Saturday, September 17, 2011

Adventure 4 - Questioning Faith

Also, how I consistently become the odd man out in my Spanish class.

Our class is conversational, so usually our professor doesn't really say much, other than to keep the discussion going, but today he started a discussion about faith and the effect that it has on someone's life. He'd recently lost his brother, plus his wife is expecting and his mother is moving in from Spain, so he talked about how faith has kept him together through all the emotional wear-and-tear, and how it's sad when someone doesn't have anything or anyone to believe in. Naturally, he mentioned religion specifically, and he didn't necessarily throw atheists and other nonbelievers under the proverbial bus, but he did question how someone can use science to justify everything, and he got a general survey of beliefs in deities from the class.

Now, as an equal-opportunity heathen, which is the term I prefer because it has a nicer connotation than "atheist," I didn't necessarily feel targeted by the discussion, but I also knew I was the only one on the non-god-believing side. In horribly broken Spanish, I explained that even though atheists don't believe in a god, they do believe in other things (like food and baseball, but I didn't say that), so it's not like we're poor, hopeless souls with nothing to look up to. I also brought up that not all things can be explained scientifically, and that some things just have to be left to chance. Knowing that I'm a journalismly/sciencely-inclined person, my professor gave me a few examples of books/articles/whathaveyou that... well, not necessarily prove the existence of a divine being, but highly suggest it, though it was hard to tell at that point if he was playing devil's advocate or honestly trying to figure out how/why I think how/why I do.

Naturally, I then proceeded to make myself look like even more of a teenage hooligan when our professor asked us what our presentations were about, since we didn't have time to present them. Most of the topics were important, serious things, like stereotypes in Latin America or the effect that the US has on the culture of other countries. Mine was about all the creative ways that Cubans use condoms. (I kid you not, it was a legit story.)

I personally don't mind discussions that question what you feel. If you can withstand the opposition and support your case, you know that your beliefs are genuine and strong and that you're doing the right thing for you; even if you don't, it gives you an opportunity to rethink things, and worst case scenario, you learn something about yourself and can make positive change.

I also sat on this idea for a good portion of today, and with all the minor existential crises I've had over the past year or so, it gave me yet another opportunity to rethink my life and if what I'm doing is the right thing. Thinking about college has done that a lot: I question if I'm in the right major, minor, even school, and I can't help but feel sometimes that I've messed up somewhere. Academically hasn't been so much of a problem because I'm a horribly compulsive plan-aheader (planner-ahead? Planner-aheader?), so I know that by the time I leave here in (I hope) four years, I'll have a solid foundation and the ability to launch myself into the real world. What worries me is my lack of social abilities. I wasn't exactly a social butterfly in high school, but I knew a lot of people and I was comfortable. With college, my non-partying preference seems to put me in either my friends' rooms or alone on the weekends, and I'm only just barely starting to make friends beyond people I met and hung out with at orientation. I don't want to have to become an inebriated baboon to make friends (nor do I want friends that become inebriated baboons, it works both ways). I don't want to have to join seventy different clubs and meet a bunch of people but end up sacrificing my academics or my sleep. And as much as I love the fact that the wifi is significantly better on Friday and Saturday nights when no one else is around to use it, I don't want to be in quarantine for the rest of my college career. I want people to take me for who I am. The task now is finding those people.

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