Entry #20 – January 25, 2016

Mark and Paul got into a bit of an argument on Friday over some minute difference in their respective Christian denominations. It was getting so absurd Kat had to remind them that they both believed that God exists, Jesus existed and was the Son of God, the Trinity is one being, and that the Bible is the Word of God, and everything else was minor and they should stop arguing about it. This is a perfectly rational argument that pretty much never works in practice, but in this case got Paul to question what her beliefs were. She replied that she was a brought up as an atheist, and remained so after learning about Christianity due to its place in our culture. She asked Mark how he could be a Christian after he’s learned so much about the universe, and he said that the wonders of the cosmos were a sign that they must have been created by an intelligent creator. I unfortunately commented that I found that argument completely unconvincing, which then led to everyone asking me what my views were.

I explained was raised as a Catholic, going to Sunday school for years and taking in all the teachings of the Church. However, sometime after my first communion I began to wonder if I actually believed any of the teachings or just memorized them. And honestly, I found that I didn’t believe for certain that God existed, which meant that the rest of the dogma was worthless since I didn’t believe in the most important part. Kat then said that I was an atheist, but I don’t necessarily believe that there isn’t a God either. I just don’t know.

Lauren then talked about how she was raised in a Jewish household, including the Bat Mitzvah and everything, but her family never talked about faith or went to synagogue. She referred to herself as culturally Jewish, but not religious. I guess since the country as a whole is culturally Christian, since we have national holidays for Christmas and Easter. My family celebrates both even though we never go to church even during those holidays. With the rate of non-religious people increasing every year I wonder how they will be celebrated a century from now, if they are at all.

I guess a lot of my lack of belief comes from my studies of history. It isn’t just all the wars fought over religion, but the reaction that people had when children started having higher rates of speech delay. We know what caused it now, but at the time a lot of religious people thought it was a plague punishing the country for whatever thing they were against, whether it was the Vietnam War, Watergate, disco, whatever. But even dangerous non-religious believes were prevalent, like people making loads of money pretending that children could be magically transformed by giving them expensive supplements or going on gluten-free diets without scientific evidence those things do any good. As if things like that would completely change the way our brains were hard-wired from birth. Then there were places people sent their kids because they believed they could be “cured” by using electrical shocks by poorly trained staff to discourage “bad behavior” that was sometimes completely harmless. It gave me a more cynical view towards believing anything that people tell me, although I don’t know whether it gave me too much or too little.

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