So I'm hanging out at church today (yes I go on occasion) and I sit down to have a chat with a lady I just met the day before. She and my wife knew each other of course, but this was the first time I ever really talked to her.
Turns out she's a self admitted atheist. So of course my question is "Uhhh, then why are you at a church?" Which of course here response was "I want to know how other people of faith think and process the world around them. The only way to do that is to talk to people of faith." I'm paraphrasing here of course. Our conversation lasted an hour and I don't remember exactly what she, or I for that matter, said.
The thing that struck me most was this, she really didn't want to talk to me or tell me that she was an atheist. After we started chatting she finally told me what was up and why she was there. She had a particular person she liked to have discussions with there about things of faith. That person was not available, so she got stuck with me. I was really kind of shocked by the fact that she thought I would be judgemental about the whole thing. Like she expected me to jump up and yell "Thou art going to HELLLLL", in my best southern preacher voice.
Now, I'm am a far cry from a bible beater. I have my own views on religion, spirituality, and how those things get applied by us humans. But I've never felt shamed by people for those beliefs. But apparently she has had that happen rather regularly.
So, once again, a small conversation got me thinking about people and how we treat each other. It seems to me that we are all getting a little militant when it comes to religion. How often have we looked down our noses at someone because they have a different belief than we do? Probably more often than you want to admit if you are really religious. How often has one religion said that they were the only true religion and that heaven could only be obtained through them? If you want to go historically on that statistic it would be damn near 100%.
What's happening with religions today just doesn't make any sense to me. Isn't the number one rule to be kind to each other? Love thy neighbor and such? We sure the hell aren't doing a lot of that, at least it seems that way. We see all kinds of news where one religion or another is doing exactly the opposite of what they are preaching. No wonder the woman I sat and chatted with was wary of telling me.
It's easy to judge. I'm guilty of it, I do it a lot more than I'd like to admit to. But when we can't see the human being in front of us without a religious filter on, then something is terribly wrong. The blame doesn't go any further than you and I as individuals. We create this existence that we live in.
She was a cool, cool human being and we had an hour long conversation about a wide range of things. At the end of it I was glad that we got to know each other. My sincerest wish is that her belief, or non belief if you will, would have absolutely no affect on her interactions with others or her life. Unfortunately this hasn't been her experience, and I can imaging it hasn't been the experience of a lot of people.
We can always say "This is just the way things are". But that's not good enough anymore. Shouldn't we be trying to build the world we want to live in?
Until next time.