As I wondered the corridors at my place of work, which is incidentally are the corridors of a University in the UK. I’m wearing my “out campaign” lapel badge. I get asked the question by a porter “Jamie,” he says “what is that badge you are wearing”. I began telling him about the “out campaign”. I could see his facial expressions starting to change. It was then he said “I find that offending”! What!? I thought! I immediately knew he was a religious person, to put it mildly. We arrived at the porter’s cabin where the conversation continued.
Having not been confronted in this way since my school youth when we used to have classroom debates on such things, I suddenly found myself in a sense of calm knowing that, because I have reason and Science on my side, I can more than handle the discussion that was about to ensue.
So thus it started, “how can you not believe in God”? This is such and easy question to answer, thanks to watching endless debates and reading the books of Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, PZ Myers and my hero Richard Dawkins I had an almost automatic reflex of answers. I could have gone on but the stunned silence in the room was deafening!
The next question came from another part of the room, it was this “do you believe in an afterlife”? To which of course, the answer was no. The response I got was “do you have kids, if you do and there is an afterlife, I will come back and haunt them”. I decided to go into why I believe there is no afterlife. I touched on the biological network of neurones in our brains. I could see that I was starting to “lose” my colleagues, so I moved on.
The questions were coming thick and fast, one of the questions was thus “you believe in the Big Bang theory, how can you get something from nothing”, that old chestnut! This was again, very easy to bat back. I started to explain that it’s what you define as “nothing”, and 70% of the Universe is made up of what physicists as “nothing”.
I needed to get back to work so as I started to make my exit, the room was completely silent apart from, you guessed it, Mr Christianity in the corner, he shouted “God created the Universe, why can’t these people see that”, to which I replied with the old adage, who created the creator. There was no reply.
A few hours later, a person who remained silent during the discussion, came to my office and shook my hand, she said “that was amazing, when you left, the room was silent for ages. The silence was only broken when another person came in to pick up a parcel”. The lady that I spoke with asked where she could find more information about all this “stuff”.
Hopefully I have provoked people to start questioning and challenging other people’s views rather than taking them for granted. I think this may be wishful thinking!
Great story and i'd love to be in a situation like that, explaining things to the "ignorant" fellow man hehe.
Very inspiring and i hope you indeed opened a few minds.