Well, here it is. I’m writing again. No promises that it’ll be continuous. I’m not sure that I’ll keep it up. I just wanted to write about something that’s been on my mind for a while. In one word, it’s tolerance. But, you know, that word is so weighted that, of course, you can’t say tolerance without explaining yourself.
I’m a pretty open-minded broad. Yeah, I’m straight, but I could give two fucks about what you like to put where on your body. I mean, if ear sex is your thing, do it to it, bro. Just don’t come crying to me when you get a case of swimmer’s ear.
I use sexual orientation as an example because, well, that’s what’s in the news these days. Hatred, bullying, acceptance, tolerance, love. It runs the spectrum and I like to think that I’m on the love side of it all. I mean, my best friend in the world is a vegetarian, but you don’t see me ordering a big plate of wings when we’re out and then just menacingly eating each one while looking her dead in the eye. I eat my delicious, delicious meat and she doesn’t.
But there’s one divide recently that’s had me thinking a lot about acceptance lately and that is religion versus atheism.
Hey! Yeah, you. I just saw you roll your eyes at me. Yes I’m talking about this shit again. It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want.
Anyway, it’s a pretty weird divide for me, the whole religion (OK, more Christianity than anything else, since that’s what I’m most familiar with) and atheism thing. On the one hand, you’ve got people trying to convert you to religion to “save” you from an afterlife in hell. And a lot of these people are wonderful and sincere in their love. On the other, you have people that are trying to “save” you from a life spent as a slave to dogmatic teachings and faith. And a lot of these people are sincere as well. But there are also a lot of douchebags on both sides of the playing field here.
Do I get angry? Fuck yeah I get angry. I get angry at conservative Christians touting pseudo-science to prove a point. Or, you know, straight up denying science. It makes me bristle. I want to fight back. I want to yell louder than them. I want to “set them straight” about religion.
Then I say to myself, “Kelly, in with the rainbow, out with the storm.”
I calm down and I remember my roots. I was raised the daughter of a pastor, meaning I was brought up in a Christian family. I spent my life surrounded by Christians until I was 18. When I left home, I spent about 10 years reevaluating what I believed and I finally came to the conclusion that I do not believe there is a god in this or any other universe. Because of this decision, I’ve found my life to have much more meaning and I enjoy every day I’m alive because I don’t get a second life.
Here’s the thing. People might say that I’m a good person because I grew up in a good, Christian home. I call bullshit on that. I’m a good person, because I have amazing parents who taught me to think for myself and be kind to everyone around me (Have you seen the meanies that some “Christian” homes can produce?). Thing is, if you’re a good person, you’re a good person. You can use religion (being Christ-like) or non-religion (making sure everyone gets a chance at this life) to back up why you are that way, but the fact of the matter is, I think that part of our lives has VERY little to do with how we turn out.
I’ll get back to my point now. Tolerance.
This Easter, I went to my father’s Easter service at his new church (btw, if you are spiritual in the Christianish way, I highly recommend it. They served mimosas.) because I thought it would be a good chance to spend time with my family. However, I was late, so I sat in the balcony alone and just sort of watched. This was the first time I’d been at a church service in probably 5 years. It felt really uncomfortable, but miraculously, I didn’t catch on fire and my skin didn’t melt. When I relaxed a little, you know what I saw? A lot of love. You know why? Because my pops is a tolerant, loving guy who wanted a church that was open and loving of anyone who wanted to come and do their god thing. So, that’s the kind of congregation he has.
And I get it.
I get why people want to believe in a god. I’m not going to list them all out here, because, for some reason that seems like it would be really fucking trite. But I get it. Just like I made a conscious decision half a decade ago to reject religion and spirituality for my own reasons, everyone there made their own decision to love god and the bible and follow Christ’s teachings. Who the fuck am I to tell them that they aren’t allowed to be their own, free thinking person? If Christ is what they need, then Christ is what they need and I’m not going to judge a single hair on their head for that, because, you know what; I know exactly how they feel. I just feel it about the exact opposite thing.
It’s called empathy, people. That whole “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes” idea. I highly recommend you try it if you have not already. You’ll find that things on the other side make more sense and your urge to fight the beliefs that are directly opposed to yours suddenly isn’t quite as strong.
Be open. Be respectful. Give love. Be tolerant and accepting. You’d be amazed at what you get back most of the time.
Ugh, I sound like a fucking hippie.