Saturday, June 18, 2011


Hello and Happy Saturday!

First up I wish to thank Kriss for his wonderful interview last week. I very much enjoyed reading your answers and thank you for sharing Kriss!

Today we have a new interview so please welcome KV.
KV is a Christian and I know you will enjoy his interview as well!

Here Is KV's Introduction:

"Hobby blogger and professional scientist. In my early forties and hence more conservative then I used to be. Married late, but to the absolute right girl. I am Dutch. If I were American I'd probably be a Teapartier. I smoke and I drink. I eat red meat. And I enjoy all three without shame. I spend too much time indoors at the computer and too little in the great wide open, though I actually like that latter more then the former. But hey, such is life, I guess. I'm not complaining. I get paid too good for that."

The blog:

1) What religion do you practice?
Christianity. Nominally I am Dutch Reformed, but I tend to incorporate beliefs and points of view from other denominations and even other faiths. My wife is Catholic, so some of that rubs off. In daily life I find some Buddhist principles are very useful. My approach to the core principles of my belief is on the other hand more evangelical then anything else.

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 in a Dutch Reformed family, but lapsed around halfway into puberty, when the principles my parents and the church taught became irreconcilable with what I read about science.
It took a few years of more study and life experience to see that the differences were not as irreconcilable after all, which is when I admitted to myself and God that I do believe. I got confirmed shortly after that.

3)Within your religion are there degrees of observance (ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal)? What are the defining differences between the degrees of observance?
I don't know that these differences can be described definitively. They are more descriptive and hence rather subjective. What may seem moderate to one might appear quite orthodox to another, and very liberal to a third.
This is a longwinded way of saying I don't know how to answer that question.

4)Within your religion what degree of observance are you ((ie. Orthodox,conservative, moderate, liberal) ? Why did you choose this degree of observance?
I'd say orthodox on principles, moderate in practice.
I do believe there is a God that loves us, watches over us (if we let Him) and that wants to stay in touch with us. I do believe Jesus was the Son of God and that He died on the cross for the sins of the world. It may be a more moderate view to cast Jesus as a very wise man, a teacher, as the Buddha was. But I reject that notion with a passion.
On the other hand I am not fanatically opposed to for instance abortion or euthanasia. I don't like both, but I can see there may be circumstances where what is forbidden becomes the only course of action. And it is then an issue between God and the person(s) in question. I don't think any of us have a natural right to interfere with that, other then to offer counsel when asked for. That goes doubly for state agencies and authority.

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)
Obviously yes. There is a Heaven and a Hell. However, I don't think either are places of 'reward' and 'punishment'. I belief that ultimately you chose where you go. That belief I pilfered from the late, great C.S. Lewis, who does a tremendous job explaining why certain people might chose Hell over Heaven in 'The Great Divorce'.

6) In your opinion, does everyone make it into heaven/paradise? If they do not, why?
I would hope they do. But I fear that some won't. Simply because having to enter Heaven means recognizing some truths that are just too unpalatable to some.
It has to do with recognizing your failings and accepting they are, in fact, flaws, deep flaws even. And it has to do with recognizing and accepting that you are *not* master of your own destiny, that you are not the centre of your universe. That there is One who overrules even you. If one is unable to accept these, Heaven may just seem the most intolerable of places.

7) What makes your religion a good fit for you?
I'd like to distinguish between religion and faith, if I may.
My religion, by which I mean Dutch Reformed Protestantism, doesn't fit me all that well, actually. Unfortunately none of the religions (in the meaning of organized faith communities) fit. In any religion there are going to be points of view being put forward that one doesn't agree with.
That is not to say religion is useless. I regularly attend church and am active in our community. I receive a great amount of satisfaction, joy and energy from doing that. And at times it provides invaluable guidance in spiritual matters. But a religion is a human creation, susceptible to human flaws and mistakes. Any organized group will have rules and guidelines, official and unspoken, that do not agree with my points of view, even after a long period of contemplation, prayer and meditation.
Ultimately faith is a highly personal thing between a person and his/her Maker. If the question refers to my faith, I must say that it fits quite comfortably. Because it makes sense. It is logical. More logical than atheism, even. Because it fits not only with the world I observe, but also with my instinctive feelings about the metaphysical. It offers an explanation for the universal morality we humans are afflicted with, and of why we find it so hard to keep that innate morality.

8) What are your holy days and what do you do to celebrate them?
The three most important to me, in order of importance:
1) Good Friday
2) Easter
3) Christmas
Obviously, Good Friday is not a day of celebration, but more a day of remembrance. It is the day we keep to remember the day that Jesus, God incarnate, died a most excruciating death to atone for the sins of this world. Since a few years we have a habit of attending a performance of the Saint Matthews Passion by J.S. Bach. It is beautiful music, but also the most profound sermon on the meaning of Good Friday.
Easter is spent in church and with family. It always is a joyous time, without actually anything out of the ordinary. It probably is just the entourage provided by the traditions (the eggs, the Easter palms) that puts you in the right frame of mind.
Ever since I met my wife, who is Catholic, Christmas has started early, with First Advent (the Sunday four weeks prior to Christmas). We sort of ease into the spirit of the holidays by putting on appropriate music, lighting candles and putting up decorations over the four week period. That also includes regular visits to Christmas markets, to soak up the atmosphere as much as looking out for new decorations.
Christmas itself is marked by a Christmas Eve church visit and two days of visiting and receiving family and friends. Outwardly it doesn't seem all that special. But it is the frame of mind that takes hold of you in the season. Heaven and Earth seem to be just a little closer to each other during those days.
I should make a special mention of Sundays in general. I am blessed with a wife who also recognizes the importance of that one special day in the week devoted to our higher selves. Devoted to family, friends and faith.

