I've been having a hard time lately trying to cope with a few things.  Or maybe just one incredibly complicated thing.  I can't put one particular word on it to definitively say what it is.  It has to do with religion and spirituality, with self confidence, assertiveness, humility, and the right for one to be accepted for who they are.

I have a strange sense of morality.  I don't believe in a God (neither Christian nor Pagan or anything in between) or even an abstract Higher Power kind of external thing.  But at the same time, I think that maybe God does exist for other people, but that somehow I am cut out of that loop without the possibility to join it.  I don't want to join it, to be honest, but it's still weird to feel like that one kid left out.

Yet, despite the fact that I don't believe in a God-like being, I do believe in some spiritual things.  I believe in a sort of spirituality in improving myself, and having this strong love for humanity.  I know that I am full of love, pure and unconditional love, but at the same time I don't believe I have a soul.  Maybe this is because of the religion thing.  Everyone I know seems to either proclaim themselves Christian, or they have their own sense of what a god(dess) to them is.  Because I can't put my faith in anything that isn't real, because I refuse to conjure a god to believe in, I feel like I am less than everyone else, like some implicit part of my humanity is missing.  Because I am not the type of person who would dare say that everyone else is wrong and there is no God.  Maybe they are right, and I am wrong.  Maybe I don't have a soul and that's why I'm incapable of feeling this spiritual thing that everyone else seems to.  This first came to me in a dream after my stepdad passed away.  He called me on the phone to tell me that he was in heaven and wanted to say goodbye, because we would never meeet again.  I could not go to heaven simply because I did not have a soul.  As good of a person as I may be, I was raised with Christianity, and it teaches that those who don't believe can never inherit heaven.  I can't help but inherit those beliefs that are so engrained, even though it hurts me more than I can say.  I can't say Heaven is or isn't a real place any more than I could say Hawaii is or isn't real.  The only way I could truly know or not is by going there one day or not.  Believing doesn't make it real, it just makes it easier to go on living.

Lately I had to try to confront this idea of a God.  I had to find something that I could put in place of the idea of a "God" just so I could cope with life.  Because I can't cope when just people telling me "one day you'll find God" feels like they are wishing me death.  I simply have to fill in something for that one powerful word, 'God' that I could agree with.  Something that I can believe in, something that gives me strength, something that is akin to me what 'God' is to those who believe in Him.

I found it.  Myself.  The part of me that is wise, and forgiving, and feels eternal.  The part of me that reminds me of real logic when the depression comes and my inner demons try to tell me that I am worthless.  The part of me that reminds me to hang on even though I want to let go.  The part of me that just radiates all of this unconditional love.

But it's strange to say.  I feel arrogant, or selfish, to place myself as this concept of "God".  This is just because I was raised Christian and still believe in some of those ideals - worship no false idols.  It's conflicting, I know.  Imagine how I feel with these conflicting beliefs!

There's another hard layer to cope with, aside from not believing in God - being lesbian. Until recently, Christianity (for me at least) was unwavering on this.  Homosexuality is a sin, they said.  My own mother told my brother and I that dating another race was fine, but if we were homosexual, she'd disown us.  Now my mother pretends she never said such a thing.  No amends, no apologies.  Just buried denial.  I kind of hate her wondering how she can just go into denial and live with herself.  I wish I could do that so readily.

Many people say that they are Christian and accept homosexuality.  I appreciate that.  Some sincerely do.  But others - and it's hard to say who exactly - seem to accept me... but only because they believe that if they pray for me long enough, I will realize the error of my ways and turn to Jesus.  Or they believe that if they forgive me for my sins, at least they are themselves being good.  I don't want to be converted.  I don't want to be forgiven.   I am not a sin.  I want to be accepted for me as I am.  I know right from wrong without the fear of a wrathful God, or being denied access into Heaven.  I don't believe I'll ever get into a Heaven, and still I do the right things, simply because I couldn't live with myself otherwise.

But I can hardly live with myself now.  I respect so many people and accept them as they are now.  I truly appreciate those who have other beliefs and are at peace with themselves.  A man comes into my store now and then, carrying crosses and doves, and he always has a smile on his face and brings a smile to mine.  But there are people out there who would want me dead just for loving other women, whether they'd say it to my face or keep the secret inside their hearts.  They deeply terrify me.

I am to the point where I think that if someone were to tell me I was a horrible being and didn't deserve to live, I would actually apologize for existing, and mean it.  I know, because I tell myself that I am less, that I have no soul, that I must be wrong somehow, that I am undeserving of the acceptance and compassion that I readily give to others.  I've come to the point where it feels like I should have to die because I've sinned on some level just by existing.  Somehow, all of these lies became a demon, and it lives inside of me.  I don't need anyone to say these things to me anymore, because I have already internalized it all and let them win.  I'm fucking sick of it.  I don't plan on dying for a faceless group of hateful people, as if they deserve to live and I don't.

These words from "Make it Stop" by Rise Against remind me of what I believe in...
What God would damn a heart?
And what God drove us apart?
Push me and I'll push back.
I'm done asking, I demand.
From a nation under God,
I feel its love like a cattle prod.
Born free, but still they hate.
Born me, no I can't change.
This life chose me, I'm not lost in sin.
But proud I stand of who I am,
I plan to go on living.

