Sep 17, 2012

The One Where I'm Always Defending My Faith

UPDATE: 2:55am (Sept. 18th)

I edited the piece to remove a section dealing with a post on a far right wing blog that was kind of hateful and whatnot.  After thinking about it, even though I didn't link to it, I still named the blog and I just did not want to give any more attention to it then it deserved, which is zero.

Original piece, minus that section below.

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So anyone who follows my blog or follows me on twitter ( @QuoVadimus2012 ) know that there's a few things that I'm passionate about.  I'm very much against capital punishment, I'm very much against discrimination/racism/sexism/homophia, etc, I'm very sensitive about issues dealing with the mistreatment of the poor and homeless, as I spent years being homeless myself, and I'm very much against people who use the faith that I have always been a part of, Christianity, to further their own misguided intentions.

In fact it seems that those categories pretty much cover the majority of stuff I post at times.  The thing is though, I've always had a problem letting go of things like that.  Most people can see someone saying some outlandishly racist thing, and while they find that offensive and are repulsed by it, they don't feel the need to jump out in front of it and lambast it.

And there are many Christians who don't see the need or have the desire to smack down all the Pat Robertsons or Jerry Fallwells or Rick Warren's who spout off nonsense bigotry wrapped up in the cloak of Christianity.   They don't take it that personally, and they know that it doesn't affect them.  Moreover, they realize that pissing into the wind, so to speak, doesn't do anything but affect you more than your target.

Yet I've never been able to do that.  I can have it in my head that that is what I should do, what makes the most sense, but I just can't.  Because deep down inside I feel like my silence is a tacit approval.  That somehow me not saying anything, means I must not have a problem with it.  I mean, if you had a problem with something, or something offended you deeply, you'd voice your thoughts on that, right?

So I read nonsense about Pat Robertson, who for some reason known only to God Himself, has a large following of people that believe every single word he says, telling some viewer that when he's being "humiliated" by his wife who doesn't respect him as the man of the house, that he could always become a Muslim and beat her.   I read about Kirk Cameron, an avowed Evangelical, spewing lie after lie about the supposedly decadent effect on everyone's lives if two people of the same gender love each other.   I hear all these things, and it makes me angry because I just know there are those out there who see these clownshoes and think "See, THAT is what Christianity is all about", and that infuriates me.

Because I'm nothing like that, and I'm a Christian.   Or at least that's what I have told myself over the years.

MORE AFTER THE BREAK

Now though, more than ever, I've questioned that intensely.   I've had fellow Christians tell me that I'm not a REAL Christian because I don't vote Republican.  Because I'm in favor of same sex marriage and full equal rights for LGBT individuals.  Because I consider myself a straight ally.   Because while I'm not in favor of abortions (no one REALLY is, by the way), I think in cases of rape, incest and cases in which the woman's life is at risk, that abortion should be legal, and that women should not be prosecuted for it.

Speaking of which, I would wager that most Evangelical Christians are more offended at the idea of a woman who has been raped NOT giving birth to her rapists' child, then they are that 31 states in this wonderful America of ours allows for the rapists to THEN get custody and visitation rights for the child of the woman that they raped.   I shit you not:



And it makes me wonder whether or not these other Christians are right when they say that I am not a true representation of being a Christian.  

In Stephen King's magnum opus "The Dark Tower" series, the main character, gunslinger Roland Deschain, is said to live somewhere where "his world had moved on".  It was like a parallel universe to his own.  Little things remained, fragments of a song he once knew, little tidbits of information here and there are familiar to him, but many other things are not.  They are bastardizations of the world and things in it that he once knew.

I feel like that sometimes, when it comes to the faith that I've been a part of my entire life.  When I'm forced to defend my faith to those who do not believe, and I find myself unable to do so.   When I'm pointed to one article after the next highlighting some person killing someone in the name of God, or trying to discriminate based on Christianity, or pointing to the Bible to justify denying other human beings equal rights, this type of things HURTS me deep inside.

It gnaws away at the core of my being, because I look around at the landscape of my faith and I don't recognize anything.  I just don't.  And it makes me wonder if it either has always been like this and I just never noticed, or if much like Roland Deschain, the world has simply moved on, leaving me with this weird disconnect between how things are and how things feel like they should be in my head and my heart and my soul.

I've been dealing with this for awhile now, and I've written about it a bit here and there on my blog over the past few years, but it's getting to the point now where I don't really know what is real anymore, as it relates to my faith.   How can I be a member of a faith that when I'm asked to defend it, I can't?

I can't argue that Christianity is not a violent religion.  For all the talk on the right wing about these so called "animals and monsters" that are the Muslim people,  Christianity has a whole lot of buckets of blood on their hands as well.   Is Christianity a religion of peace?  Well, not historically.   And even today you have people murdering other people because they feel that they are doing God's work.

This is why the film "Frailty" directed by Bill Paxton is the scariest movie I've ever seen.  Because THAT, sadly, is very very real.   These movies like Hostel and Saw and other torture porn flicks aren't scary to me, they're just gory and filled with "shock value" type stuff.  Frailty, about a regular guy who believes that God gave him a list of "demons" to kill that just look like people, but aren't, is very real.  There are people like that in this world.

 

I've long said that I'm cool with God, it's his fan club I can't stand.  On my twitter profile, I wrote that I am trying to adhere to the words of Christ, and not the words of His followers.   That's been my mantra for a long time.   Probably why I liked the documentary "Lord Save Me From Your Followers" so much, because I related to it so well.

And as much as I'd like to hold on to my ready excuse of "well, the vast majority of Christians aren't like that", I don't know anymore.   I see these professed Christians on TV and in Congress and in newspapers and magazines and whatnot and see no connection with how I see Christianity.  And these aren't all evil people in the traditional sense of psychopathic unfeeling monsters.

They are seemingly decent people who just happen to have some very very indecent beliefs and ideologies. At what point, however, does it stop being a situation of "well I'm one of the many who doesn't believe that is what the Christianity is all about",  to "I'm one of the few that don't believe that"? 

The main question, I suppose, is how many of these people can kill someone supposedly in the name of God, or who think that it's acceptable to do so, before they stop being the aberration, and start becoming the majority?  How long before people like me, becomes the exception, and not the rule?

And that's what kind of hit me today with the thoughts of ... has the world moved on from the way I thought it was, or has it always been that way and I'm simply hopelessly clueless about how things work?   Is the number of Christians who are against bigotry and racism and sexism and whatnot the minority at this point?

Because it sure as hell seems like it sometimes, and that hurts me like I can't begin to explain.  I don't want to believe that the overwhelming majority of a faith that I believe in are adherents to things that I am fundamentally opposed to.

The reason being, that if that's true, and to paraphrase Dennis Green, that Christianity is NOT what I thought it was....what does that make me?   Where do I fit in, in this "moved on world"?

I'm still searching for that answer.  Hopefully one day I'll figure it out.

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