Throughout my academic life, the question of faith has been a constant one. For many believers, they struggle comprehending the notion of the intellectual gravitas of nonbelievers in a societal order. Further, it is fully incomprehensible for nonbelievers to grasp the religious thinking of believers. I once worked with a person who could not help but note when I was contemplating a decision or a thought, it was the norm for me to reference that I was in thought over the matter. This person told me that you are just not like many in our community in that you do not reference “prayer.” Yes, this is silly. Again, one does not have to believe in a god, nor must one be a nonbeliever to be a big thinker.
That said, I am a big believer in “religious” thought. It is crucial that we as a society honor and respect the values of others. I try not to group all Christians, Muslims, and atheists into a generalized box. That would be false — and to an extent, anti-intellectual; however, I do believe in the nature of a plural society: One’s religious dogma should not dictate nor legislate a societal order.
Great scene here
This is best represented in the movie Contact, a work written by the Carl Sagan. In what is the most interesting scene in the movie, the character portrayed by Jodi Foster, a scientist who is also a nonbeliever, admits her lack of faith in a god. By doing so, her conclusion works against her challenge to represent earth in making contact with aliens. The conversation about why the panel rejected her is most interesting, which presents the following questions: Should a nonbeliever be a representative of a planet in which a majority of its inhabitants believe in a god? Why should a nonbeliever be denied the opportunity when most people of faith cannot agree on civil peace and understanding among a diversity of believers? I contend that one does not have to believe in a god. Nonbelievers are honest and moral people. Being a believer does not make one more just nor moral than the other.
I do believe that if one is truly educated, he or she will have an understanding of religious constructs outside of doctrinal beliefs. If Jodi Foster’s character or anyone for that matter lacked an understanding of world beliefs, they should not be a representative of a planet in which the majority of folks believe in a god or gods.
As reflected above with my score, I recently took this (click on link here) religious literacy test. In truth, it was very easy. Though I am highly versed and educated on global beliefs, I realize many are not. I cannot believe I missed the question that I missed.