I’ve noticed on a few blogs that comments have been left about me not revealing my religious/non religious beliefs. Some have speculated that I’ve had a bad experience in my life that has caused me to turn against Christians.
It’s fair enough to expect me to reveal my position. I actually sort of did that in this piece here titled “Home” just a few days ago, but of course only the blogs regulars will know that.
In fact it was Anglican nuns who saved my life, literally, when I was fifteen. They took me into their care when I was no longer able to stay at home in an extremely dangerous family situation. These women treated me with extraordinary love, concern and compassion, as did the male church members who were involved in the legalities of ensuring my ongoing protection from my family until I was old enough to be independent.
So no, I have had no bad experiences with religious people. Quite the opposite. I feel a gratitude so profound to those nuns that I’m unable to find language to adequately express it.
I don’t hold any religious beliefs. I’m not drawn to membership of any institutional religion. I am not affiliated in any way with any religion.
I love many of the words attributed to Jesus, and I see him as a man who had much of interest and importance to say. I don’t need to see him as a god, anymore than I need to see anyone else who says wise and interesting things as a deity. I take my nourishment where I can find it, and I range wide.
I don’t believe in any god as described by Christianity, not even the god of my nuns. I do believe in how those nuns looked after me.
This is what makes me angry. Christians who control our laws so that they are exempt from actions that would see anyone else prosecuted. Such as discrimination against gays and lesbians in the workplace. Christian churches can refuse to employ human beings solely on the grounds of their sexual preference. This makes me angry.
Christians who seek overtly or covertly to impose their beliefs on others. This is tyranny. If it’s done covertly, it’s deceitful and duplicitous tyranny. Christians who insist that there is only one way to live, and that’s their way. Christians who are so enslaved to their ideology that they will do anything to impose it on others.
There are plenty of Christians who are generous, accepting, and as appalled by some of their fellows as am I. To them I’d say, you need to stand up and be counted. You need to challenge those within your communities who will see human beings destroyed, in their efforts to persuade them to their way of thinking. You have this responsibility more than anyone else.
Where are the ordinary Christians roaring in outrage at the churches’ abuses of children, for example? Where are you? How do you remain so silent? Why should I respect you when you don’t protest the vileness in your churches, and keep on protesting it, loudly, over and over?
I like the words of the Leonard Cohen song, Lover, Lover Lover. It’s a dialogue between a man and his god. Here is god responding to the troubled questioner:
“I never turned aside,” he said,
“I never walked away.
It was you who built the temple,
it was you who covered up my face.
Oh lover, lover, lover lover come back to me…”
I’d say this to some Christians: you have built the temple. You have covered up his face.
God, I would venture to suggest, like love, is action. God, like love, is a practice.
I don’t believe that anyone indoctrinated into institutional religious belief and holding to that belief, can make moral decisions separate from that belief. If they do, then they are denying their faith, because one of the commands of religious faith is that follower’s life is lived in accordance with its tenets.
And why should I listen to anything told to me by someone who is denying their faith by claiming it doesn’t affect their moral views?
It’s the denial that tells me who they are.
I’m a woman whose life was saved by Christian men and women. And perhaps because of that, perhaps because of my love for those Christians, I am enraged when I see their faith betrayed.