Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Belief Panel

Yesterday the student activities group at Cascadia put together a public panel discussion featuring representatives of a number of theological (or non-theological) beliefs; there was a Muslim, a Christian, a Wiccan, someone who practices Ananda (an Anandan?), a Shaman, and me, representing Godless secular humanism.

Each of us gave an overview of our position, then we fielded questions like, “Does your belief system believe that war is ever justified?” or “How does your belief system contribute to racial harmony?” or “What does your belief system do to encourage others to follow it?”

As one guy put it, I was sort of the “cat at the dog show,” but I thought the whole thing went pretty well. It was strange to be a representative of the view that there is no all-powerful, all-knowing, perfectly-good Creator of the universe for a number of reasons, the main one, I think, being that unlike the other participants, who belong to some (at least loosely) organized club, I don’t typically get together with other folks who don’t believe in God and have meetings about it. Also, unlike the others, I don’t exactly feel like I belong to something; this is just a belief I currently have that might, if evidence becomes available to me, I might change. So it was a bit like trying to be a representative of I dunno, maybe that water boils at 212 degrees farenheit.

My favorite moment of the event was in response the question about what we do to encourage others to adopt our view; each of my fellow panel members talked about how their organizations actively or openly invite others to join; the Christian panelists encouraged audience members to visit her church, the Shaman woman talked about workshops people could attend; the Ananda fellow showed off his full-color brochure. I just sat there, until the moderator said, “And Mr. Shapiro, what about you?”

“I got nothin’ to sell,” I responded, to gales of laughter.


Blogger Arnica Montana said...

good to know you are a devotee of the same, "none of the above" cult as the Arnica.

We should get super high one night and go watch EXPELLED. I have seen the preview. looks like a big suck fest, but hey, at least we will be really high.

9:03 AM  

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