Sunday, March 4, 2012

On Religion

Hi there. I'm a Christian. This is apparently surprising to people.

Somehow, my yay gay marriage and premarital sex, please give me some more tequila, and go have your abortions attitude has marked me to many as atheist, uncaring, or at least anti organized religion.

I'm so very not anti religion-- mine or others-- the only thing I really am anti is bigots/idiots/jerks with power. (and man, defining power is a struggle in itself!)

But I am a Christian. This does not mean the same thing to me that it does to others. There are plenty of people who call themselves Christian or who don't, but who either way would refuse to admit that I am one-- just as there are plenty of self-labelled feminists and non-feminists alike who would refuse to acknowledge me as a feminist.

It's peculiar to me that people think that they have the power to name someone else's views. Whether or not I go to church, or talk about God a lot, or behave like a "proper Christian" has no bearing on my actual beliefs-- or anyone else's. Behavior tells us a lot, but it doesn't tell us about everything that's going on inside someone. Sure, I think there's a responsibility to at least try to live by the ideals you believe-- if you don't, its just hypocrisy-- but I don't believe that you are required to always meet your goals 100%.

Religion is so publicly talked about and analyzed and discussed and judged here, but it's also so, so intensely personal. I don't think it's right that so many people demand we justify our beliefs-- actions, yes, but actions and beliefs, while related, are not perfect matches-- or tell us that we do not believe what we do, because we don't match their idea of what a person of that sort is. My religion tells me to be tolerant and accepting of pretty much everyone, to love others as best I can, to live a life of charity, kindness and compassion-- but I'm only human, and my understanding doesn't always match the understanding of other people who are also only human.

Just because you are not someone else's image of what someone of your religion is, does not mean your beliefs are in any way invalidated, and it does not mean that you do not believe what you do. It just means that someone else isn't willing to fully engage in conversation and learn why.

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