Sunday, November 2, 2008

This should be interesting...

I'm going to church in the morning.

I haven't been to church in about a year, and I haven't gone to church regularly for about three.

I was raised Christian and considered myself one until some point toward the end of high school. I did not cease to consider myself a Christian at that time simply because that was also when I was coming to terms with the fact that I'm gay, although that did contribute to it.

Really, the main reason I stopped being a Christian was because I became disillusioned by all the hypocrisy, the greed, the corruption that plagues the church as a whole in this country. The Bible-thumping televangelists and the megachurches and the faith-healers and the fire-and-brimstone preachers who care more about sin than about grace and love and forgiveness. That is why I lost my faith. It was always there, but I was able to overlook it until I found myself - however secretly - in one of the groups targeted by the hatred of the popular church. And I know that that was hypocritical of me. 'Oh, all is fine and dandy until it affects me negatively.'

I was also turned off by blind faith. By those whose 'solution' to any and every problem is to pray. Now that is all well and good, but it still won't do any good if they don't take some action themselves to solve the problem. I'm reminded of the quote 'God helps those who help themselves.' Now I know that that quote is from Benjamin Franklin and not from the Bible, but I still find it no less true. God can't make a drug addict suddenly stop being addicted to drugs. Well, he probably could, but then there's the issue of free will. No, the addict has to want to quit and to be held accountable by those around him. God can help the addict succeed, but the addict still has to start the journey of his own will.

And then of course, there is the problem that the church at large believes that homosexuals are going to hell, if for nothing else but for being homosexual. That is something with which I have a real problem. I do not believe that homosexuality is a choice, and it makes me so angry whenever straight people say that it is. I did not choose to be gay; I just am. And I don't see what is wrong about that. It is simply part of my nature. And what is wrong with loving?

And I know that this is a discussion of religion and that politics should not be brought into it, but the religious people have already blurred the line, so I have to talk about politics too.

I am actually quite traditional in my goals for my personal life: I want to find the love of my life, get married, and settle down in a house with a white picket fence, a two-car garage, two or three kids, and a dog. I want the American Dream. Why shouldn't I be able to pursue the American Dream? Do I not deserve a happy family life just because I want to start that family with another man? It just doesn't make sense. It always makes me so angry when people try to justify denying me that basic right by quoting one verse from Leviticus. It is so hypocritical that people take that one verse as absolute law while completely disregarding other verses in Leviticus condemning the eating of pork and shrimp and forbidding contact with a woman while she is menstruating. I personally believe that Leviticus is an outdated book which, although relevant to Jews 2500 years ago for purposes of health and hygiene, has no practical relevance to modern Western society, but if conservatives are going to claim that all of the Bible is true and be very strict about one rule from Leviticus, then they should follow them all. That just goes right along with the hypocrisy that I see in the church.

Still, despite all this, I simply cannot abandon religion altogether. I have even tried other religions, but none of them felt quite right. And because the guidance of one of my professors - my favorite one, in fact - I have decided to give Christianity another try. I am going to church tomorrow, trying to keep an open mind. Prepared to show people that I am not a non-Christian because I have not read the Bible, but that I am in fact not a Christian because I have read the Bible and see blaring discrepancies between the scripture and the church. I also see the Bible as a generally good book which has been mangled and twisted by scribes and translators over the past 2000+ years, as a collection of guidelines by which to live, some of which are no longer applicable because they dealt with a specific issue that is no longer troublesome, and some of which are expressions of some ancient man's irrational fears of things he didn't understand.

Let's see how this works out.



emoney said...

My mom used to force me to go to church on the weekends. Such shit. Christianity hasn't really changed much of my views though, I want a really alternative family, me, someone else I love, an adopted kid. Idk about marriage, or the future, I'm okay with living fast and dying young.

turtle said...

Have you checked out a UU church? They tend to be more with the love and less with the brimstone. That, and you can be out of the closet with them if you like. There's usually some kind of G&L group, with support networks and bake sales and stuff. UUs are less about specifics in religion, though, so if you're intent on finding a cozy place that will also tell you about Jesus, it's probably not the thing. I like them, but then, they raised me so I'm kind of supposed to say that.