Vulcan’s Peak

What the Baptists have done to me

September 29, 2005 11:16 pm

That sounds like a rant. But it isn’t.

Let’s start here: the BeliefNet Quiz that’s going around again. If anyone had any doubts…

Belief-O-Matic then lists another 26 faiths in order of how much they have in common with your professed beliefs. The higher a faith appears on this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (92%)
3. Liberal Quakers (88%)
4. Secular Humanism (80%)
5. Neo-Pagan (72%)
6. Theravada Buddhism (70%)
7. New Age (66%)
8. New Thought (61%)
9. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (61%)
10. Reform Judaism (61%)
11. Baha’i Faith (60%)
12. Nontheist (59%)
13. Mahayana Buddhism (56%)
14. Taoism (49%)
15. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (46%)
16. Scientology (46%)
17. Orthodox Quaker (44%)
18. Sikhism (41%)
19. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (41%)
20. Jainism (40%)
21. Orthodox Judaism (30%)
22. Jehovah’s Witness (29%)
23. Hinduism (27%)
24. Islam (26%)
25. Seventh Day Adventist (18%)
26. Eastern Orthodox (15%)
27. Roman Catholic (15%)

Wasn’t that fun? I enjoyed telling one question that I don’t believe in an afterlife, then telling another one that we might get reincarnated, or perhaps we are all rewarded in the end. I felt it accurately reflected my usual state of confusion.

More seriously (getting back to the Baptists), if anything, I feel much more comfortable and confident in who I am and what I may or may not believe after spending three plus years in the buckle of the Bible Belt. At times it has seemed that one of the lovely little ironies of my life has been that I have chosen to be part of a very conservative student body, even though I have grown up a Unitarian (a minority in a minority – far more people come to Unitarianism later in life after becoming disillusioned with more conventional forms of religion). But apart from any feel-good notions of confidence, living and learning among the Baptists has been an eye-opener in some unexpected ways. One that never ceases to amuse and amaze me is that I have actually started to pick up on Biblical imagery and symbolism in literature. For certain poets, a garden will always have the idea of Eden lurking in the background. Apples should be regarded suspiciously for possible overtones. Etcetera. I notice things now that would never have occurred to me five years ago. (I always think of a scene in Kafka’s Metamorphosis that involved apples – Mrs. Hesse connected the apples to the tree of knowledge and I was floored.) It sounds petty, but it has to do with learning a little bit about the lenses with which other people view the world – not for a moment do I regret my choice to spend my college years in an ex-bastion of the Southern Baptists.
And that’s not even mentioning the people I wouldn’t have met, the places I might not have gone, that I might be doing some other major!!

Coming this weekend: So what the hell has she actually been up to for three weeks???

3 Responses to “What the Baptists have done to me”

Pug wrote a comment on September 30, 2005

Yes, what the hell *has* she been up to? 🙂

Interestingly, I have had a desire to learn more about Islam simply so that I can pick up on its symbolism where it exists. Of course, having a desire and doing so are two different things, but it’s on the lengthy to-do list…

Tae wrote a comment on September 30, 2005

“…the people I wouldn’t have met, the places I might not have gone…”
This sounds oddly Suess-ical to me.
And yeah, I forget that most people don’t grow up with ‘standard’ Biblical knowledge/stories anymore. I rarely had a problem picking up the Bibicial allusions, but that just goes back to my upbringing I guess.

Odette wrote a comment on September 30, 2005

Yuppers. I mean, I knew *some* Biblical stories. I knew about Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt and Solomon suggesting that the baby be cut in half. And of course things like Eden and Noah and the birth of Jesus. Somehow, it just didn’t generally occur to me to think of these stories/ideas when reading other literature. The “allude to Greek mythology” skill set was all hooked up, but “allude to the Bible” was missing a few wires. And I don’t claim it’s quite all there yet.

I seem to have absorbed Seuss pretty well, though. 😀

Care to comment?