What do you believe? Is there a God? What is your faith? Do you have a faith?
I wanted to know how the aniblogging community would respond to these questions. About half of all respondents were either atheist or agnostic, with responses split exactly evenly between the two. In other words, 49% of respondents don’t believe in a god or are unsure about a god’s existence. If one combined the respondents who declared themselves Catholic, Christian (Protestant), Orthodox, and non-denominational Christian as one group, 35% of anibloggers believe in the Christian religion, which would be the highest percentage of all. Within that group, most were either Protestant (20%) or Catholic (10%).
Why We Believe What We Believe
Let’s look at some of the comments by atheists about why they chose their belief (or lack thereof):
I don’t think god(s) is necessary for the equation of the universe/life/etc, and the evidence against is much better than the evidence for.
As a scientist, I require hard empirical evidence to prove or disprove supernatural beings.
Learning about history and other cultures, I can see how human (and thus man-made) religions are. Science only confirms this
These answers, and many like them, point at science and history (particularly the stories of those with religious authority) as evidence supporting atheism. Science, of course, and particularly evolution, is the silver bullet that many believe will kill religion. Surprisingly enough, at least to this writer, is that 69% of respond ants believe that science and Christianity can coexist. Personally, I’ve come across many who believe religious people are just simply ignorant…but perhaps that’s not a prevailing attitude.
Moving on, the other major trends among atheists’ answers has to do with logic:
Because logically, I don’t think religion makes any sense. I understand that some people need it so they can have hope when things are bad, or because it teaches them to follow good principles. But, I think you can achieve all that just by logically accessing situations, without needing to pray to feel like things will be alright. I also believe I have a strong sense of justice and right and wrong and that religion is not perfect in that aspect. Even more, with extremists, I think religion has done more harm to the world than good and I really think it’s the single worst thing that ever happened and that should disappear if I was allowed one wish to make Earth a better place. Not trying to sound to extremist myself lol.
In other words…
I have a logical mind.
I used my brain.
Agnostic responders also presented some telling comments:
Agnosticism is the most logical, whilst most other religions are just old fiction.
You will never know until you die, so I will just keep the question out of my head while waiting
The first response tells of an idea that comes up time and time again – that religious texts are simply fictional. The second reflects two more trends – the idea of needing to know for sure before believing and the lack of urgency in finding an answer.
Regarding Christianity, some stated their belief based on the principles of the religion and the character of God:
He has always been there during the most critical times of my life.
I identify with the basic Christian ideals of loving your neighbors, showing kindness to all, & forgiving others like Jesus forgave us all 🙂
However, to my disappointment, many responded with simple declarations like “born again.” While these answers may be more telling of my phrasing of the question or of the responder’s mindset when answering, I can still say definitely that the Christian answers were generally less thoughtful than those from atheists and agnostics. Unfortunately, Christians’ responses to why they believe what they believe may be inadequate, perhaps adding fuel to the fire that adherents may be suspending their intellect to abide by their faith. The lesson to Christians may be to become more familiar with why they believe what they believe, and to study up on science, history, archeology and apologetics to have sound, logical, and strong responses for critiques of their faith.
Of course, other faiths were represented. Here is a sample of those responses:
I believe the teachings of Islam are timeless and universal.
Because I worship the Greek pantheon.
From the comments, we also see an interesting trend about one’s religion. As with many other aspects of our lives, like traditions, politics, and mannerisms, one’s religion is often related to how that individual was raised. Many are part of their religions because that’s what they’ve always known:
My family is Catholic and raised me that way.
The country I live in is quite atheistic and my family is completely atheistic, thus I had no religious influence and don’t consider religion necessary for life.
Because I grew up as Jewish and I find the religion to be comfortable and accepting.
