Something jumped out at me when I was digging around on the Celebrity Atheists List. It bugged me, and I want to talk about it.
It was in the page on Ted Turner — the part talking about his divorce from Jane Fonda. Apparently, one of the main reasons Fonda and the atheist Turner broke up was that she had become a Christian. I quote:
Fonda’s divorce papers, however, were filed on the same day the New Yorker published an interview with Turner in which the 62-year-old media mogul said he and Fonda split up partly because of her decision to become a Christian.
“She just came home and said ‘I’ve become a Christian,’ ” Turner told the magazine. “Before that, she was not a religious person. That’s a pretty big change for your wife of many years to tell you. That’s a shock.”
But that’s not the disturbing part. Here’s the disturbing part:
Replied Fonda: “My becoming a Christian upset him very much — for good reason. He’s my husband and I chose not to discuss it with him — because he would have talked me out of it. He’s a debating champion.”
I’m going to repeat that:
I chose not to discuss my newfound religious faith with my husband — because he would have talked me out of it.
I would rather get a divorce than allow my faith to be seriously questioned.
Or to put it another way:
I know that my faith probably doesn’t stand up to reason. I know that I could be argued out of it. But I still want to have it — even if it means divorcing my husband of ten years. I’d rather get the divorce than be convinced that my faith is mistaken. I’d rather get the divorce than even take a chance on being convinced that my faith is mistaken.
How fucked-up is that?
I used to have a fair amount of respect for Fonda. Not anymore. And it’s not her Christianity that made me lose respect. I have respect for a lot of Christians, and other religious believers. But I have no respect for a Christian faith — or any other religious belief — that consciously and deliberately refuses to allow itself to be questioned. And I really don’t have any respect for a religious belief that would sacrifice a serious relationship — a marriage, a friendship, a family relationship, whatever — simply to protect itself from an argument against it.
Some religious believers welcome questions and robust argument. Fonda is apparently not one of them. Too bad for her. That’s gotta be one weak-ass faith.