Saturday, January 29, 2011
Hello and Happy Saturday!
I wish to thank Beth Chapman for her wonderful interview last week. Thank you for sharing your journey with us Beth!
This week we have a new interview so please welcome Carina.
Carina is a Christian and I know you will enjoy her interview as well!
Here Is Carina's Introduction:
Hi, my name is Carina. I am 28 years old, married, and work in communications. I love long walks on the beach and starlit nights… just kidding. I am introspective and like deep conversations, so I really enjoyed answering these questions. It was hard because I kept thinking that there is so much more to say but I have to keep it short. Well, I tried to keep it short… Thank you, Debra, for the challenge. I had fun articulating what I believe and why!
My website is www.soulchat.ca.
1) What religion do you practice?
Christianity, of the Protestant variety. I attend an Evangelical Free Church, though I have nothing against any other denomination.
2) Did you convert or were you born into this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I was born into a Christian family, and my parents raised me to follow those values. In University, I decided that it was time to make the decision for myself whether to follow Christ or not. After looking into many different religions, such as Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism, I determined that I would choose to follow Christianity. Thus, I believe in Jesus Christ, and accept his death, resurrection, and ability to forgive sins.
3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.
I never really think about this! It’s a hard question to answer because most people have different ideas of what makes someone conservative vs. liberal vs. moderate. It also depends if you’re speaking politically or religiously or whatever.
I guess if I had to define myself, I would consider myself conservative because conservative implies “favouring traditional views and values, or marked by moderation or caution.” I tend to hold to the traditional values of Western culture, which originally come from Christianity.
4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?
I’d rather not define myself as moderate/conservative/liberal/partisan/whatever. I’m a wholehearted follower of Jesus Christ, and so I’m always trying to become like him – this makes me Christian (if we must put a label on it).
5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?
Generally, I think in political terms when someone uses the terms conservative or moderate.
According to Wikipedia, “The Conservative Party [of Canada] generally favours lower taxes, smaller government, more decentralization of federal government powers to the provinces and a tougher stand on "law and order" issues. It is also opposed to the legalization of cannabis. The party favors more spending on the military, and harmonizing standards.”
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, moderate is “professing or characterized by political or social beliefs that are not extreme.”
I have no opinion on what makes someone religiously conservative or moderate.
6) What's your heaven/paradise like?
It is the most amazing place where people get to live forever with God. It is a place of absolute beauty and peace. There will be no more tears or pain. Everyone will have a perfect body. Each person will have a mansion in heaven, and the streets are lined with gold. It will be a place of community with God and others.
7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
No, not everyone does, even though God’s desire is for everyone to do so.
Some people don’t because of sin. The Bible says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."(Romans 3:23) Not a single one of us could honestly say that we have never knowingly done anything wrong. This wrongdoing is called “sin”.
Because sin makes us unacceptable in the eyes of a perfect God, he sent his son Jesus Christ to take the punishment that we would otherwise have to take. Just how a prisoner must serve his time to be set free, Jesus “served our time” by being put to death. His payment for our sin makes us acceptable to God.
We can only make it into heaven, to live with God, if we acknowledge that payment for our sins, and seek to live a life that pleases God.
For a detailed explanation, check out the article called, “Why won’t living a good, moral life make me acceptable to God?” (link: http://www.greatcom.org/resources/toughquestions/tq9/tq9d.htm).
8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
It fits my personality well: I’ve always been concerned with justice and truth, and caring for the less-fortunate. Christianity is based on the ideas of God’s justice, but tempers it with his mercy. Truth is of ultimate value. And God is distressed when the less-fortunate are taken advantage of.
9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
My holy days are: Christmas, Easter, and Sundays.
At Christmas, we do much of the same things other people do – decorate trees (but with a star or angel on top, to signify the birth of Jesus), give presents, and have people over for dinner. But we also read the story from the Bible about the birth of Jesus Christ (on Christmas morning); we donate our money and time to less-fortunate people (with the intent of sharing about the importance of Jesus’ birth); and we attend a special Christmas church service.
10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
I’ve never been invited to another faith’s celebration before. Depending on what would be required of me, I’d probably be willing to attend. But there are a few things I will not do, such as knowingly eat food that has been dedicated to another god.
12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
A) The Burka: I am personally opposed to women wearing the burka in Canada. I am NOT opposed to women wearing the hijab, because it is an expression of modesty (which is to be admired). But I find the burka is culturally inappropriate here in Canada, because one’s face is equivalent to one’s identity. Forcing women to cover up their faces so they are unrecognizable in public removes their individuality, and they become faceless and often nameless.
