Also this is 100 Day Project Day 9
I’ve avoiding writing about this particular topic for awhile. It’s actually easier for me to write about my journey through the ex-gay ministry and accepting my homosexuality than it is to talk about why I don’t believe in God anymore.
A Lot of people will say that one has a lot to do with the other. I disagree. Yes I met some pretty shitty Christians in my journey out of homophobia but what’s important to remember is that I know a lot of fantastic ones too. For a long time I believed exactly as those Christians do. When I talk about in my stories that I fervently prayed or that I believed this or that thing about what God wanted from me or for me thats all truth. Christianity and belief in God was my core. It’s why I made myself so crazy trying to not be gay.
I didn’t weep oceans of tears over my failure to change for Christ because I sorta thought the Bible was true in some things. I Believed. I thought I felt God’s Divine and Loving hand on me. I really did think I saw His work all around me in my everyday life. God wasn’t just an idea. He was Real, my lifeline and my Rock. I didn’t spend hours reading the Bible because I thought it was a fairy tale or allegory. I thought this was my history. I thought that the Bible was directly inspired by God Himself, that it was infallible. The Bible was supposed to be my manual for life. It was supposed to inform me about the mind of God. I took that shit seriously.
I didn’t spend hours witnessing to acquaintances or friends because it was something I wasn’t sure of. I Knew in my heart of hearts God was real and that he Loved me. I Knew He wanted everyone to Know He Loved them too. I didn’t spend thousands of dollars on Christian music because I just liked the tune. I believed in what those singers were singing about. I filled my life with Christ.
I tried to avoid things that weren’t godly or inspired by God. I tried to avoid things that would tempt me away from God. I was a virgin when I got married at 22. I didn’t swear much though admittedly the Navy ruined me for a bit. I went to church three times a week. I Prayed. I Believed. Heck I even helped to plant a new church at one point.
Even after being willing to admit to myself I was gay I kept trying to find a Christian church to call home. I visited many churches known as Welcoming congregations where you could be gay but still accepted. I tithed with the Metropolitan Community Church and went to bible studies to learn more about my religion regularly. I always tried to let the teachings of Christ inform my thinking in situations. When things got bad emotionally or physically or financially I would lean on my faith for comfort and wisdom to get me through.
All of that and still now I am an Atheist. I do not believe in God. I do not think God exists.
How did I get here? Well I got to this point for one simple reason.
That reason is: “People are good”
Time after time after time I have come in contact with people who through their own decisions, having nothing to do with religion, have decided to do the right thing. They decide to do what makes the world better instead of what makes the world worse. And here’s the other thing, even those people I’ve met who have been dead set against me or who have done me wrong aren’t doing it to do wrong but they are doing it either out of love for me, or because of their belief in what is right.
Does that negate that there are evil people in this world who will intentionally do the most awful thing there is just to watch the world burn? No. But the number of Evil people I’ve run into is so far outnumbered by the number of good people that I know that I have to say those that are Evil are the anomaly and not the rule.
So how can I call the man that spews hatred at me for my wanting to be free to marry whoever I love good? To be clear I think that man is wrong but that doesn’t mean he’s evil or bad or broken or unworthy of life or love or respect. He’s just wrong. He may be frightened that my choices condemn me to an everlasting hell of torment but not have the education or experience that would enable him to express that to me in a way I can hear but that doesn’t make him Evil.
I am an Atheist which only means I do not believe in God or _Any_ gods or goddess or controlling spiritual “other” force. Therefore I lay the blame for behavior right at the foot of the individual doing it. That doesn’t mean I ignore that the person I am interacting with basic humanity or life experience. I get deeply that believing in a “other” supernatural force that loves you is comforting. That it can give an order to the universe we experience.
People are good. They love and laugh and want the best for their children in their own flawed understanding of this life we are living. This is reason enough to be and to try to understand the individual in front of you without the need for anything else to tell you that they are worthy of being loved.