Friday, January 8, 2010

Andrew Joseph

Happy New Year To Everyone!

We have our very first 'You, Me & Religion' Participant!
Our good friend Andrew Joseph.

Here is Andrew's Introduction:

Andrew was born in London, UK, raised in Toronto, Canada, and cavorted in Ohtawara, Japan for three years. He is 45, and has been married to his beautiful wife, Colette, since 2001. Their son Hudson was born in late 2005 and is a constantly evolving joy to behold. He has a chocolate lab named Buster, a cat named Spek and tropical fish and a few frogs. He collects comic books and aviation-related tobacco cards.Writer of Evil Scientist Quarterly #1 comic/magazine with artist friend Steve. It's a hit. He is the writer of the upcoming 2010 Free Comic Book Day giveaway of Gumby Comics. He has more money than brains - which is unfortunate because he doesn't have a lot of money. He is greatly interested in things that can make him laugh. He is happy and content. He also publishes a blog on his time in Japan: It's a Wonderful Rife at

1) What religion do you practice?

I don't practice any religion at the moment. I was raised a Roman Catholic, but after the death of my mother 16 years ago, I haven't given it too much thought. I tend to believe in God when it suits me, but feel that religion is the cause of too many wars for me to want to be part of any one in particular.

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 RAISED into this religion. You'll forgive my wording, but until one is Baptized, they aren't a part of the Catholic religion

.3) Would you consider yourself a moderate, conservative or other.

Very much a moderate.

4) In your opinion, what makes you moderate/conservative/other?

Even while growing up, I didn't agree 100 per cent with the dictum put out by the Pope. The stand against homosexuality or against birth control may have been fine in their day, but were NOT going to work in our current society. I felt that I liked being able to stay within the parameters of being a good Christian (following the 10 Commandments) without being tied down with all of the rules and regulations that the Church created - rather than God.

5) In your opinion, what makes someone conservative? What makes someone moderate?

I think (and I repeat the word THINK) that a conservative is more apt to follow the letter of the Catholic laws, do the whole tithing thing, and go to Church religiously every week. As a Moderate, I've always thought it silly that one needs to go to Church to be with God. Isn't God all around us? Can't I pray to God where and when I choose? That's my problem with the Church. It's not necessarily what the Church has done, it's just that I can do it myself.

6) What's your heaven/paradise like?

Never thought about it too much. Okay, that's a lie. I like to think there are a limited number of souls, and they get recycled/reincarnated into bodies throughout time. Heaven... the concept of living in the clouds is laughable to ME... it's like when you die, why do people visit the grave site... do they think the spirit is hanging out there? No... they'd be somewhere else. If you think they are waiting around and watching over you, then you certainly don't need to go to a graveyard/crypt to communicate... the spirit would be free to move about. I would hope that paradise is exactly what one wants it to be... an ideal time or place where one was the happiest... or maybe it's somewhere in the Universe IE, you get to travel to see what is beyond the mortal coil. Interesting question.... I certainly hope it's not angels and harps and having to bow to God all the time, because that would be boring. Every once in a while - fine.

7) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?

The Roman Catholic religion makes it pretty easy for people to get in to Heaven - as long as you follow the Commandments - BUT, even if you sin, you can recant it all during confession or on your death bed! Seems silly, but apparently those options are out there.

8) What makes your religion a good fit for you?

No one comes around door-to-door to bother me."Love and do as you will." That's what Saint Augustine once said. That to me is one of the best ways to live your life. In my version of religion, I try to do what he said... it's actually quite easy to do, and if everyone did it the world would be a lot better.

9) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?

Christmas, Lent... are the big Holy days in Christianity. I celebrate them like most capitalists... presents and chocolate bunnies. I no longer go to Church, but I do think about God.

10) Do you consider people of other faiths to be your friends?

I have NO problem in having friends of different faiths... it's not even an issue. I don't make friends based on anything but them being nice.Agnostic, Atheist, Buddhist (philosophy not a religion), Muslim, Jew, Christian... whatever. Religion is a matter of opinion... of faith. Everyone is allowed to have a different opinion, and I respect that. One of my best friends is a Protestant and goes to Church every week... I was engaged to a Buddhist in Japan, married an Atheist, have parents who were Catholic and Protestant and had a Jewish grandmother; down the mother-in-law's side, we have Mennonite. All with me being a visible minority, I'd be very hypocritical to have a prejudice.

11) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?

Sure. Explain why? See answer #10.

12) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?

I don't think about it too much. It's someones religion. If they choose to follow that religion as a conservative, then that's their prerogative. I'll be honest, I know very little about Shariah Law.

13) What are your thoughts on women not being allowed to become priests?

Seems old-fashioned - but then that's what religion is. If you want to start changing a religion to keep up with the times, then it's time for a new religion. You can't have things both ways. So... NO, in the Catholic religion women should not be priest, because that's the way it's always been.

14) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?

No segregation at Our Lady of Peace Church. I do think it's silly that women and men are not allowed to worship at the same time in the same place... BUT that's religion for you... if there was one good one for everyone, we'd all be doing it.

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?

Daily life? No. It does not affect me at all. Decisions about gay rights or abortion? I dislike the fact that religion takes a stand in Gay rights... why should sexual preference preclude whether or not someone is a good person. Abortion... if the Church was going to fully look after every child and mother that did not go through with an abortion, that's one thing... but it doesn't. I believe that in today's day and age, the ability to choose for oneself is the greatest thing we have going for us. Religion is all around us. We like to think that the Middle East is all screwed up because they let religion talk politics for them. But we have religion all around us. On our money, saying bless you... whether it's meant, we say oh god, or Jesus Christ all the time. In vain or not, God is around us.

16) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?

Go for it. Diversity is good. Being brown and having a white wife, or kid is a healthy beige. See #10... my family is already pretty diverse religiously.

17) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?

Nope. If there is a Heaven, it really depends on which religion was right at the end of the day. I think God is too busy to care about things like formalities (like what Religion/Church has created) or if a child was Baptized before dying.

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?

The Pope is supposed to speak for Catholics everywhere... but honestly, I haven't heard him say much.

19) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.

Hate - only racial prejudice. Taunting, name calling, fights.

20) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?

No. I feel that religion is there for anyone who wants or needs it. I don't feel that religion is for everyone, but before we are old enough to know anybetter, we are indoctrinated into it... it's why they get us young (Christian Soldiers, marching as to war). After getting older, and being able to make one's own decision, a lot of people might not choose a religion at all... or maybe they would. It's a choice to have faith.

21) Does your religion give you peace of mind?

My version of my religion has me at ease with the Universe, yes.

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