“It’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know.” Agree or disagree?
To start with, I was going to say I disagreed with the statement that it’s never a good idea to discuss religion or politics with people you don’t really know. I had thought I was quite open about what I believed in. But now I am truly thinking about it, more in depth, I realised that I generally choose not to discuss my choices of politics or religion with my colleagues or anyone really!
I was brought up as a Christian. At a young age I was Christened and it was presumed I would go on to be confirmed. But something just didn’t feel right about it with me. I didn’t understand why people went to a stuffy old building to worship a God. Surely any act, no matter how small, can be classed as worship. Why did I have to prove it by being surrounded by a group of people where I felt I was the odd one out? I was younger than everyone there. My parents tried a number of churches but they were either too somber or too happy clappy. No happy medium! I found the hymns boring and the older language didn’t make sense to me. I slowly but surely backed away from regularly attending church. I just knew if I continued going there that I would be put off religion for life.
When I was at college I joined the Christian Union. I wanted to find out if there were any other like minded people there. Turns out it is basically the nerds club. There were like 5 people there out of a large campus of youths who wanted to declare they were Christian and do something about it. I gradually drifted away from these people too. Again, I just didn’t feel I belonged.
After college I went on an Alpha course which was recommended to me by a family friend. I was really starting to doubt that religion was something I wanted to do but wanted to exhaust all the avenues first. I studied hard during the several month long course and met a wide variety of people. There were group days, lots of prayer sessions, various texts you were suggested to read and topics to really think about. I found i just didn’t feel comfortable with any of this. Praying felt awkward. I have a very inquisitive mind and kept questioning everything. I frequently found myself thinking surely I can just live a morally good life without being religious.
When I let my family know that I was going to live without a religion, instantly there were questions. What did we do to make you do this? Did we raise you incorrectly? I saw it as a freedom not a failure. I looked hard, took in the options and made my own choices. I don’t need some old text to tell me what is right or wrong. On Sunday’s I don’t sit in a church feeling cold and bored. Instead I go for a walk and be with nature. I had never judged anyone else for having chosen Christianity as their religion, it isn’t personally for me but each is welcome to their own opinion, so why was I being branded as a Satanist for choosing to follow my own path. I’m not harming anyone and I’m not telling others that their way of life is incorrect or pushing ideas down other people’s throats.
This is when I learned that you never talk about religion or politics to anyone. They are very personal choices. Disputes and even wars can be started by having the opposing opinion in either. It is better to remain on neutral ground and not bring these things up. My family and In-Laws know where my heart lies now and although they possibly don’t respect it they know that I’m happy and my mind is made up. My colleagues probably don’t know I’m an atheist but maybe now a days it is more commonly accepted or presumed that you have no religion until proven otherwise.
Does this mean that my life is now only tiny because there isn’t an afterlife in my view? That when I’m gone that is it? I think this sums it up pretty nicely. All the particles in me were once star stuff and once I’m gone the atoms will be redistributed and be put to good use. Not gone, just redefined.