Anibloggers v. The World…or the Nation, at Least
But back to the numbers. It’s interesting to compare the anibloggers’ religious beliefs with those in America as a whole. While many respondents are not living in the U.S., most are (see the demographics on Monday’s post). The Pew Forum, which made headlines a couple months ago from their recent reports, gave statistics based on 35,000 American respondents. Look how some of these numbers compare:
Christian: 35% (Anime Poll), 78% (Pew Forum Poll)
Protestant: 23% (Anime), 51% (Pew)
Catholic: 9% (Anime), 24% (Pew)
Orthodox: 1.7% (Anime), 0.6% (Pew)
Atheist: 25% (Anime), 1.6% (Pew)
Agnostic: 25% (Anime), 2.4% (Pew)
Buddhist: 3% (Anime), 0.7% (Pew)
Muslim: 2.5% (Anime), 0.6% (Pew)
Jewish: 0.8% (Anime), 4.7% (Pew)
What pops out most is that atheists and agnostics in the anime blogosphere outnumber those in the population as a whole by huge percentages. Think about it this way – every other blogger is atheistic or agnostic. In the U.S. as a whole, only about 1 out of 40 is an agnostic; even fewer, 1 out of 60, is an atheist.
Those are huge differences.
In the opposite manner, there are less than half as many Christian anime bloggers as Christians in general. (Note: this is all assuming the sample population is a good representation of the whole aniblogging community.)
I’m Sure, I’m Not So Sure…I’m Sure, I’m Not So Sure…
This is a big leap here, but I want to make a conclusion based on personal experience and these numbers. To me, it seems as if the younger generation is as skeptical of religion (or more so) than ever. These numbers reflect mostly twenty-something adults. I think that the U.S. is going more European, with fewer people believing in a faith and more and more questioning whether they believe in a god.
Of course, I have to take the sample group into consideration. Those with interests in anime may not be interested in religion. Only 35% of those surveyed had a very or fairly high interest in religion; the same number were moderately interested, while the rest had low interest or none at all. This question is related to another, which asked what role religion played in one’s life. 33% said it played an important role, while a greater percentage (44%) said religion played little or no role in their lives.
46% of those surveyed were “sure” about their belief. About the same amount either felt strongly or moderately about their belief. More interesting numbers come up when breaking this question down by religion (or lack thereof):
Besides Mormons and Muslims, who made up only small percentages of the survey group, those who didn’t identify with any of the choices had the largest numbers of those who were sure about their beliefs. Perhaps this is because many of these individuals have given time and thought about what they believe and why they believe – enough to perhaps create their own religion which is somewhat or entirely different from others.
Meanwhile, atheists and agnostics are a bit more sure about their beliefs than Protestants, though I’m not quite sure how agnostics interpreted this question. My guess is that most that are “sure” are sure that they are unsure! From personal experience, the conflict we often see on message boards and through other mediums is between Protestants and atheists. It’s quite obvious that such arguments would occur when so many that identify themselves as part of these groups are so sure about their beliefs.
The groups containing the largest percentage of those unsure are Buddhists and Catholics. I’m not entirely sure why Buddhism would fit here; I studied this religion in-depth while in college, but those years are now long gone and I’ve forgotten much. Could it be that many Buddhists are more open to a variety of religious thought, as expressed in Gautama Buddha’s search for enlightenment?
Catholicism being at the bottom of the list is no surprise to me. Most of my friends growing up were Catholic, and very few of them would be people I considered faithful to the teachings of Jesus. For instance, I had one friend who wasn’t shy to tell others of his hatred for homosexuals, but also slept around and had the foulest mouth imaginable. Oh, and he was considering becoming a priest. He was a legalist and didn’t understand grace, much like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time.
That said, I don’t think the Catholic Church is worse or less correct than any Protestant denomination. I don’t think Catholics are wrong. However, perhaps the ritual, extravagance, and cultural significance of the Catholic Church often eclipses its heart. If so, it’s no surprise that one would become jaded with the church, would find it hollow, and/or wouldn’t understand the message of Christ and presented in the church. The recent scandals certainly don’t help either.
In fact, out of the 29 respondants who admitted practicing a religion before becoming atheist or agnostic, 16 (55%) were Catholic. 28% were Protestant and 10% were Jewish.
That said, I should take a equal swipe at Protestants. Much of the disgust toward Christianity is specifically focused on the Protestant movement, which as was noted above, is the largest Christian movement in the U.S. Though not all Protestants are fundamentalists or are associated with conservative America, there is a reason why the Christian right wields such political power – large numbers of Protestants are “family values” conservatives.
