I’ll tell you a secret – besides writing and researching about religion, my other hobby is painting. As can be expected, my paintings play with religious symbols and sometimes appear (to the uninitiated) as very sacrilegious. I don’t mean to antagonize, only – much like this site – draw attention to complicated issues that most people blithely ignore under the armor of ‘tolerance’.
People assume if I paint weird pictures of Jesus or Buddha that I hate religion. Actually, all it means is that I don’t believe in a God who gets angry easily and punishes the wayward. At a recent exhibition – the religious content seemed to grab the most attention, even though only about a third of my paintings are religiously inclined at all. Someone asked me “Aren’t you afraid that Christians will attack you?” I answered “Yes.” But, if the violent horde threatens you for exposing their neurosis, is the moral choice to keep silent? Never. Is it better to be careful and nice and polite, around religious people who you have no hope of converting, who you will only maybe bring to the point of sympathy, or be honest and loud and outspoken, and attract into one movement the like-minded?
View the rest of my paintings here: