12/15/09 Curt, about 24
I went jogging after work and stopped by the IIT student center where Curt, a graduate student, was reading a book. He agreed to answer my questions and told me he believes in "Karma", which to him is the idea that "what goes around comes around." Somehow I wasn't surprised, given his long hair and John Lennon wire rimmed glasses. He said he doesn't believe in God or eternal life but thinks that within this life we reap what we sow. He believes he is beyond the need to be rewarded or punished for his behavior, that he is a good person regardless. I asked if he based his beliefs on an established religion and Curt said that he doesn't like the idea of religion telling him what he can and can't do, he would rather do what he feels is right. I asked "What happens when your moods change, does your idea of right and wrong change with them? And have you been able to follow your idea of right and wrong?" These were questions Curt really couldn't answer. He told me he had grown up in a Lutheran church but ultimately rejected it because of the hypocrisy he witnessed, beginning with an alcoholic pastor. "But what if the Bible IS true, how would you do if you died and found yourself before God's judgment throne?" Curt answered "It depends on if it's the God of the Old Testament or the New Testament. It seems like God had some sort of mid-life crisis or something. He seems so much more nice and forgiving in the New Testament." I told him I used to think the same way until I found out that Jesus warned more about hell than he spoke of heaven, and gave a more strict interpretation of the Ten Commandments. I reminded him how Jesus said calling your brother a fool in anger is like murder, and looking with lust is committing adultery in ones heart. (Matthew 5) "Hell is very real according to the Bible, and we need to take it seriously". I expected Curt to reject this, but instead he seemed to warm up to what I was saying. I was surprised at his change in countenance. He told me he had read the Bible several times through and used to teach Sunday school, and I could tell that biblical truths he had long since dismissed were starting to make sense.