Admiring Buddhism and Believing in Something More
When asked what religion they admired most, 38% of respond ants selected Buddhism, twice as much as the second-place choice, Protestant Christianity. Considered a religion of peace and tranquility, there’s much to admire about Buddhism. My only surprise is that atheism didn’t come in first; it received a 16% share. Perhaps there’s a schism in what one hopes to be true and in intellectually committing to a belief system.
Speaking of our hopes, we’ll end today with one final question. 44% of respondents believe in an afterlife, 21% are unsure, and 32% do not believe. With the exception of a dozen individuals, most non-atheists believe in an afterlife of some kind. Are agnostics hoping for something more? I think we can make the inference that many agnostic anibloggers do feel that way.
So what do you think of these results? Like myself, do you believe anibloggers’s ideas largely represent those of a young population in the west? What results stand out to you?
Tomorrow, we’ll delve into a fun topic – anime and religion!
43 thoughts on “Anime and Religion Survey: Religion of Anibloggers”
The younger generation is skeptical of everything.
– Medical studies? Could be statistically weak or be bankrolled by conflicting parties (who can exercise Takebacks on unfavorable studies)
– Finance? No “It’s a Wonderful Life” here!
– Religion? People are blowing themselves up over it. BAH!
However, this leaves a hole. People believed in ideals because they gave strength and courage (even unmerited bravado). Without those ideals, they either need to find new ones or be gimped.
I think the culture among American youth is definitely skeptical…but I don’t see that as necessarily bad. After all, we should be analytical. I just worry when we add “self-important” to “skeptical” – after all, our minds are not the end-all be-all.
Catholicism >>>>>>>>>> everything else, from a secular POV (i.e. which religion seems most BADASS and AWESOME — even its failures are INCREDIBLY TERRIBLE and creates a kind of drama that is incomparable in terms of scope and influence over history).
Of course I’m spectacularly biased because I grew up Catholic and remain ever fond of all of its glories and failures in my cheerful atheistic way :3
Haha, yes, I know of your fondness for (and upbringin in) Catholicism. I think the Japanese must agree with you, seeing as how often Catholic symbolism (and nuns – lots of nuns) show up in anime and manga.
I can’t point to any studies or hard data, but it is possible that the frequency in which Catholic clergy appear in anime and manga may have to do with Japan’s Christian population identifying as Catholics.
I know on my last trip to Japan I met and hung out with a Japanese girl who is Catholic and saw a couple of nuns and priest one night on the subway.
There is also the long-standing contact with predominately Catholic nations beginning with the Portuguese in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and French and Germans in the late 19th century.
That definitely has to be a major part of it. As you mention, Japan’s history with Christianity predominantly involves Catholicism (at least it’s introduction). And in fact, because of the turmoil involving Christianity in the 1600s, I imagine children grow up reading about the Catholic church in their history classes.
Thanks for the insight, especially about your personal experience!
I’ll be rebutting some of the arguments made by self-proclaimed atheists and agonistics.
1. The heart is deceitful above all things. I’d assume the same thing for the mind as well. It’s one thing to be rational, but it’s another to take it to it’s extreme. Corporations are the biggest example of cold, hard rationalism taken to it’s extreme.
2. The scientific process is part rationalism, part belief. How would ANY scientist ever perform experiments if they keep waiting for empirical data before doing anything? How would we even get to the moon, if we had to wait for the bloody Soviets to prove that it could be done? Where would we be if the first man had to wait for someone to make fire before he could do it? You tell me.
3. Take away religion and guess what? Human beings will just use something else to fight for. America’s very fond of using democracy as an excuse to do disagreeable things, for example.
4. The problem isn’t the structure, it’s the person. I personally see the world in black and white, and that we, the human race, are the ones who can’t see what is right ever. Even if one is “born again”, we still can’t see what is right all the time. We simply cannot, for reasons as of yet to be discovered.
And a few things for Charles:
1. I certainly don’t consider the politicians in America followers of Christ. They are largely bankrolled by interest groups and corporations. Their power is up for sale. How is that Christian, actively courting the powers of this world for temporal power? The so-called “Christian Right” isn’t “Christian” at all. And they would even go so low as to resort to mudslinging and smear campaigns to get elected. Again, how “Christian” is this behavior? You tell me.
