As I related in a post last night, I engaged in an interesting conversation with a Christian on Saturday evening. Initially, this fellow assumed that I must be a Christian because...well...isn't everybody? When he discovered that I wasn't what he thought I must be, he was a bit flummoxed, but only for a moment or two. We pick up the conversation from there.
Customer: So, you really don't believe in God?
Me: I really, really don't believe in a god, yours or anyone else's.
Customer: So, I guess that means you don't believe in anything.
Me: That's a big jump, don't you think? Just because I don't believe there is a god or a bunch of gods doesn't mean I don't have beliefs. Everybody has beliefs of one sort or another.
Customer: Okay, so what do you believe in?
Me: Lots of things. For example, I'm a Taoist.
Customer: A what?
Me: A Taoist.
Customer: What's that? I've never heard of it.
Me: Are you familiar with the terms yin and yang?
Customer: Sure. I've heard of ying and yung.
Me: No, that's yin and yang.
Customer: Okay, ying, I mean yin (?) and yang.
Me: From the Taoist perspective, yin and yang are the two opposing forces in the universe.
Customer: Oh, I get it. Yin (points upward) and yang (points downward). Those are just fancy words for good and bad, heaven and hell.
Me: No. They aren't. One isn't evil, while the other is good. They are valueless opposing forces.
Customer: What? Everything in this life has to take a side.
Me: Really? What side does a thunderstorm take?
Customer: What kind of a crazy question is that?
Me: You just said that everything in life must take a side, so I want you to tell me which side a thunderstorm takes.
Customer: (starts to walk away) Look, I need to get back on the road. I've got a schedule to keep. (Note: He is an over-the-road trucker.)
Customer: It was nice talking to you. If you don't mind, I'll say a prayer for you.
Me: Go right ahead. If it makes YOU feel better to say a prayer, then say a prayer.
Customer: Well, I won't be doing it for me; I'll do it for you.
Me: I don't need it. I don't believe as you do. The way I see it, people pray for others because it makes them feel good about themselves. It makes them feel as if they've done something proactive. So, if praying for me makes you feel good, go for it!