Let’s Talk About God and the World Or: How Not to Start an Argument With Religious People

At quarter past four I came down the stairs of the underground station. My poncho was fuzzing and my blue suit pants were all covered in little, light brown pieces of wool.

I had just then realized how late it was and told myself that I should stop paying visits to the bookstore so frequently and for so long , before I got my Kindle out to read until the train arrived.

“Excuse me, may I ask you a question?”

A male voice got me out of my thoughts as I started a new chapter in the book “The kangaroo Chronicles” (Die Känguru Chroniken) by Marc- Uwe Kling, which is basically a German satire book about a communist kangaroo who is friends with a comedian.

” I am doing some research and need to ask a few questions if that is okay”, the man continued as he saw that I looked up from the little, grey screen.

The train was about to arrive in 2 minutes.

“Sure. Ask”, I said, still confused what exactly was going on.

“Do you think this world can be saved?”, he asked and looked at me, his eyes full of hope and with a huge question mark in them.

Because most people who ask this sort of question usually refer to global warming and the idea that in a few years poor little Holland may entirely disappear from the planet due to rising sea level, I assumed that this is what he was talking about and gave him the standard answer. Yes, we may be able to save it. Reduce CO2, save electricity, plant a few trees, save water blah, blah, blah.

That was not all he wanted to hear and asked if I was getting on the arriving train, too. I did. I had to get home after all and it was a 1. 5 hour way.

He took the seat next to me and continued.

“Well, but what about wars? What about divorce and domestic violence and all?”

Here’s where I understood. So this is about religion and not global warming?? Oh…ooops. Divorce is a sin, eh? Probably a Catholic then. Now that is what I call moving on thin ice. Stuck in a train wagon with a Catholic in search for answers. Oh joy…

I look too nice. Too friendly. That must be it. People think I am cute and innocent. Maybe I should die my hair black and get a few piercings. Maybe then they’ll stop talking to me at random?

“Oh you know…you can’t fix everything at once…you must…start somewhere, don’t you?”, I said slowly, trying to sound as polite as I could.

While I pretended to look for something in my bag, I asked what sort of research he was doing. He said something about walking around with his Bible on him and asking people all sorts of stuff referring to religion.

Aha…religion. I see.

“In that case I think I am the wrong person to talk to”, I said. “You know, I am not religious. Just an agnostic. ”

“So you are one of those who says either or?”

“No, I am one of those who openly admits that she doesn’t know. Call it a respectful agnostic if you want. I appreciate the beauty of prayer houses but I don’t attend mass and I don’t pay church taxes”.

For a few seconds that gave him something to think about before he concluded that I have never really dealt with religion on a deeper level. I said I did somewhat. Religion was a mandatory course during my school time after all and 99% of my friends are Muslim.

My station was finally approaching.

“But don’t you think”, he said after he stated that he too attended religion class and was taught about the theory of evolution, “that someone who thinks he is the descendant of an ape is more likely to behave like a savage than someone who believes to come from an entity full of love and good things?” (dear readers, feel free to think about this one. Sounds interesting if you think about it long enough).

“That may be possible”, I said as I was getting up, “but I think that has nothing to do with the background but with attitude and behavior. It’s not like religious people are role models at all times.”

Good luck and have a nice day, I said before I got off and took a deep breath of relief once the train left, its doors closing after a long tooting sound.

Just a normal day on Berlin’s subway I would say.

 

 

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