Wow. Well, I didn't miss my blog's birthday. Not gonna do that. But June marks 2 years. We'll have to think up something special, especially since we've been so rare at blogging lately. A big surprise. Stick around, as Ahnold would say. 10 points if you can name the movie.
Happy June, btw. Its already summer, wow.
So I haven't been able to blog but I have a number of posts I've been able to either a) write while off-line, and save for blogging later, or b) write while on-line but not have time for publishing. What follows is one of the b's. An IM convo I had at work today with a co-worker of mine. I realize that its not 100% my writing, but it is an exciting opening to a conversation about faith.
Context: I had just figured out how to solve a systemic analysis issue at work, and my co-worker thanked me...
Co-worker: Thanks again. How'd you figure it out?
David: the ways of the oracle are mysterious to the minds of mere mortals (yes, I call myself the oracle, from time to time, at work)
Co-worker: Are oracles immortal?
well. my soul is. everyone's soul is.
Co-worker: wow immortality + req pro expertise. impressive. (req pro is the database system we use at our current client)
David: i know, sounds like a d&d character
David: dungeons and dragons
"my oracle has immortality and a +5 req pro expertise"
Co-worker: ... never played
i never played either
parents forbid it
David: conservative christian upbringing
all that goth stuff was the devil
Co-worker: is d&d considered goth?
i guess so huh.
Co-worker: would you play now?
There is chocolate here btw.
David: i'm allergic to chocolate
David: i don't have time for card games save poker now
Co-worker: I kind of wish I were.
David: yes really
not bad, but it messes w/ my sinuses
David: so what do you think happens when you die?
Co-worker: I haven't decided yet.
I think there is heaven. But I also think there is a big void after death too. So I don't know.
David: its kind of an important thing to decide on - hah
so do you believe there is hell?
Co-worker: it's not really my choice.
I will have to wait and see!
David: what do you mean its not really your choice?
Co-worker: yes, if there is a heaven, there is a hell.
You said it's important to decide on
David: good - i'm glad you get that there must be a hell if there is a heaven - i can't stand it when people think there's just heaven
Co-worker: well there has to be. no way around it.
but i still don't get why you don't think what you believe is your choice
Co-worker: you mean I can choose to believe one thing or another?
David: doesn't everyone?
Co-worker: But it would be a cognitive choice. Like, "I choose to believe there is heaven and hell"
instead of "I believe in it"
David: doesn't saying you believe in it necessarily assume that you made the choice to believe at some point?
Co-worker: yes but at this point, i would be forcing the choice.
David: how so?
Co-worker: because i can't decide right now.
David: why not?
why wait? what if a tidal wave wipes us all out this afternoon?
Co-worker: then you would go to heaven.
or, one would hope. but i do not know what would happen to me.
David: what do you think would happen to you?
(btw, lest you think i'm crazy about the tsunami - we only narrowly avoided it this month: http://savelivesinmay.com/)
Co-worker: brb - conf call
what do I think would happen?
i think I've lived a good life and done good. but following the scripture, I'd probably go to hell.
But i don't believe that entirely either.
I could be treading on very contentious ground, but I'll share with you -
It is hard for me to accept that because I don't live my life exactly as dictated, I would burn for eternity, even though I have not harmed others, have treated otheres as I would have them treat me, and have lived virtuously.
I guess the problem is, virtuous is subjective, and without an objective definition, anyone could say they are a good person and thus should not go to hell.
Therefore, it is hard for me to decide if there is a heaven/hell or nothing at all, because while I believe in a lot, it is hard to accept that it's a binary decision and as a result I would get a 0.
David: that is an extremely well thought-out point of view
but, sadly...it leaves you hanging.
i think a lot of people reach that conclusion, or something like it, and assume it is a dead end. and they never get around to addressing the paradox before they die.
Co-worker: I think my internal conflict stems from the fact that I want to believe.
But you are exactly right, that I have reached a dead end that it's a paradox that I won't be able to address.
David: well that's a quitters point of view
"paradox that I won't be able to address"
Co-worker: You mean, I should keep digging until I find a resolution?
Co-worker: That is not a bad point.
What if I dig my whole life and do not find one?
David: the important thing is that you dig. if you give up on digging, you'll never find the answer
and then you'll be like all those other people, kind of blindly throwing your life into eternity hoping you land on your feet
Co-worker: Yes I think it's important to keep digging..
David: so how are you digging?
Co-worker: slowly learning more about it I suppose.
David: ok...well, watch out for tsunamis in the mean time
Co-worker: I will but if it's my time...
David: Co-worker B and i were talking about this famous extreme skiier we knew who fell off a cliff trying to save a friend back in april
he was talking about what a horrible way to go it was - not even having time to make peace with yourself or God
but that made me think about how it could happen to any of us - car accident, heart attack, whatever
Co-worker: yes it could
David: anyway that's why i think its important to sort things out rather than just taking it as it comes
eternity is a whole freakin lot longer than this brief stay on earth
Co-worker: I agree. its hard to force a choice that is not natural.
we'll talk more about it later
thanks for the convo.
David: have a nice night
Co-worker: it's not a topic i get to atlk about often