Sitting next to us on our flight from London to Amsterdam was a 20-year-old Hague student. We chatted on everything: linguistics, politics and Dutch bigotry – to name a few. He told me how his father (British) was a capitalist working in Hong Kong and yet though a socialist, like his mother (French), he still got along marvelously with his father.
Agreeing with the notion that beliefs don’t have to hinder relationships, I cautiously probed by explaining that I had friends who believed in Astrology but that we got along marvelously because we didn’t argue about Astrology. I realized that Astrology was important to them, they found meaning in it, and so we just let it go at that.
My new acquaintance agreed and quickly saw through the parallels I was conjuring and more directly probed: “I don’t believe in God, do you?” I said, “No, but I have many friends who do and it serves them well.”
He agreed, elaborating, “If it offers hope, I can’t argue.” I nodded adding the caveat: “For some, instead of hope, their beliefs offer security, community, identity or status and even those I understand, but when their religion affects politics, bigotry, science teaching or causes mockery of my kids on the school grounds, my ecumenical tolerance evaporates.” We laughed together in agreement.
It was fun to use Astrology as a probe to discuss religion. Fortunately he was not a superstitious Scorpio astrologer!
Comment Suggestion for Visitors: Give us an example of a subject you often probe delicately and how.