Something that has been on my mind for a few months, ever since a friend share a youtube clip with me. 

When someone, usually in a religious context, states that they ‘know’ something is correct, or true, I cringe a little. For some, this may seem very controversial. I apologize. I do not in any way mean to ridicule, devalue, or besmirch anyones beliefs. I am just wanting to point out that that is what they are. Beliefs. Many know a bit about my story, I grew up in the LDS church, and my beliefs were photocopied straight from the Gospel Principles manual that we so often study. I absolutely loved it, and was ready and willing to follow the step by step plan that our church lays out for it’s members. Until I hit my road block. Being gay casts a new light and perspective on life, and religion, that not everyone understands or agrees with. At least, it did for me. I came to realize first hand that all those things that I claimed to “know” were just beliefs. Scarier still, I was no longer certain that all of them were as true and God-given as I had thought. I had to start wading through the mass of information that I had just blindly assimilated over the years. It is not a pleasant process, and one that requires you to find and connect with an inner voice that is so very good at recognizing light and truth. 

I bring this up, because as our society is steadily moving towards equality towards LGTB people, many who are religious are finding it difficult to know where to stand. Disclaimer: I am not here to push one side or the other. Each person must come to those decisions on their own, and I would hope that they are including God in that process. I am merely here to echo the words of Oliver Cromwell: “I beseech you in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.” 

As I have begun this journey into my soul, I am constantly forced to question what I think, what I feel, what I believe, and what I will decide to do based on those beliefs. I truly know only one thing, and that is that I know nothing. It is a humbling position to be in. When someone questions my actions, I cannot with certainty defend them. I hear so many opinions from both sides of the issue, and I listen. To everything. I have to evaluate it, think about it, weigh it against what I thought I already knew, determine whether it will help me build myself, and then decide where to go from there. It is exhausting!  

To return to the beginning of my post, I really do cringe when I hear someone say they know anything. Again, I’m not dismissing anyone’s personal beliefs. But when you know something, you no longer have to look for truth. You no longer have to consider the other side. In that state of self assured correctness, you are justified in shutting out anyone’s experience that is not in harmony with what you already “know.” It is not comfortable for us, as humans, to be uncertain. We do not like ambiguity. We like facts. We like to know! But that is as much a weakness as it is a strength of ours. The youtube video I mentioned earlier is filmed in a concentration camp. The scientist there talks about what happens to humans when we believe we know something. When we are so right, that everyone else is wrong. That line of thinking is dehumanizing. Granted, the Nazi party is a very extreme example of this. But I use the extreme to help illustrate my point. It is dehumanizing to believe something to the point that you cannot even allow for someone else’s point of view. We all do this. In almost every area of life. And sad as it is, I think it is easiest to fall into this line of thinking when it comes to religion.

Again, I am not attacking any religion, or any religious people of groups. I am simply asking that we all, despite our current beliefs, recognize that they are beliefs. And difficult though it may be, please always be willing to ask yourself “might I be mistaken?”

I think it is becoming more and more important for everyone to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Allow your neighbor, your friend, your parents or siblings the process and the time that it often takes to develop and grow. Given time, we may find that we were all just fellow travelers. As an old Chinese parable goes, “There are many paths to the top of the mountain.” Lets embrace our own path, and celebrate the diversity of each others. 

 

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