Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Benefit of the Doubt

I'm a little surprised I remembered how to wander over to this corner of the internet. My password still works, so I guess I'm good to go.

I just "Unfriended" three folks on Facebook. I could no longer take the fundamentalist christian posts nor the tea party rhetoric. I know, I'm a weird idealist who thinks of FB as a place where some actual discourse might happen. And while most people on FB don't give a shit about a substantive conversation, I guarantee many people who think they do are actually stunting, not advancing, honest dialogue.

Since it's been nearly 11 months, and surely no one is following my blog anymore, I can be honest, right? For many, many years I've had to actively work against anti-christian sentiments within my own heart. I have, at times, had to curb my anger channeled in a desire to defame what I see as hypocrisy and hatred amongst those who would label themselves so. Frankly, christians are lucky they have themselves because they're not winning many friends at large as far as I can tell. This political season isn't helping one good, goddamned bit.

These folks I culled from my FB friends list were acquaintances from a radical church my dad dragged us off to when I was an adolescent and teenager. It was a mindfuck of an organization. My dad was no posterchild for the congregation either. He smoked. He drank. He was a womanizer. All things that don't mesh so well with those sorts of fundamentalist cults. Why he felt compelled to keep attending I will never know. I tried my best to focus on what I regard as the core beliefs -- kindness toward others (ALL others), respect for the earth, service, and humility. Precisely the things I see are lost in the popular christian stance on our nation's debate stage.

I still remember the utter shock I experienced when I moved away for college (a mere 4 hours away, but far enough). All of a sudden I could do what I wanted to do. I had freedom from this artificially imposed belief system. I turned to the mountains and began backpacking. Then, eventually, climbing, kayaking, canoeing. I turned those passions into a career. I joined that affinity for time spent outdoors with my spirituality. In short, I opened my mind to new places, new things, new people. I have rarely glimpsed backwards.

I remain deeply troubled for and by those who cower beneath a narrow stricture of beliefs. While I would be labeled a pagan by most, an atheist by many (neither should possess morals, right?), I do not believe hate is an acceptable response. This includes hatred of the narrow-minded, who, if given their ways, would lord over the masses of infidels in some bloody old testament play of vengeance and submission. Even if the most vocal of christians seem to have forsaken the core teachings of their Christ (a person I will acknowledge was a bodhisattva, an advanced being) I cannot hate them back. I will not allow myself that crutch with which to prop an atrophying intellect. No, I will forbear.

But I damn sure don't have to read their ignorant shit on Facebook anymore.

Be well, all. But most importantly, be kind to one another.