A few days ago, one of my friends ( a Christian) and I were having one of those "discussions" about God, the bible and religion. Knowing I was Pro-life in the sense that I'm totally against Pro-forced birth by the state, he asked me to define exactly what my problem with religious conservatives is. He knows that I don't exactly hate the idea of "god". He couldn't understand why I view people like Mr. Frothy as evil when they preached their idea of the bible. I'm posting my response to him for all to see. (I'm a newbie blogger here, so consider this my "get to know me" essay.) Besides, I think some people might get a kick out of it.
You asked me If I were God, what would I want from my people? What would I want them to do with their lives? How would I want them to conduct themselves? How would I want them to treat the people and things I went to through such effort to create?
I'd want them to be loving, to be interesting, to be uncomplicated. I'd want them to show kindness, compassion, mercy, understanding and care with other people and the planet. I would want them to seek true peace, not the "peace" of being too scared to act against a tyrant. I'd want them to care for the world around them, as I as "God" so cared for the world that I gave my only begotten son. I'd want them to use the brain I gave them to come up with new ways of doing things, to come up with more improved ways to love and care for the world and other people, to challenge what others think its "the only way" to find other, better ways, to challenge conventional thinking on what is right and wrong, to further understanding. I'd want my children to take joy in others differences. I'd want them to be humble and gentle, and protect those who can not protect themselves. I would want them to teach this to others, so that they would make the world be a better place. I would expect them to use their talents where they do the most good for everyone, not because they are of a certain gender. I wouldn't want them to be satisfied with being put in their "place" in a society, if that place does not suit them. I would expect them to be real, to be honest.. with themselves and each other. To accept themselves for who and what I created them to be. I would want them to grow beyond a fearful child into a responsible, independent and understanding adult, not dependent on me to constantly give them guidance.
And THAT is the problem I have with the bible and most religions. Because.. they don't do those things. Instead they take pride in being richer than someone else, smarter than someone else, "better" than someone else. They seek to divide one from another.. instead of bringing everyone together. Since the bible was written, it has been abused of its purpose and edited by men with ulterior motives. Religion has caused some of the worst things.. war, rape, slavery, hatred, status quo. And so often, hateful people use the bible to back up that thinking. People instead say "I can do these things because the bible says so" instead of taking from it the message of peace and love and kindness. They instead focus on how someone is different, inferior to them instead of taking joy in all the wonders. They instead point out how they are different instead of how we are the same. They want a fake simplistic solution to complicated problems because they do not wish to use their brains, to take the blinders off and truly see. Instead they do not want to think, to use effort to come up with a solution, to use compassion and love as their guiding principles. They just want a way to make uncomfortable problems that challenge their thinking to just "go away" instead of being loving and understanding. That is the intolerant child's way of dealing with problems, not that of a responsible and loving adult.
Love. Its the most simplest thing... and the most difficult. The most challenging. And in many ways.. the most complicated. To think first of others and not your own pride or your own ego. It impells us to look BEYOND ourselves.
Why should I say "Gay is a sin"? Because some cryptic line in a book told me so? No. I love my gay friends for who they are.. I don't think what they do is a sin. I think that was instead a thing placed in the bible by man who was too blind to see. Maybe it was instead a challenge placed there for me.. to use my brain and my compassion to say "No, thats not right"... Just as Jesus once challenged and disagreed with the money lenders and teachers in the Jewish temple. Gays are no different from me. Even their SEX is no different from mine (I've seen enough gay porn to know!). Their relationships can be, and frequently are, just as kind, just as loving, just as supportive, as straight sexual relationships. I just can't see how a simple thing like "gender" makes it a sin or not. Is "god" so petty that he must ask "Are you male or female" first? Perhaps god gave me a brain and science to observe the natural world, where homosexual relationships occur in more than just humans. Maybe instead they were placed there, born into our world, for a REASON. For example... they can not naturally bring children into the world themselves unless they come to an agreement with someone of the opposite gender. But they CAN adopt the children who are unloved, uncared for, unwanted. Children that would be a challenge for straight parents to take in because they already have children of their own to support. I know several gay families and those children are just as loved and cared for and educated in morals and ethics as any straight family. To deny a child a loving and stable home is cruel, regardless of its make up. That there are gay couples willing to provide such a home IS a loving and caring thing.
