The Challenge of being “A Believer”

It is easy to make sure other developers take my code seriously. The challenge is trying to offer something deeper than my logical explanations when some friend needs hope rather than facts.

Posted by Fellipe Brito on August 14, 2014

God is not dead

I went to one of the biggest ruby conferences in the world, which happened last april in Chicago. Everyone who I look up to was there. The best developers, speakers and entrepreneurs… the brightest and most creative minds from my community were there to share their thoughts.

I felt really small surrounded by so many good people. Of course, it was a personal inspiration to get better, study more and to improve myself and my team’s work quality.

Putting aside all this tech stuff, something caught my attention. As I posted before here in my blog, I’m a statistics lover. Thus, when I saw that they had a yearly survey used to measure different aspects of our community, I promptly filled it and checked the last years results to verify. Ruby Stats.

A lot of tech data grabbed my attention, I talk about them every blue moon in my other blog (the one I use to write about code http://code.fellipebrito.com/]). However, in this post I’d like to talk about something else: “What are your religious beliefs?”. These numbers are shocking for a country that is considered a christian one:

  • back in 2012  we were 19%monotheists, a decrease of **4% **since 2009.
  • also in 2012  we were 68% atheists or agnostics, an increase of **6% **since 2008.

This year, in a small event with approximately 40  tech professionals that sometimes share the same project I work on, I was the only one to answer the “spiritual status” as: I’m a believer

When I defined this situation as a “challenge”, I received an amazing question from Roy about what would be “so challenging”. I have to admit that his question made this challenge even bigger. I will try to explain myself in the next lines.

What one can feel from most of conversations, blog articles and social media posts, is that it is a good “status” to be an atheist or agnostic. It is a synonym of being smart. Paraphrasing what Descartes said, “I’m smart, therefore I’m atheist”.

I made an experiment, sending a text message to all my contact friends saying “God is not dead”, I picked two answers that I received to show my point: - If he’s not, he certainly doesn’t give a shit about Brazil; - That’s not what Nietzsche said.

The countless evangelical churches affirmations and their catastrophic acts in the last 50 years make this even worse. We can certainly affirm that a believer’s brain is smaller than Homer Simpson’s brain.

Of course I forced a little bit in the above two sentences, but, mutatis mutandis, that’s exactly what we see “being thought out loud” in every social media thread.

While I was shocked with the conference survey results, other folks celebrated it: “I love to see #atheism winning in the #ruby community :: #railsconf #NonFiction #Science #Facts” [https://twitter.com/chrishough/status/459767149918052352].

I’m always trying to live my faith. I am almost sure 100% of my friends and colleagues heard at least once about my faith. Often I share my faith details with close friends. And I try to answer everyone whenever someone asks me why do I believe.

I really respect most of these folks. They are capable professionals and entrepreneurs. Excellent people from whom I can always learn something new, and it is always challenging to share with them why I believe in the crucified carpenter, in the incarnate God, in the Genesis and in the final judgement.

Not a few times I took notes from their logical questions and I found myself researching the answers with people who are more experienced and smarter than me.

I’m far away from requesting everyone to follow my religion. And I’m positive I don’t have the answer for every question (Maybe 42? #nerd)

However, living in a world with no faith and no post-life hope; In a fully of reasoning and fact-based community; In an environment where you can fix any issue with some logical cod;. In a country where suicide numbers get higher and higher; In a society where a neighbor is importante just in case he or she can give you something back… I feel myself challenged to continue to be a believer and share it.

So, answering Roy’s question: ”What’s the challenge you’re facing exactly? Do others not take your code seriously?”

It is easy to make sure other developers take my code seriously when my projects are reporting both simplecov 100% code coverage and CodeClimate an A grade.

What is challenging here, is trying to offer something deeper than my logical explanations when some friend needs hope rather than facts.

It is challenging to be a living evidence from something that is everyday more outdated, a proof of “lack of intelligence” and considered to be a “superstition” .

It is challenging to be a spicy seasoning in a world that prefers “3 minutes, pre made recipes”.

The challenge, as was brilliantly interpreted by Jodie Foster, in the movie who adapted Carl Sagan’s book “Contact”, is to try to be quiet… 

“Because I can’t. I… had an experience… I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision… of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that we are *not*, that none of us are alone! I wish… I… could share that… I wish, that everyone, if only for one… moment, could feel… that awe, and humility, and hope. But… That continues to be my challenge.”