This is a conversation which began with a friend of a friend on a personal Facebook account. My friend is an atheist who posted this picture, and her friend is obviously not, as you can see by the comments of this person I call, ‘other’.
I had to chime in on the conversation, of course! I thought it was interesting enough to make a post of it. We all come at our existence and how we relate to the bigger picture from different paths.
This is the direct account of what was said, names removed:
Other: what would you know about prayer? just curious
[This was in reply to my atheist friend who posted the photo and who doesn’t make a reply here. The ‘other’ and myself take the conversation further…].
Maggie: We change ourselves by praying to God to help us be a better person, to be grateful, humble, respectful and loving, not to get our way. At least that’s what I pray for. And I do think that everything happens for a reason, that there is a divine plan. As in politics there are conservative religious, and liberal spiritual, as you know, I’m more of the latter. I see your point though, most of the prayerful are biased, wanting God to take sides. They want to be the ones in control instead of a loving non-judgmental God which to me is scapegoating, hypocritical, egocentric and xenophobic.
Other: If I may respectfully say, He is loving and also judgmental. Real love without judgement is not love at all but some warm fuzzy feeling. I agree that most people want to be in control of what God should and shouldn’t do in his/her life. There is no conservative or liberal God but only the God of the Bible. He is the One we need to get to know better and if our opinion differs from His then we are wrong. So I guess He does take sides: His. And we’d better be on His side 🙂
Maggie: My Opinion: I agree, God does take sides when it comes to the basics of “right” and “wrong”. It is up to us to make our decisions and reap the consequences thereof, “good” or “bad”. It’s called free will and personal responsibility. God doesn’t take sides with regards to religion. He loves all of us, unconditionally in a warm fuzzy way, not just a select few. He has His rules, but He is a loving father. I think we project our views on to Him, thus making Him a conservative, a liberal, or non-existent. No one really knows for sure, that’s why I think everyone is entitled to their opinion, without our judgement getting in the way. Who are we to judge?
Other: Perhaps when we read how Jesus treated the religious leaders who had their own opinion about God can give us a better insight what God thinks about religions. He hates false religions. He wants all of us to come to Him, to His reality and not what we make out Him to be. I agree, He is a loving Father but somehow I don’t think His love is the fuzzy, mushy kind. John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the [f]only begotten Son of God. ….and following verses. He asks us to judge! We definitely need to judge but WITH RIGHT MOTIVES not like the Pharisees and the other religious leaders did. If there are genuine “good” and “evil” then we must judge between them correctly like He does.
Maggie: We are operating from different premises, as I don’t use the Bible as my point of reference in the way that you do…So we’ll just have to agree to disagree…
Other: That is fine with me. I just wonder then how you come to objective truth? Or you prefer to be a relativist?
Maggie: I was raised Catholic, but my view of God is more comprehensive now. I’m not a relativist in that I do believe in one absolute truth, but I guess I am a relativist in that I believe that Truth is interpreted relative to each person’s conceptualizations. I’d say I’m an experientialist…for me, experience is the only true knowing. I believe ALL Holy books have value, but I prefer to interpret them from the mystical point of view, not a literal one. Mysticism is a common thread in all major religions, and “pagan” ones as well, meaning seeking direct experience of God. So I guess you could say the former is my objective truth, and the latter is my subjective truth.
The Facebook conversation between the two of us ended at this point. But would you like to add to the conversation here? I invite you…They who pray well together, play well together… 🙂
For more insight into this topic, check this out: “God Is Not a Christian” from the Huffington Post. It is an excerpt from the recent book by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize Winner.
I now end with this, just to show that I have a sense of humor even though I take things very seriously. When something is funny, even with gross generalizations, it usually means it contains a shred of reality… 🙂 I can personally vouch for the Catholic portion.