Duck Dynasty and religious literalism.


Huffpo has reported on a recent event where that old bigot dude from Duck Dynasty said some predictable bigot shit centered on his ‘religion’ again. In the Duck Dynasty dude’s situation he is more likely than not faking the whole thing for money (maybe). Duck Dynasty for a long time has cashed in on exploiting the ‘redneck’ discourse and image, when they have been historically anything but. The real concern is MILLIONS of people love the type of stuff bigot dude says.

This highlights a larger issue, that for many years some people like bigot dude when it comes to religious identification have been a bit off. Example: there are many who identify as Christian and either hate gays or just don’t want them to marry because of a little passage in the Christian bible… but they ignore the parts about how eating crustaceans is bad among a lot of other things too. When you read a text literally and act on it, this mistake of picking and choosing when to be literal becomes very important. There are plenty of Christians who do not make this mistake, and plenty of Christian leaders who don’t teach it. The same goes with almost all world religions: there is a divide between those who read a text literally and act on it, and those who don’t. So why?

Scholar Reza Aslan is the expert on how to answer this question. He narrows it down to the odd practice of ‘religious (biblical) literalism’: how modern people especially in the last hundred and fifty years have started to read religious text in a literal fashion, which was never done before by the societies who originally wrote the texts. If we were to magically transport an Orthodox Christian, Jew or Muslim back to the early days of their faiths’ practitioners, the originators of the past would have no fucking idea what many future practitioners were doing. This a gross over simplification of Aslan’s work mind you.

The situation’s even more broken because modern discourse on religion in many societies seem to posit these ‘literalism’ folks against everyone else. There’s not much room to factor in those who identify with a religion and do not practice ‘literalism’. Without factoring in non-literalism people into the religion discourse, the issue is framed as a problem with the religion and not what it actually is – a problem with education. There is a problem with how some people learn and teach various religions because of literalism. It’s the main culprit hidden underneath the more glaring issue of people trying to restrict others’ civil rights or kill them because “It was in the book”… which sounds crazy to do because it is crazy.

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