The truth is, no matter how deep my lack of faith, or how far I swing between agnosticism and atheism, and how much I believe this life is all we get and when we are dead we’re done, there is still something inside me, some stunted Pentecostal version of myself, that worries I will spend a miserable eternity in hell.
Our dear friend is gone. After receiving the news early this morning, I thought how this is the first time in almost 100 years that the sun has dawned on a new day without her being in the world.
Rest in peace, lovely one. Words can’t express how much we will miss you.
Over the past several years, I have went through quite a cycle in my life with regard to religion. Even while attending church off and on, I have never been able to successfully drown out the nagging questions I have always had about anything to do with faith and its practices. But it has only been over the past couple of years that I have developed such a distaste for religion that overcoming those questions has transitioned from unlikely to nearly impossible.
It has gotten to the point where I view religion as my enemy. The loudest opponents to equality and rights for the LGBT community in America typically consider themselves to be conservative Christians (the liberal Christian is a rare bird, indeed). Most days, after a glance at the news, I spend much of my time feeling helpless and angry.
I get angry when I hear that American Christians and their Republican counterparts are funding and fanning the flames of homophobia in Uganda – where things have gotten so bad that the average Ugandan believes lesbians should be raped and gay men should be killed.
I get angry when I hear that Josh Duggar has molested multiple girls much younger than himself (including his sisters), yet his mother made robocalls last year to tell everyone to vote down a non-discrimination act for transgendered people, wherein she said men would dress as women to get into women’s restrooms to molest little girls.
I get angry when someone I have never met comes on this blog and posts a comment saying I will be “anally raped by the Devil himself in hell,” and then threatens to kill me.
I get angry when the Vatican says Ireland’s recent vote for marriage equality was a “defeat for humanity.” One would think they would direct their outrage at child-touching priests instead of consenting adults who simply want to get married.
I get angry when Christians habitually discriminate against anyone that doesn’t fit their narrow, bigoted view, and then scream about religious oppression when they get called out on it.
So, when I stop to get gas and the store is playing contemporary Christian music over the loudspeakers, I roll my eyes. When I see parking lots full of church attendees, I feel nothing but contempt. When I hear someone ask for prayer over the most mundane thing possible, I cringe. I don’t hear or see genuine faith in action; I see weak minds and pettiness. I don’t see unconditional love or people helping the poor; I see people who are most likely spending their time and money to work against the very things I want out of life. I see enemies of equality and freedom, and enemies of myself.
There are good Christians and there are bad ones, but even the good Christians I know are usually perfectly content to be ignorant of anything outside their bubble-shaped world. For example, I recently had someone ask me why certain gay men like to dress as women, but as I tried to explain drag queens, they became overwhelmed and said they didn’t want to hear about it. If you don’t want to know, then don’t ask.
The more time goes by, the more I find myself agreeing with the old quote, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
I’ve learned that will people forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
– Maya Angelou