I originally wrote this when I was still in high school, towards the end of my senior year, and posted this on my Tumblr page. I haven’t really blogged publicly since, so I thought it was fitting to put this up as my first post as something to look back to and see how I’ve grown. A lot of this still rings true to me today, but some of it doesn’t. The reason I wrote this back in the day was because of the numerous amounts of discussions I would get into with my close non-Christian friends about faith. I think there was an air of frustration that I just needed to get out. Fortunately and unfortunately, God has since placed many Christian friends into my life that have spurred me on to grow in my faith like never before–and while I am beyond thankful, a part of me now wishes that I still had the abundance of people to share my faith with like I did back then.
I do feel like I was still spittin’ some truth in this post though.
I wish it wasn’t like this.
I wish my friends and I agreed on more things. But then, I wish my friends and I didn’t agree on more things also. It’s a paradox, I know.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, I wish I was able to communicate to people what I’m thinking about more effectively than I can right now. It’s been hard: it seems that every time I try, what makes sense to me, doesn’t make sense to others when I say it. I don’t know why. Maybe I think differently from everyone. Maybe I talk differently. Maybe I just don’t have people skills. Maybe…
I’ll give an example.
I’ve been raised all my life in Christian settings. I can safely say that almost everyone in my family is, at the very least, a self-declared Christian, some showing more fruit than others. Thus, to no surprise, I was taken to church weekly for as long as I can remember.
It was in this way that I learned about life, philosophy, and manners. In this way, I was taught what was acceptable–and what was not. In this way, my thoughts grew and developed. Many people say that those raised in a church setting are sheltered and brainwashed. I’d like to disagree, but only because I learned a lot more about people in church than I did anywhere else.
From a early age, I was an observer. I’m pretty sure many of my closest friends can attest to this from the time they’ve known me. As an observer, I was never one to just do things just “because I wanted to.” Some of this mindset has changed over the years (but maybe for the better). Anyways, what I would do before I would ever take action was learn from the sidelines. I would carefully look at what everyone else was doing and try to see what worked and what didn’t. After some time I would then attempt the same thing, but from a better understanding of the situation so that I’d be able to avoid the most wrongs. Doing so, I was able to avoid many mistakes and go about every situation effectively and with a fair amount of success (But I guess that’s a mark of an aspiring engineer).
Due to this observational “skill”, I was able to learn a lot from people. You may think that in church, everyone acts the same, and everyone thinks the same thing, as if it’s a collection of sheltered people, just listening to a pastor and accepting their every word. You’d be wrong. My church that I grew up in never had a pastor surprisingly, but that’s a story for some other time.
The thing about churches is that it attracts a lot of very different people–if you look beyond the surface. Some people are atheists, coming either because people close to them made them, or because they want to see how a church actually functions and if there is any way they may be able to convince others to take their worldview. Some are seekers, searching for something, but not knowing what they’re searching for. A subgroup of these type of people may be agnostic, acknowledging that maybe there’s something out there, but feeling that no one can ever be sure. Many are, of course, Christians. They believe that Jesus Christ is their savior, there is one God that created everything, etc. But even then, not every Christian is the same. There are the devout, who may study the bible daily, who may be well versed in biblical teachings but also in literature, in science, in…life. These were the people that I looked up to the most. They were historians, scientists, doctors, engineers, yet they still held a strong belief in a secular world. Then there are the nominal Christians, ones who call themselves Christians, but may only act like one on Sundays. It’s hard to know who these Christians may be, but after listening to them talk and being with them for a while, you get hints that maybe they don’t truly believe what they profess to believe. They are the ones who are able to put up a face on Sunday, but if you saw them on the street, you would never know. I honestly don’t know where to categorize people like that…
There are many more types of people in church, but the ones described I feel can categorize most.
I won’t say that I know for sure what category a person fits in just by the way they act. I consider myself an observer, but I do not in any way think that I am an expert at it. I’ve had my fair share of failures, and sometimes I don’t even pick up on things that others can. Being an observer was just how I learned about my world.
To get back to the point: I wish my friends and I understood each other more and came to the same conclusions about the world. Why? Well, the thing is not all my friends are Christians. To be honest, the closest friends I have are not Christians. I can almost say that I may have more non-Christian friends than I do Christian ones.
I’ve talked with my friends a lot about what I believe and what they believe, and one thing that I’ve noticed is, the way Christians and non-Christians go about convincing the other party to change their mind is so similar, it’s hard to say when one person’s technique is bad, and the other is good. Atheist’s complain that Christians are misguiding the world with our worldview. Christians easily think Atheists do the same with theirs. Christians think atheists are blind to the truth. Atheists think the same way about Christians. Both parties feel the other is intolerant. Both parties can also easily feel like they are the minority in this world.
This, is what I wish wasn’t true. This is what I wish we didn’t “agree” on.
On other things, I wish we did agree a little more on. Our morals, the way we should act, how we go about a relationship with the opposite sex, what our lives should be like, how we would live it, etc.
I wish it was like that instead.
(Originally penned in 2013; Re-edited)