In Canada, the importance of equality between all individuals including between men and women, is paramount. However, women themselves should have the freedom to abandon the burka. In France, legislation has been proposed to ban wearing the burka in any public place. I hope legislation like that will never be proposed in Canada. As Calgary Herald writer Naomi Lakritz said, “Stripping these women of their burkas will only cause the men oppressing them to step up their behaviours in an effort to find new ways to control them. The men are likely to take out their resentment at being made powerless by the state, by brutalizing women even more. Women's lives will be made less, not more, free as a result. The first generation of immigrants always clings stubbornly to the ways of the old country. It is the second and third generations, born in the new country, who absorb that new country's ways and shed the old ones. Hence the universal scene of immigrant parents speaking their native language to their children, who answer in English. Legislating dress codes does not speed the process. Nor should any democracy legislate what its citizens can or can't wear.”
B) Shariah Law: I do not know enough about this subject to comment on Muslim law in particular. However, I do think that in general, the extreme separation we have in Western culture between church and state is not always healthy. There are values and ideals built into religion in general that help to keep our government balanced and well-rounded. Having a plurality of religions which are able to speak into politics, or public schooling, or even health care, makes us more understanding people and increases our willingness to listen to each other.
To explain what I mean, consider euthanasia. If we truly had no religious input, it would simply make economic sense to euthanize people who make no contribution to the greater good – people who are terminally ill are only a drain on the economy. But because many religions value life, that influences our lawmakers to say that euthanasia is (as yet) unacceptable in this country. Thus people who are terminally ill still have the right to choose to live their life to the end. Without religion speaking into government issues, they would not have that choice.
13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?
I disagree with the concept. I can see where it comes from, and the cultural norms that made it necessary when, in the Bible, Apostle Paul stated to a particular church that women should not have spiritual authority over men (see 1 Timothy, chapter 2, verse 12). This is a complex issue within Christianity, because of the different ways the Bible can be interpreted: literally, figuratively, or contextually.
I personally believe that God calls women into spiritual leadership. My cultural context today is not the same as it was in the first century. For example, in the first century the Church allowed slavery, something we would not allow today. And the role of women in the public sphere was different in the first century than it is today. Therefore, women should now be allowed to become priests.
14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
15) How much does your religion affect your daily life and how much thought do you give it when making a decision? Does it affect in any way your decision on abortion, gay marriage, etc?
It fully informs all my decisions. I try my best to live my life to follow God’s instructions to love your neighbor as yourself – which means going out of my way to show love and mercy to people around me. When I have a major decision to make, I often pray, asking God to guide me to the right decision.
It definitely affects my decisions on abortion, gay marriage, etc. My guiding principle is love God with all my heart and to try not to do anything that would dishonor his name. That means that because God loves women who have had abortions, and gay people, and so on, so I will too. I will not speak or act in ways that disrespect them.
16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
I would feel distressed and upset. But my faith is not something I could ever force upon my child, otherwise that would make me a hypocrite. God allows us the ability to make our own choices in life, and I will allow my child that same freedom.
17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell? Unfortunately, yes. I believe this because the Bible says, “God gave us eternal life; the life is in his Son. So, whoever has the Son, has life; whoever rejects the Son, rejects life.” (1 John 5:12) Everyone has the chance to accept eternal life by believing Jesus Christ died for your sins, and accepting God’s forgiveness. Jesus reiterated this, saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life! Without me, no one can go to the Father.” (John 14:6)
18) Who do you think is not a practicing ----- in your religion and why? ie who in the public domain claims to speak for your religion? Do you agree with them or not?
There are many practicing Christians in the public domain. Some of them carry their faith well, bringing honor to my faith. Some have slipped up, (sometimes majorly) bringing disrespect to Christianity.
I greatly admire Billy Graham. He is a good example of how a Christian should live: with humility and grace, never seeking riches or power, simply doing his best to live with integrity.
19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
No, I have not. I have experienced rudeness, judgmental people, disrespect, and mockery because of my religion, but it’s nothing that other people haven’t experienced as well, for their sexual orientation, gender, or skin colour. And nothing so bad that I would call it a crime.
20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
No. I am made in the image of God, and for that reason I am priceless and deeply loved by Him.
21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Yes. I have experienced answered prayers. I have seen God work in my life. I know Him as a friend, and trust that He has the absolute best for me in mind, so when bad things happen He can use them to bring good things into my life. Especially when life is rough, He can turn those situations around, even if it’s just to change me into a more patient or more loving person.
22) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
No. I believe we have one life to live, and that we need to make the most of it while we are here on earth. The book of Hebrews in the Bible says, “We die only once, and then we are judged.” (chapter 9, verse 27). Besides, reincarnation doesn’t make sense. If you were born perfect in the first life, how did you mess it up and need to be reincarnated?