Today I left Raleigh, headed for Nashville, for a few days at home before the upcoming shutdown at our plant. I almost missed my flight actually, because the watch I was wearing was set to the wrong time zone. This realization set in motion a race across the city, in the rain, and caused me to just make it to the airport in time for boarding. Only to find out that the flight had been delayed a bit and that I was in fact, totally fine. I laughed to myself at the irony and my fortunate stroke of luck. I met up with my colleague and my recounting of this to him caused a bit of a chuckle, which was fine because the world could use a little bit more laughter and humor. Anyways the point of the story is below…
After choosing to sit emergency exit row, because that’s the spot where you get the most legroom in exchange for a little responsibility. I met a man, Frank, who, sitting across the aisle looked like a nice person to chat with. He asked me if I’d ever been to Montana, and was thrilled when I said yes. So we chatted all about the West and how awesome the states of Montana, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming are. He works in radio, and had covered those areas, so naturally he’d been to all those places.
After this gregarious chat, he asked me if I liked to read. “Of course I like to read,” so he then asked me if I have ever read the Bible. I’m an atheist. I don’t prescribe to any religion. It doesn’t mean I have a problem with religion, it simply means I don’t value it in my life. So…”No, I’ve never read the Bible.”
My bright and happy demeanor showed him that he hadn’t offended me by asking so he said, “Oh, you know there are a lot of good stories in there!” So he began to share several of them with me: David vs Goliath, Noah, Jesus healing people and about the “New Testament.”
He very much enjoyed chatting about the Bible and the lessons and stories contained within it. So I didn’t mind if he continued talking about it. Having never heard the stories really spoken about, it never occurred to me how ridiculous some of them are. And you can immediately tell the mysticism and the ignorance of the time and age of when these came about. And even he, a fully functioning, and mentally capable person appeared to honestly believe this. Especially this “ark” business. Really? 2 of every animal on earth in a ship? That’s crazy! How do reasonable people believe this and other stories within these religious books?!
Religion provides people with answers to questions and provides them a network of other, like-minded individuals, in a safe and inviting place to gather, talk, and learn. At most it provides a community and on this, I think, is the reason most people are members of places of worship. But why don’t they question these crazy stories?!
I was not going to interrupt or challenge Frank as he told these stories to me from across the aisle. It brought him joy, his storytelling method wasn’t offensive, and it made the 1 hour 40 minute flight pass quickly. Win-win!
He really meant well by telling me about the bible and I could see that he sincerely hoped I would get curious about reading it since its in every hotel I stay in. But, I won’t read this book.
When I was younger, I was always sad to find out that people I became friends with were religious (Christian mainly). I’ve had many bad experiences from very devote, very fervent believers of Christianity. So, hearing them tell me of their religion of choice (if it was Christian) caused some mild sadness like “dang it/ (small sigh) damn” variety, since I would then assume they were close minded and unchangeable, the antithesis of liberal.
I realize now that I was in fact the ignorant one and this former position prevented me from seeing anything other than my assumption. It was completely self-affirming and totally biasing my confirmation. I’m still working on this and occasionally, I catch myself thinking this way upon first meeting people. Hey, the first step to fixing a problem is admitting there is one!
But this doesn’t change the ridiculous nature of religious stories, especially if they are taken as fact. Maybe that’s what scares and upsets me about meeting religious people. I assume they can’t be reasonable. I know this isn’t true. Humans are complicated creatures and many opposing views are held together in concert. Or maybe it’s that they can justify terrible things because “God said so.” I’m pretty damn intelligent and I really need to figure out how to explain this, not only to myself, but to others.
This is also another reason I have this blog. So I can document my growth and development as a human being and also, to potentially benefit others with my insights.
Will it change the world? Who knows?! But I can tell you right now, I feel better now that I’ve gotten this out.