Friday, 4 February 2011

52:5 Holy Cheesus

I am a Gleek, but the episode of Glee titled "Grilled Cheesus" has got to be the worst so far. The whole episode was about religion and spirituality. I had no problem with the theme of the episode - in fact, as a disclaimer, I have no issue with religion or spirituality at all - but the way it was done was poor and encapsulated many of the things that bother me about spirituality.

I knew I had to blog. I will keep the Glee part short for those of you cringing right now.

The basic premise of this episode was that Kurt's dad had a heart attack. Everyone begins praying for him but Kurt is not religious. Thus begins an episode about spirituality. For a better recap in video form click here.

I am going to get straight to the part that I took issue with. If you watched the recap video yo
u will have heard the presenter say "When Mercedes gets him (Kurt) to go to her church to listen to the choir he realises that he does have respect for others and their spirituality". The episode was all about Kurt accepting his friends' beliefs. This is a lovely sentiment and we can all go about with our day
... but wait a second...

From my point of view Kurt always respected the religion of his friends. When he got angry at them praying by his dad's bed side I don't think this was an issue of respect for religion. This was a boy unable to cope with his father's comatose state and upset that his friends would pray by his bedside after he explicitly explained why he doesn't believe. Instead of listening to Kurt's wishes and praying for his father in their own space (church, home, freaking anywhere else) they chose to do it right in Kurt's face and then were offended when Kurt was upset.

To me this episode wasn't showing me an atheist not respecting religion. It was religious people not respecting atheism. The only religious person who showed any sign of respecting atheism was Finn - and this was only because he lost faith in his grilled cheese (cheese toastie to us Brits), which had the face of Jesus burnt into it.

I roll my eyes. Okay, now for the non-Glee related bit.

I think most people who know me are aware that I am not a religious person. I went to church as a child but I can never remember myself believing in God. Whether I am right or wrong not to be a religious person is neither here or there.

Now as with everything there are trends that come in and out of fashion. The current trend is to talk about spirituality rather than religion because this is inclusive of people that may not particularly align themselv
es with a faith, but that believe in an 'inner path' or that they can connect to something immaterial. (Excuse my crude definition).

I take issue not with the idea or practices of spirituality, I take issue with the fact that I am constantly told that if I am not spiritual then I am missing something. When I say 'told' I do not mean people directly say this to my face but I mean on a more subconscious, wide reaching level; there seems to be an inherent belief that not everyone is religious but everyone is spiritual in some way or another. (The very fact I felt it necessary to put a disclaimer at the top of this post that I am not disrespecting religion or faith or spirituality is an example of this!)

So that is my issue. The reaction to this Glee episode, and the way it was presented was the fact that the emphasis is always put on non-religious people respecting religion. But in that episode of Glee no one is trying to see life from a non-religious point of view. Instead they all try to convince Kurt that religion is respectable and important to those who believe... which Kurt never denied in the first place!


QUESTION FOR THE COMMENTS: What are your beliefs? Tell me in the comments :)

If you are interested - this is what I believe in:

"Humanists seek to make the best of the one life we have by creating meaning and purpose for ourselves. We choose to take responsibility for our actions and work with others for the common good [...]

Humanists do not believe in a God or gods, or any other supernatural or divine entities. Humanists do not think that the universe needs a divine power outside of itself in order to have value. We, inside the universe, determine its value. We think that other people, for example, are moral concerns, not because they are made in the image of Something Else, but because of who they are in themselves."

1 comment:

A.J. James said...

I agree that this episode was not a shining example of the show we love, and that it could have chosen a different route to tell the same message, but at least they didn't end the episode with Kurt "finding" God. That would have been the straw that broke the camels back.

As far as religion is concerned I agree with you. I have no problem with other peoples beliefs until they try to shove them down my throat.