Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Forget the Ketchup, What is God?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

By Bob Gaydos

This was supposed to be the week I talked to Ketchup Bob about his use of ketchup as a salad dressing. Never mind the health issues, it’s downright gauche. Didn’t happen.

When I got to Dunkin’ Donuts, he was finishing his toasted coconut donut. He seemed happy. “But,” he said, sensing my look of concern, “I had cereal for breakfast.” Genetically modified flakes of corn loaded with sugar. A kids’ cereal.

Before I could go all high and mighty about that (I‘m working on it), Guru Bob walked in and joined us. He opted for a bagon, egg and cheese sandwich. A Big Toastie, I think.

Sensing a theme and being outnumbered, I switched gears.

“Let’s talk about religion,” I said, looking for a less-controversial subject.

Well, I can’t really tell you much detail about what we talked about because I’m certain that something that was said, however innocently or non-judgmentally, would surely offend someone and I don’t want to lose any Facebook friends. I have made my political views well-known in this blog (Republicans have lost their minds and the Tea Party is brain dead), but I find most people can still act friendly towards me even if they think I’m an idiot, politically speaking.

Religion, though, hits people differently, I think. It goes to the core of a person, whether he believes in something or not, and why. Actually, non-believers I have found to be among the most avid, umm, believers, if you will. Atheists even have annual conventions to get together and reaffirm the fact that they don’t believe in anything but themselves. And now I’m certain I’ve offended some atheists, even though they don’t believe in organized religion. See what I mean?

I won’t speak for the other Bobs on this. They have their own beliefs and are perfectly capable of explaining them, if they so choose. What was interesting and encouraging about the discussion, though, was that it was honest and lively, included humor, went on for a while, included differences of opinion and the words “stupid“ and “hypocritical,” touched on Christianity in general, Catholicism in specific, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Islam, Unitarian Universalism, spirituality, the collective consciousness and The Course in Miracles.

That’s some heavy stuff on oatmeal and a veggie egg white sandwich.

The upshot was that we agreed if everyone just practiced what they preached in their personal faith and left others to do the same, the world we know would be a far more peaceful place. This is nothing new, of course, but somehow we humans can’t seem to get it right yet. For some people, it seems to me, not believing what they believe is a judgment of them, a negative one. It also seems to me that even people who don’t follow their proclaimed faith, or know much about it for that matter, can feel threatened when someone questions it.

Why should that be? It’s only a question. If one truly believes (again, only me), what’s the harm in listening and discussing. After all, none of us has the definitive answer on God, Allah, Yahweh, Buddha, etc. Not even the atheists, god bless them.

Anyway, the three of us Bobs managed to have an honest and challenging conversation about all this without getting insulted, angry, or frustrated, and we do not share identical views. We are friends, however, and we respect each other’s opinions. That means we can disagree without holding a resentment. There will be no smack down in the parking lot at DD.

In fact, we even talked about starting our own religion. (Hey, why not? I saw “The Master.”) Guru Bob would be Number One Bob, of course. Unless Ketchup Bob or I wanted to be boss for the day. We haven’t figured out the specifics yet, but it promises to be another interesting breakfast when we try. (I may get back to the ketchup, too.) Stay tuned.

For now, the only bit of inside information I’ll leave you on our discussion of religion is that I wouldn’t want to be part of any heaven that would have me as a member.






























The Bobs Get Philosophical over Coffee

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

By Bob Gaydos

“Do you think there are a lot of dumb people in the world?” Ketchup Bob asked Writer Bob.

“Wow, good question.”

The two friends were having some oatmeal (Writer Bob) and coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, ruing the fact that neither had bought stock in the company since this store was swamped with people desperate for coffee and no electric power at home, thanks to Hurricane Sandy.

There was a follow-up question: “Would you rather be smart and worry about all the things there are to worry about in this world — war, bigotry, hatred, disease — or would you rather be dumb and happy in your ignorance?”

This one was easy for Writer Bob. “Smart, any day,” he said, hoping to sound humble, “because, to me at any rate, it means being aware of yourself and the world you live in. Being aware that you always have choices and they can ultimately produce either conflict or contentment. It also means you can recognize opportunities when they present themselves and choose to follow where they lead. Knowing that is an empowering feeling. It also can produce what we call happiness, I think. End of philosophical answer to down-to-earth question.”

“That awareness,” Ketchup Bob added, “can also be vital in deciding how you fit into society, what you can do to contribute to the world, what your gifts are, music or science or art, for example, and how to best use them.”

This conversation was already getting too deep for morning coffee and Writer Bob, so he changed the subject.

“How come some people act so much older than they are?” he asked. “They seem to relish just being old. They act like it’s all over and they’re just waiting for the inevitable. I was with a group of people the other day and someone remarked, as a joke, that at least he wasn’t as old as the guy sitting next to me. The guy was someone most people probably would describe as an old man, but I had a hunch. As we were leaving, I asked him how old he was. I was right. He was several years younger than me — and you. I’m not bragging, just wondering.”

“I don’t know,” said the youngish-looking Ketchup Bob, “maybe it’s a mindset, a lack of motivation. Some people just seem to give up, like they have nothing to live for, nothing to contribute, so they don‘t care about their health or how they look. People tell them that they‘re old, so they act how they think old should act.”

“Are we back to smart or dumb again?”

“I don’t know. It may be more about faith and hope.”

“And awareness. I think in order to carry on with a purpose in life you need to be aware that faith and hope aren’t just high-minded words. I’m not talking about a blind, follow-the-leader kind of faith, but something inside that tells you there is a reason for your being here and it’s not just to be miserable and use up the oxygen. That there is hope, as well as life, after 50.” (Give me a break; I’m not telling.)

“Well, if you believe that, then you will have motivation to live, to enjoy life each day you have and to be as vigorous and productive as you can for as long as possible.”

“So is that smart or dumb?”

“I’d say damn fortunate. See you next week.”