2. No matter how one studies or reads science, archaeology, history and whatnot, it’s extremely hard to explain how one comes to faith. Even I can’t explain the process fully, and we probably have different opinions on how one comes to faith.
3. The Japanese don’t really consider religion important. For some reason, Catholic and Christian symbology is treated like window dressing, and considering their history, well… I’m not going to say anything.
drmchsr0, thanks for the responses. Speaking of your faith, I’ve actually been meaning to link some of your past posts from your blog on mine – been reading through them lately. Great stuff!
As for your responses to me…
1. Although it’s hard for me to play judge over someone’s personal beliefs, I’ll say this – I don’t find the idea of the “Christian right” very Christian at all. At it’s heart, the movement doesn’t seem to be about Christ; Christian belief seems to be a unifying factor, though I think the movement is more based around conservative, “back in the day” ideology than what Christ really preached. Do people conveniently forget that Jesus came to shake up our spiritual lives, not the physical powers that be?
2. True enough. God works mysteriously, they say, and there’s certainly no how-to guide that explains how each of us comes to faith. It’s God moving in us and leading us, and hopefully us responding to Him.
3. Well, I think they do consider it important, but in a different way from us. It’s just a part of their everyday lives and is less about faith and relationship (or not at all) and more about ritual and culture for most (taking away ardent Buddhists and others). As for Christianity and Catholicism in Japan…it’s a difficult history for sure, and one full of bloodshed.
To be honest, though, the history of Christianity has been generally one of bloodshed. Mostly Christian blood. I think Christianity is the only religion willing to send people to crazy places where death is not just a real possibility, but also a certainty.
Ever since Jesus came down and became the example of how to live life as a Christian, it’s been pretty bloody, to say the least.
I am also aware of the history of Christianity and Japan. Bloody isn’t the right word. It’s a lot closer to depressing. From what I have read (especially materials from missionary organizations), it seems that most Japanese don’t even understand the faith they have come into.
Well, it was bloody several hundred years ago. Like, “cut people behind their ears and let the blood drip out while they hang upside” down kinda-bloody. The Japanese government was thorough, painstaking, and robotic as it forced believers to renounce or to die.
As for more recent history…I think you know more than I do. At the very least, there are organizations that are actively working to spread the gospel, hopefully teaching Japanese what it really means. I guess it’s not surprising that many don’t understand their faith, living in a culture that isn’t doused in Christianity. It’s reminiscient, perhaps, of the early church Christians who constantly turned to other teachings when not directly under the guidance of an apostle or other brother in the church in Judea.
Hi! I stumbled upon this posting from a forum thread for a panel at MTAC (http://www.mtac.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=12638102&start=105) and thought I would chime in. The following are my personal thoughts an opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Akihabara Renditions podcast.
First off, I would like to say that this is a pretty good write up. I am actually surprised with the number of respondents that identified as atheists to the poll. Anecdotally, I would have expected larger numbers of ‘Non-Religious’ than seeing as many people like me holding the same (non)beliefs as me. Much of the remainder of the data does fall into where I would expect it to; glad there’s some confirmation on it now.
To respond to drmchrs0’s rebuttals, as an atheist:
1. Yes, the heart is deceitful. It is possible to be able to have feelings – love, compassion and the like – and still not conflict with rational thought and behavior. Look at a discipline like Behavioral Economics – economics dictates that humans and markets will act rationally but in reality seldom do. Behavioral studies generally deal with explaining the irrationalities as they relate to economics. While many atheists are able to rationalize their path to non-belief, that does not mean that we always act or behave rationally like robots. We’re human, after all.
2. I suppose that one could say that the scientific process is part belief but I would find it to be a stretch. Formulating a hypothesis for a phenomenon you witnessed may be based upon belief. However it is testing that hypothesis and reviewing the data with continuing tests which may challenge that belief and when the data counteracts that belief, the belief should change. Humanity hasn’t just waited for empirical evidence. You bring up the Soviet and NASA moon programs – we know the moon exists and we could measure the distances between the Earth and the moon and we worked out the engineering problems of getting humans there and back alive. I guess I just don’t see the connection between “they did it first” and science being part rationalism, part belief.
3. The idea that people would stopping killing/maiming/harming each other if it weren’t for religion is a pipe dream, I agree with you on that point. Humanity will always find some reason to develop better ways to kill each other.
