Saturday, May 21, 2011
Hello and Happy Saturday!
Thank you so much AnnMarie for sharing your faith journey with us last week. Your journey from Christianity to Buddhism was unique and very interesting.
Thank you AnnMarie!
Today we have a new interview so please welcome Wee_Beastie.
Wee_Beastie is an Atheist and I know you will enjoy his interview as well!
Here Is Wee_Beastie's Introduction:
I will keep the introduction brief, as my life is not the focus of this blog. I was born in Motherwell, Scotland in 1969, our family emigrated to Canada in 1974. I have spent the majority of my life in Cambridge, Ontario. I served in the Canadian Forces for seven years (1987-1993). I went to school in Cambridge, Ontario, and attended college in Kitchener, Ontario. I now work for a respectable company in Waterloo, Ontario for the last 11 years.
Anything more than that is irrelevant for this exercise. Best Regards… Beastie.
1) What religion do you practice?
I do not practice religion per se, I believe that there is a greater power, but nothing that has been or can be truly explained by any organized religion.
2) Are you a convert/revert or were you raised within this religion? If you converted, what did you need to do to convert? And what did you practice prior to converting?
I was raised protestant. Well, I went to church with my mother when I was very young… Sunday school every weekend… I still remember the nice pigeon-toed lady taking me on to the bus when mom didn’t go. I remember waking up one Sunday when I was about 8 or 9 and saying that I didn’t want to go. Mom was insistent, but my dad called out that if I didn’t want to go, I didn’t have to. It must have been the heavy roof on our house that stopped the bolt of lightning from striking me down right there and then.
3)Within your religion are there degrees of observance (ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal)? What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?
The only observances that impact me are the ones accepted by the government. Statutory holidays. But It seems wrong that one predominant religion exercises its influence across all faiths. With that being said, if all organized religions had their way, we’d probably only work around 10 days a year…
4)Within your religion what degree of observance are you ((ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal) ? Why did you choose this degree of observance?
It’s just another day off for me.
5)What is the Afterlife within your religion? For example: what happens when a person dies? Are there places for reward/punishment? (such as a Heaven/Hell concept)
Reincarnation. See below (Question 21). As for the Vikings, what a waste of a perfectly good boat.
As for rewards and/or punishments, I think that is related to our actions in past lives, as well as our current life. You reap what you sow; it just may not come right away.
6) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
I do not believe in a heaven or hell as defined by man-made religion.
7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
I do not need to dress up on Sundays, I do not need to fast, slaughter animals, make a pilgrimage. or give anything up for a specified period of time.
8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
The closest “holy day” is Christmas, when our family comes together. We do not celebrate it on December 24th/25th, but instead celebrate it when it is convenient to all involved. My family is very accepting, and understands that others who wish to hold to a more religious doctrine or calendar have precedence.
9) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?
I have or have had many friends who hold different beliefs than my own. I do not judge them, berate them, or tease them (too often – in jest). People are people, and friends are friends.
10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
If I had a friend who wished or requested my attendance at a “holy day” in contradiction to my beliefs, I would attend, respect the customs, rituals, etc., and make the most of the situation by learning their beliefs to avoid any chance of accidental offense. It is also a very good chance to learn, ask questions, and break down the barriers of ignorance that occur between radical factions within organized religion.
11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
If a woman chooses to wear a burka of HER OWN FREE WILL, then that is her choice. It is not my place to judge on any specific religion. ANY religion that dictates the rights (or restrictions) of any individual, regardless of gender, sexual preference, abstinence of alcohol, etc,) is restricting the freedom of that individual, which contradicts an individuals right to choice. This statement is not directed at Shariah Law specifically, but should be applied across any and all religions
12) Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?
I wish there were more free thinking women out there… but a woman should be able to hold in any position within their religious organization if they choose to do so.
13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
No. Anyone is welcome in my home (the closest thing to my church). As long as they have been invited, everyone is equal. Just bring your own beer, unless otherwise instructed.
14) 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?
Religion does not factor in to any decision I make. Why should my beliefs change how I treat other people? I try to treat everyone as equals, with the exception of those who bring it on themselves. Abortion is a woman’s choice, and gay rights/marriage is a label that should be abolished.
15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
My child would be their own person, and it is not my right to judge or influence any decision that they may make as a person.
16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
Not necessarily. I believe that any individual of any religion that treats others with kindness, respect and tolerance will be rewarded through their efforts. I have seen many devotees of specific religions who will berate and judge others because they do not share the same beliefs… and then go to church to be forgiven for their “sins”.
17) 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?
Well, I’m pretty sure the Pope would not be of my religious persuasion. He is the beacon of light and direction for approximately a billion Catholics, and would refuse an invite to come visit me because I offer nothing to him or his religion (although it would be fun to get him sauced, and then try on all of his hats). That being said, I haven’t actually invited him.
Every individual has “their own exact interpretation” of religion, so I doubt if there’s anyone else out there that speaks for everyone else. If I was to choose somebody, it would have to be me, and I agree 90% with me completely. I’m not perfect.
18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
Yes, I have been exposed to hate crime, but I do not consider myself to be a victim. From it I learned that there are weak-minded individuals trying to be something that they are not, who do not have the capacity to accept others, or be understanding when challenging their beliefs. The only thing that I will elaborate on is that it was in the military many years ago, and it was done by a regiment that no longer exists
It is the lack of public education on religious differences that create the rifts in our society. (this is my 17-word soap box moment)
19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
On the contrary. My lack of commitment or subjugation to an organized religion has opened my eyes to the world. Everyone is welcome to practice their own beliefs, and I would not judge or persecute any individual for supporting their beliefs, unless they were themselves judging first.
20) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Yes. The fact that I can live my life as I see fit eliminates the need for being guarded or restricted.
21) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
I believe strongly in reincarnation. I have had experiences in certain places that I have never visited before and say to others “I’ve been here”. These places are not local, as if I’ve been out with the boys late one night and forgotten, but ancient sites throughout Europe that I can identify with.
Thank you for taking the time to read my comments.