 There are people who would tell me that I am wrong, for being gay, for not believing in God.  People who would tell me that I will burn in hell.  I don't know why I accept them for those beliefs.  It's not something I should accept.  It's just hate, through and through.  It's not infringing on their beliefs to tell them to take a flying fuck.  Because I really need to do that now and then, for my own well-being.  They are stepping on my beliefs, on my right to be who I am.  I respect them, and if they tell me that their God damns me to hell, I need to withdraw that respect and stand my ground.  I cannot be a mat for people to walk on, for others to spew their convictions at and look down at.  I am human, you are human.  You may believe in God, but I do not, and I don't want to live in your world.

It's hard to explain the difference.  But the only way I can make sense of this is that there seems to be two different Gods for other people.  One who is benevolent, and the other who is a lie and only exists as a way for them to feel validated and given permission to hate others.  This is why it's hard to talk to a religious person either way - I always have to wonder if they are sincere and follow the teachings of that benevolent God who helps them be kind, or do they go through the motions to be a 'good Christian' to their false God, and to hell with everyone else?  I see many people who are the latter.  They don't love other people, don't try to understand or forgive or show humility, they just go to church and somehow believe that they are better human beings than everyone else.  But I also see those sincere Christians, who love everyone without expecting anything in return, who send out good wishes to the less fortunate because they sincerely care.  They use the Bible to better themselves and help others find peace, nothing else.  I appreciate them so deeply.

I am not any better than anyone else.  I am not more enlightened.  I'm not pretending or even believing that those who believe in God are gullible.  I think everyone needs something to believe in, and for me it has to just be my own inner convictions, and what I know is right.  But I am also not less than anyone else, and that's the bottom line.  I don't deserve to be stepped on.  I deserve to be given the same acceptance as anyone else, the same rights, the same respect as long as I earn it.

At the risk of being taken the wrong way and upsetting any people who are true friends to me, who are sincere in their religions, who are pure-hearted, loving strangers...

If you think I'm going to burn in hell, if your love for me is conditional, if you think that I have sinned just by accepting who I am as a person and believing that I don't need a God to be moral or better myself spiritually, then very simply and sincerely, fuck you.
4 Responses
  1. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing such personal feelings and thoughts with us.

    I grew up in a Christian home and never questions God's existence until I was older. My mother claims to be Christian but is the most closed-minded, judgmental person I know. We don't speak anymore.

    I still believe in God. But I have a hard time understanding why things are the way they are in this world. I have doubts. But at the same time, I know He's there. I don't know how to explain that any better.

    I do not in any way consider you or anyone else who doesn't have the same beliefs as I do as "less than." My husband doesn't exactly believe in anything...he believes in something bigger and stronger than all of us, but something more like a force of nature than God. I love him, and we have many conversations about it. During which I don't try to "convert" him or preach to him in anyway. We just have intelligent conversations.

    As far as homosexuality, I hope you truly believe me when I say that I do not think you (or any others) are going to hell. I believe my God loves you the same way he loves me. I do not wish to "convert" anyone to be straight. I don't think you're wrong or disgusting. And I despair in the way this country treats homosexuals. I don't understand the whole marriage thing. Two people love each other. Period. End of story. They deserve the same rights - in marriage and adoption and land ownership. Everything, and it pisses me off that some people seem to get off on taking those rights away from you just because you aren't like them (collective you, there)

    I could go further, but this is your post, not mine. :) I again applaud your brutal honesty, and I'm glad I read your blog tonight. I think I'm going to bookmark this post because it's so beautiful in its truth...and thought provoking for everyone.

  2. Thank you for sharing this with us. I think all of us go through questioning the existence of God. It is part of growing older.

    I was raised in a Christian household, and I always believed in God. When I reached my 20's, I began to question. I even became atheist for several years. However, I eventually started to find my faith again. My Mom died in September, and it is hard for me to think that she went no where. If there is a Heaven, I can guarantee my mother is there.

    I will say that my faith is not the same as it was. I don't believe that everything is a sin. I feel that the rules churches make are often designed to control you. I certainly don't believe that homosexuality is going to send you to hell. If there is a God, and you were born homosexual, I would assume God made you that way. Makes sense to me.

    Everyone will believe something different. You just have to figure it out for yourself. It will take time. There is nothing wrong with that.

  3. Dae Dreams Says:

    Oh, hey I wasn't even expecting comments on this entry.

    "I grew up in a Christian home and never questions God's existence until I was older. My mother claims to be Christian but is the most closed-minded, judgmental person I know."

    This describes me and my mother to a 'T'.

    Thank you so much for responding, April. You're exactly the kind of person who I respect, and worried about offending with my post. I'm glad that you understood where I'm coming from. *big hugs*

  4. Dae Dreams Says:

    @Mary Ellen,

    I agree. I seem to have a lot of half-faith. I was raised Christian, so I believe in a lot of the ideals. I pretty much believe that others will go to Heaven, but as for me I seem to be disconnected from that circuit somehow. It's strange. I'm still trying to answer the question for myself of 'where will I go?'

    I can't seem to believe in a God for myself, but I don't have issues with the Christian culture around me. There's just a fine line sometimes and when people cross it, it gives me the heebie jeebies. Thankfully, a ton of people seem to be truly accepting of homosexuality.

    And I think I've almost worked out what "God" means to me. When I mentally replace my idea into what others say about God, it seems to fit, so I'm on the right path. More soul-searching is needed on my part.