Not Waxing Evangelical

‘For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible’ ~ Stuart Chase.

Misunderstandings. Collision of beliefs. Religion can be quite a touchy subject, something that we creep around in fear of offending others. What’s the etiquette for handling religion? With respect and intentions of creating constructive discussion.

I am not religious. If you wanted to categorise me I’d fit neatly into agnostic. Sitting on the fence. I also have my own thoughts on heaven, I believe in everyday little miracles and the existence of souls (an eternal living part containing our consciousness and personality). Part of me doesn’t want to accept that NOW is all we have, but maybe it’s the best way to make sure we live our lives to the fullest on earth. I have difficulty believing in an all-knowing omnipotent being as much as the thought of someone caring from above, listening to our hopes and prayers is comforting. But I have been known to utter a silent selfless prayer for someone when the going gets tough. Most of my answers come from within and not from an external source. Can a person be agnostic and spiritual?

Author and mathematician Martin Gardner said

I have no really good evidence for my beliefs but that it simply makes me feel better. You have far better evidence for your convictions but I just feel secure in my acceptance.

And in many ways this is reflective of my stance.

I have great respect for those who wear their faiths on their sleeves. Always interested to learn about the religious beliefs of others, I remember being taught about synagogues, Hindu deities and being amazed at how complex their interpretation of God was, agreeing with the life lessons and philosophy rooted in Buddhism and learning about the five pillars of Islam. Seeing the Christian view points on sanctity of life and marriage. My school did great at helping us learn about the diversity of religious groups and appreciating it.

Which takes me to last Friday. I got into a discussion with a young guy who was training to be a minister, partly as I was killing time and partly as he had me in a conversational headlock. The kind where it’s really hard to wrench yourself free. When I got home I googled the church he belonged to and he turned out to be an Evangelical Christian. Labelled as being extreme, taking the bible literally and heavy on the relaying of the ‘good news’,  I was surprised how accepting he was of my non-religious status and my curious questioning. He knew I had my thoughts, concrete yet flexible, and didn’t treat it as a conversion mission.

But there were a few things I couldn’t get my head around:

  1. His denial of Evolution. It boggles my mind how the world came together and how humans are these complex machines that work so fantastically perfect but my years of science offers explanations and evidence, logic and reasoning. Darwin would not be happy!
  2. 9 people had been cured of cancer at his Church, even someone with a flesh-eating disease had their condition improved through prayer. When I bought up that it could have been the support network within the Church leading to a positive ‘fighting’ attitude he was certain it was God’s love in the room that was the medicine.
  3. Increased ‘pestilence and earthquakes’ were a sign of the end of our world.
  4. There is one God and all other religions are wrong. This is basically what he told me when I asked what he thought about the many Hindu gods and goddesses and where other religions fitted in the scope of his beliefs.

Blinded by faith?

I find it hard to unquestionably accept things so I guess I found it difficult to understand his thinking, not accepting alternatives as possibilities (if they were feasible of course).

A friend once asked me if I thought religious people were weak, but my thought is the contrary – faith requires strength.

Go Darwin! Yes that is me in the reflection : )



Filed under Calgary, Life, NABLOPOMO

7 responses to “Not Waxing Evangelical

  1. I found myself nodding in agreement in so many places during this post. Kudos to you for being able to have a mature discussion about religion with a virtual stranger — I’m still in the place where I’d hold back on my feelings for fear of offending someone!

  2. Julie

    Yes I believe you can be agnostic and spritual at the same time. I call myself Christian but I’m not a Bible thumper. Actually before that I was Catholic because I was baptized Catholic but I definitely did not fulfill a lot of the rules and rituals because they did not mean anything to me. And I did not going to church often. I actually recently got into non-denomination Christianity in my senior year of college and I honestly wished I got into it sooner because I went through a lot of stuff back then because gave me that spiritual push that I realized I needed.

    I really do like studying all the different religions and belief systems. I actually really like studying Eastern religion. I remembered I took a philosophy of religion class, that was actually a lot harder than I thought.

  3. So I use to be part of an old church like this, the earthquake prophecies, the anti darwinism, the “blind faith,” as you said. There was also no dancing and no holidays in my church, I know, we were so cool! It’s hard to reason with these people, I left my church for my own reasons, but they’re on my ass about everything. They actually formed an alliance to not speak to me, what kind of church going morons don’t speak to they’re fallen brother in the faith. It’s like whatever though, do what makes you happy.

    By the way, good job on being pretty, it’s very distracting.

  4. unabridgedgirl

    Thank you for sharing this! It gives me a better insight of you, and I love it! 🙂 I am absolutely certain of what I believe and why, and I know that I have come upon what I believe through my own research and studies.

    I love learning about what other people believe, though. One of my religion classes in college was my favorite. Thanks so much! Great pictures, too.

  5. This was really fabulous, I am with with you on so much of it!

  6. i had a great conversation with a pastor once. speaking in the sphere of christianity, i asked him what HE believes happens to a man if he is a pure, selfless, and loving individual that did not believe in god. does he go to hell, because of his uncompromised belief system, despite his pure goodness? does he live in his own private purgatory? or is he allowed into heaven despite his unwillingness to believe in it during his life? the pastor, to my rare delight, said god does not differentiate between doing right by god and believing in him. the message is love and forgiveness and if your soul lives free of doubt and malice, there is nothing to fear. i said, if there is a god, that’s my god, and he’s the man.

    to sum up- faith is not religion. i believe in one. super wary of the other.

  7. The curing cancer topic is a tricky one – i read a while back that a man believed so whole-heartedly that he was dying of a life threatening condition or disease (because he’d been diagnosed with it) – and he actually did. However, after tests and post mortem, it turned out there was nothing wrong with the man. Nothing at all. Clinically, he was in the best of health but he, himself, was dead! So i guess that’s the other end of the spectrum – how could something like that, that is seemingly impossible, have actually happened?!

    On the religion-debate, i’m like many others and try not to get into discussions on religion unless i know who i’m speaking to, really well. I don’t have a faith as such, but my ideals fit in with Buddhism =)

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