Tuesday, September 09, 2008

diaideologue

Spent a few minutes tonight speaking with the Christian Mythologists on my front porch. While Lucas immediately wanted to chase them off with a stick, the two fellows who approached my door seemed like pleasant gentlemen so I engaged in conversation with them. One was a young man in his late teens, who attempted to shove a booklet into my hands, and the other was a man in his late twenties, who clutched a bible close to his chest.

Now, I really do not like it when people approach me and say, "Here, take this." My first response is, "What the hell is it?" When I found out that it was propaganda of some various Christian sort I quickly declined, not wishing to add to the landfill and told them that I was Buddhist. Most of the time that sends them on their way but not this fine evening. They pressed the issue and I finally had to inform them of my exodus from the Christian life. They were a little shocked, which always happens, but then I suddenly found myself explaining the various reasons I don't believe in the biblical authoritarian view of God. I told them that I my version of God related more to the incredible vastness of the Universe and that instead of focusing on what happens when we die, what I find that is most important in life is how human beings relate to one another right now, during our present condition.

They continued to ask me many questions and as I was a little nervous, I probably wasn't making complete sense and was keeping things as abstract as possible, not dropping any Buddhist terms on them or anything. I wanted this dialogue to come from the perspective of our human similarities, something we could all understand. But the most important thing I needed them to comprehend was that the bible was not the ultimate truth for me and in actuality, I have some extreme issues with how it was edited and compiled and presented by people just like them.

Now, the two young gentlemen were very responsive and engaging with regard to what I had to say. They asked questions and said to me that they were impressed with how involved I was with understanding the philosophy of life in the best way possible, which I thought was very respectful to me as a human being. But out in the parkway, was an older man who was listening intently to the conversation. When it appeared the two younger gentlemen had accepted my explanations, at least to the point where they were about to leave, this other person spoke up.

The first thing he said to me was, "Can I give you this?" He was holding forth more propaganda. Once again I had to request that he inform me of its nature before I took it (apparently he wasn't listening when I declined their pamphlet earlier). He told me that it was the New Testament. Well, I already have one of those on the bookshelf in my living room so why would I need to take his, to save space in the landfill and all. They were all a bit surprised by this but then this older man proceeded to tell me the story of his connection with the bible. It was all very honest and sincere, but as he spoke about and quoted from this good book, I realized that he was using all of the same terms that I already refuted to his friends. I was stupefied so I explained to him what I had already told the other two guys, thinking that perhaps he wasn't listening earlier. Well, when he began again, he simply started right where he left off. The main thing that he was doing was referring to God as "He" or "His". This really irked me because the very first thing that I said to all of them was that I didn't like the biblical version of God; a man, out there somewhere, watching over us. Then, here was this guy speaking about God in those terms. What the hell?

Finally, I couldn't let the man blather on anymore so I asked him, "Why does God have to me a man?" Silence. He didn't know what to do. Finally he spoke and stumbled across this answer, "Because it says so in the bible."

Are you kidding me? That's it? This guy was too much and it suddenly became apparent to me that he was the leader of the trio, that he was simply there to observe the younger gentlemen as they proselytized then step in when they faltered. Well, I guess they picked the wrong house because if that's all that you got, "Because the bible tells me so", then you are pathetic. At least the first two guys engaged in real dialogue with me, they kept trying to bring it back around to their point of view, but they were actively involved in the conversation. At least they weren't robo-christian 3000, "MUST CONVERT HUMAN. BEFORE HE BURNS IN HELL. BIBLE IS GOD'S WORD." Jesus, man, if you want to have any effect on people you have to see them as human beings first, then you can worry about whether or not they should be converted.

And that's the real truth of it all in the end. Not everyone is going to connect to whatever religion or philosophy on life that is presented to them but there are a multitude of paths that can take us to where we want to go; enlightenment or heaven, ultimately happiness. The purpose of any religion is to help human beings find that place. I know that some people out there can discover the beauty of that notion using the bible and the Christian Mythology. That's great, by all means eat it up if that's what fulfills you, but when your philosophy takes you to a place where you only look at a person as a convert to your religion and not as a human being standing before you or help you communicate with that person strictly on a human level, then your philosophy has failed to serve its designed purpose.

We are all the same in a fundamental way. No matter what our life condition may be at this very moment, we all have the same unlimited potential as human beings. We can all strive, from this moment forth, to reach that heavenly ideal that exists in every religion. In Buddhism, it is a profound happiness that we call enlightenment. In order for religions to have the power to change the world in a truly positive way, this idea of perceiving every person with this amazing sense of equality must be at the center of the philosophy.

It felt extremely rewarding to speak to these people tonight, even though it was frustrating at times and I'm sure the leader of this troupe was probably just as irritated with me. Yet, I affected his life dramatically. I asked him a question that he couldn't answer with his limited perspective. I don't know, maybe that will open him up to the diverse world around him. I also believe that I connected with the two younger gentlemen who initially approached my home because as they bid me good night, the teenager gave me a quick, knowing smirk.

Labels:

1 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

entree?

9:24 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home