Sunday, June 10, 2007

It seems like I am required to believe in God, even though I don't.

It seems as if I have been writing about this topic quite a bit recently. I apologize, but this is very annoying to me.

My wife and I are in the process of adopting a child. She has been living with us for two years now, so it won’t really be a huge change. Just the legal status of the child will change. There are lots of hoops to jump through. One of them occurred yesterday, when we were interviewed by a social worker for what is termed a home study.

Throughout the paperwork we have been given so far, there have been several references and questions regarding the role “religion has played in our life” and describing our religious beliefs. I attempted to ask the lady why this question was even important. I was trying to make the point that I didn’t agree with those in today’s society who seem to think that, if you aren’t part of an organized religion, you are somehow not a moral person. She nodded her head like she sort of agreed with me, but plowed ahead anyway. When it got to the part about describing our values, she insisted in couching them in terms of our “spirituality” and our belief in a higher being, even though I was telling her, rather diplomatically, I thought, but without any equivocation, that we really weren’t religious people but had some very specific values and beliefs about how we treat ourselves and others with respect, truthfulness, and dignity. She plowed on like she didn’t hear any of this and wrote down something along the lines that, even though we didn’t attend a church, we were very spiritual people and other such nonsense. I wanted to talk about values and she wanted to talk about our belief in a God.

I thought this particularly odd, since she is Jewish and very active in her synagogue. It didn’t seem to matter to her that we didn’t share her particular faith. But boy, we needed to put down on that paper that we believed in SOME sort of omnipotent being. Ridiculous. But since I need this person on our side, and we are paying her a good deal of money to work this process through, I wasn’t going to sit and argue with her. I certainly felt like it, though.

For those people out there who might read this who consider yourselves good Christians, Jews, or whatever, please remember that your faith is not the only faith possible. It is the ultimate conceit, in my mind, that you consider your particular belief system as the only possible “truth”, and anyone who does not share it to somehow be a lesser person. That is pure baloney. People can have values without believing in some mystical being. Please remember that very interesting word, “faith”. Because faith means you are taking something at face value without any underlying proof. You must consider the possibility that you are wrong. Therefore, give me the same benefit of the doubt. It is possible that I am correct in my belief. There is no proof, none, one way or the other. Just because the Bible or Torah says they contain “God’s Word” and represent the “ultimate truth”, doesn’t mean they actually are. Proof comes from an independent source. Everything else is a matter of faith.

I try not to get too into this kind of topic very vigorously, as both of my posting partners are religious. I don’t want to offend anyone. I am just annoyed when our society doesn’t seem to be very concerned about offending me.

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