Also, listen to this song because it is kind of pertinent (and it’s just a good song): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vd2fY2QVF70
After looking through around 20 of Tran’s comics, I still didn’t find one that spoke to me. It’s not that any of them were bad per se, but a lot of them were either too specific or way too general for me to relate to. Eventually, I found one that actually made sense. For those of you that are too lazy to actually read the comic, it’s pretty much about how the concept of heaven leads people to not act in righteous and compassionate ways and that the only way for people to become more rational and caring is for them to believe that they are genuinely dying. It’s a little weird, honestly, and perhaps a little too hard to follow at first but I’ve been pondering the afterlife for a while now and I don’t think there’s really a better way to encapsulate this paradox.
In terms of religion, I’m not exactly sure where I fall. I used to consider myself Christian and I agree with a lot of the stuff good ol’ Jesus preached but I just can’t jive with modern Christianity and the downfalls of organized religion. I think there is a higher power of some sort but I’m just no sure it’s the same God that so many other people believe in and preach about in ways that I disagree with. Essentially, I wouldn’t be so ignorant to say that it’s impossible for God to exist, but I also wouldn’t be so ignorant to say that my God and religion are superior to others. Does that make sense? Probably not, but that’s okay–I don’t really think religion is really meant to make a whole lot of sense to us anyways.
That being said, because I’m religiously fluid and I generally try not to judge religions that try not to judge or hurt others, I often ponder how certain religions form these opinions of the afterlife and how these opinions affect society and morals. Because I live in Texas, Christianity and its subsequent moral identity have been especially pertinent. If someone believes that they might go to hell if they behave in ways that hurt others because the bible told them they would, then I’m pretty cool with someone believing in that (even if I don’t really believe in it) because that means they’re going to be less likely to act like an ***hole. Likewise, if someone believes that they will be rewarded with their own heavenly planet (sorry for the exaggeration, Mormons) after they die if they behave really well, then I’m also cool with that because that means they’ll probably be nice to me.
But here’s the problem: these concepts really aren’t all that simple. When it comes down to it, it’s the people that preach about the dangers of homosexuality that have been divorced 4 or 5 times; it’s the people that are sure that they’re going to Heaven that are the one’s refusing to help others in need in our own country without an incentive; it’s the people that preach about Jesus’ altruism that currently think that Syrian refugees deserve to die rather than be saved. Obviously, I don’t think that all religious people fall into this this cycle of hypocrisy; however, if we keep letting people get by with using their religion as an excuse to ignore humanity, we’re going to end up with a pretty
shitty crappy world.
That’s essentially what Caitlin Moran is getting at in this comic, but she also introduces a bold solution: she claims that the only way to actually get people to behave like people should is to eliminate this concept of oh, it’s okay that I’m a really terrible person because Jesus will save me and introduce the concept of I’m going to die at some point and if I don’t start doing something to make this world a better place my only future is in a hole six feet underground without the perks of heaven or hell.
The pictures that go along with these words are kind of the pinnacle of antithetical brilliance. The main character (I don’t know if that’s the right terminology but that’s okay) is what looks to be a middle aged male school teacher. He’s teaching the kids at the Catholic school about heaven. It starts out all sweet and nice like a fairly normal cartoon, with the part about heaven being the only part of the comic in color, but the last frames are depictions of the man having a dramatic heart attack and dying in front of all the little kids. Kind of twisted, right?
But it makes sense; it all makes sense. Moran and Tran needed that contrast between a normal cartoon and something bordering child endangerment to prove a point about karma and the faults of religious ignorance. Now, this post wasn’t meant to be mean towards any religion or atheists, and I’m sorry if it comes off that way but I just want to make people think. Are you doing something to change the world for the better? Are you putting yourself before others? Are you expecting to reap paradise after your death without doing something to deserve it? Chance are, we’re all screwing it up somewhere but if we keep in mind our vulnerability, it makes helping the world out a little easier to stomach.