Just a quick one today. Work is really piling on so I’m not getting much chance to blog, hopefully after exams I’ll have more time.
I had an interesting conversation with Stuart (President of the Student Humanist Society) about Interfaith. I’ve been very much involved in this kind of thing, much to the surprise of the religionists at the Chaplaincy, as I think the society has in the past come across as very ‘militant’, as much as I hate the expression.
Stuart’s position was that it’s a very useless, facile, wishy washy excercise to have people with totally contradicting beliefs sitting around a table together pretending to be friends, what’s the point? I replied that you don’t have to hold the same beliefs to partake in the exchange of information, and in the meantime we can coordinate joint events together (such as a joint application for funding which we tried a few weeks ago), and learn about religions and cultures we otherwise wouldn’t know about. That’s pretty cool!
Stuart then said that it’s hypocritical to have people working together when each of them believes the others are going to hell! I agree it would be much easier to bash religion if people did think and act that way, but that idea of hell is totally outdated, noone I know thinks of hell as fire and brimstone, it’s a separation from God and all that’s good. The point I pushed most, though is that when religious people look a “heathen”, they don’t think “you’re going to hell”. First and foremost they see another human being, and in that sense they share common ground with humanists. It’s where scripture and practice differ, even if the text says you should be killing people of other faiths, doesn’t mean that’s what you do.
It’s becoming something of a problem, all this interfaith stuff. I’m really mellowing out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not succumbing to any religious belief, I’m just becoming less outspoken on matters of religion and atheism. I may soon be undeserving of the title “not-so-friendly humanist”.