Author Ann Rice Leaves “Christianity”
This is quite timely, since I had just discussed Christianity with my DGMEDIA class yesterday. A few of my students have come up with innovative Christian-themed concepts for their Game Design theses and much as I usually refuse to discuss my spirituality in class, it couldn’t be helped. I did tell them that my spiritual convictions should not be something that they should follow just because I said so. I wanted them to think for themselves and love within the realms of their beliefs, the way I sometimes question many atheists and Christians alike while marveling at the differences brought about by human nature.
Anyway, our panelist, Jerome Assuncion, calls himself a progressive Catholic. I told him that I am a Christian but I do not wish to belong to a sect. Ann Rice’s decision actually reflect the same line of thinking. I don’t think she actually left Christianity; she has a profound relationship with Jesus Christ. I think what she left is the hypocrisy of it all: the constant hatred of things that people don’t understand (anti-gay, anti-feminist etc.). When you reflect about the life of Christ, you would notice that he was a trailblazer who tried to obliterate the oppressive religious conditions of his time. He sat with the outcasts and the “sinners” without trying to change them. Instead, he inspired them with his wisdom — wisdom that brought about real healing. As a former student, Jeiel Aranal, quoted from Philosophy Bites: “Jesus Christ was a radical secular humanist.”
Those oppressive religious conditions are back with a vengeance and I have no doubt that if Christ were to live during this time, the churches that have declared him God would be the very first ones to cast stones. The world is filled with judgment. But I guess that is the nature of human beings, really. (Why do you think we’re the only species that seem to have hastened the world’s death? We are inherently destructive.)
We are trapped in a vicious cycle. People organize structures that will be destroyed by trailblazers then the trailblazers themselves will inadvertently organize new structures that will be debunked by future trailblazers. (LOL. My boss Robert and I actually discussed this in one of our art theory sessions at his office.) It’s our nature. We evolve. We are constantly moving. When we cease to question, we lose the ability to intellectualize and we turn into drones agreeing to everything that religious leaders say. Obviously, Jesus Christ was no drone. He questioned, evolved and constantly moved.
But I suppose, only those who have the passion for deeper learning will understand this. Comparative Literature and Comparative Religion majors have already written so many essays on this: Many (not all) teachings of Christianity are actually against the teachings of Christ.
Going back to Ann Rice, I said, “Good luck!” when she first announced that she was denouncing her vampire stories. I thought that if she lived a great deal longer, her decision will begin to eat at her insides. I understand that her decade-long foray into “Christianity” was an intellectual move. Her vampire stories are backed by heavy research. She found Christ in that research. She thought that she could have a deeper connection to him if she joined “his flock”. (I’m putting quotation marks there because I remember historical documents that spoke of false prophets leading the church. I’m thinking, those false prophets have been sitting there since Peter died and their followers are now the anti-gay, anti-women etc.) Her Catholic novels are beautifully written because these are just as well-researched as her previous publications.
But of course, I knew she wouldn’t last because no well-researched scholar could bear living in a world of sweeping statements and hasty generalizations.
skysenshiJuly 31, 2010 at 4:05 am
Reposted from Elvert's comment on my FB:
Elvert Dela Cruz Bañares
If you UNDERSTAND her statements very well, she completely makes sense. And, though many wouldn't agree with it, we must respect it becau…se it is her choice because Christianity always take pride in the gift of free will. There are many atheists who act even more Christian than those who claim that they follow Christ. So to me, her leaving Christianity doesn't mean that she left Christ. =)
skysenshiJuly 31, 2010 at 6:24 am
More FB Comments. I swear I should incorporate an FB reply here…
Keane Rush Doesn't Anne Rice usually flip-flop from being christian to non-christian?
Beatrice Margarita Venturanza Lapa @keane i think ann rice has always been christian. if you read her vampire chronicles, you'll notice how deep her involvement is with christianity. she just wanted to formalize it…like i said in my blog, i think she did that as an intellectual move. i consider myself a christian…i just don't want to be boxed like a lot of other christians.
Hah, I'm glad that statement really stuck with you. What I do not get though is why believe? If you can see something giving you a good example to follow, is belief necessary to follow their example?
I think belief brings with it unnecessary… baggage, baggage that can negatively affect how you follow through, for example, Jesus' “radical humanism”. Belief, faith in something not real, brings with it things difficult to discard.
Perhaps in Anne Rice's case she successfully shed the sometimes batshit crazy community that forms around the christ figure but I think she could have saved herself the trouble if all she decided was: “Jesus is a good figure for me to follow. I will use my intellect and conscience to to take the best of his teachings”.
