|Fifth Avenue at 51st St, Manhattan; St. Patrick's Cathedral on the left and Rockefeller Center on the right|
Those all sound fascinating; with my academic background in (and, now, amateur study of) the history of religion and theology, I could delve into all of those topics with objective gusto. Unfortunately, though, we missed those classes, and tomorrow night's topic is a little more personal.
"In this session," the website says, "we will begin to address the many challenges of being a person of faith in a secular world."
I don't generally think my spirituality and my secularism come into conflict. But then, though I do identify as Jewish, my idea of a divine power most closely follows this quip attributed to both Rousseau and George Bernard Shaw: God created man in his own image and, being a gentleman, man returned the favor. Because of that, I think that my faith is shaped by the world around me just as much as the world around me is shaped by my faith and the faith of those more zealous than I.
So, given the flexibility - for lack of a better word - of my religious convictions, I suspect I'll stay silent for most of this class. After all, I really don't feel that the secular world in which I live questions my faith too often. Sometimes, though, I do wonder if that's a bad thing. Story after story in both the Old and New Testaments teach that faith must be tested to be proved true. Mine isn't, much. What would happen if it were?
I'm nervous, as one probably should be before a class like this, but I'm really looking forward to grappling with these questions. I hope that, by the end of the evening, the discussion will have provoked me to define and defend my beliefs more strongly.