Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Real Christian?

I've taken a new job registering voters on the streets of Richmond, and this means that I have a lot of interesting conversations with people every day. Yesterday, I registered a woman who had never registered to vote before because of "religious reasons." We had earlier established that she was a vegetarian, so I put two and two together and asked her "Oh, are you a Seventh-day Adventist?"

I immediately regretted this question, because I thought it would cause her to go into her conversion speech, but was pleasantly surprised that she just started talking about her beliefs in a reasonable manner. She told me about her journey, how she spoke to god on a blanket in her living room, how she stopped going to church because people there were too "prescriptive." Then she started talking about how the religious right has twisted Christianity into a hateful, literalist, unreasonable faith. She had earlier told me about how she was really excited to see Sarah Palin speak until she actually started talking and spitting hate. She even spoke against religious intolerance, saying that everyone has a different path to follow.

As she spoke, I realized I had come across a real rare gem: a Christian that actually follows the spirit of what jesus did. As far I can tell, Jesus was a pacifist, a political activist, and one of the most tolerant people that ever lived. Its only been through centuries of dogma, power struggles and mistranslations that his teachings have been turned into what we see today. As we ended our conversation, I left her with this comment: "I think you're the closest thing to a real Christian that I've ever met."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thoughts Part II

So I'm sitting in class (let me specify: a science class) and I feel the need to blog. I was just thinking about what a terrible atheist I am. Even though I am a Biology major, and I believe all the stuff that goes with it (AKA stuff "proven" (as much as something can become fact) by the scientific method), I must say that I am not an atheist because of science but because of faith. Even though I know that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, the vast majority of my belief, or lack thereof, comes from faith. To be honest, I am no better than the religious folks. After a while I just felt in my gut (like Stephen Colbert!) that nothing like god or souls or spirits or afterlives exist. In fact, I don't believe anything exists, but that's another story. Maybe all of this comes from some sort of self-association with the philosophy of nihilism, but who knows? I blindly walk, led only by feeling, through much of my life, and this is no different. People can cite logical arguments against god at me all they want, and I will believe them. But they don't move me to really feel strongly about an issue like, well, gut feeling does.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


This isn't really related to a specific story, but is composed of some thoughts about my atheism.

I've realized more and more that I don't necessarily object to other people's ideas of god (unless it's like the man with a beard/more physical stuff). But I have heard some people's interpretations as more of a spirituality that holds us together, or maybe just some abstract form of energy. Now, I am not one to be spiritual, but I would object to this view a lot less, I have discovered, than I would object to the idea of souls and an afterlife. My feelings on this are: as a society we are so afraid of death (we are constantly trying to extend our life expectancies with medicine and make ourselves look younger with plastic surgery) and yet the great majority (85%) of this country believes in heaven. This makes no sense to me. If people truly believed they would live forever in heaven, why would they be so scared to die? I call BS on the part of the American people. I, for one, will admit I am scared of death because I know this life is it. So what I'm really trying to say is, I don't necessarily object to people's ideas of abstract deities if that is what they choose to believe. I do, however, get riled up about the idea of eternal life. This finite life is all we have. And we should make the most of it.