I had an interesting conversation over lunch today.
It was about religion. It was with two other guys. I think one of them called me agnostic. I said I wasn’t, because it’s true. We started to argue about the definition of agnostic. Then I looked it up, told them the definition, and they STILL didn’t believe me!
Anyway, the rest of the conversation is kinda my fault because after that I asked, “What do you guys believe?”
The are both Christians. I didn’t bother asking what denomination or church they attend. I thought that might get too specific. They explained some of their basic tenants. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before then. What was really interesting was when I dug down to how they view the Bible and heaven.
They believed the Bible was divinely inspired and thereby the word of God and undeniably true. I remember saying I didn’t like the Bible because of all the bad stuff in it, and they looked confused, like what bad stuff? Apparently the stuff I considered bad, they just reinterpreted so that it would be fine. For example, the the wife will submit to the husband, line of the Bible. They didn’t take that literally. They interpreted to mean the husband will be the ultimate decision maker, because some one has to, and without some one to make the decision nothing would ever get done.
On heaven, I did get a small split. One believed that heaven was only obtained through acceptance of Jesus Christ (JC) as the only way to heaven. I proposed a hypothetical person who was 50/50 good/bad person, but believed in JC. Would they get into heaven? Both said yes. Then I proposed a hypothetical person who was 20/80 good/bad person, but believed in JC. Would they get into heaven? One said yes, the other said no.
That is something I can’t get behind. I’m a believer in good acts will get you to heaven, if it exists. Regardless of whether you believe in JC or not.
Besides, I don’t want to live in a world where you need to be a Christian to go to heaven. Why would God be that . . . petty?
We talked for about another 30 minutes, after we talked about getting into heaven. But after that conversation, where I realized that was an irreconcilable difference, I just wanted to listen to understand what these people believed. We went back to talking about the Bible and God’s role in life, which to them was heavy. I didn’t tell them that I don’t believe God indirectly influences life, much less directly. I’m sure they would have freaked out.
The entire conversation was fairly pleasant. The only time when I felt offended was towards the end. The last thing I asked was what they thought heaven was. The one guy who believed JC was the only want to salvation thought heaven was being with God and pure happiness and good feelings. The other guy said happiness, but also quoted Robin Williams, who when asked if heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates said, “The concert begins at five, it’ll be Mozart, Elvis and one of your choosing.”. Then I told them I believed heaven was whatever you wanted and that I was sure if I wanted to come back to Earth and do this whole humanity thing again, God would let me.
They laughed, at me, and then called me Buddhist, which isn’t insulting, but proceeded to ask me if I remembered any past lives and if I had been a snake or a bird. That was insulting. What happened to all that respect we were showing earlier?
But yea, other than that, it was a good conversation. Mostly enlightening. Not because I learned anything new about Christianity, but because I learned something about those guys.
ah, religion is silly.
Spirituality for the win!