Have I strayed from the bible? Perhaps. But when you get down to it, what did Jesus want? To spread the LOVE. I am doing that. I don't need a religion to do so. I just don't need the text book to tell me to do it. I already got the instructions, its time to go out and practice them. In all I do, in my interactions, in my views, in the things I speak up for and defend. Love, compassion, empathy, kindness, hope, joy, stability, caring for the environment so that further generations can thrive. I see things and issues through those filters, to better my world.
I defend the right of women to have birth control because we can no longer "be fruitful and multiply", our world can no longer support it. We can no longer provide clean water and food to all. Making a child suffer through abuse, hunger, hatred and poverty is not a loving choice.. its a cruel one. I defend the right of a woman to have an abortion, because I have seen the torture we currently inflict on the disabled, because I would not wish to see a woman tortured mentally by being forced to carry a rapists child, because forcing a 10 year old to have her fathers child is cruel. I am not acting out of murder.. but out of kindness and compassion for all involved.
I do not deny people the chance to share intimacy with another, regardless of sex. Such a thing is a sign of love. I do not say "the poor should be thrown out"... for they are people too. Instead I will react to them with kindness and compassion, because I would rather pay a few dollars from my hard earned money than see any man, woman or child go without shelter and food, because that is cruel. I support things which will save our environment, because without edible food, water and clean air, we will suffer a terrible fate and we abuse the gift of our world. I will support human rights for all... because no one is better than another. I speak out against those who would force other people to be below them and their slaves, either because of race, religion, gender or sexual identification- because they are nothing more than bullies who chose to harm, harass, intimidate and belittle others for their own ego and power. I will use my brain for further understanding of these things.. so that all may benefit. I would shout down and remove those from power who are bullies and tyrants, who force others to conform to their hateful and mean beliefs.. for they are cruel and the opposite of loving. I will support those who do not always fall into the majority or the norm - just because they are not "the norm" does not mean they are wrong or evil.. they are simply different.
In so many ways I follow the Wiccan first law.. "DO NO HARM". None of us should be.. but so many churches and religions encourage JUST that. Even the bible, to an extent, encourages that. You are my brother on this planet... I want to treat you with the same love, the same respect, the same acceptance as I do the ones I was raised with. I want to love you no matter what, unconditional. I would hope you could find it in your heart to do the same. I want to see you fed, I want to see you happy, I want to see you joyful and fulfilled. I want to see you raise your children with respect for the world and its people... beyond what is taught in a book.. but out in the real world instead. I want to give you help if you stumble, I want to be the shoulder you lean on, the person you come to when in need. To be supportive when you need it, to kick your butt when you need it, to teach you when needed. You personally... and for every brother and sister on this planet.
Those that I would condemn would be the ones who do not love, do not care, do not show compassion. And even them I would say "but why"? Why can they not do those things? So many people are born with the "disability" to not do that. I work with those disabled from birth... I see that every day. Others have been so harmed they are not capable. For those, I have compassion, have caring, have empathy and I seek understanding instead of saying "they are condemned". I work hard to mitigate that.. and to keep it from happening in the first place, for no person should be so harmed and abused. Those that would cause harm to others I would say "put them where they can do no harm" (Like my cousin) so that others can instead live in love and kindness, without the scars abuse can cause. But to those people that would harm, I would instead give them help as much as possible to that perhaps they will be able to heal beyond. That is the loving, compassionate, kindest choice.
I am not perfect at these things. I fall on my face, get angry, lash out and get frustrated sometimes. I am human, and not perfect. But I get up the next day and try again.. every day. I try every day to help others get past their blindness.. to see beyond into a world of love for all people and things.. not just themselves. I try every day to live by my own code that I have chosen.
I have grown beyond needing a book as my moral compass. I need no man or woman or religion to tell me what it should be. I already have it in my heart. I am no longer a child who needs to keep checking the book to make sure I'm right. I am no longer in a class room.. saying "I'm not sure about this" or "I don't understand the tiny details of this" or "I'm afraid I wont pass the test". I no longer need a teacher or fear to force me to follow a path, for I have chosen it for myself already. I am an adult grown, and I need to make adult decisions.. to forge a path in keeping with all that I have learned. I have taken my book learning outside the clear class room examples and have applied it. I have made my choice... I chose LOVE.
If God would judge me so badly for my choice... then he is not the god of peace, life and love foretold of. He is not "the creator". He is instead a thing of hatred. evil and destruction, not what anyone should chose to worship.
I HAVE made my choice. Have you made yours????