Religion and knitting. Two of my obsessions in one. How can I not post about this? But I am out of time (I wrote this before I left on Sunday) and so I will just refer you here, where revere has some comments on PZ‘s quote in Expelled about how religion should be more like knitting.
So in the spirit of summer laziness, here’s what I like about the knitting analogy: it suggests the conditions under which religion would be relatively harmless, maybe even useful. Knitting is a private, or at least personal avocation. Knitters don’t want everyone else to be a knitter. They are satisfied to knit on their own or with other people who like to knit. A knitting club. It’s social. Knitting is a way for many people to relieve tension, or, when times are tough, to occupy themselves. For these people, knitting is comforting. If you’ve ever seen the products of really good knitters, it can also be creative, so knitting is a source of creative inspiration. Knitting is socially acceptable. It doesn’t set a knitter apart from their non-knitting fellow citizens. Whether you are a knitter or not isn’t a matter of personal worth. It is assumed that knitters are just as good people as non-knitters.
Excerpt continuation and video clip below the fold.
In short, knitting is unobjectionable because it is kept personal, it is not the source of invidious distinctions, it can be fun and lead to pleasant social interactions, it is a comfort for many people, and is a source of creativity and even inspiration. If religion were like knitting, I wouldn’t object to it.
But religion isn’t satisfied to be like knitting. It’s even outraged to be compared to knitting. Religion takes its knitting needles and uses them as weapons, not to knit with in private but to attack others in public. So while religion isn’t really like knitting, I agree with PZ. If it can attain the Revelation of Knittingness, there might be hope for it.
For more about how knitting can replace religion and be a source of spirituality, see The Knitting Sutra and Knitting Heaven and Earth (the second is one of my favorite books and I can’t recommend it enough) by Susan Gordon Lydon and Mindful Knitting by Tara Jon Manning.Â