Peace. I hope everybody enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend. I know I did (possibly more on that later). The following questions are completely unrelated, but were posed by the same person. Originally I wasn’t going to answer the first because I felt it was too personal and it didn’t really apply to everybody. But given the context of my recent Side Order, I figured I’d entertain it.
“How did you get to have your beliefs on spirituality?”
How did you get yours? I presume it was the same way I got mine. I was born. I did some living. And now I’m here with my beliefs. Before I elaborate further on what it is that I actually believe, I need to emphasize that the origins of my beliefs are really just as simple as what I just explained. Folks don’t give this whole life thing enough credit, and assume there must be some fascinating story behind every interesting or different person they meet. Well, my story really isn’t all that fascinating.
My mother’s Catholic and I believe my father is Methodist. I have no idea what my brother is though I’m pretty sure he got baptized recently. Or maybe not. I’ve never been baptized, so I’m pretty much in the clear in terms of how I choose to define myself. What is particular about me (and quite a few individuals I know) is that my first instinct is to question. When I compare the stories and themes I’ve read in the Bible from the stories and themes I encounter every day, a lot of them don’t make sense when taken literally. Sure, they may make sense to many Christians. But I am not those Christians, and they don’t think like how I think. I believe that your entire life is responsible for your faith. Therefore, regardless of whether you’re Jew, Hindu, Yoruba or Atheist, I think you’re exactly what you’re supposed to be until life tells you different. But nobody else can really dictate that for you, unless it is in life’s plan. Therefore, I try my best not to judge people against what I believe, and rather judge them against themselves and what they believe.
Folks often tell me that they know for certain everything they believe to be true, because they see evidence of God in their lives. That’s cool. I do, too. But evidence or proof of God doesn’t necessarily validate one faith over another. And I can tell you this. The day I walked away from Christianity to find my own path, was the day I became a better man. I recognize that many will find that last statement hurtful, and that is their right. But it is also the truth. And unless anybody has seen life through my eyes, walked in my shoes, and had the conversations with God that I have had, nobody can tell me different.
“So you wore the honors of honors, and I went to a party school…does that make a difference in the end?”
At first I wasn’t sure how to answer this question, because I’m not sure if I wore the honors of honors, and I definitely went to a party school. Therefore, I guess I could just as easily ask the same question as you. I went to UVA, and from what I can tell it has a very good reputation. But there are other schools I could have attended that have even better reputations and better pedigrees. But to humor you, I think that although it can make a difference in the end, it doesn’t have to.
I know folks who busted their åsses at their party schools and ended up becoming doctors and lawyers. I know folks who cruised through their prestigious universities and still haven’t come close to figuring out a plan in life. Life really is what you make it. But I will say, I do believe that on paper (obviously), the names atop certain degrees do mean more than the names atop other degrees. But they don’t tell the whole story.
One argument I’m often dragged into (yes, dragged) is the debate between PWIs (predominately white institutions) and HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities). UVA, in this instance and any other, is a PWI. A school like Howard University is an HBCU. To me, I don’t really care which is better. College, like life, is what you make it. The only thing I tell folks is that my BS in Computer Science Engineering from UVA is going to offer me more job security than your BA in English from, well, anywhere really. But that doesn’t mean I’m more intelligent or better than anyone else. It just means I was astute enough to study a field that offered a lot of post graduate opportunities.
I do understand that these things matter to some people, but they don’t to me. I’m happy. And as long as you’re happy with your current circumstances, then the decisions you made leading up to this point were the right ones. If you’re unhappy and feel you made some poor choices, there is always time to make changes.
That’s it for me. If you have a question, you can submit it here or post anonymously in the comments below. And while you’re commenting below, you can let us know how you came to have your faith. At the same time, how much of a difference do you notice between the folks who went to prestigious universities and those that attended less reputable schools?