It is all too easy to look at things you do not agree with, tenets you do not follow, and ideals you do not hold dear and to dismiss them. It has become commonplace to look at the things others hold dear and to scoff because you don’t hold the same things dear. It’s a sign of how little regard we hold one another in and how much we have let the common courtesy of decency be torn asunder.
So many things have been weaponized that even the simplest thing seems to rankle people and cause them consternation and upset.
There’s a point though where someone has to stop and say – I see you, and I accept you and our differences.
Alas, I feel like we’re at a point where it’s hard for anyone to say that because it’s hard to see past the anger that has permeated so much of our discourse, especially religion and politics.
It’s become painfully difficult to see the human beneath the armor of our beliefs and the barbed wire of our politics and indeed it’s harder still to accept when those things are in complete opposition to what you stand for.
I was at a funeral today and the pastor used their platform to not just eulogize but to preach, and to do in a manner that turned the Bible not into an invitation to faith but as a cudgel to beat the Word into those gathered together. It was not the usual – they are in a better place – sort of missive but one that stressed servitude and fealty to God and that to get to Heaven one is not SIMPLY kind, nor SIMPLY giving, nor SIMPLY loving of God, no, one must SERVE them and sing their constant praises.
And I admit, as I have before, that I am an atheist, but even so, I don’t tend to take aim at religion until it becomes a battering ram.
This is what I saw today.
A day that, at the graveside the pastor declared how great it was to be American because we are Judeo-Christian and uphold those roots and rites, despite it being under fire – yes, they made the claim that Christianity is being taken away.
Come on now.
I appreciate that these all may be things that the family took comfort in. I appreciate that their beliefs say that their loved one is in Heaven and they are waiting.
I have my own beliefs but that doesn’t make them correct. They are just as fallible as anyone else’s and since I haven’t seen the afterlife, I can’t say what lies beyond.
I hate the idea though of making it as if there is only ONE path to god and all others are invalid. I hate that this otherwise beautiful ceremony was weaponized so the pastor could make a side comment about how he’d mention something about religion but people get upset about it, and that Christian rights are being taken away. Beneath the entire sermon, which was what it was, there was an air of – you need to know the truth but I’m not allowed to tell you.
There was also a weird take that he and all people should long to be with God in Heaven, thus dead.
Which seems to me sacrilegious.
If you believe in God, and you hold to that faith then creation and life are the greatest of gifts, and that Jesus was sacrificed shows how important it is. Life is a gift, through this prism.
Then why would you want to hurry TOWARDS death?
I get the idea that you want to be in the Glory of God but…all things come in time.
So why rush?
Why look ahead and not look around?
It makes no sense to me.
Just like the language the pastor used was so…weird. I hate to say that but it was weird. At one point they called on the Lord to touch the living spouse, to hold them, to be there when they are lonely in the night, and to say sweet things to them and it comes off as romantic language.
It was sort of jarring.
It was also jarring to hear the idea that Heaven is all gold, jasper, and clear skies with everyone singing praise and worshiping God. It’s weird to me because it paints God as desperate for love and adoration when they should be beyond that.
Those are human needs.
Again, this is all coming from an atheist, so what do I know?
I certainly don’t mean to demean Christianity but rather to cock my head to the side and ask – really?
One of the best phrases I heard in a college religion class (that was pretty much just a class about Christianity with an aside to some Eastern religions) was that there are no atheists in a foxhole and that is utterly true.
But coming to God out of desperation is not faith.
Faith grows over time and belief and experience.
It is about your relationship with an outside being that gives you comfort and solace.
Faith opens a door for a relationship for, in this case, a higher being. What that relationship is is wholly yours to know and understand. There are many ways to connect with that higher being, be it meditation, prayer, reading, or acts. God is the ‘rock that doesn’t move’ in my mind.
They are there no matter what.
They won’t use some magic to save your just as they won’t use it to damn someone else, but they are there, always, to hear you and to love you.
God is love, that is what we hear, and that is what I’d want to believe.
I’d want to believe that, no matter what I do, I am loved, it doesn’t mean I am easily forgiven, nor that my sins are forgotten, but that it is seen that I am flawed and thus can be forgiven.
God is love.
To me, to really remove yourself from the heart of God, the gaze of them, you must actively commit acts that are against creation, life, and glory.
WHATEVER that means.
It’s not for me to say who gets to go up or down, these are just my thoughts.
I just wouldn’t want to follow a God that expected me to only utter love and glory for them at all times in Heaven and nothing more.
That just feels strange.
To me it’d be going to see someone you haven’t met but know and want to see. To look upon them would give you peace and happiness. To be in their presence would take away all pain.
The gatekeeping drives me crazy.
ONLY you can get in and ONLY I can get it but NONE of them, despite the fact that they’re all Christian too.
Or THEY will only go to Hell because they are not Christian.
God has many faces.
God speaks many tongues.
I get that we all believe what we believe and faith is for the individual to decide but it makes me sad when people want to put God in a jail and keep people away from them. It makes me sad when they want to greedily guard Heaven and make it an exclusive club.
We should want all of us there, if it is truly the place of love and peace.
We should want all souls to find peace.
Why wouldn’t we want that?
You can’t badger someone into faith.
You can’t threaten them into faith.
You must love them to faith.
You must guide them with a patient hand.
And in the end, if they don’t want to go then you must let them walk their own path because in the end, God would be watching over them, and you no longer need to.
But what do I know?
I’m just a heathen.