Yes, I am no longer subscribing to any form of organized religion or belief (they call it Atheism, but i find it inaccurate, insufficient). And also, yes, I haven’t been more satisfied with this decision. In fact I could say that I recommend it.
But sometimes, where the mind is eloquent, the heart stutters.
I wouldn’t go on the specifics in the spirit of confidentiality, but I am working in a Christian organization. But just to be clear, I am not involved in their religious activity as much as my credibility is concerned. Sure, its awkward sometimes but what’s life without being out of place once in a while.
But sometimes, I am appalled by my own failure of character.
In a recent encounter, I was asked blatantly if I was a Christian. I said with an embarrassed smile that I wasn’t. If that answer wasn’t enough, I was further probed, “Are you a Catholic?” (Yes, being Catholic is not the same as being “Christian” apparently).
The next thing that came out of my mouth surprised me. I answered “Yes.” I felt my heart crumple in that moment of weakness. What was I thinking? Well, I reflected afterwards– a lot of things.
I answered yes to avoid discussion. I answered yes because I believe that my personal convictions has nothing to do with the duty I was there to fulfill. I became the condescending jerk I hated the most. I was dishonest. I didn’t give the other person a chance, and I have grown twisted and mistrusting of the humanism that is the core of my secular belief.
I was neither an Atheist nor a religious person in that moment of intellectual betrayal. It taught me a lesson, my conscience bothered me throughout the day.
But how does one answer such difficult question? For the issue is not only personal, but also a social and political one. Despite what many secular say, it is perfectly valid that the religious will demand an explanation. And it is one’s moral duty to provide a satisfactory answer. Probably, many of these people have never considered getting away from their flock. It is also possible that the lack of exposure to arguments against and for religion is what made them the way they are. Will one deny a person another choice which you think is better?
The missed opportunity for a truly intriguing conversation about life and god will be my embarrassment forever.
Reposted with permission. First appeared here: themanilareader.com