"It is said that God has created man in his own image.
But it may be that humankind has created God in the image of humankind."
- Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ
Last night I "interviewed" someone important to me in my life. Someone that I don't see very often and don't talk to very often, but somebody that I love and care about. Our conversations are always interesting. This article is an attempt to summarize and capture some of the questions that we discussed last night.
What religious affiliation are you?
None. I don't have one. I am still searching.
What does this mean?
I am an agnostic. I don't identify with any specific religion.
Does God Exist?
I do not deny the existence of God or a higher power. I accept that there are forces far greater than us, but I cannot understand them, and I am OK with that. I am not arrogant enough to know how the universe was created. God is not a human being, that I am sure of! I cannot accept that which is beyond human understanding.
Have you thought about the ramifications of this?
I think it is more important to focus on living better and being a better person right now. People are too caught up in the afterlife and creationism and preaching. Like missionaries who knock on your door and want to convert you. Religion provides us with a Moral Code. It helps us to live a better life today. The afterlife is not more important than our life today.
Do you believe that you have a soul?
No. But I'm not some horrible person, I just don't believe this. We have physical brains that have all sorts of neurons and chemicals that provide us experiences that we misinterpret this way.
Who is your favorite philosopher?
Thich Nhat Hanh... a Buddhist Monk who led the 2nd largest passive resistance movement in Vietnam in the 60's. He is now in a monastery in France. He talks about improving your daily practice here on earth. Being Mindful, being in the moment...
What is your favorite quote by Thich Nhat Hanh?
A quote that comes to mind is also the title of one of his books... "No Death No Fear". I also recommend his books, "Peace is Every Step: The Mindfulness of Everyday Life" and "Living Buddha, Living Christ"
Have you rejected your Catholic faith?
Does religion help or hurt society?
It should help to make the world a better place, but it can hurt also. Wars... fighting... Abuse of women in the Middle East, all in the name of God, etc.
This summarized the bulk of our conversation. We also talked about how spirituality helps one when dealing with death and how this is a positive thing. I also was able to listen to what it was like to be at a Quaker "Friends" meeting, where individuals gather in "silent expectant" waiting, until moved to speak on whatever subject that they are moved to do so. All are welcome. He mentioned that in the future he will "interview" me, and I welcome that opportunity.