Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Religious Truth

There are somethings I'll never understand. And there are somethings I can't tolerate. Since the debate or maybe more aptly, cultural war, over same sex marriage has came about, I found myself less tolerate of the "other side". This bothers me greatly. I have always held a live and let live philosophy. Never tried to change any one's mind about their deeply held beliefs. Never thought that theirs beliefs were wrong. That it was personal, their choice and their right. I would give my life to defend it, if need be, even if it opposed my own. I felt that way because it seemed right to do so. To silence it, it seemed to me, would be a greater evil. There was a time when I would have refered to myself as a Christian. The weekly church service, the outreach, the witnessing, though a part of me felt it wasn't real, that it didn't answer all the questions I had. Even as a youngster, I felt drawn to the divine truths, the secrets of the universe, the occult if you will. That there was something greater to this life and that there was some way that us mere mortals could reach it, understand it, transcend it. These feelings, these beliefs are deeply ingrained, still present. I still follow some of the basic tenants of that belief system. I've read and studied others. I combined what made sense and discarded what didn't. I sort of formed my own personal belief system over the years. It has served me will.

I think back to the old days of my burgeoning Spiritual life. Back when the Bible held a higher place in my beliefs. I read it thoroughly, underlined, highlighted, made notes in the margins of my copy. I come to understand it wasn't infallible. It had been translated by men with their own agendas, voted on as to what was included or not. There are pieces missing, so how could it be the undeniable Word of God? It spoke of things that in today's society are unspeakable evils. Rape and incest. Murder and betrayal. The list is long. I found it a great reference, a commentary on a time long gone. Static, like a picture. It paints a different picture if you truly are open minded and open hearted, about God. He does change over time. Our relationship to him has as well. It speaks of freewill and certain endowments given to us as human beings. It gives us standards to adhere to and guidance when we may be lost. It can not be taken literally.

I have a hard time fathoming the religious zealots in the quest for domination in this country. It is deeply disturbing. It should be for anyone that has functioning brain cell or conscience. You can not force someone to your way of thinking or believing. It violates free will. You cannot hate or deny someone the right to live as they see fit, it isn't what God or Jesus asked you to do. He said be a witness, let your actions lead by example to claim followers. Nothing I've seen has shown me this in the hateful rhetoric that has gripped this country. Religion is one of those things that should always be left out of civil discourse, yet the religious right has brought it to the forefront in a effort to make everyone subject to their views, their beliefs. They espouse lofty ideals for everyone else, yet fall way short themselves. They seek a theocracy in this country. They seek to define marriage, stating the Bible is an absolute in the matter, when they themselves have little grasp of what they are asking for. Traditional marriage is a relative new concept when compared to a 2,000 year old text. Before Christianity took hold, same sex unions were practiced 300 years beforehand in Rome. Do they really want what the Bible calls a marriage? I think not. No reasonable person would.

They are not reasonable. They have no use for logic or rationale use of facts. They are devoid of Christ's teaching, yet continue on in his name. The question of what is evil is easily answered. The sinners are everyone including and especially them. The world has changed, improved and their religious teachings has failed to adapt. They have failed to adapt. If you want to be Christ like, then follow his words, his actions, his deeds. Otherwise, you are the Anti Christ you claim others to be.

Having come full circle in my own spiritual quest, I have found a comfortable place to rest, to grow. I've opened my eyes, my heart, my mind. I understand the one single truth I see in all great religions: Love. When Jesus was asked by a disciple which was more important out of Love, Faith or Charity, he simple said "Love".


Larry Ohio said...

It's the gang mentality, Dave. People feel powerless as individuals, but when they form 'gangs' and work together for a common goal, they feel like they have power in their lives, and that's a good feeling to have.

Teens form street gangs for this reason. The people of Germany initially supported Hitler for this reason. And now the Christian extremists are uniting against us for this same reason.

You are right. These extremists are no longer Christian. Jesus would certainly denounce them. I for one feel comfort in that thought.

Java said...

This whole anti-gay "Christian" zealotry is very disturbing. I don't really understand it, and I used to be one! I saw the light. I came over to the fabulous side. :)

TomS said...

I had to respond...I have written about my anger and disappointment with the Catholic church, using tactics worthy only of Fox news, to loudly and aggressively misinform, seek to influence voting behavior, ignore and hide the sexual scandals in their own ranks, threaten to withdraw social services in D.C. because the wording in the same-sex marriage bill "disqualifies them" from providing charity...

Recently I wrote:
"I was raised Catholic. For most of my life I internalized the shame and sinfulness I was taught to feel for being homosexual. Now that I'm comfortable with my identity, I understand the absurdity of the Church's position, and I am perplexed and angered that the Church continues to so aggressively seek to influence the voting behavior of American people, even those who are not Catholic."

Thank you for adding your words to this debate. ~Tom

Russ Manley said...

hahaha.... came over to the fabulous side. love it, Java.

Larry makes a great point....people form tribes, gangs, churches, political parties, football clubs etc. etc. all for the same reason: it amplifies your ego and spares you from loneliness. Not a bad thing in itself, but bad when they "gang up" to trample others.

Dave you are totally *right on* buddy with all you say. A really great post, thank you for writing and sharing it.

Lemuel said...

Zealots of every stripe and persuasion have existed throughout history. They usually take the [good] message of their leader or movement and distort it for their own ends of power and control.

The challenge before people of reason, openness, and tolerance is how to deal with such extremism: how to counter it, how to neutralize it so that right and reason prevail.

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