Last week we had dinner at a quiet restaurant on the Oregon coast, and sat near two people that were obviously on a first date. (“So, do you have any siblings?”)
When their conversation took an interesting turn, we couldn’t help but listen:
“You’re an atheist? How can you not believe in God?”
“How can you not believe in Zeus or Thor?”
“That’s stupid. Those are old folk-tales.”
“They were God! You’re dismissing others’ beliefs, calling them folk-tales? So you’re also an atheist for most gods that have ever existed. I just go one further.”
“I’m not an atheist!”
“You and I are almost identical in our beliefs! If history has named, say, 520 gods, you don’t believe in 519 of them, I don’t believe in 520 of them.”
“What do you do on Christmas or Easter, then? Do you feel weird as a non-believer?”
“What do you do on Thursday?”
“Thursday was named after Thor. It’s Thor’s day. Do you feel weird as a non-believer?”
“That’s not fair.”
“All the English days of the week are named after gods, sun, and moon. Look it up on Wikipedia. It’s wild.”
“Why are you so into this?”
“I’m not. Spent maybe 20 minutes on it, tops. I’m not on a mission to dis-prove God any more than you’re on a mission to dis-prove Zeus. It’s really no big deal to me.”
“So, I guess we’re not compatible, huh?”
“Of course we are! I like you a lot. And we do agree on 519 of the gods, so we’ll just not mention that last one.”
“OK. Deal. I like you a lot, too.”
“So what’s your favorite band?”
I always love an opposite point of view. Then I liked the reframing of the situation from “we’re opposite” to “we agree on 519 of the 520 gods.”
We went home and looked up the etymology of the English days of the week, and found:
- Thursday: named for Thor, who gets his own blockbuster movie next year
- Friday: named for Frige, the love goddess
- Saturday: named for Saturn, Roman god of agriculture
- Sunday: the sun’s day
- Monday: the moon’s day
- Tuesday: named for Tiw, the god of single combat, later equated with Mars, the Roman god of war
- Wednesday: named for Woden aka Odin, head god of almost everything, maybe a precursor to Father Christmas or Santa Claus, and will be played by Anthony Hopkins in Thor’s movie, bringing it all back around
I love that we’re living in a time where it’s so easy to learn.
Like the date asked, “Why are you so into this?” - When I was a kid, you had to be “so into” something to go to the trouble of going to the library to find books on a subject, or going back to the card catalog to find related books.
It used to be that if you overheard someone say something, you’d just remember and repeat it, without looking it up for yourself, because it wasn’t worth the trouble.
Now you can start to dive into any subject with some whimsical web browsing - an alternate to watching a TV show. And because I invested so little time into it, I’m emotionally less invested into subscribing to it (“signing my name to it”) - and can see it as just an alternate point of view.