My cup of irony runneth over

Conservative Christians in Australia apparently don’t like it when church services mix religion with science fiction and fantasy (emphases mine):

A CHURCH service where the angels and saints make way for wizards and warlocks has been damned by conservative Christians.

Fans dressed as Wookies and vampires will be among the throng to hear passages from those bibles of fantasy The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter at a “Sci-Fi and Fantasy Friendly Church Service”.

As opposed to the non-fantasy Bible, I suppose.

The Reverend Avril Hannah-Jones is behind Sunday’s service at the Uniting Church in Romsey, north of Melbourne, which is aimed at getting more bums on pews.

The sci-fi enthusiast said the service would explore parallels between fantasy and Christianity, taking inspiration from Dr Who, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Wars. […]

Other church leaders said it was blasphemous and could encourage witchcraft and supernatural ideas.

“I don’t have a problem with people enjoying sci-fi, but church isn’t the place to encourage escapism and fancy dress,” Mentone Baptist minister Murray Campbell said. […]

Uniting Church moderator Isabel Thomas Dobson said Sunday’s service had the full support of the church authorities.

“We’re always looking for ways in which we can connect the community with the truth of the gospel.

We’re talking fantasy, not reality,” she said.

Pot, meet kettle. Sometimes you just come across so much irony, in such magnificent, monumental proportions, that all you can do is stare.

Theologian Rod Benson, who supports the SF/fantasy service, does make a perfectly valid point:

Mr Benson said familiar stories, such as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Buffy, and Dr Who involved people wrestling with moral choices.

“(They) show the triumph of human virtue and the good over all kinds of moral and spiritual challenges,” he said.

Precisely. Stories, invented by humans and shared among humans, are all we need to express our hopes, confront our fears, examine our values, and explore our moral struggles. And they have the advantage of honestly admitting to being nothing more than the product of the human imagination. (“Nothing”? But what an awesome, splendid, and profoundly powerful thing it is.)

We create our morals, as well as the stories that communicate them. No need to pretend otherwise. No gods required.

The sooner we all realize that all the holy books are badly written fiction, and that we can decide not to kill each other in their name, the better.

(h/t Pharyngula; image by Eric Deschamps)

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