4. Ultimately, I think humans are too complex – emotionally and socially – to see it as black-and-white. While I am a non-believer, I have met people who religious faith has influenced greatly for good. I’ve also seen religious groups that go to obscene extremes of abuse. I’ve met other nice atheists and some that are complete jerks. To paint all religious belief/non-belief as bad or good attempts to simplify the issue too much. And that’s where we get into “What defines right?” Because humanity isn’t black-and-white, there are few universal agreements on either end of the spectrum and a whole lot of grey in the middle. Individually, one can reduce the grey area but to larger, diverse and connected societies, I don’t think the grey area can be significantly reduced.
Thanks for the great comments! I’m afraid to say that many non-religious people I’ve corresponded with on the Internet are very antagonistic. It’s great to see someone who responds with decorum and and an open mind.
Interesting stuff. The breakdown on religion in anime bloggers was really interesting, especially comparing to the Pew survey and whatnot.
However, this article seems disjointed, like you’ve written about two seperate things. How does the second half of what you write relate to the first?
I would have liked to see something about WHY the breakdown of religion is like this- what about those religions/denominations makes them more or less likely to blog about anime?
Because while the discussion about religions is interesting, it really has no relation to the the breakdown of anime bloggers, and is a very complicated issue in and of itself. Enough so that it deserves an article to itself. A longer one.
Thanks for the critique. It would’ve been helpful for me to have listed the questions from the survey, and I’ll do that for the remaining days, to better show what I’m addressing. The second half loosely relates to the first half because it all falls under the heading of “anibloggers and religion.” The questions weren’t necessarily even in the same section of the survey.
Your questions about religions and blogging about anime – that is something I’ll address in my concluding remarks on Friday. It is a complicated issue, and one that my small survey probably isn’t suited to address real well.
Do you think the fact that such a large percentage of anime bloggers are either atheist or agnostic has to do with the fact that many anime may be considered “anti-Christian”? I would imagine series like Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Evangelion for example, may turn serious believers away from anime.
That’s interesting that so many admire Buddhism with its teachings of peace and tranquility (perhaps also the fact that it doesn’t have a blood-stained history of trying to impose its teachings on others).
One suggestion, when asked what religion we are, I think having the choice to pick “non-religious” would have been better. I don’t remember what I picked, but for those of us with our own unique views, we wouldn’t have to put ourselves into a category.
Yumeka, that’s a great observation. Anime may just simply attract viewers who either don’t like Christianity or don’t have strong feelings one way or another about it. It might also drive away Christians, particularly the type that I think most of us know who may find anime and otaku a bit strange. 😛
For me, I had a love/hate relationship with Evangelion. It was critical in turning me from a “Tenchi Muyo” fan into an “anime fan” in general. But I really disliked how it fashioned God into the enemy. Nowadays, I can appreciate and enjoy the show better as I separate it from my personal beliefs and view it in a different manner.
You make another good point about Christianity when discussing Buddhism. As Ghostlightnight mentioned, the Christian (particularly Catholic) church has a vile history that often outweights the good done it’s done for humanity. Though the church today largely does as much for the poor and suffering in the world as any organization, it’s still weighed down by a horrific and historically bloody past.
Thanks for the suggestion. I will try to keep that in mind for any future surveys, if I do any.
Did I miss where you say how many responses you got? That’s an important number to know in judging the significance of your percentages. Judging from the gradations on your bar-chart, it looks like maybe 114 or so? That’s quite a good response for a survey like this.
Also, you don’t have a random sample (if you did, your sample size would indicate a margin of error on the order of +/- 6%). Maybe atheists and agnostics are just more likely to respond to a survey like this?
Yeah, you missed it. 😛
I received 124 responses. You might want to look at yesterday’s post for demographic and other basic information.
Hmm…you might be right. I really don’t know about that question, and it’s an important one.
I find this survey very interesting. I am a Christian (Very serious about my relationship with Christ) that enjoys anime, in fact I was drawn to anime because I believe God told me to use as a tool to reach the Japanese people with the truth of the gospel. I am the only Christian I know who watchs anime and all of my anime liking friends are atheist or agnostic. I am troubled by somethings found in anime, but I believe anime is a powerful tool. If the numbers stated above are a fair representation of the relationship between anime and religion, the question remains, what are the reasons or causes for such numbers? What draws people to anime? And a question I personally wonder about, how do people relate to anime and why?
