November 10, 2001 (idea)
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My teacher was gone today in physics class. After getting the assignment, a few people started to work on it. I did a few problems, but soon was ingrossed in a conversation going on behind me. I knew everyone that was talking and easily joined in.
Andrew had just said 'hell' for some reason and had apolgized to Beth for swearing. Beth is very religious. They got to talking about Hell is a place, which isn't a bad thing to say in that sense of the word. Quickly, though the conversation turned to religion. Andrew has told me before he is an atheist but following some teachings of Buddhism and Zen. Before moving here, he had attended a Catholic school. He wasn't showing off by not believing in God, but only mentioned it when deemed appropiate. Beth on the other hand is a very religious Christian.
Andrew talked some about Zen, which Beth saw no point in knowing. She told Andrew her views about God. Both of them were pretty mature about the whole thing, and didn't resort to name calling, etc. Beth told him that she would pray for his salvation, and that he may find God and Jesus Christ.
I'm sure you can imagine how the conversation went. Beth was quite ardent in letting Andrew know that she saw no point in learning about other religions. By this point Colleen, a friend of mine, and myself had joined the conversation. I argued that just knowing about a religion, didn't mean you had to subscribe to its beliefs. Andrew tryed again and again to get her to consent to taking a world religion class at some point in her life. She refused.
Colleen backed Beth up. Both believe that if you don't believe in God and that the Lord is Jesus Christ, you are going to Hell. Plain and simple. Poor Andrew, he didn't stand much of a chance. We did manage to change the subject, though to no better topic.
We began discussing war and violence. I hadn't said much during the religion debate. I go to school prayer every Tuesday morning, but thats about as far as my religion goes. I believe in God, and thats about it. But I totally agree that everyone should believe in whatever they want. I had to speak up on the violence and war, though. Andrew and I both agreed that violence and war is not necessary. Beth asked what about the United States' independence from Great Britian in the Civil War. I gave her a strange look and explain to her that she meant the Revolutionary War. She had just made an honest mistake and did know the difference. Andrew and I argued that the Civil War would not have needed to take place if violence hadn't been around a far stretch, yes, but extremes often help to prove a point). Slavery only was successful because of the violence used to insure their work. We talked a little about Afghanistan and what a draft and would mean. No one made any great arguments. I doubt anyone believed my declaration that I would rather go to jail than fight in a war.
We went back to religion and Andrew brought up a book about Zen. He asked if I had read it, The Eye Never Sleeps. I said no, and so did Beth. He said that he would let Beth read it, he thought she would learn a lot of interesting things from it. But he, half serious and half joking, mused if she might burn it. He said I should read it and would enjoy it. We had discussed books before and I trusted his taste in books. He told me it was in his locker and I could get it after class if I wanted to. I agreed. I'm still not sure why it was in his locker.
The book is quite good so far. I mentioned this to him at the end of the day and he promised me it was good, wiht 'swearing and stuff'. I laughed and went home.