bullies 2

bullies 2 July 26, 2011

My first “bullies” cartoon, posted back in May, was a hit. I sold the original drawing as well as many prints. There are still prints available.

So this is the second one. You can own the original drawing, or buy a print of it.

Sometimes we find comfort in exclamations, assertions, certitudes, declarations and pronouncements. But when we find too much comfort in these and they become our securities, they can make us mean-spirited.

Religious communities must make room for questions. They need to be welcomed, embraced, and granted equal status.

I have a book full of cartoons like this one on amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.de.

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  • Why do we get so defensive when questions are asked? But we do. The Church needs to make room for questions. But the church is made of individuals. If we individuals in the church make room for questions, eventually the church will be more open (or should be anyway…if not, then I guess we question-loving people should make our own church).

  • Pat B

    Hadn’t appreciated before how much like truncheons the exclamation marks look.

  • Peg

    Jane, I’ve long suspected that those who become defensive when people ask questions are not, deep down inside, as sure of their beliefs as they want the world to think, and they fear that those who ask questions may force them to acknowledge their doubts. Or, if in a position of religious leadership, they fear that those who ask questions will raise doubt in the minds of their followers. The concept of doubt must be appalling to those who believe they – and everyone else – must believe.

  • shortbreak

    It seems very sad to me that the immediate association for this cartoon is the church. I have been blessed with communities of faith, mentors and church leaders who have welcomed my questions, my faith and my doubts. As a church leader I encourage those questions and challenges, and encourage people to let me know when they agree, disagree, or need more information from me. Often my response to a question has been, ‘I don’t know, but we can explore that more fully together.’
    But, I have found my questions, challenges and doubts rebuffed in the political realm and in the world of non-governmental organizations and the business community. Certainly as much, if not more than in my faith journey.
    Questions and questioners should be, and always are welcome in any community I serve. It is the questions that cause us to grow, and the doubts that challenge us to identify what it is that we truly believe.

  • Joan

    Peg, Thanks for “truncheon” today–new for me! Your connection of questioning to doubt is all too real for me, having been raised in an exclusive, tightly-wound, Southern Baptist country club. Those who questioned too deeply or sometimes at all (just THINK about raising your hand during a sermon) were frequently labeled as doubters, which would mean auto-hell upon death. Isn’t it THROUGH the questioning that we experience spiritual growth? I also find it greatly hypocritical that many of today’s mainstream churches are so condemning of public schools for allegedly dumbing down our children b/c of the lack of discourse as a trade-off for high-stakes test prep, yet those very tactics are the foundation for spiritual “education” within those churches.

  • Joan

    I meant to reference David’s “Doubt Monster” piece from a few days ago. Perfect!

    “It actually helps us to question That-Which-Must-Not-Be-Questioned in order to move into deeper intellectual territory.”
    http://www.nakedpastor.com/2011/07/20/doubt-monster/

  • Joan

    shortbreak, I believe you are a shining exception–please continue to encourage those who question!

  • The bigger the Question, the bigger the Bully.

    Thankfully the Divine loves questions that stem from a thirst for Reality.

  • @Dylan Morrison Author,
    You wrote:
    “Thankfully the Divine loves questions that stem from a thirst for Reality.”
    Do you know this to be a statement of fact? How do you know?

  • Jeff

    I heard a cool message the other day… The opposite of Faith is not doubt, rather it is fear. As I pondered it I thought how true this is. We have become a people who believe that “the Lord helps those who help themselves” is scripturally based(in case you didn’t know…it’s not). We have become hard hearted people because weakness can not be tolerated. Truth is that those who have the biggest questions and are to proud to ask become the bullies. When we let ourselves become humiliated (“humbled”) there is no position or point of departure from where to bully. I can see that several posters have at least latent issues with the Church. Perhaps the issues are not from the lack of an ability to ask questions but from the application of the answers. Truth begets Truth. There is only one truth. Therefore I say question away with a pure and open heart and you will move toward Truth.

  • @Jeff,
    I have a different cool message to ponder:
    Philosophy: Questions That May Never Be Answered
    Religion: Answers That May Never Be Questioned

    The opposite of faith is fear? Do you really believe that or is it something that conveniently shores up and bolsters what you already believe to be true?
    “Truth is that those who have the biggest questions and are to proud to ask become the bullies.”
    I’d say that those whose faith and/or control over others is threatened by questions become the biggest bullies. They have lots to lose when people start asking questions. These folks don’t have questions…they have ANSWERS and they want you accept their answers on…FAITH. History and current events support this 100%.
    Also, if it is established that there is only “one truth”, what would be the point of questioning anything at all?

