Friday, April 17, 2009

Crucial Conversations

Last night I participated in an interfaith dialog. It was an interesting experience. The group that organized the dialog insisted that my dialog partner and I have a meal together first. So like a week ago the organizer, my dialog partner, and I went to breakfast together. My dialog partner’s name is Humza. I had never met him and was excited to meet him; he is Muslim and I didn’t know anyone who was before I had met him.

The breakfast was cool. We all got along just fine. We agreed to the topics that we would discuss later. We agreed to talk about our different beliefs in the afterlife, how our beliefs were shaped, how society sees us, and things like that. We couldn’t do it that day; the organizer couldn’t get all of his camera equipment ready till later in the week.

When we met last night I discovered that we had quite a few differences in opinion, but we were able to find a lot of common ground. Islam is quite the polar opposite of Atheism. Humza is a cool guy. Something that we agreed on was that no matter how we believe and no matter how others believe we still have to live with people who don’t believe the same as us. We can ether fight them about their beliefs or you can just learn to accept their beliefs.

He and I really disagreed when it came to thoughts about the afterlife. Islam has a significantly different idea of heaven than I thought. He told me that after we die, Muslims believe that our body tells Allah about our sins. We don’t speak with our mouths, but things like our feet and hands speak to god and tell him about our sins. As an Atheist, I don’t believe that anything happens after we die. I believe that the rewards that we should receive for the good that we do in this world, come to us in this world. Seeing as this is the only chance that we get to live our life.

I really enjoyed the dialog. I found things out about my ideology. There was one question about the difference between speaking with someone to understand their faith and speaking with someone to convert them to your faith. We both agreed that when trying to learn about another’s faith, religion, or ideology you can’t have the end goal as a conversion. You must be able to have an open mind.

1 comment:

  1. So, by attending an inter faith function, are you admitting that atheism IS a matter of faith?