I was walking home after a nice evening with friends (I'm trying to end my dependancy to my car), when I overheard a fascinating conversation in the street.
A small crowd of 3 people is having an animated conversation about religion in the middle of the street. Amused (curious?) I linger around, listen in, and eventually join the conversation.
As it turns out, they're all born again christians, some more than others.
So far, so good. I mean, I don't buy in the group worship thing, but I beleive in freedom of religion, so why not ?
The Cold Entree :
I was amazed at the guy's persistence. No matter what argumentation I would present him, he would just persist in his sales pitch without addressing any of the issues I was raising. The "conversation", which I would prefer to call a conversion attempt resolved in me telling him that his frequent interruptions meant that he was disrepecting him, at which point he lost all coherence and told me that Jesus was disrespected when he was telling the truth. I took this as it flew by and said that then I must be telling the truth and left.
What truth was I saying ? A very relative one, I guess...
The Warm Soup :
Raised a Roman Catholic, I turned my back at age 15 on a religious practice that I felt was old, disconnected from the world and inappropriate to my spiritual needs. Though I gave up the practice, I kept the principles and values, and still define myself as an agnostic of catholic influence. I keep my roots, leave the dogma behind and stay open to mystery.
The Plat de Resistance:
When I was a child, I thought that God was like a father who had different children, with whom he had a different way of communicating. To me, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Bouddists, Hindouists etc. all relate to the same divine entity, but in a different way which is fit to the individual, the culture, etc. Because my point of view promotes diversity, tolerance and moderation, the direct conclusion to it is that ANY FUNDAMENTALIST practices (be it Christian, Muslim, Jewish or whatever) has got something wrong with it.
The Cheese :
Fundamentalism promotes a one-way attitude when looking at things. It promotes the existence of a sole truth, that can in no way be relative - only the fundamentalist is right, and everyone else will go to Hell (litterally!). A fundamentalist can do no wrong, because he is governed by God in all his actions. A fundamentalist will go to heaven no matter how bad he behaves, because he was "born again" in God. Basically, they take all the teachings of Jesus and keep only one, which is to beleive. The others don't matter as much. Non-violence, charity, generosity, love, hope all are much less important than the imperative to "beleive". In a way, in this system, the Lord is a banker. He invests in you, and if you pay up by buying in the faith, you go to Heaven. If you're a sceptic like me and you live a life of charity, love, and tolerance, you'll go to Hell. Isn't there something wrong with this picture ?
I'll leave you guys with a quote from an iconic made-in Hollywood movie from my teenage years :
Little Girl : "Why are you black ?"
Azeem : "Because Allah loves diversity"
(Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves)
ON ON !