not altogether. But by trying to counter them or openly resist them, you at least add another dimension to the discourse instead of letting them have everything.

@alpine_thistle Yeah... probably. I have Thoughts on that, and posted some a few days ago. I made it about veganism (mostly), but the trigger was something else entirely.

TL;DR, it's difficult to wrest a label away from assholes. But of course being quiet won't help.

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