While on vacation, the dinners were wonderful. Our friends prepared a new meal for us every night. Wait a minute, one night we had leftovers. Well, we had a new meal prepared for us most nights. One should not be greedy.
In addition to the incredible meals, the dialogue was a treat, too. Some nights, the kids gathered at the Little Tikes picnic table discussing the grossest way to eat noodles, while the adults sat at the ‘Big Tikes” table, talking about science, marriage, politics and religion.
For some, such topics would equate to sheer and utter misery. (I’m referring to the talks about science, nature, politics, and religion. Obviously, conversations about the grossest way to eat noodles would make for a wicked cool conversation.) However, I find those topics fun and entertaining. Keep in mind, I’m different.
During one of the dinner conversations about marriage, I asked Rob why he married me. Our host and hostess laughed, as Rob deliberated before answering my question. 60
minutes seconds later, Rob said, “I married you because you are different.” We all laughed out loud, and the host said something along the lines of, “Come to think of it, Lenore, you do the different thing very well.”
Speaking of being different, the host and I are different. By that I mean, he and I have differing views on politics and religion. He is an atheist, and he leans toward Democratic political views. Me? Well, I consider myself a Christian, and I lean more towards Libertarian/Republican political views. Thankfully, he accepts my – ahem – shortcomings, and he allowed me and my family to stay in his home and enjoy the wonderful meals he made.
One night, the host and I had a heated discussion about religion. My husband sat silently at the dinner table, while the hostess excused herself, having witnessed enough of his religious debates. She mentioned that while her husband touts himself as being open minded, he is pretty stubborn when it comes to his view of religion.
He and I went back and forth about why we believed what we believed. He touted peer-reviewed scientific data and I touted faith. Funny thing about faith, proof is rare to non-existent. Whereas my friend had more ‘meat’ to back up his side of the argument, because proof is found easily within science. My friend’s viewpoint is fact based, and my viewpoint is faith based. He spoke of books and journals written in this day and age, and I spoke of one book written thousands of years ago by scholars as told by other scholars, passed down decades after everything was said to occur.
I admit, I felt intimidated, as my friend spoke of hypotheses and proven theories. (Though even a theory can prove to be incorrect with time.) And, as is often the case in my experience, my friend spoke of zealots within the Christian community, Christians starting wars, etc.
I don’t discount everything my friend brought to the table, I merely believe there is something greater found in faith. I believe faith is bigger than religion. Faith in God is bigger than Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, etc. Religion is a word. There is no ‘meat’ in the religion. The ‘meat’ comes from faith – the belief in something on the basis of … Well, I’ll leave that up to you. One could base their belief on hope, their inner voice, scholars, etc. And, like my friend, one could base their faith on science.
My friend’s viewpoint was not new to me. When we arrived at their house, I made a conscious decision that our family would stop saying grace before meals. (Please know, neither the host nor the hostess would have mind had we said grace.) As odd as it may sound, I respect his atheist view. I saw no reason why my family should partake in a ritual that could be perceived as a trivial rambling by a person of no faith.
During our heated discussion, I told my friend that my family was deliberately not saying grace before meals. Quickly, he made it clear he didn’t care if we did or didn’t say grace. My response to him was simply, “When in Rome.” Though I do not mean that in the literal sense. I do not go around adjusting my life like a chameleon, ever changing to fit the color or pattern of my surroundings.
The afternoon following the debate, my friends went to work. When my boys sat down for lunch, I asked them to say grace. My friends’ kids were sitting at the table, too. Their oldest said, “We don’t say grace.” Then my oldest said, “What? You don’t love God?”
What followed was a neat dialogue between four kids – ages 4, 5, 6 and 7. I stayed out of the conversation, letting the four of them talk about what they believed and/or what their parents believed. I was fascinated. Once they were done talking, I looked at my oldest and said simply, “Joe, not everyone believes in God.”
I accept the fact that not everyone believes in God, and I accept the fact that those believing in God have differing beliefs. Differences do not bother me. Frankly, learning about differences strengthens my faith. In my world, God created everything. And, in my world, science can explain how God created some things. But, in my world, science cannot and will not ever explain everything. I believe God will keep some of the ‘how’ a mystery. I love a good mystery, don’t you?