Happy Easter folks, for those of you who celebrate this most Christian of holidays.
I used to be a Christian (raised as Southern Baptist) but these days I guess you could call me a secularist or a spiritualist. I'm definitely not a Southern Baptist with their discriminatory views of born homosexuals like me.
Funny thing, when I was young I used to like going to church. I even have a perfect attendance certificate for summer bible school when I was eight years old. I always felt a sense of comfort and inclusion when I went to church. That feeling of inclusion ended when my Aunt Peg (whom I liked very much) took me to one of her Pentecostal church meetings. I will never forget that Sunday. I was about ten years old. I remember the preacher, red in the face and actually foaming at the mouth; screaming:
YOU'RE ALL SINNERS!
YOU WERE BORN IN SIN!
YOU WILL DIE IN SIN!
Oh yes, I was in shock. The first thought that came to my ten year old mind was "I didn't choose to be born so what am I guilty of?"
|Pentecostal preaching - screaming and red in the face and foam around the mouth|
And if I'm going to be a sinner my whole life and die in sin then what is the purpose of my life?
That was the turning point in my life with organized religion folks. Not that there aren't good people who are in organized religion. I remember Rev. Pennington of a church me and my Mom used to attend in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. He was a nice and gentle man with a sweet wife. He always had a pleasant and non threatening sermon that helped me learn about dealing with life. And after the sermon he would stand by the door of the church, which his wife beside him (she always wore a crystal necklace that my Mother admired) and sincerely greet and listen (actually listen) to each parishioner as they left. Sad to say, he retired and I haven't experienced a reverend since who was as sincere, caring or uplifting as Reverend Pennington.
|The Pagans want their holidays back!|
These days what I see of organized Christianity is on the news of evangelical Christians who condemn be as "less than" because I am a gay man. They say "You are against God's will." They judge me as unworthy until or unless I change into what they are, straight and subservient to their mythical God who is so quick to anger.
So when these Christian holidays like Easter roll around what I see is a thin veneer of copying ancient pagan holidays. Easter to me is a time or rebirth. Springtime the green returns to replace the gray monochrome of winter. All this "Jesus died for your sins" mantra, it never did make sense to me.
To me Christianity and that other major religion, Muslim is based on fear. "You do this or else God is going to be mad and punish you." Those threats may have worked in the medieval times and even these days in the Muslim world of the Middle East to keep the Great Unwashed in check while their rulers continue to control their lives with promises of a better afterlife. Just doesn't make sense. To me, if this religion thing is true, then Jesus (or whoever) will welcome me into Heaven because I am a good person, which I am. I know it even if the so-called "good Christians" do not.
Oh sure, I know many find comfort in religion. That's all fine and well if you're straight and fit in with your own tribe. And tribal fidelity is, after all, what religion is all about anyway isn't it folks?
I know what I believe in, good people. I don't ask what their religion is or even if they practice it. I don't condemn or judge those who practice religion or who do not practice religion. I judge people by how they treat other people. Not how organized religion tells them they should behave or how I should behave.
Well, I'm starting to ramble on. This is what I am fairly certain of. For many of those who pound their chests about how they are so much better than the rest of us because they BELIEVE . . . . all you have to do is look at someone like Ted Cruz and think "He's going to Heaven?"
|The Texas senator by way of Canada - the antithesis of a Christian - judgmental, condemning, non-inclusive and dishonest - a truly evil man|
Just take a look at some of these religious folks and think "Do they practice true Christianity?" You know, the one that has the Golden Rule:
So folks, whatever your beliefs this Easter Sunday (and I make no judgements here folks, if you're a regular church goer I do not condemn, I'm happy that you're happy that you find comfort in your faith), my best wishes to you. And don't forget, many stores have half off Easter candy tomorrow.