  • Jeff

    @The Godless Monster

    It’s never been my experience that Philosophy and Religion have been separated. If they are, I’d suggest neither to be functional.

    Yes, I believe fear is the opposite of Faith. I am only afraid when my trust is in myself and not in my God. I know He takes care of me. Through questioning with an open mind and heart my Faith has become stronger.

    I agree that fear causes bullying. Faith built on answered questions will not be destroyed by the answer to a question. It’s when Faith is impaled into you and built on a sloppy foundation that it can be shaken by answers to questions. We are each given free will and when it is not exercised we become robots. It’s not the true purpose of Religion to make robots out of its followers. (Christian)Religion is meant to assist its followers to live life and do so abundantly. I admit… I have experienced shortcomings with this mission in my life but anything involving humans will not be perfect. It doesn’t mean I lose hope.

    The point of asking questions; “if it is established that there is only ‘one truth'”; is to find the “one truth” and then apply it. Why do math if there is only one answer? It’s in the application of the answer, which in many cases we use to ask more questions until one day we’re standing on the moon. A feat only made possible through answering a series of questions with only one absolute Answer (Truth). Don’t we have a quest to gain wisdom?

    I think we’re on the same page in that no one is equipped with the One Truth.

  • @Jeff,
    Okay, I’ll start with this simple question.
    You wrote:
    “I know He takes care of me.”
    My question is:
    How do you know?

  • Jeff

    @The Godless Monster
    I’ve gotten to know Him. Call me kooky… We have a relationship. By gaining wisdom through answers to questions in the same manner we’d use to develop trust in anyone else.

  • Jeff, can you see how difficult it becomes for me to take you seriously when you can’t substantiate anything you are telling me?
    It’s distressing to see so many believers professing how good and healthy it is to question their beliefs when in fact all they are actually doing is arguing about whose alternative to reality is the best.

  • Jeff

    I think we’ve come full circle back to to bullying. The fact that you can’t or choose not to accept my answer makes me (in your eyes) unable to be taken seriously and seeking an alternative to reality. Interesting???

  • “Truth is that those who have the biggest questions and are to proud to ask become the bullies.”
    Interesting indeed. How exactly do I fit this definition (your definition, by the way) of bully?
    I’m asking direct questions, you evade them with nonsense and because I call you on it, I’m now a bully?
    I thought it was GOOD to ask the tough questions.
    Jeff, your bar for evidence is set very, very low. In fact, it’s non-existent. All I asked was how you knew something to be true and you responded by telling me that you just knew somehow. Can you imagine a detective giving that sort of testimony at a criminal trial? Can you imagine a PhD candidate giving a similar defense of a doctoral thesis? Would YOU take him seriously?

  • Jeff

    With all due respect, I’m not trying to become a PhD or trying to equate my argument to the defense of a thesis.

    I didn’t say I “just knew”. I said I have a relationship with Him built on wisdom gained by asking questions. This is substance rich. Sure, it may need to be developed a bit. I know He exists by the same means that I know you exist. I can’t see you but we have a relationship. You had an impact on my thoughts and actions today through introspection and contemplation. My God causes the same types of interactions as you do but you suggest that accepting both as real is silly and accepting one as real and the other as not real is perfectly intellectual.

    Our lives will likely never make sense if we only expect others to be question marks and allow ourselves to remain exclamation points. Ask tough questions but don’t be afraid of the answer. It may not be as tough of an answer as the question was.

    As I grow older and continue to gain life’s experience I realize that the relationship with my creator that I described continues to be more and more pronounced and is real. While I can’t send you a jpeg of God as proof of my answer, the fact that there is no picture of God is no evidence that He does not exist.

    All I can do is share with you my experiences which lead me back to my answer I originally gave you… “I’ve gotten to know Him. Call me kooky… We have a relationship. By gaining wisdom through answers to questions in the same manner we’d use to develop trust in anyone else.”

    You say my argument is nonsense and evidence is non-existent. Fortunately my life value is not based upon your judgment of my answer to your question.

  • I believe the bigger the questions the greater the discovery. What could I discover bigger than God?

  • Very sorry to see my last comments were deleted.

  • i lost a post TGM… will post again tomorrow. not deleted. site mishap.

  • Gotcha. Thanks for the follow-up Dave.

  • Colleen G.

    How do you know the wind exists? Because some squint in a lab coat said it did or because you went outside, felt it and could see it blowing? Not everything that exists can be proven via “science”. Although I think the classic scientific method proves more than most folks choose to see.

  • @Colleen G.,
    You wrote:
    “Not everything that exists can be proven via “science”.”
    Some examples would be helpful.