The Best of Andy Rooney

On the day I write a column each week, my mind flits around looking for an idea that interests me and one I hope will interest you. I like football, the study of philosophy and anything about food. The subject of religion is of great interest to me, although I'm not religious.

I could spend my life writing about these topics, but even though football is one of my favorite subjects, I'd probably run out of things to say about it first. Football is limited intellectually, and to be good to write about, I think a topic has to have some intellectual dimension. The study of religion exceeds football in that department. For all the nonsense there is about it, religion has that.

There's no end to theories about religion. The study of religion provokes more long and heated discussion than any other subject -- certainly more than football.

When I was a freshman in college, I got my first exposure to philosophy, and I was hooked for life. When I was going to school, they didn't teach philosophy before college. Philosophy isn't for kids.

I don't think many people who get deep into the study of philosophy are that religious. I don't think the two subjects fit together well. Religion is believing. Philosophy is skeptical. It's skeptical of religion. It's even skeptical of philosophy. I don't think there are many priests or ministers who'd admit to being skeptical of religion. Those who are should find other work.

I've never heard whether priests and ministers get along. They're in the same line of work but sometimes on opposite sides of the fence. If they didn't get along, though, they probably wouldn't say anything about it. I'd like to hear a priest and a minister talk about the differences in their beliefs.

The good thing about writing about religion is that you never run out of material. And no matter what, someone who will be offended by what you write.

Atheists suspect there's no God. My grandfather was a militant atheist. My father and mother didn't go to church but said they were Presbyterians and sent me to Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. I was indifferent to the religion but I liked going because there were girls who attended the services.

I had an aunt and uncle who were serious Baptists. They didn't approve of my not going to church very often, and they didn't like it that my mother took me to a Presbyterian church. I knew many Catholics, but I never learned the difference between the Presbyterians, the Baptists and the Methodists. I was Presbyterian but don't ask me why. Some of my best friends were Catholic. I was in love with Lucy Buckley, and she was not only Catholic but three years older than I was.

The closest I came to being religious was attending "Home Time" on Sunday afternoons at a church near a friend's house. I liked the name and I liked the girls who came, even though I was never sure about the religious aspect of the meetings.

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