I really appreciate this survey and this site. I hope there is another survey sometime soon.
It’s really interesting that you mention anime can be used as an evangelism tool. I just visited a site today which put on several workshops at a Japanese missions event about using anime and manga in evangelism. I’m hoping to blog about those seminars soon.
Have you visited Christian Anime Alliance? Their forum is very active (and has been for years). If you don’t have a Christian anime community in real life (I think this is a rare thing), CAA does feel a lot like a family and is certainly a community.
The questions you ask are big ones…and important ones if you believe God is leading you to use the form as a tool.
I’m glad the survey and my blog were worthwhile to you. I can’t say I’ll ever conduct another survey again (I have another in mind, but this one was enough work for me!), but who knows. 😉
Interesting survey, pretty much as I expected. I suspect that the number of Christians would go down even further if they were to actually be asked about their beliefs, but that goes for all of America, since not all people who profess to be Christians actually believe the Bible.
I’ve often found it as a sticky situation being the one Christian among atheists, especially at anime cons. One con I ended up rooming with an atheist who went on an anti-Christian rant (with no prompting from anyone, then again, he went on a lot of anti-everything rants).
I’d imagine the percentage of Christians at anime cons is much smaller than the percentage of Christian anime fans in general. And for every Vic Mignogna and Caitlin Glass who are excellent Christian examples in the anime industry, there are others in the anime industry who are exactly the opposite (I’ve had bad experiences with certain voice actors recently).
That’s an interesting point. It’s sticky when trying to define the particulars of how “Christian” one is, hehe, and I wanted to avoid that.
And thanks for the insight about anime cons – I’ve never been to one, so it’s good to hear about your experiences. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had some bad experiences with VAs – not surpringing, I guess. But it is encouraging to know there are some very committed Christian VAs out there, including Mignongna and Glass (though she’s off the map now, I believe).
Oh, by the way, congrats on your Packers. Unfortunately, I’m a (grumble) Bears fan (grumble).
“I think religion has done more harm to the world than good and I really think it’s the single worst thing that ever happened”
Atheists are fine. Antitheists boil my blood. Oh well, that just means I have boiling blood now. ;]
On a serious note, amidst the variety of discrepancies between the aniblogging community, the general American population, and my personal perceptions regarding religious groups, I find the strangest ones to be the ones relating to Catholics. Obviously a relatively high level of unsurety was observed amongst Catholic anibloggers and you cite your own negative experiences of Catholics as well. As someone who isn’t currently, wasn’t raised as, and didn’t attend a school that was Catholic, the experiences I’ve had with Catholicism and Catholics in my fairly short life have been wonderful. Almost every Catholic I meet demonstrates the type of qualities I’d like to develop in myself, noticeably more than any other religious group I’ve had encounters with. There’s this astounding air of tolerance, warmth, open-mindedness, charity, love, and most of all faith hovering around these people and their churches. Of those qualities mentioned, the most surprising within the current American religious landscape seems to be the tolerance and open-mindedness; these people don’t care what religious beliefs you hold, they just love you and are willing to assist you in a variety of ways, I also find that they have a relatively very high interest in science and seem to be those on forefront of having open dialogues with and open participation in the scientific community.
Anyways, I find these studies quite interesting, keep up the good work.
Thanks for mentioning the positives you’ve experienced relating to Catholicism. I was worried that I might have been harsh on Catholics. Like you’ve said, many are wonderful people. Catholics, certainly, are known for charity – that’s not something that could be said of Protestant churches. Although there’s been a major recent movement in Protestant churches to really reach out and help the needy in communities, it used to be that participating in a soup kitch or opening a clothes pantry was enough. The Catholic church has always gone far beyond that.
Don’t worry, you weren’t too harsh, especially if all you were doing was basing what you said off your own experiences. Perhaps part of discrepancy in our experiences is that the experiences you cite are with Catholic-raised youth while most of mine are with Catholic-retained middle-agers and up.
