Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Where to start?

Over the last months I have been reflecting on what it is that my faith consists of and I have to say that the definition put forward for the Year of Faith fits like a glove - it is all about my relationship with a person: Jesus. To leave it at that though could make it sound like a lot of very different things to different people and may well also be the basis for the typical first reactions I get whenever religion comes up in conversation with colleagues or friends and I admit to being 'religious' (a term so loaded with connotations alien to me, but nonetheless one I don't want to deny):
  1. Really? I would never have had you down as being religious!
  2. Do you believe in magic then?
  3. [my favorite and one that I actually took as a compliment] Anyone over the age of thirty who is religious is either an idiot or very smart. :)
This is typically followed by a stream of 'So, do you believe in X?' questions, where X includes the virgin birth, immaculate conception, papal infallibility and a list of other (often also fictitious) articles of faith. The next phase then is an (often thankfully only temporary) imposition of a sense of self-censorship on my friends (‘Sorry, did that offend you?’) as religious people do so easily take offense :). The fact that I am a scientist further complicates my admission of religiosity as the former has an image of rationality while the latter conjures up connotations of superstition. I am therefore either a schizophrenic or there is something else going on ...