Sunday, June 6, 2010


Last night’s conversation with two of my best friends welcomed a passionate discussion about religion.  I’m not completely sure how we started talking about it, but the subject came up and the heat was on.  Once uttered, its name and way of life stimulates zealous perspective and elevated blood pressure.  Before I continue on today’s subject matter, let me first preface the benefits of meaningful conversations - psychologists at the University of Arizona in Tucson and Washington University in St. Louis confirm through positive research that meaningful conversations may give a sense of meaning in interactions with others, which may make people happier ~ Sharon Jayson
While the importance of purposeful conversation adds substance to our lives, certain subjects like religion conjure questions of life that need answering… more importantly why we’re here, why certain things happen and the meaning to life?  Understanding our presence on earth is often mysterious and complex – through the centuries and today, religion maintains a presence of interest and turmoil.  And since its existence, communities of organized religion across the world have followed blue prints of value, books of “how to” guide lining our self centered lives into a mold of purpose and hope.  No wonder there’s so much debate.
Getting back to last night’s questioning… Zach and Claudia (best friends) began discussing the controversial aspects of religion, influenced and focused by a higher being and our will to know what’s right.  On one hand you have Zach who is very analytical (right brained – outside thinker) focused on scientific methods and conclusive data.  While Claudia fashions a view stapled in faith (firm belief in something for which there is no proof), her neurological position finds proximity between both hemispheres (logical/structured) – by no means am I labeling Zach simpleminded, he is honestly one of the brightest people I know.  That’s what makes this discussion so difficult… so much of this topic rests on faith based principles and spiritual not knowing.  For someone such as Zach, trying to wrap their mind around this veiled concept is very difficult to discern.
As the conversation continued, I listened anxiously… here we had two people, madly in love conversing on a level of intensity.  It really was a sight – two brilliant minds dishing out meaningful and passionate chatter.  At times, voices were raised, eyes rolled, and feelings were scratched.  Silence was heard more times than one… offering moments of reflection and growth.  Its times like these that I wish I had a video camera.  I learned a lot this evening, many things.
All of us cope to life’s difficult demands through familiar means, whether its positive outlets such as friends or a super natural power, we find refuge in its strength.  I truly believe that each religion presents examples of how we should live our lives.   As a society, if this subject matter improves our life, provokes dedication and mediation, I’m all for it.  This engagement showed me how two people can disagree and at the end of the day still find each other as attractive as before… inviting a wonderful opportunity into each other’s hearts and minds.  I had to share my story, emotions lie heavy on my heart sometimes… the need to express my voice must be said.  
“Religion is to do right. It is to love, it is to serve, it is to think, it is to be humble.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson
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All the best,
Mark Nava


1 comment:

  1. Sorry, but at the very beginning I laughed! I know, odd, but I've found myself going at it with my family (I grew up in a strict Catholic and then moved on to Pentecostal church) and friends, so I know how those arguments go. In one case it didn't end up too pretty, but that's a long story.

    Honestly, I absolutely agree that religions- as deep as the galaxy and beyond- are guidelines, and they're very nice ones to boot, but not everyone is cut out for the same thing. I'll even go as far to say that some people rely on religion as a crutch to give them hope that a situation will get better, instead of actually taking blame or being realistic about a situation.

    But I'm like Zach. For the life of me, and I'm an outcast for this, I cannot wrap my mind around this serious amount of faith that most religious people have *insert saucer eyes*. Sometimes I'm even struck dumb by the thought that if some of these people could put at least one pinky finger's worth of faith into ACTUALLY dealing with society instead of chanting "my God will make it better," this world would be a much better place.

    I just try to shut my arse every time the subject is brought forward. The complexity boggles my eyeballs and my brain and by the time I'm through voicing my first sentence it's the Jerry Springer show.