Beatrice Margarita Venturanza Lapa i believe because i feel. i've seen, felt and predicted things that science cannot explain. and if i enumerated them here, you'd tell me i'm crazy or making them up. for someone who believes in science so much (i am a social scientist anyway), i know that knowledge cannot be completely knowable and that's why i am always open to all possibilities.
Ronald Gebilaguin wala yung like button sa link ng sister mo ms. bea haha 😀 well, anyway… LIKE! 😛 …I also hate the act of forming anti-anti groups… that is plain discrimination and cannot be justified in any possible way… parepareho lang naman tayo ng pinagmulan… Para kasing namili lang sila ng random attribute na ayaw nila tapos nag form ng anti-group… kulang nalang may mabalitaan akong “anti-obese”… asar yun! haha… Tsaka, hindi gagawin ni Jesus yun… tapos ang usapan. 😀
Andy UybocoJuly 31, 2010 at 11:15 am
clap clap clap 🙂
Krys d.July 31, 2010 at 3:21 pm
I believe what she left is religion. not Christianity.
like what Gandhi said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
well, I'm not referring to all Christians but some Christians who turn off other people from knowing Christ because of their actions and twisted/extremist interpretation of christianity.
skysenshiJuly 31, 2010 at 10:34 pm
Yup! She is a true Christian by denouncing dogmas borne out of hatred and intolerance. 🙂 That's what Jesus Christ did.
skysenshiJuly 31, 2010 at 10:45 pm
Sharing what Jeiel shared on my FB wall:
Jeiel Aranal Regarding Beatrice Margarita Venturanza Lapa's post on Anne Rice' turning away from Christianity, this is the podcast that I quoted. Jesus as a radical *secular* humanist.
Philosophy Bites – Jesus as a Radical Secular Humanist
AnonymousAugust 1, 2010 at 4:53 am
What kind of learning are you referring to? Because simple but genuine “Christians” who are not necessarily passionate about deeper learning would understand even within just the context of pursuing a holier life (doing God's will more and more) that it takes a process, evolution as you say.
Also, if you say that Anne Rice has a profound relationship with Jesus Christ, again, in what context will she not last? Where was Jesus Christ in her intellectual move? What am I leading to?: that perhaps the ones who would profit should've been considered and the impacts on them by Rice's works are also bases for judging that her works were a success. Are works beautiful only because they are well-researched?
skysenshiAugust 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm
Do you only judge beauty because of one category? I don't. I just said that her novels were beautiful because they were well-researched. That's only one category I mentioned. Many other things can make a work beautiful. It just so happens that research is Rice's forte.
I think my context was very clear: True Christians would never preach anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-progressive sentiments. There is no need for deeper learning to understand Christ's true message: LOVE and FORGIVENESS.
A simple but kind-hearted person — one who bears no judgment for others who are different — would understand that.
I don't think I need to explain the last sentence. I already said what kind of things would make a Christian stop joining a church. Rice dropped religion (it may not be obvious, but I used quotation marks to emphasize that the Christianity that she left was not her faith but the man-made church she joined), she did not drop Christ. I think I emphasized that so many times already. If this is a bit difficult to understand, you are welcome to read it again.
You may also want to read Rice's message. She loves Christ. That's why she stopped being “Christian”. Again, emphasize on the quotation marks.
skysenshiAugust 1, 2010 at 2:49 pm
I have Christian cousins who belong to churches and they seem to be happy being in nurturing communities. Unfortunately, THESE NURTURING COMMUNITIES ARE RARE. Many “Christian” communities preach hatred for other religions, other beliefs…without understanding the source of their hatred. These are what I'm talking about.
skysenshiAugust 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Since we've suddenly touched the topic of profit (I honestly don't know where this argument came from because I never discussed it)…incidentally, Rice's Christian novels DID NOT SELL AS MUCH. Her Christian books, therefore, are a failure. But I said they were beautiful. So that blows your argument out of the water. Very very very very VERY few people are interested in reading anything research-related…even if that meant finding out more about Jesus Christ. Many of today's kids don't even read, much less do research. So it can't be profitable.
On the other hand…I don't know…I kind of find it hard to believe that you love someone if you're not interested in finding out more about him, ne? I mean, even simple folk who fall in love will of course try to find out more about the person they fell in love with, ne? That goes true with what you're calling simple Christians. True Christians, no matter how simple, would be very interested in something like this.
And yet her Christian books did not sell. That means…well. Now you know the kind of Christians I'm talking about.
But if this is still confusing. I suggest you read everything again. Even the comments. Some of those are from simple Christians fresh out of high school. They seem to have understood. 🙂