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our religion too. I love Buddhism and especially the life of Buddhist monks because of the similarities to Catholic monks. I am also a quarter Russian-Jewish which has had me taken pride in my heritage and the Jewish culture.
John Haworth (JH): The philosophy of Taoism can be an extremely useful tool when applied to almost anything, as it teaches the importance of “going with the flow.” Zen’s primary focus on the inner self is what interests me the most, like how to calm a busy mind and how to relax in times of intense stress. Scientology has piqued my curiosity because it makes some pretty outrageous claims about the nature of the world around us. As an organization, it tries to keep strict tabs on its own narrative, and for that reason I believe everyone should Wikipedia it.
B.K. Bergman: I’m going to focus some questions specifically to each of you based on what your beliefs are. First, John, what challenges to your beliefs do you encounter today?
JH: The challenges I encounter are ones that have arisen from human nature. Sometimes I’ll judge someone irrationally and hastily. Sometimes I’ll neglect important parts of my life, and sometimes I have trouble displaying restraint towards things I find addictive. Too much of a good thing is bound to have adverse consequences, and sometimes I feel the effects of them immediately – like a hangover.
BK: With Agnosticism and Atheism are on the rise in this country, what is it about America that is drawing people away from traditional religion?
JH: Going back to what I said a few questions ago, I believe it is the perception of religion that may turn people away: the feeling that religion is a form of control. Also, many people struggle and give in to urges that religion forbids, so if they’re on the fence about religion and struggling with such urges, and don’t feel a strong need to report to any type of spiritual/familial source, they may think that it is better to do away with religion as a whole. Agnosticism/atheism have slowly garnered a following as a few figureheads have come out as atheists, and when people, especially young people, see that it’s not completely shunned in society and that there are like-minded individuals out there, they may feel inclined towards leaving religion. This may also be augmented by technology (e.g. the internet) as a means of spreading/accessing information quickly.
BK: Atheism is generally a belief of youth. As people get older they are more inclined to become more religious, what is it about aging that draws people away from Atheism and toward formal religious institutions?
JH: I think it largely depends on the environment people are brought up and where they end up. Some people find themselves in a position where it makes sense to start believing in God, be it because it was already on the back of their minds for a while and they had a moment of epiphany where it was brought to the forefront of their minds, or because those around encourage it, or because they reflect upon a life lived and feel that it lacked the kind of substance that religion would provide. Conversely, some people look at religion as a traumatizing projection of a moral system unfairly imposed onto them in their youth, while some people have an inkling of doubt, decide to explore other belief systems, and settle down somewhere else. I believe that it’s all highly dependent on one’s environment.
BK: Andrew, research has shown that the Catholic faith continues to lose membership. What do you think the Catholic Church can do to encourage more people into their faith?
Andrew Ouellette (AO): Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.” I think that we need to educate people that have question about our faith so that they can better understand what we believe more than the false facts they might have of heard from someone who is not even Catholic. The most CONTINUES ON PAGE 3