I’m sure that’s definitely part of it. Most of my friends growing up were Catholic, and to be frank, most of my Protestant friends were just as hypocritical (I was particularly full of stupidity, immaturity and hypocrisy).
How so, if you don’t mind me asking,? It’s helpful to know what type of behavior demonstrates those negative values. If you don’t want to answer though I certainly won’t hold it against you. 😉
Personally, I was very self-righteous, although I would take advantage of people at every possible turn, was self-centered, said things that would never come out of my mouth today, and was a thief. I particularly remember back to my high school days (and even into college, somewhat) as time when I was a bad friend, a bad son, and a bad boyfriend. So that’s it, in a nutshell.
My Protestant friends were doing similar things, I suppose; in addition, some were drinking, having sex, and doing drugs.
Most of my Catholic friends were drinking and having sex. One, in particular, was thinking of being a priest (I remember being shocked at hearing he was “very religious); meanwhile, he would date several girls at once and tell about his sexual exploits (hmm…priesthood?). He also got into trouble for picking an a homosexual student. On the other hand, the other friend I had who wanted to enter the priesthood was very humble and always full of nice words and kind actions.
Chock it up, mostly I think, on youthful immaturity and a case of faith being part of one’s culture rather than having a heavy influence on one’s actions.
I’m apologize for posting another comment immediately after my previous one, and an off-topic comment at that, but it’s something I want to get across and the comment system has either been disabled or is malfunctioning for your article “Six Anime Recommendations for Christian Viewers”.
What I’d like to get across is a suggestion for an anime series that I think would undoubtedly be the seventh recommendation for Christian anime viewer you’d include in your list, if not outright replacing one of the six. The series I’m referring to is, unsurprisingly, from the writer/director of another series on your list (Eden of the East), Kenji Kamiyama. His previous project, Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit, whilst having essentially no Christian symbolism or references, is, like Eden of the East, a magnificent series, but also a tale of personal sacrifice, morality, responsibility, and virtually every Christian value imaginable, that’s unrivaled in the portrayal of those qualities within the anime medium. Such values can be found elsewhere in anime, but Moribito’s approach to characterization is so strongly rooted in realism that the aforementioned values are so much more significant, believable and effective than in any other series. What appears at first glance to be fluff-ish, typical and sensationalistic moral relativism and a lack of good and evil quickly reveals itself to be a serious, realistic and completely unsensationalistic exploration of moral dilemmas, the danger of placing too much spiritual importance on a human being, and the importance of keeping historical and religious understanding separate from that of governmental agenda and power.
I can’t suggest the series the strongly enough to a Christian anime viewer; perhaps also helping it is the fact that, besides the material aimed at children (not talking shonen material here, I mean actual children’s anime), Moribito has got to be the cleanest, most offensive-content-free anime I’ve ever seen. Thank you for allowing me make a suggestion, and as stated before, keep up the good work.
Thanks for the suggestion! To tell you the truth, I had been looking forward to watching this series for a long time, but when I started watching it, I quickly became bored. I know I should return to it – thank you for recommendation. I noticed that ANN is streaming it, so that makes this a good opportunity to watch it as well.
It definitely sounds like it would also make for good blogging material…a guest post by you would certainly be welcome. 😉
Well I suppose it could not be your cup of tea. I guess I kind of got ahead of myself in making assumptions about your taste. I think I figured that because you liked Eden of the East and you write such a mature blog that you’d really love Kamiyama and Oshii works, which isn’t always going to be the case. If you haven’t enjoyed a lot of those two guys’ work (namely GitS Stand Alone Complex, which is its sister series directionally), you probably won’t like Moribito. It’s very much a realism-based, character-based, adventure/drama; there’s not really any sustained action or melodrama, if one ends up enjoying it, it’ll be for the the variety of things Kamiyama is known to bring to the table such as his nearly unrivaled cinematography, intelligent and often complex dialogue, large amounts subtle and direct exposition that injects a marvelous sense of realism into an inherently unrealistic setting (the above three points are really the boredom-busters for me, I can watch Kamiyama’s series on repeat thanks to the entertainment I draw from that trifecta, if you don’t find that entertaining, I guess I can imagine finding some boredom with his works), ability to write for highly admirable and responsible characters, ability to cleverly and subtlely develop characters (which is done to a far larger degree in Moribito than in GitS SAC or EotE, perhaps because of the inherent situation of the plot in Moribito), ability to really pace a series very naturally (which is one of my favorite parts of Moribito, how, after five or so episodes of fast paced escape, the adventure part the series is shed for a while and the show relaxes into a heart-warming view of the evolving dynamics of family and the struggles experienced by members of that family in adapting to their new life), ect…
So hopefully, when you do go back to it, you’ll find a stroke of luck and enjoy it.
