Today in my inbox, I got a very polite letter from a nice Christian person (with a suitably adrogynous name that I cannot speculate as to appropriate pronouns) who politely disagreed with my long-ago rant entitled “Art is Hell” which I wrote in one of those moods a few years back, and wrote about it at some length. Very politely.
And I never know what to say. They obviously meant well, and they took the time to write, and yet the arguments are all premised on a foundation that I simply don’t accept, and so there’s no point in going through and refuting them–it’s like arguing cosmologies with someone who has well-constructed, logical beliefs about unicorns. They may be marvelously logical beliefs, but it won’t change the fundamental fact that I don’t believe in unicorns, and thus there is no point in us discussing whether or not unicorns would prefer daisies over tulips. (I should note, here, that I don’t think Christianity is quite on par with belief in unicorns for inherent silliness, but since a flat earth and crop circles can be demonstrably proven to be false, unlike heaven and hell, unicorns were the first unprovable I could think of off the top of my head. Sorry ’bout that, gang. Wish I’d found a less condescending metaphor.)
If you refuse the basic tenet, then it doesn’t really matter how good the rest is. My mind cannot be changed by discussion of Christianity, because I simply do not accept the basic tenet. And yet I feel badly–here’s someone who took a good amount of their time to think out what they wanted to say, and who means well, and who was very nice about the whole thing and never called me a godless infidel or anything, and said a few nice things about my art, and yet I have nothing much to say. It’s a poor repayment for the amount of effort they expended to simply say “I disagree, but thanks for sharing your viewpoint,” although that’ll probably be what I wind up doing.
Once upon a time, I might’ve gone and argued simply for the sake of arguing, out of my pent-up hostility towards the religion of my youth, but those days are past, and those angsts largely mined out–I have to put on the Nine Inch Nails and read up on witch burnings to regain that kind of bitterness, and I have so much better things to do with my life, it’s not even funny. And nice people who e-mail me meaning well, and saying what they feel impelled by their moral code to say, and saying it nicely, and like my art even if parts of it make ’em uncomfortable, don’t deserve that kinda crap from me.
Unless they start spouting 7-day Creationism, in which case there is no mercy, and I’ll go crazy like a constipated howler monkey on ’em. But c’mon, that almost never happens.