I've started teaching a 52-hour life skills curriculum with two groups of 16-28 year olds. The classes are in fancy Arabic and K and I have been leading the classes along with two or three local counterparts. One of whom is the director of my youth center, the second is the president of an association that helps out street kids, and the third is some guy named Mbark. We just had the first two over to our apartment, to eat dinner and to prepare for some upcoming lessons. We served up some fried chicken, mashed potatoes, coleslaw and cornbread. Told them it was southern food. While it was all damn good, I fried myself when some air got trapped under the chicken liver and the oil exploded onto my wrist.
Anyway, just like last time they came over, they managed to direct conversation towards a favorite topic: Allah. Let me be clear, they are not aggressively pressuring us to convert; it's more like they're curious about what the hell we think is happening with the whole universe/life/death thing. The director of my youth center, Z, asked me a sneaky question first off (we were talking about how insane climate change is now and how he can't remembered any November as warm as this*). He asked the old "what do you think happens when you die? You just become soil or something?" As usual, I didn't want to get too involved in the topic, as I'd prefer not to think about the end of myself, but I went along with it, telling him "it's impossible for me to imagine what I am after I die." So then he took off on descriptions of heaven and hell and how Muslims have various levels of the two and you can move up levels and everything in the afterlife is operating on a different dimension, one that isn't necessarily physical, and so on. Oh and he pointed out how our cat is very well-designed, and something that could create our cat can probably create some pretty crazy higher-dimension stuff. Our cat seems to mostly be made out of fat, so I told him it doesn't seem too complicated. In the end, he extended an invitation to convert which we turned down.
I'm not sure what I would be converting from. How do you explain to somebody that Islam, Judaism, Christianity, I see them all as slight variations of the same story-- the only reason why I don't get much religious harassment is because everyone assumes I am Christian. I'm not even sure what I am, maybe I'll leave that for another post. But how do I explain, without insulting Z, that I think it's more than a little bit insane to let a possible afterlife be the primary factor in all currentlife decisions. How do I explain that evolution gives a damn convincing answer to the question: why are cats so complex? Above all, I think it's borderline solipsistic to think a greater being has the slightest interest in what I do with my day.
And the fact that 99.99 percent of people in this country all share the same religion makes it even less compelling for me. Talk about unoriginal.
*As a side note, every high-school educated person in Morocco seems to know and understand (somewhat) about global warming. Why is it that every high-school educated person in America doesn't know or understand?
The views, opinions, and observations expressed in this journal are my own and in no way reflect the views, opinions, or policy of the Peace Corps, Peace Corps Morocco, nor any other governmental or non-governmental organization.
Nor is anything written here necessarily drawn from my own views, opinions, and observations. Please consider all postings and pictures complete fabrications with absolutely no bearing on reality. For legal purposes, please additionally regard the author as utterly imaginary.
The views, opinions, and observations expressed in this journal are my own and in no way reflect the views, opinions, or policy of the Peace Corps, Peace Corps Morocco, governmental or non-governmental organizations.
Nor is anything written here necessarily my own views, opinions, or observations. Please consider all pictures and texts here to be complete fabrications with absolutely no bearing on reality, this one or any other. For legal purposes, please additionally consider the author to be utterly imaginary.