- INTERVIEW WITH
- BY - Dr. Khalid Sohail
ONE…GOD AND RELIGION
Q-1, Do you believe in God? If you do
A-1, No, I do not.
Q-1, What is your concept / experience
A-2. I was taught as a child that “he” is “in heaven”,
“up there” somewhere. It was rather vague. I imagined him as
an old man, rather stern-looking, as portrayed in religious
art, sitting about on a throne or clouds with angels around
him waiting to judge somebody.
Q-3, How is your belief system
different than the belief system of your family and
community of origin?
A-3, My generation does not believe in
god, except for my sister who pays lip service (got her son
christened, goes to Christmas Eve service because of the
nice atmosphere etc). My parents’ generation were
church-goers and on my father’s side, still are, as are
their children, my cousins. My parents never made a big deal
of religion—it was more of a custom; going to church was a
thing everybody did at that time. Sunday school was fun and
the church had enjoyable outings and social events.
Q-4, How did you become an Atheist /
Agnostic / Free Thinker / Humanist?
A-4, I began to realize from reading that every culture
invents a religion according to their understanding of the
world around them, to deal with natural events, protect
against disasters, regulate behaviour and plan for life
after death etc. It made me realize that Christianity was
merely one of those. At the same time, I was having terrible
struggles with my mother, and all my prayers to the
Christian god to help me never resulted in anything, so I
realized this god was a figment of the collective
imagination, not anyone real who took an interest in my
troubles. I remember the night I stopped praying and
dismissed god out of my life.
Q-5, Why do you believe in a Religion?
Q-6, Why do you practice your preferred
religion [Islam / Christianity / Judaism / Hinduism /
Sikhism / Native Spirituality etc] as opposed to not any
other religious or spiritual tradition?
Q-8, Do you believe in giving Religious
Education to children at home and in schools?
A-8, No—children need to be mixing with
each other and learning to understand each other’s cultures,
not spending their formative years segregated into
educational ghettoes. Religion is the family’s business and
should be taught at home.
Q-9, Why can’t we teach our children
different religious and spiritual and secular traditions as
part of history and let them decide when they become adults?
A-9, I have no quarrel with that. My children aren’t
baptized into any religion and they are welcome to choose
one if and when they want.
Q-10, What are your views about the
relationship between Religion and State?
A-10, They should be strictly separate.
Q-11, Where you do get your guidance
about your moral and ethical values?
A-11, From people whose values I
admire, and from the concept of treating others as I would
like to be treated.
TWO…LOVE, SEX AND MARRIAGE
Q-12, Are you single or
Q-13, If you are single is it
out of your own choice?
A-14, What are your views
about celibacy? It’s a personal choice, neither admirable nor
reprehensible in and of itself.
Q-15, why did you get
married? Was it an arranged or a love marriage?
A-15, My husband strongly
wanted to get married. I had had a lot of relationships and at this age
I was ready to settle down and work at this relationship with or without
papers. He’s a good man and worth working things through with.
Q-16, Do you believe in
platonic relationships between men and women?
A-16, Yes, although it’s hard
to maintain that state sometimes!
Q-17, Are you gay or lesbian?
Q-18, Have you shared your
gay / lesbian lifestyle with your family and community?
Q-19, What was the reaction
of your family and community?
Q-20, What do you think of
legalizing gay and lesbian marriages in Canada?
Q-21, Do you have a gay or
lesbian friend or relative?
Q-22, What do you think
different Religions and Scriptures say about gay and lesbian lifestyle?
A-22, They are generally
disapproving of it. It has been interesting watching various Christian
groups struggling to change from official repugnance to official
approval over the last few years—gays were once an abomination and are
now God’s special lambs, with ministries dedicated to them and
diplomatic handling by congregations of their wishes to become priests
and ministers themselves.
Q-23, Are you an immigrant?
For how long have you been living outside your motherland?
Q-24, What do you consider
the cultural differences between the two cultures?
Q-25, How do you deal with
your cultural conflicts?
PART FOUR…CREATIVE PERSONALITIES
AND EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS
Are you a Creative Person?
Q-27, How do you express your creativity [ write, paint, act or make
films or in other forms] ?
A-27, Once every 10 years or so I write a short story but it doesn’t
make me creative. I would say I have lived a somewhat
unconventional life because of certain choices and circumstances.
Q-28, Do you share your Creations with your family and community?
Q-29, What are the reactions of your family and community about your
Q-30, Did you experience emotional and social problems because of your
Creative Personality and Lifestyle?
Q-31, How do you cope with those emotional and social problems?
for sharing your philosophy and lifestyle.