You can’t pray away the gay! – Callie Torres
Some people are gay. Get over it – Stonewall
Let’s start out with those statements and move swiftly on shall we?
Let’s start with a not so big admission on my part, it will probably come as no great surprise when I say that I am not religious in anyway whatsoever. I. Do. Not. Believe. (In anything)…well, in anything of a higher deity or fictional nature type …possibly the glingleglingleglingle fairy… and maybe Old Man Trouble (Just pay him no mind and all is well), but I’m admitting nothing.
That is not to say that I haven’t come across religion (organised that is, rather than my belief), during the course of my childhood I attended no less than three Methodist churches (plus a Youth club and Youth Theatre associated with them) where I attended the services and Sunday school, on my own, my family never went, in all honesty I think I only went to keep friends ‘company’ as it were, it never held that much of a sway over me, and I can’t recall ever actually believing what I was being told/taught.
I have read (and continue to read) reasonable amounts of the Bible, out of curiosity more than anything else. My personal favourites are Leviticus (I like Leviticus because it proves to me that people who are ‘religious’ pick and choose from the Bible, while telling others that that can’t/shouldn’t be done. If people really were stoned for some of the things included as unclean, there’d be an awful lot of dead Christians and Catholics lying around… no shellfish is the first major culprit that I can think of).
I’ve also read; the Book of Ruth (in it’s brief entirety, it remains one of my favourite stories in the Bible), part of Corinthians, specifically 1 Corinthians 13, and possibly the Song of Solomon, three out of the five books that make up the Pentateuch, Revelations and parts of many others. I know the Lord’s Prayer, I have read most of the Psalms and the Proverbs I know no end of hymns. I know the Commandments. I have my own Bible.
I can name nearly all the books in the Bible, Old and New Testament (barring about six, and really that’s only because they are a bugger to spell) just because I can and I tend to remember stuff like that that’s of very little use to me barring a pub quiz situation.
I don’t just ‘dabble’ in Christian/Catholic based readings either, I’ve read a fair amount about Judaism and Buddhism, because both of those religions interest me, not because I believe in either of them either.
That being (long-windedly) said, Let it be clear, that whilst I might not believe, I respect that other people believe (This is the truth, not for the ‘oh isn’t s/he magnanimous’ vote, I couldn’t care less), in whatever varying degrees and I would never belittle that belief or them for it. So anything I am saying here is based upon my opinions and my personal approach to religion. I am not purposefully setting out to upset anybody or to be derogatory in any way… unless you’re one of those who just uses ‘religion’ as an excuse to decry anything that is ‘Unnatural’ i.e. ‘things you do not understand’ and to harm and hate and then take no responsibility for your actions, simply turn around and say, ‘I’m religious, I follow the Bible, what is the world coming to?’, I’ll probably just laugh at you, and don’t expect me to feel any remorse about it either… particularly since I suspect you don’t follow the Bible to it’s full extent, only where it suits you. (See above re: Shellfish is all I’m saying)
So, now that all that is out of the way, let us proceed in a sedate and timely manner… mostly because I can’t quite recall what my reason for this was in the first place… so I am gathering my thoughts.
I don’t believe, but I still find religion and it’s mass of subsections, beliefs, denominations fascinating, not quite sure why, but I do, the Bible, Judaism and Buddhism specifically, along with Ancient Greek/Roman religion and practices. I particularly (in a vaguely ironic way) find the subtle yet oh so “vital” differences between denomination subgroups interesting, the in-fighting and the… well, in effect, the ‘nerner, nerner, nerner’ attitude religious-political thinking.
I find it fascinating because essentially the believers of the various groups spend so much airspace with such academic statements of true validity for ‘their’ religion over anybody else’s. I thought there were supposed to be bigger things to be concerned about, is belief not about the way we treat people and the way we live our lives morally?
Maybe I am naïve, maybe this is the evidence needed to prove that I am a non-believer, because I say; wars are wrong, killing people and saying they are terrorists then justifying yourself and your actions by invoking the name of God is wrong. That I think we should treat everybody on the planet as equals and with the same respect we would hope to receive ourselves, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation or whatever else folk might use to discriminate against somebody.
Because I think that we should tell people about the AIDS epidemic and that something as simple as a condom can save the lives of millions. That I think it is morally irreprehensible of the Catholic Church to tell those same people that AIDS doesn’t exist and God will hate you if you use said condom. He’ll hate them? Really? That kind of irresponsible and selfish attitude makes me genuinely sick, and irate that they can justify such ignorance by using God as the answer. Is God saving them from AIDS? No. Perhaps they wouldn’t need the condoms or need to think about protection if the Catholic Church and other missionaries also spoke about monogamy and not sleeping around while you are away from your wife? Although that’s about as much use as teaching ‘everything but’ so, why bother.
That I think marriage, or at the very least the security offered by marriage should be ‘allowed’ for all folk (See my entry previously on Senator Savino’s statement to the New York Senate, I’m with her completely).
That I think a multitude of things that don’t seem to come under Church dogma probably proves that I am not religious in the slightest and that I am capable of individual thought and opinions.
Now, yes I readily and openly admit that all of that is a sweeping generalisation and in reality it is truly only referencing the right wing and fanatics and ‘organised religion’ an oxymoronic statement if ever there was one, belief is awesome and powerful to behold, it’s not until you bring religion into it that you have problems… with a few others sloping alongside, as there always are.
Generally I think a lot of people who believe in a Holy Book, who choose to live there lives according to religious rulings from a higher being/s or creator are generous and law abiding and kind and all those other things that these books say a person should be. I find belief to be a truly admirable thing. If you can believe in something and not require any sort of proof… that is just remarkable and in a small way I profess to be vaguely envious of that… but that would be breaking a commandment wouldn’t it.