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

10) Would you ever join people of another faith to celebrate one of their holy days? Please explain why?
No, I would not. And I would not expect them to join one of mine.
A holy day is a holy day because of the spiritual meaning behind it. If I were to participate, I would be going through the motions outwardly. But as the meaning of the holiday doesn't agree with, and may run counter to, my faith, I would participate without being able to inwardly honour that spiritual meaning. Without honouring the spirit, the intention of that holy day. In short: I would be faking it.
That, to me, seems utterly disrespectful to who has invited me and the religion, the holy day of which I am attending. I would not accept this from others and I won't perpetrate it myself.

11) What are your thoughts on the burka, and Shariah Law?
Oh boy! Can I just glibly note that I think both are really very, very bad ideas?
I can be short about Shariah law: It is very detailed and comprehensive, seeking to regulate every nook and cranny of daily life. It doesn't leave any freedom to anyone and as such will (and does) create societies that are stilted and stunted, without joy, without creativity and without prosperity.
With regard to be burka: I loathe the concept and the thinking behind it. It is predicated on the notion that men are too primitive to control their urges and it is the responsibility of women to not give 'cause'. And while I recognize there are 'men' out there that indeed have no control over themselves, I think putting on a burka is the ultimate in laying blame on the victim and declaring the offender to be the victim.
That is why I find modern feminism so irrational. All during the 70's and 80's the feminist movement fought hard to expunge the notion of 'she was asking for it' from our (Western) society. That was a good fight and I am happy they succeeded in that respect. But for the life of me I can't grasp why modern feminism would want to turn all that back and argue that the veil and the burka are somehow a good thing.

12) Are women allowed to hold religious office (priest, minister, rabbi, iman etc) in your religion and how do you feel about it?
Yes, they are. And to be ruthlessly honest I have mixed feelings about it.
I have met some female ministers that were exemplary ministers. But lately I am seeing female ministers becoming the norm and with that the character of the church seems to be changing in a direction that is not altogether positive. There has to be a balance, and that balance is a bit lost nowadays, in my denomination

13) Does your place of worship segregate? If yes, how does this make you feel?
No, it doesn't.

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?
A faith or a religion is so fundamental that I think that it inevitably, even in ways you're not aware of, is going to influence how you live your life and how you make decisions. That is how it is for me.

15) How would you react/feel if your child wished to marry outside your religion?
That really depends on what she is going to do with that fact.
If she marries into another Christian denomination or the Jewish religion I wouldn't have any problems. If she marries an atheist, I would hope she holds on to her beliefs despite everything and I would watch with some trepidation. The same goes for marrying into Buddhism or Hinduism. If, however, she would marry into Islam or Scientology, that would cause me no end of worry.

16) In your opinion, if someone is not of your faith, will they go to hell?
No. I don't think the decision on Heaven or Hell is solely predicated on religion. See the answers to questions (5) and (6).

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?
There are many, many people who claim to be Christian and then go on and preach something that is diametrically opposed to the first principles of Christianity. One example well known in the US is reverend Wright, president Obama's pastor, who is preaching some corrupt version of black liberation theology that utterly denies the value and humanity of others.
Here in the Netherlands we've had a rather infamous case about a Protestant minister that published a book in which he explained why he was an atheist. The astonishing thing is: He is still up on the pulpit every Sunday, preaching his misbegotten, Godless Christianity to an adoring crowd.

18) Have you ever been the target of a hate crime? Please explain.
No, can't say that I have.

19) Do you ever feel like your religion devalues you?
No, the opposite even.

20) Does your religion give you peace of mind?
Yes, very much so.

21) Do you believe in reincarnation? Why or why not?
I do not. But I did for a while, even as I already was coming to terms with my Christianity.

1 comment:

  1. Very much appreciate the honest thoughts on #11. Just went on a tubing trip and saw two canoes each with Mother, daughter and son in a canoe. I am strongly persuaded they were Muslim as the mother in both cases was in the middle and she was with the burka, mostly covered, and the son and the daughter were not covered. Not sure where father was at the time. Maybe out on golf course also without covering? In both cases the mother had the paddle. I do NOT like women covering themselves in this way unless it is a nun who is making a point of it for modesty. A married woman is of necessity to a happy marriage to take care of her appearance and while each of these women had beautiful children they themselves were covered up in material. It struck me as wrong in so many ways, and your answer gave the feeling the proper articulation. Thank you!