In the past ten or so years I've come across this incredibly worrying trend, the trend that believe that just because you are religious you are immediately ignorant or unintelligent.
No I'm not going to be going on a deep Jesus rant on you, I'm Buddhist. Which the majority of you reading this would probably go "oh yeah that's alright then, I only have a problem with the Christian religion, Buddhism is fine!"
Doesn't stop the fact that my faith in my religion is just as deep as any other Christian in their's.
It just seems that, lately anyway, anyone who believes in any sort of religion is being persectued unfairly. Muslims are the go-to bad guy these days because of the teachings in the Quran, and Christians are seen to be the larger part of the ignorant masses due to the stories in the Bible.
But does religion neccessarily make you stupid?
No I don't think so. I think it does have a correlation, but it doesn't make you stupid per se.
I have met many religious people who I would consider to be intelligent, and roughly the same amount of so called scientists or scholars who I would deem as crazy as any other fundamentalist.
My theory to this rather ignorant way of black-and-white thinking is that, to most people, it's either religion or science. That many don't believe that there is an in-between, a middle ground for both.
Sure, in general most athiests know more about the bible the most Christians, they cannot believe what is being said in the bible to be true or scientifically possible. On the other hand, the majority of scientists who attempt to debunk Christian myths end up becoming deeply relgious themselves. Think about that for a second.
The problem is that being religious doesn't necessarily equate to being unintelligent.
The major consequence is that many people don't realise this, and they believe they have to pick a side. It turns into this giant battle between what's right and wrong instead of going "hey...both sides kind of have a point".
So, as with most petty arguments, it doesn't evolve into an intellectual debate where both parties attempt to highlight the merits of their own belief, but end up attempting to bring down the other sides arguments by continuously point out faults.
To a lot of would-be athiests out there, I hear many of them complain how it's absolutely scientifically impossible for Jesus Christ to have been ressurected, or that the notion of God is a complete myth because there's no evidence of a big bearded man in the sky.
But do they honestly believe that a lot of Christians believe what's being said in the bible word-for-word?
I went to a Catholic high school, and, as was the trend at the time, I was an athiest. I frequently mocked the bible and those who believed that what was being said in the bible was true. But I had this Religious Education teacher, and he completely revolutionized the way I thought.
He wasn't a fervent fundamentalist, he was a scholar, a scientist. He explained that he saw the bible as a collection of stories, written by humans, and that humans do have a penchant for using their imagination to fill in the gaps of their knowledge. But did that make any of the teachings in the bible any less relevant?
He explained to me that those stories, like many of the stories we have always heard, could be fictional, could be fact, but it doesn't change the fact that they taught deep and meaningful moral values which are what we should all live by.
He believes in a God, he believes that eucharist is taking in the body and blood of Christ. But does that make him any less unintelligent? I don't think so. I think he exemplifies what I believe to be the ultimate person of intelligence.
He saw the facts, saw both sides of the argument, and made an informed decision. In the end he made a decision where he accepted both the pros and cons of each side of the debate.
That's someone who's intelligent. Not someone who immediately dismesses or discredits the whole other side of the debate because one thing doesn't make sense to them.
In the Religion vs Science war, it's not really even much of a debate really. So called scientists are effectively pigeon-holing and restricting themselves by ignoring possible religious answers instead of looking for an ultimate truth, which is embracing all sorts of knowledge and information. And same thing goes for all religious fundamentalists.
There's so much more I can write about this topic, but I guess I'll just leave it all here now.
That it isn't anything to do with Religion or Science, it's the inherent human nature that believes it's all black-and-white, that you are ultimately right and that the other is wrong.
Anyway, just food for thought.
I’m a relatively simple guy. When I see a girl I like, or find attractive, I tell her. Or at the very least put my suave on and nervously stammer out a pick up line I learnt off the internet while I spill my drink on her, and then run away like a rabbit on speed.
And, I like to think, I’m not the only guy that’s like that in the world. I didn’t learn to develop a comfort for the opposite sex until after high school and even then I’m still a gooey, incredibly fragile and collapsible foundation of a nervous wreck covered with a slight awesome layer of Barney Stinson.
See I grew up on a diet of Hollywood romance where I believed, that once I developed that ability to not get tongue tied and talk about my mother, that conversation would be nothing but witty one-liners fraught with sexual tension.
But, for some reason, the scenarios that I work out in my head, don’t really translate well into real life.
And this is the guy that has done almost everything out of the book. I have hand-crafted epic first dates only for things to always fall through. I’m the guy that went around making poetry for girls, the guy that tried to hire a horse and carriage for the year 12 formal, the guy that joined a choir to specifically try to convince them to help me ask out a girl in the form of song.
For a first date with a girl I planned on taking her ice skating, then to the Melbourne Aquarium, then to a dinner at Crown and to cap it all off with going to a rooftop cinema. In the end, I got stood up.
Am I elaborate? Yes. Do I come off as a little creepy? Yes. Do I come off really strong? Definitely. And for everything else, there’s MasterCard.
I go to all this effort because, as a modern male, I’ve grown up on a strict diet of romantic comedies and being told that’s what women want.
But the thing is, barbershop quartets are expensive, sometimes the girl lives on the 16th story of a building and short of using a home-made lemon cannon you’re not going to be getting her attention late at night. Something you never really realise is that those elaborate situations are funded on the premise that the protagonists are incredibly successful and well-off people with just the right amount of time and money to do all that.
And it turns out doing elaborate romance ideas for cheap doesn’t really work out well. Just recently I went to go surprise a girl at her place, and I’m almost certain that if I had a team of choreographed dancers as well as a giant sign going “WILL YOU GO OUT WITH ME?” then my idea totally would have worked. But in the end, I ended up standing around alone in a car park with random backpackers shouting at me.
Some things just do not translate well from the screen to real life.
Just like how even cool guys look at explosions, or how waxing a car will not teach you karate, or how a quick shopping spree doesn’t end with you looking absolutely fabulous.
But that’s also a good thing for us socially awkward guys out there. You don’t have to be a smooth talking player in order to get the girl. Sometimes you can just be that nice guy who opens doors and pulls out chairs.
So I think it’s relatively safe to say that those giant elaborate gestures aren’t what women really want. Time and time again I’ve proven this, much to my chagrin. I mean there’s no reason why you shouldn’t, it certainly doesn’t hurt your chances. But in the end it’s not a pass or fail sort of thing. Love and romance itself isn’t going to get summed up in a neat hour and a half period where you crazy and hilarious misadventures happen and it all culminates with a kiss at the end.
When you like someone, and if you’re lucky enough for them to like you back. All it really takes is just some time and effort, flowers and chocolate never go out of style and being a gentleman never does either.
I’m a relatively simple guy. Still young and stupid with an incredibly skewed viewpoint on romance and love. Persisting still, because maybe one day I’ll find a girl who’ll find the things I do non-creepy and kind of dorkily cute.
Like, for example, leaving a hidden message in an article for someone because I’m hoping that the third time’s the charm. But in the end, maybe it takes lot more courage and a lot less effort, if you just be someone’s friend and perhaps, with a lot of luck, it all works out in the end. Rather than putting together the first words of each sentence on the previous paragraph.