SyneRyder - journal


20th September 1997

In a Christian bookstore, a local musician promotes his CD by giving an in-store performance. As the backing music plays, his voice passes through various filters and voice enhancers, singing repeatedly the words "Know Jesus, and you will know love" and not much else.

In the aisle next to him stands a row of books. Various titles vie for the buyer's attention. Small pocket size books on "How to respond to Islam" are displayed next to 36 page pamphlets on "The facts on abortion", subtitled "What the Bible says". Seemingly, "the facts" on nearly all topics are available, all in the same 36-page format, price reduced to $2.95.

I find it amazing that we have such talented writers in the world who can condense decades (centuries even?) of theological debate into a pocket size book, and who can solve all of society's moral issues in just a few pages. (In case it isn't glaringly obvious, I'm being sarcastic).

In my opinion, a worrying trend towards oversimplification is developing in various religious circles. The danger with this is that people are led to believe that there are always simple answers, when quite often there are not. To oversimplify is to ignore the issue. Just as there are a wide variety of views as to what is right and wrong in the abortion debate, there are not always straightforward answers as to what is correct and what isn't in theology. Simplification can help people to understand things, but all it can do is help - there are always other complexities to be considered.

The singer's voice drifts through the store, singing of love. But for some of those in the store, the song is too shallow to express the deep love that they seek. Rather than turning these people towards love, the song instead turns them away.