While in queue at the bank earlier today I overheard three folks in a conversation about religion. It seemed to be Christianity-based. This elderly lady was talking to a 30-something year old guy who was asking questions concerning asking forgiveness/repenting for sins and such.
In any case, I got interested in the talk. I usually have my iPod on, ear buds in ears, listening to music or podcasts, but, what I overheard interested me. I removed the ear buds and listened for a few moments.
The elderly lady sounded quite authoritative (as elderly people tend to do) as she told the young man that if he truly repented he would not sin again.
The young man seemed reasonable in his questions; curious too. The third party, an older man, stood quietly, letting the elderly lady do all the talking. I wanted to get in on the conversation. I soon got an opening.
The young man mentioned something along the lines that he believed in god. I notice that Christians tend to reaffirm this quite frequently in talking of such matters to each other. It's some sort of minimum requirement that they need to frequently mention, as if to certify their stance as a good person. I jumped in: "Why do you believe in god?"
He looked at me. Both he and the elderly lady turned to me. I did not feel unwelcome to their conversation (but I may be fooling myself). The young man said that he feels there "has to be some greater power out there".
I shook my head and say "I see no reason to believe that. I see no evidence for any gods."
That got the attention of the older gentleman. He immediately spun around, eyes wide in disbelief in what he just heard. He asked me, as if to make sure: "You don't believe in god?"
I repeated my last statement.
"What then do you believe in?"
I expected this one. Gesturing with a pointed finger, I said, "That’s the one thing I do not believe in."
I tried to keep it simple and avoid a longer conversation than I was prepared for at the moment in the queue at the bank.
He looked at me in disbelief. Then muttered: "Where then did you come from?"
This was expected too.
"My mother and father got together..." I began.
"And what about them?"
"Well their mothers and fathers..."
The younger guy mentioned something about evolution and god. I told him that god has nothing to do with the evolution debate as evolution says nothing about origins.
The older man wanted my attention back. "Hey, I'm still talking to you." He proceeded to continue with his questions on where each preceding generation to which I was related came from.
This continued for a while. After each iteration he seemed to look at me with even more disbelief, more surprise. It was as if I was crazy or something. This was his argument for the existence of his god: I came from somewhere and that somewhere was god.
I mentioned that I see no reason to jump to the conclusion that god did it. Even if we do not know yet the origins of the universe, I see no need to stick a god in there as a reason.
Then he said, "You're a young man. You still have a lot to learn."
"I know exactly why I made that statement," I replied, referring to my statement of disbelief in gods.
"Yeah, but the way you talk shows ignorance!"
I shook my head. Just then, his turn came up in the queue. He went to the bank teller. The elderly lady and the young man had moved on already. The conversation, if you can call it that, came to an abrupt end. Nothing was resolved. But it was an interesting experience nonetheless. This is one of the few times I've publicly declared my disbelief in god. Each time it seems to get more visceral, intense. I appear to be the crazy one for doubting in something for which I have no evidence. It is surprising to me. But I can relate, because I was once like that. I once thought that way. I've just realized how much of a pain I was back then with regards to these things. Haha.
interesting.... I had something like that happen to me with my girlfriends family, "What do you believe in?", "Where do you come from?" are two questions that I am beginning to hate. I realize that most people are not capable of understanding the scientific theory so they just resort to "God did it" and the worse thing to admit is when I don't have an answer, they think because man can't answer we must be wrong.