Sunday, November 8, 2009

Beliefs in Conflict

Someone I've known since my early years in college and I have gotten reconnected after many years. He was a grad student, I was a Freshman. He was my mentor as I was writing poetry outside of my classes. I'd met him through my Freshman English teacher who is now his wife of over 25 years.

Creatively, his guidance was, and is, invaluable. However, we don't "meld" when it comes to issues of a spiritual nature. "Poetic Owl" as I will refer to him, to protect his identity, sent me a link related to the topic of religion, more specifically, religious beliefs and I have to admit, the title of the website is intriguing to me.The website is titled "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?" and is a series of writings to promote the idea that the concept of God is largely a "fairy tale" for people who aren't "rational." While some would refer to such people as "atheists" the writings on this website mention that the term "atheist" is not appropriate, because it means that you have to acknowledge the existence of God to deny it. If you don't believe in God in the first place, why should you deny it. Point taken. The website goes on to state that at least three major religions: Christianity, Islam and Mormons (which I guess is not considered under Christianity, due to the rather different teachings espoused by that group (in the past, I saw Mormons list as a "cult" in some places.) Curiously, I saw no mention of Judaism, Hinduism or Buddhism. But perhaps I didn't read the material too closely.

In the website, if you deny the existence of God from the outset, then you are not an atheist, you are a "Rationalist." By virtue of believing something else that can't be proven, you are labeled "Irrational." The writings go on to divide rationalists and others, as "well" and "sick or delusional."  I do not see myself as delusional and think of myself as fairly rational. But that is my own self-interpretation. I do understand why someone might differ in opinion.

I'm fairly open-minded in my belief system, and I shared my thoughts with my friend and mentor. I don't wish to express the long, circuitous discussion I had with him via emails, but ultimately, I politely said this is just a case where we will have to agree to disagree. I am not seeking to convert him, and though he denied wanting to convert me to his thinking, I had to wonder. Or was he seeking validation for his views? I respect him, but again, I disagree.

No comments: