A Young man’s view on chirstmas and religion.
Intro: [Interview starts 45sec]
Shane: The reason why I brought Dan here and I’m doing an interview, is because he was in a conversation with two other guys, and I just attacked him for saying that he loved Satan.
Dan: It is a joke, but yeah.
Shane: No seriously do you love him? Or it is a joke?
Dan: It is a joke.
Shane: You brought me here on false pretenses. Do you actually celebrate Christmas?
Dan: Yeah I do, but it’s more tradition than religion.
Shane: Is your family religious?
Dan: No. There’s one member of the family who’s a devout Catholic but that’s it.
Shane: And who’s that?
Dan: That’s my great aunt.
Shane: And she’s still around?
Dan: Yeah. I don’t really speak to her that much, because she hasn’t been the nicest person.
Shane: Great aunt’s aren’t – I should know.
Dan: She’s nice when you speak to her, but it’s that kind of awkward nice. She’s being too nice because she doesn’t want to be nice.
Shane: I completely understand I’ve been in that situation a number of times. So I just want three words what Christmas means to you?
Dan: Family and Nostalgia….
Shane: And one more.
Shane: Going back to that conversation that you had with Josh and with Tyler. I remember you saying that you didn’t believe that Jesus existed. Is that correct?
Dan: It’s not that I don’t believe that he existed; I don’t know. I haven’t seen any evidence to prove that a man who could have been Jesus existed. I certainly don’t believe he performed miracles, if he did exist.
Shane: But have you gone to investigate it – to find out?
Dan: Not really, it’s not something that I’m super interested in. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe that he existed, it’s just I haven’t seen any evidence for it. If I were to go and look and find some convincing evidence then I believe he existed. I will believe he existed but wouldn’t believe that he made miracles happen.
Shane: Would that change how you feel about his [Jesus] teachings. He’s about taking the path of love, coming together and basically being compassionate and caring for each other.
Dan: I believe in all those messages. I just don’t believe that they should be pushed from a religious stand point. The messages are perfectly good and it’s fine to believe in those things and to believe in compassion and being a nice person. But to deliver it from a religious stand point always seems to have an ulterior motive for me.
When I was in primary school we were forced into religious practices which I didn’t want to do but you really don’t have a choice in primary school.
We had a Muslim kid who came into my primary school half way through the year and they still forced him to say Christian prays and attend Christian services. They got sued out the ass for it.
Shane: It was strange that the parents would let their child go to a Catholic school.
Dan: It wasn’t a Catholic school; it was just a normal primary school. It wasn’t even a Church of England primary school. In British primary school it is a mandatory thing that they have to have Christian services.
Dan: They’re trying to outlaw it now because it’s not right. They don’t push other religions.
Shane: Unless you go to religious schools.
Dan: So they trying to get it boot out. In most primary schools they – I still say force – they still have the kids sing hymns and say prays every day and attend assemblies.
Shane: That never happened in my day; and I’m pretty old by the way. It’s a bit of shock to say that it existed.
Dan: It was normal thou. I never questioned it when I was a kid. I never believed in it. In R.E [Religious Education], we only learnt about Abrahamic religions. So it was always Christianity and then Jews existed. You have to believe but there are people who don’t believe in our God.
Shane: So do you believe in God?
Dan: No I don’t.
Shane: So you’re an atheist?
Dan: Yeah, I don’t like using that term, because of what is associated with it.
Shane: Why? What’s associated with the word?
Dan: People who are belligerent. Trying to find confrontation with people who are religious. I don’t mind anybody’s beliefs as long as they don’t harm anybody else.
Shane: Considering you don’t believe in God and you’re not a religious person. You don’t like to go down that route at all. Do you believe that there is an afterlife?
Dan: I like to, but I don’t really believe…. When I was a kid as you can tell by Thor’s hammer around my neck. I use to believe in Norse paganism; but that’s when I was a little kid.
Shane: So what’s that?
Dan: It’s the belief that there are multiple different Gods. And all of them are still living creatures. They are not mythical beings that live in the skies, as a lot of different religions believe.
Shane: How many Gods do they have?
Dan: A lot. I can’t recite all of them. The main ones are Odin, Thor, Frah …
Shane: Is that Nordic? Is your family descended from that?
Dan: No, not that I know of. I knew a lot of people of Nordic descent when I was a kid. A lot of their families did practice –
Dan: Which is a really strange thing because you rarely find people who do. They were the only people, I’ve met since then who did, but I was friends with them a lot. It always seem more interesting to me to believe in that.
Shane: Ok, you do believe there is a God other there but not the Christianity..
Dan: I did when I was a kid.
Shane: You did when you were a kid, but not now I do apologize. And the afterlife you’re not sure..
Dan: No I don’t believe in it, but I would like to you..
Shane: Why would a part of you like to believe?
Dan: Because I’m scared shitless of death. It’s a nice thought to believe that once you die. You go on to see your family and your friends, but I don’t believe it’s possible.
Shane: Do you think that your life would change if you did believe that there was an afterlife and that there was a better place to go. Would your whole life change?
Dan: The way I’m living wouldn’t change all that much. I would feel a little more positive out of life. I’m still struggling to come to terms that I’m going to die one day. It’s difficult to come to terms with, especially being raised around Christian faiths and Judaism.
Abrahamic religions teach more of a fear of death, that if you are not a good person you’re going to hell.
Whereas in a lot of Asian faiths they teach death to be celebrated and that it’s not scary it’s a part of life. You die and you’re reborn. And I’ve always liked that.
Interview continues with Dan talking about traveling.
p style=”text-align: center;”>The interview took place in the lobby of the Athena Building, University of Teeside 10/12/2015