posted on Apr, 20 2009 @ 04:21 AM
A brief history and a short story ...
I was brought up on religious beliefs when I was younger. Going to church, praying, and hanging out with friends after mass became a ritual on
Sundays. For me, going to church was more about getting to see friends that you would normally not see due to them attending different schools or
living in a different area. The idea of a god, Jesus, or devil didn't mean much at that age for me; however, the fear of their wrath was most
I was taught that God and Jesus loved me - but not if I didn't do the dishes or if I didn't clean my room. If I didn't believe in doing those
things, then I was doomed for an eternity in hell. I was taught that prayer was a tool for reaching God, and it protected you from going to hell, thus
praying every night before sleep became the norm. The idea of hell at that age can be quite confusing and scary, so I decided to do an experiment.
Risking "everything," I decided to not pray one night and see what the outcome would be. To my astonishment I woke up the next morning in one piece
and still on Earth. The curiosity we have at a young age is most interesting; it has set the basis of my thinking ever since.
On to the point ...
Every other Friday a cell group will come over to the house for bible study, since the rents still attend church. The group consists of their church
friends and a few cell group leaders. The concept of the cell group is noble, IMO: spend a Friday night at a friend's house with a group of friends
and eat dinner as a group. After dinner comes the bible study. This is where I see myself in a bind.
In one hand here I am, an agnostic (by Carl Sagan's definition: "My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it. An agnostic
is somebody who doesn't believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I'm agnostic." - Carl Sagan). I'm asked by the rents each time the
cell group comes to have dinner with the group and to participate in the bible study as to not be rude. I do so in part to not be rude, but also out
of curiosity. The cell group leaders encourage discussion as they read a passage and ask other group members what that passage means to them. I like
hearing the different interpretations. It's interesting to see first-hand what people think of the bible and if they believe in it or not. To be
honest, it seems to me that the cell group is more like a get together with casual readings of the bible.
This Friday was different, though. One of the cell group leaders read a passage and went on to describe it. I do not remember his exact
interpretation, but I do remember the statement he made afterward remarking that people who do not believe in God or Jesus are doomed to go to hell,
looking at me. Then, a few moments later, a sign-in sheet was to be passed around so the "higher-ups" (meaning the clergy) can see who is attending
these meetings. Something that has never happened before: a sign-in sheet. But, according to the group leaders, wasn't this supposed to be casual?
Nonetheless, I looked at the sign-in sheet and was surprised to see my name on it. It asked questions such as: "What year were you saved?"; "What
time of the day do you pray to Jesus?"; etc. I didn't sign the sheet and passed it to the person next to me. Few moments pass and the group leader
looks up and asks, "Anyone not sign the sheet?" and calls my name. I asked him, "Do I need to?" in which he replies, "No." Keeping this to
myself: I felt that there was no reason to sign the sheet since I do not believe I was saved and I neither pray to God or Jesus.
What am I doing there if I don't believe in the things they do? Curiosity - but I suppose I shouldn't attend anymore. I have been careful to not
impose what I believe in towards the group. None even know my beliefs, but I guess it's becoming apparent.
My question to you is this:
Was I being rude by not signing the sign-in sheet?