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He Boiled For Your Shirt

Published April 19th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson

I’ve added a few additions to the store, including the “He Boiled For Your Sins” shirt above. I got some upset emails about the ‘He Boiled’ designs posted here before (some of you will remember Kaitlyn’s He Boiled poster from a few weeks ago), and at the time I felt it was too polarizing to add to the store. But a few things have turned me around since then.

I talked with some of the upset people and tried to understand why this design, more than others, irked them. What I heard was that they felt it was directly mocking Christianity, directly mocking Jesus for his sacrifice and you’re wrong to question what I know to be True. The conversations were for the most part civil, but I detected a sticking point around the idea of Original Sin.

There is a strong belief that Jesus died for mankind’s sins among this group, and a strong belief in Original Sin – the idea that we are born guilty, or born with a tendency towards a sinful lifestyle. Only “belief” is not a strong enough word – they felt it was unshakable truth, and that questioning this was the highest offense.

I feel everyone has a right to their beliefs, but I also feel strongly that no ideas are above scrutiny, and that Unquestionable Truths have dangerous potential, whatever the idea at the root of it. The context makes it an unstable force, not necessarily the content.

Original Sin is True, therefore unbaptized babies in non-Christian countries are doomed to Hell. The people who can believe this without inner conflict are under the influence of an Unquestionable Truth.

So then, the shirt. Is there value in questioning in what Can Not Be Questioned? I think there is, and I think the people who do the questioning are working for the cause of reason. Some people will only see our group as being willfully disrespectful. Some of us will only see theirs as culture that values irrationality, that rejects reason. But I have talked to many religious people who believe faith is not a virtue – or at least, that faith is not necessarily a virtue – who value reason more than dogma. These people don’t feel threatened by our group. All in all, I think this shirt is a force of good in the world and I hope most people will get that.