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Veteran Member - Level 12
This isn't the usual fare for my blog, but this topic just keeps
sticking with me. Now, before I get into it, understand that for this
blog I need all of you to be absolutely respectful and show maturity. If
this were anywhere else on the internet I wouldn't even consider doing
this. However, the people at GIO have consistently proven themselves to be adults
capable of rational discussion. This is the only place I post where the comments are smarter than my blogs.
That's why I'm taking a leap of faith here. Please, please
don't make me regret it. So... if you can't behave in a polite manner, leave now and
forever hold your peace (and you might have to hold it for a while, this
blog is a bit long).
Now that I've scared off some of my audience, let's get started.
of the interesting parts of high school was meeting different people.
Like I said before, I was raised in Ohio in the most typically suburban
environment imaginable. My parents raised me Catholic and sent me to all
Catholic schools, including my high school. Thus I was brought up with
an intricate familiarity of religion, especially Christianity. For as
long as I can remember back, everybody I knew was Catholic.
It felt like this guy was our neighbor.
school changed all that. For the first time, I met people who were
totally different from me. Despite going to a Catholic school, we had a
fair number of Protestants, Jews, atheists, and one kid who was Hindu.
To be honest, I didn't really care. Religion came second to whether or
not I liked someone personally.
An exception to that rule was the
atheists. Atheists are consistently rated the least-trusted group of
people in America, and for good reason. Koobholes like Richard Dawkins
love to get up on stage and call everyone who's ever believed in God an
idiot. A couple of the atheists at my high school were like that- “Oh my
science. You really believe that? You're so deluded.”
on the other hand, the hardcore Catholics at my old high school weren't
any better. One kid even refused to sell prom tickets to people who
were bringing Protestant dates. Some of the extreme believers were just
as condescending and rude as the atheists.
No two people better
exemplified the divide than Greg and Seth. Greg was a hardcore atheist, a
guy so liberal he'd bleed Medicare if you cut him. Seth was the very
definition of bible-thumping conservative. Needless to say, the two
didn't get along. It was somewhat difficult for them as all of their
core beliefs were completely opposite.
That's why I laughed my ass
off when I saw their senior year schedules. Greg and Seth not only had
every single class together, they sat next to each other in all of them
as well. Seating in every class is alphabetized, and their last names
were right next to each other. Our teachers weren't too creative with
the seating. But whatever. The point is that those two spent literally
the entire year next to each other.
Like this, but with no hugging. Yet.
first, it wasn't pretty. They bickered, fought, and were generally
unpleasant to each other. However, as time passed, Greg and Seth stopped
fighting and actually became... well, not friends, but friendly.
How's that possible?
two of them were forced to constantly interact with each other. The
more they interacted, the more they bonded over one common ground they
shared: basic human decency. The truth was that Greg and Seth were
actually paragons of their respective beliefs. Greg wasn't a jerk to
religious people. Seth tried to mimic Jesus as much as possible by being
an all-around good person. The two of them made their peace over the
idea of just being nice to others, even if they don't believe anything
you do. That included each other.
really struck me. I realized that all this time, it wasn't atheists or
Catholics I disliked. The real offenders were the pushy people, the
insecure ones who felt the need to put others down to lift themselves
up. It's the extremist jerks from both sides that annoyed me so much.
Greg and Seth both realized that the best way to demonstrate the value
of atheism/Catholicism was to be a good person. St. Francis said to “go
out and preach the Gospel, and use words when absolutely necessary.”
Atheists follow a similar but simpler motto: “Don't be a condescending
That's the real lesson. I know this story sounds cheesy as
hell, but it all really happened. By the end of the year, I got both of them
to admit (separately, and in private) that the other was a good person.
That's what all of us should emulate: common human decency. It's
simple, and it's powerful. Nothing else could have brought the atheist
and the Catholic together.