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Decently Conflicted

April 7, 2009

So this weekend is Easter weekend. Every Easter there is the Egg Roll on the White House lawn. I love that as a country, we still can celebrate Easter in such a public way. I feel like religion gets pushed so far away from American culture that not only do people not publicly celebrate religious holidays, but they resent them.

A fair proportion of religious people actually scares me. I am not good with any large group of people all doing the exact same thing- it’s very cult-like to me. Anyways, two years ago, my youth group went to Puerto Rico for a work camp. We met up with four other groups from around the country. I never realized how relaxed my church was until I saw these other kids doing prayer circles and balling their eyes out because they suddenly feel saved. That was eye-opening.

I’m decently conflicted on the matter. One the one hand, I think religion should be a relatively private thing, but on the other hand, I want people to appreciate religion as a driving force for moral conduct and personal reflection. I have a friend who is apathetic towards all religions (her parents were raised Catholic but no longer practice) yet she wears a cross necklace everyday. A cross is not just an aesthetically pleasing shape—it is tightly associated with Christianity and Jesus and I feel that if you are going to wear it, you should probably believe in it to some extent. Another friend of mine is a steadfast atheist but she jokes about being Jewish. She says she looks Jewish because she has a nig nose and dark hair but she constantly vocalizes how stupid she thinks the idea of heaven and hell are as well as Jesus dying on the cross. Because she considers herself “Jewish,” she has a menorah sticker on the back of her phone. My best friend back home is Jewish and every time this girl says anything derogatory about Judaism I just wonder how one of my closest friends would feel having her religion mocked. I certainly don’t want anyone to push their views on me so I try to not push mine on other people, but something about it just rubs me the wrong way I guess.

I definitely have my fair share of problems with the Bible and some of the stories in it and the views Fundamentalists and steadfast Christians have, but I am resolute in the parts I believe in. As a scientist, I find it difficult to fathom a way in which all the pieces lined up in a specific way so that life could form. Learning about diseases and disorders, it is a miracle more of us don’t have 3 legs and 17 co-infections. I attribute this to some form of being beyond what I will ever understand. This isn’t necessarily a fatherly figure and I do not pray to Him/It/Whatever it is every night asking him to help me ace my chemistry exam (although my mom would be very disappointed to know this). I’m not sure just how far this divine influence extends, nor am I sure of the divine plan some people claim we all fit into. These are things I will have to figure out as my education continues and as I progress in my life as a scientist and maybe later as a mother.

My dad is pretty devoted, though not in a loud and obnoxious way. But he does read the Bible periodically and reads nonfiction books about the history of Christianity and Judaism. He is educated in his religion. His choice to be Christian was a rational one that is enforced by logic and reasoning. This is the type of Christian I want to be.

Oh and by the way, tonight’s the start of Passover.

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