Thanks for thinking highly of me.
You know, it surprised me that I didn’t really enjoy the first few episodes. I can’t really put my finger on why I found it boring – events moving slowly and subtleness in plot aren’t things that generally bored me. In fact, these items tend to get me excited, especially since so much anime is more “guilty pleasure” rather than artful and well-crafted.
And so, I’ve always intended to go back and give it another shot. I did the same for another series that originally bored me earlier this year with Haibane Renmei, and I ended up loving it. Your comments about Moriboto just make me eager to return to the series sooner than later.
As for Oshii, he’s a bit hit or miss for me. For instance, I found GitS 2: Innocence a bit pretentious (albeit it’s been years since I saw it and I’m not sure how I’d view it now), but The Sky Crawlers is among my favorite films.
“I can’t really put my finger on why I found it boring”
That happens to me too, though far more often it’s the opposite situation: lacking understanding of why I found enjoyment in something when objectively it was pretty flawed. Pretty much always I can figure out why I don’t like something; I suppose I’m rather critical inherently.
“events moving slowly”
Strangely, for me, it’s the lack of that that appeals to me in Oshii/Kamiyama works. I suppose that’s not true if you literally and exclusively mean “events” (as in plot points of mentionable importance), in which case something like Moribito is fairly slow. But as mentioned above, that cinematography/complex-dialogue/realism-through-relatively-constant-exposition trifecta that so engrosses me into their works conveys, to me at least, an amazing sense of speed and seemingly constant activity.
“a guest post by you would certainly be welcome.”
I seemed to miss that before, sorry. That’s a very kind offer and something I’d be honored to do. I can’t necessarily say I’d want to absolutely, but if you’re willing to keep the offer open, I’d definitely like to think about it.
Also, speaking of Oshii, I think “Oshii Anime” on your blogroll should be “Oishii Anime”. :p
The offer is certainly still open. 😉
And thanks for catching that error!
Thanks for the offer Charles, but I think I’ll pass for the foreseeable future. I think my ability to appreciate and disect quality cinema and review it is strong enough for me to feel comfortable writing a review (after all, cinema is what I see in my future), but I don’t think I’m experienced enough in my faith yet to be able to write a whole review about a show that relates it to Christianity on any deeper than a surface level.
Thanks again. And thanks for sharing above some of the negative qualities of your youth that you’ve overcome.
Thanks for considering!
[…] Check it out – Charles of Beneath the Tangles put up his Anime and Religion Survey results, illustrated with infographics by me! It was a really fun project, and I’m looking for more […]
ah, one problem… atheism is not a religion, so having atheism (or agnosticism) as a choice by that question is ridiculous. atheism is say the absence of belief in a god of some sort, not the belief in the absence of a god of some sort.
Thanks for the enlightening comment – truth be told, I’ve always combined the definitions you give as one.
I like to use the old phrasing of “religion (or lack thereof)” when referring to one’s belief, but I didn’t in the survey. That error was one of many, but the aniblogger community is generally very chill, and I think most atheists who took the survey were fine with “atheism” being chunked in with the umbrella term of “religion.”
Just to clarify, I was referring to the question “Which religion do you admire most?” what I was trying to say was that you cant really admire atheism, seeing as atheism is simply the lack of belief in a god, nothing more or less, and not a philosophy or way of life like the others. I don’t mean to be nit picky, but that seemed to undermine the question at hand….
True – that was poorly worded. If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that an undertaking like this needs extensive proofreading and revision before it goes out into the world.
Thanks for the insight! 🙂
I’m glad to help 🙂
[…] find this religious survey by Beneath the Tangles quite interesting, at least as a spiritual snapshot. As the page I linked shows, we anibloggers […]