What makes someone good? or evil?
At first, I just looked at him for a minute while I decided how to respond. Finally I told him, "We'd have pretty fundamental differences since I'm not a christian."
It was his turn to look confused, and he promptly said, "But you're such a nice person, with good morals and values!"
That conversation still comes back to me. A good or bad person can be any religion, faith, spirituality - whatever you want to call it. I was amused that this student (who went on to be a friend and co-worker for years), thought I should be something other than a 'nice person' if I didn't have an active church affiliation.
I believe no whole population based on their religion is good or bad. In just the same way, no whole population based on their race or any other identifying characteristic is good or bad.
I think a lot of religions appear similar in their legends and stories for good reason - most people are good, and know the difference between good and evil, without being told by a church or other religious organization.
Gosh, I thought I had so much to say, but when I spell it out, it feels repetitive and obvious!
I am a good person. I am also not a member of a church, or declare myself as belonging to any religion. I'm raising my children to be good people too. We talk about the platinum rule (treating others as they want to be treated), and I even tell them the religious background behind holidays that are publicly acknowledged, or they hear about. If I don't know, we're not afraid to look it up. It's never presented as 'right' or 'wrong,' but just someone's belief and perspective.
By the way, I was brought up with plenty of religion. I went to private (religious based) school for a bit, and even taught Sunday School when I was in high school. I'm not 'mad' at anyone, or condemning any religious system, it just didn't work for me in my life.
What assumptions do you think people make about you, based on their background? Do you mind? Do you think there is something people have to do or be to be considered good - or evil?