I’ve watched just three minutes and 15 seconds of When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (Inō-Batoru wa Nichijō-kei no Naka de) this season, but those three minutes and 15 seconds, from episode seven, were awfully good. Found via a Tumblr post, it was of Hatoko absolutely going off on Jurai. I don’t have much context for the rant or for the series in general, but it was enough for me to make a connection. Hatoko, I feel, could be speaking to (or yelling at) a whole lot of us in how we treat religion.
The other day, I exchanged emails with David, a frequenter commenter on this site, among other things he mentioned was the purpose that mangaka and anime creators have when using religious imagery in their work. We all know that the Japanese often toss around religion for their own purposes without giving much thought to the source material. But that doesn’t mean these illustrators don’t have good head knowledge about the religion which they’re tackling – I imagine Hideaki Anno and Kazuma Kamachi, for instance, know quite a lot about Christianity, even if their stories are far from biblical.
The creators of such anime that deal with religious themes, ideas, symbols, and terminology have some head knowledge about religion – they often just don’t have the heart for it.
I get a similar feelings from Jurai Endo. As Hatoko complains in her explosion at Jurai, he tosses around religious (and other) terms without properly understanding them. They sound cool to Jurai, but does he understand the seriousness and meaning behind the ideas (and powers) he’s messing with?
Christians themselves, though, are sometimes the same – and we can’t claim ignorance. Many of us have grown up in church, have read the Bible, and attend service regularly. As such, it becomes easy to think of ourselves as mature Christians, practically if not expressly. It’s an issue of pride, I think, as if we could know so much about an infinite God that our minds could grasp all the richness of Him based on our own sometimes less-than-impressive study.
For me, the more I grow in my faith the more I realize how little I do know. I sometimes read scripture, hear sermons, or read blog postings, and am blown away; I become desperate to know more out of an understanding at how little I do know. It’s hard to imagine that at one time, I was satisfied in my knowledge. I remember being shocked when an accountability partner of mine, who is now a pastor in Korea, insisted that I needed to dig into theology – I wasn’t sufficiently knowledgeable about my faith.
Christianity is a dynamic, moving, powerful faith. You could study it for a lifetime and only get a glimpse of God and his grace. I hope that your heart will accept this distance between what we know and what we could know, and that you’ll take action to learn more from others (sermons, studies, podcasts, blogs – even anime blogs) and from prayer and study.
Here’s a chance, too, to listen to the wise words of wisdom from a usually unwise anime girl. Listen to Hatoko and treat your faith with curiosity and care.