Alexander of Ashita no Anime often provides me with thoughtful perspectives on things we’re both passionate about – particularly anime and religion. Our discussions are interesting because we generally have diverging opinions. For instance, Alexander is establishing a reputation as the alternative voice in episode reviews (he was disappointed in Sakamichi no Apollon before it was popular to feel this way), while I’m about as mainstream as they come. Our religious beliefs are similarly disparate – though we both have Christian backgrounds, I’ve clung strongly to my faith while Alexander is now an atheist.
A few weeks ago, Alexander sent me a link to lyrics from “Key Plus Words,” the song used in the ED for episodes 13 through 22 of Persona 4. I don’t think he’ll mind if I quote something he wrote about it:
This song is very powerful for me because it nearly perfectly mirrors the transition in my life from a confused Christian to a logical atheist.
The lyrics do certainly seem to mirror the journey many might take from starting as a Christian to discovering the truth that, as they might see it, Christianity is false. Consider the first verse (courtesy of the Megami Tensei Wiki):
hide and seek
it wants to play again
like a detective,
I won’t let it get away
it’s constantly costuming
with loads of fake
I will strip search
if I have to
no I’m not afraid to know it
no no no
I am so determined
to chase after what’s hidden
and seize this day
Many might feel weighed down by Christianity or even imprisoned by it. Adolescence and early adulthood often bring us to a point in our lives where we openly question everything we believed in (I know it did for me, as I investigated Daoism, atheism, and other beliefs). So, for one who comes to believe that there is no God, it must feel like quite a release from the “constantly costuming with loads of fake,” to “chase after what’s hidden” – the truth of atheism.
But the truth is, I wish more Christians would also take the spirit of these lyrics to heart as they seek the truth.
A strong argument levied against western Christians is that we are unthinking. Note that in Alexander’s comment above, he mentions that he is a “logical atheist.” Does that infer we are illogical? At the very least, it’s not a stretch to say that many of us Christians don’t think very deeply about our faith – really diving into scripture, thinking about the central tenants of the faith, or investigating claims that skeptics make about religion.
For some, like myself, it’s because we’re lazy or dispassionate. For others, though, it might be because we are scared that if we dig too deep, we’ll find something we don’t want to find.
But being brave is part of faith, which “is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). If you claim to have faith, put it into action and dig deep. In the words of “Key Plus Words,” be a “detective.” Don’t be “afraid to know it.” Consider questions that non-believers have; study the history of church and of scripture; and pray and meditate about the doubts that might sneak into your heart and mind.
Asking questions of God and of our faith can be difficult and painful. But for me, even though there are questions out there I just can’t figure out or adequately explain, my relationship with God has grown stronger. The more questions I have, the more I understand my role in relation to Him and the more I seek His truth:
I wanna know
even it may hurt
even it brings pain within
my mind’s determined
I need to know
even it may kill
even it may change me
ready to face truth
Persona 4’s end song implies a great adventure into the truth. Very few of us will ever have an experience worth telling as anime, but an adventure to find the truth is there, nonetheless. The question is, are you ready to journey on it and learn more about your faith?