A Flo-cratic Easter dialogue

A conversation in which Kent (37, atheist) and Flo (6, Jewish), have a semi-successful discussion about religion. At Easter.

Happy Jesus weekend.

Kent: Are you ready for the last day of school before Easter?

Flo: Not everyone believes in Easter. My teacher is a little bit Jewish. That’s what she said, “I’m a little bit Jewish”. People can be whatever they want. They can believe whatever they want to believe.

Kent: That’s right, lot’s of people believe lots of different things.

Flo: Do you want to be be Jewish daddy?

Kent: …um… [tumbleweed] … because my Mummy isn’t Jewish, I can’t just say “I’m Jewish”, I would have to do a test.

Flo: Well why don’t you do the test? I just did my spelling test. It was easy. The Jewish test is probably easy.

Kent: I like hanging out with Jewish people, I’m married to one, but that doesn’t mean that I need to become Jewish as well.

Flo: But why don’t you want to be Jewish? If you’re not Jewish, then what are you?

Kent: I’m not sure of what the right name is, but I believe different things to Jewish people and Christian people.

Flo: Are you a Muslim then? You don’t have a mat, do you?

Kent: No, I’m not a Muslim. And you’re right, I don’t have a mat.

Flo: But I have seen you wrap a book up.

Kent: That was just to stop it getting wet in the rain. Christians and Muslims and Jewish people all believe certain things about God and life, but I don’t think the same things about God. That’s why I’m not Muslim, or Jewish.

Flo: What do they believe that you don’t.

[getting into dangerous territory]

Kent: Well, most of those groups think that God has written rules for how we should live. But I think that people are better at writing those rules. A lot of God’s rules were written a long time ago, and while some of them are good, I don’t think they all make sense any more. So this means that some people are using some rules that don’t make sense. I think what when people come together and share ideas, we can do a better job of figuring out what’s good to do and what’s not good to do. Better than using rules that don’t make sense.

Flo: Like what?

Kent: Like lots of things. Like whether it’s a good idea to eat bacon, or help people, or kill people who believe different things, or give your money away.

Flo: I like bacon.

Kent: That’s right. You’re Jewish and you eat bacon, because you’ve decided that it’s a good thing to do. That’s a people decision.

Flo: Bacon is soooooo yummy.

Kent: Yeah, it’s one of the tastiest things in the world.

Flo: But you don’t eat it. If you like it, why don’t you eat it?

Kent: Because I think it’s better if we don’t eat meat. I think this is one of those things that most people will do a good job of figuring out if we keep sharing ideas. It might just take some time, and even then, lot’s of people might not agree.

Flo: Because bacon is yummy?

Kent: Because bacon is yummy. Especially with banana and maple syrup.

Flo: Banana?!? That sounds disgusting.

Kent: See, I told you people might not agree.

Bacon, God & Hashtags (or the price of belief)

There is always a price to pay for belief (or a lack thereof it).

In my 20s, I didn’t believe in the laxative effects of prune juice. The price I paid in that case was 3 hours in a service station toilet.

I don’t believe in God (I haven’t seen anything that gives me reason to), but I know that comes as a cost. If I’m wrong, depending on which god I’m wrong about, I may have to spend an eternity in damnation with heinous torture devices, eternal misery and cold coffee.

I may not even make it that far if I run into one of those lovely counties where apostasy is a capital offence. You know, those bastions of freedom and tolerance like: Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Thankfully, we only sell weapons to a few of them.

If you do believe in God, and it turns that you’re wrong, then there is no threat of eternal damnation, the price is merely an opportunity cost. What you could/would have done if you knew in advance that (s)he didn’t exist. Maybe you would have eaten more bacon, committed more adultery, or done some more coveting of your neighbour’s ass. I’m sure somewhere in the world #AssCoveting is a viable hashtag.

Despite the prune juice, I still don’t believe in God. I know I’m risking the equivalent of eternity in a service station toilet, but it still seems like a good bet. I’m not even in it for the bacon or the hashtag. The stakes may be high, but at least I know what the stakes are.

How many things do we believe where we don’t know what the price is? How big is the price we’re paying? Is it bacon, #AssCoveting or the entire spectrum of service station toilets in between?