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Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Significant Add-on

I was talking to a friend, Jake, in the hallway today, lounging around before school started. I don't remember what exactly we were talking about, but the topic of us both being atheists popped up. A nearby student overheard us, and joined in our conversation.

Even though I've encountered my share of the crazier religious people, I was still surprised to see somebody my age so deeply entrenched in Christianity and his bigoted attitude toward not only those that are atheists and agnositcs, but of other religions as well (I found this out after relating the following conversation to a Buddhist friend). Normally, I get the "It's okay if you're not Christian, as long as you're religious" approach, but this was completely different. He nearly started attacking my friend and me.

Unfortunately, the student picked the absolute worst people he could have chosen to argue with, because my friend and I were both exhausted from studying, and are rather laid back and don't provoke easily though Jake began to get (to my amusement) more and more irritated today.

Me: blah blah blah atheist blah blah
Him: You're atheist?
Me: Yup.
Jake: Me too.
Him: You know you're going to go to Hell for that, right?
Me: I don't really believe Hell exists, so....you might as well be telling me that I'm going to Azkaban or Mordor for the rest of my life.
Him: You're denying the truth.
Jake: (shoots rays of apathy) If we are, why is is such a big deal to you?
Him: Just telling you that you're making a bad decision here.
Me: Oh, okay. Thank you for telling us.

*awkward silence on his part*

Him: Have you ever been to church?
Me: Yes, I've gone from first grade to fifth grade.
Him: And yet you're still not Christian?
Me: Yup.
Him: I'm telling you you're going to regret that for the rest of your life. When you die, you're never going to be able to enter Heaven at all.
Jake: (under his breath) And you are?
Me: Please don't try to convince me to be Christian using arguments that I don't believe exist.
Him: There should honestly be a commandment against not being a Christian.
Jake: There should also be a commandment against being an annoying idiot.
Him: You shouldn't insult me. (This was the oddest thing I've heard as a rebuttal, but to the poor kid's credit, his only arguments to support himself seemed to be "You're going to Hell", and he was running out of repetition power.)
Jake: In that case, don't insult me by believing that I'll listen to your stupidity.

After this, the kid had his own moment of awkward silence, and walked away. Jake and I began to talk about how random his butting in had been, and Jake said, "He should be able to believe what he believes, and I should be able to believe what I believe. And then everybody should stop bugging each other about it."

I agree with that point, but with an add-on.

People should be able to believe what they believe, and not let that affect others in what those others perceive as a negative way.

I'm not completely against religion - I've seen it help people, and raise their self-esteem and just generally make them happier with life. I've seen agnostics who, after Christian friends worked their influence, became religious. I'm really fine with pamphlet-passing and Bible-giving, and though it can get kind of annoying on occasion, it's never hurt me physically or mentally.

What I'm against is violence caused by religion, or constant harassment in extreme ways to start going to church. A kind suggestion, a couple of flyers - I'm perfectly fine with that because I realize that Christians get something from their religion and want to spread the goodness. After all, if I encountered something that bettered my life, I'd like to share it too. What I'm against is when they try forcibly for you to take this "goodness", because religion isn't for everybody. Whereas it helped my best friend rebuild his life, it created a huge strain on one of my other friends before she became atheistic. There are limitations to human beings, and one of them is the extent of belief. If we are doubters, then don't punish us for being that way. I'm rather sure that Christians don't want to be punished for being Christian, either.

7 pointed finger(s): raise an eyebrow:

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

That's another sad example of someone who is a Christian, but couldn't even begin to tell you why. I've always been much more impressed by people who just live out their faith showing love and kindness to others. Of course, I know atheists and people of other faiths who treat people with love and kindness too.

Oh well, I guess I'm destined for Hell or Askaban or Mordor oh no!

[zen] said...

Haha, me too. It seems to me that there are a lot of....I wouldn't say "fake", but rather "apathetic" religious people out there that become suddenly very vehement about the faith they normally lazily regard when it's slightly challenged by somebody.

I'll take my pick of Azkaban. 8D

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