A little chat I had with a cab driver yesterday.
He was a Sikh.
Yet, he wasn't wearing a turban. Instead, when I asked he even had his hair cut which he himself told me you don't do as a Sikh. I was just trying to talk to him, sussin' out what kind of religious background he has, and "building the relationship" even though a brief one. So we were talking about how his shift for the day has been, and he told me he's doing the night shift and I showed him my sympathy for him doing the night shift by saying how hard it was when I had to do it during my air force days. He sounded comforted when he said it is quite bad even though you sleep the same amount in terms of hours, because you are going against the nature and how god made it.
"ooh... he mentioned the word, 'god'!!!", I thought.
Sometime later, after our conversation about doing night shifts had quietened down, I asked him whether he believed in God referring to him mentioning 'god' in our previous conversation. He reiterated that he was a Sikh, and he did believe in god(s). I actually have no idea about god(s) of Sikh, although I knew they wore turbans, so I was genuinely interested when I asked, "tell me about your god." He first told me it's like Hindu but a little bit different in how you practice your belief, eg. wearing a turban and not cutting your hair if you are a Sikh. I insisted, "so, what's your god like?" since his answer was way too general and I didn't feel that he was talking about his own view. I mean, even I noticed that he wasn't wearing the turban! Then he said, it's a bit different to Hindu, but the holy book is the same and in the end, just like all the religions, god tells you to do good and not do bad things. And he added, "god is all same, muslim one, hindu, christian, and no religion tells you to be evil. It's just people who interpret it wrongly and stuff up." At that point, I had to suppress my urge to correct what he just said because I thought by doing so we wouldn't get anywhere since he wouldn't like to be corrected by a stranger like myself. So I took the second line he said, that people misinterpret what god tells them. I reaffirmed what he said first by commenting that "so, god tells us to be good, but people misinterpret god and what god wants them to do?" he said, "yes." I said," do you think people will ever be able to get things right? (hint hint, intro to the doctrine of total depravity ;-)" He answered, after a brief silent moment, "no." I said, "then, don't you think god would know that we are incapable of understanding him correctly nor do the right thing? If I were god, I would stop telling people to be good since I know it's not going to work, and clearly it hasn't been, and isn't working. Instead, I would fix the whole thing myself!" He said, "no, then there'd be nothing happening. I mean... that's impossible. You can't fix everything. That can't happen!" I said, "but it's god we are talking about. I mean, if god is god, then he should be able to do that, no? (hint hint, sovereignty of God/omnipotent ;-)" He thought for a brief moment and asked, "so... which god do you believe in? A Christian one?" I was happy that he did not ask me which "religion" I belong to or believed and get distracted by "religion", but we stayed on theology in its pure sense, answering what god is like. So I said, "yeah, I believe in Christian God."
We finally arrived at the destination, Rhodes shopping centre. I had to asked him to stop and drop me off and got my wallet out. He stopped the car, but he wanted to continue our conversation for a little longer. I was more than happy to continue. So I said, "Christian God says just like other gods, that we should be good and do good, not do bad things, but he also says, that He knows we can't do it, and he fixes things Himself. (I, at this point, knew that I was stretching myself to express my theological understandings in a language that a polytheistic, universalist could understand in the context of what and how we have been talking about god.) Thankfully, he seemed to understand what I'd just said and naturally asked, "he fixes everything? well, then how is this world still like this?" (Oh, he sees that things aren't how they are meant to be!) Then realising my mistake, I said, "oh, ok. what I meant to say was that he will fix everything. He knows that we are incapable of living right, so He will one day return, and fix everything ultimately, so when He comes, you'd better be on His side (bit of eschatology here, but it's the simple, yet powerful statement Jesus Himself made). Then I had to get out of the car and meet awaiting friends of mine. He seemed quite happy about our chat. I don't know if that's a good sign. I felt good that I was able to share what our God is like, but now I think about it, I might have glossed over some tough edges of the Truth. Maybe that's why he was still smiling when I thought I told him that He has set a day to return and judge everyone, including him! hmm...
May God have mercy on his soul.