Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Epiphany on Love, Hate and God

This morning while laying in bed, I was thinking about the post I read over on Rickofawesome's blog last night. Not only is it a great rant, very eloquently put, but it's saddening that in 2009 he needs to have this rant. I was laying there thinking about how sad it makes me that people use God to justify their own hateful behaviour and attitudes, when I personally don't believe that is what God is about at all. My thoughts ran over how people like those that comment in this Courier Mail article, regarding MP Dorothy Pratt's comments in State Parliament about homosexuality being "not a normal part of life", use God or religion to spread hate.

Stick with me here for a bit.

Now let me just clear this up, I am a Christian. I don't belong to any denomination because I've not been able to find one that fits me and my beliefs, but I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and therefore that makes me Christian. I don't need to belong to a denomination or church to be Christian. I also don't need to prove my faith, evangelise it, defend it or convert anyone to it. I don't care if people believe different to me, so long as they allow me to hold my faith without prejudice. Personally I believe God is God, regardless of what name you call Him by or if you split Him up into a bunch of Gods that all serve the same purpose. But that's by the by.

But as well as being Christian, I also believe a whole bunch of things that people calling themselves Christian spread a whole lot of hate against. I believe that a person's sexuality is private and personal and has no bearing on their worth as a human being. I believe that pornography and prostitution have a place in a healthy society. I believe that there are circumstances where abortion is a legitimate option (sometimes sadly the only option). I believe that religion has no place in education, health care or government. I believe that women are equal to men. I believe that if someone is partaking in an activity that harms no-one but themselves, then it is their right to do so. I also swear like a trouper, drink like a fish and believe in pre-marital sex. These beliefs will draw me hatred from many of my so-called fellow Christians.

Which draws me back to my thoughts as I lay in bed this morning, thinking of the hate that so many people spread in the name of God. And I had an epiphany. It was a big one too. That epiphany was:

God is Love.

Simple isn't it? Or at least it feels that way when you look at that little three word sentence. But so many people simply don't get it. They spread hatred and anger (which is just the expression of hatred) in the name of God when they are actually doing the very opposite of what I believe God is. And it doesn't matter who or what your God is.

But it really goes for everyone, both those of faith and those who are atheists. If you want to achieve anything in your life, bring love into it. I'm not talking about sex. Or a relationship, though that form of love will count. I'm also not talking about a big hippy ideal of peace and love and groovy man.

If you want happiness, find love in your life. Now calm down, I'm not saying that you have to be in a relationship to have happiness, which is what everyone thinks when one mentions finding love. I'm saying focus on the things you love. Your family, your friends, your job, your art, your pets, whatever. But most of all, love yourself. If you can't find love for yourself, your struggle is still going to be there my friend. You don't have to get all weird and announce "Oh I am loving myself sick right now!" But you do have to find yourself feeling a deep like for who you are. It's not an easy thing to do, but work on making yourself the best you can possibly and you will find that love.

If you spread hate, if you spend your day filled with hate, then that's all you're going to get back in return. People hating you back. All you're going to see in your life are the things you hate. You're never going to notice the good things that are right there in front of you while you are all about hate.

It's ok to disagree with things. It's ok to be passionate in that disagreement. But hateful? That's what's bringing you the shit in your life. Hate doesn't make you a better person, it makes you a worse one. If you disagree with something passionately, which you have the right to do, even if that belief is harmful or discriminatory to others, find evidence about it, discuss it in an intelligent, rational, respectful manner and listen when you are presented the opposing view. Even if others believe you are wrong, you have the right to hold that belief so long as you do so with respect. You have the right to hold a belief, you do not necessarily have the right to act on that belief. Learn the difference.

But most of all, stop hiding behind religion to justify your hate. God doesn't want you to spread hate. No matter which God or Gods you believe in. Besides you're fucking it up for the rest of us who would like to be respected in our faith.


Unknown said...

A couple of quotes before I go into my little point of view, parapphrased slightly...
"Never judge a religion by it's followers" - Yusuf Islam formely known as Cat Stevens).
Some idiots use religion as an excuse to further their own agenda. In some magical land where religion didn't exist, they'd be pushing that same agenda with a different excuse for it attached anyway.

"The Christian Right is neither". Just because some people march under the same banner as you, doesn't mean everything about them is the same as you.

I agree with 99% of your beliefs stated, even though I am atheist (guess which I disagree with??), but I bet it felt good to be able to explain this to yourself regardless.

Joyful said...

I love the poetry of Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, his words are love and many of his poems are about God and love of God (though they can be related back to human love too).

Life of Rumi
Poems by Rumi

Sleepydumpling said...

Heath, that 1% is the one that doesn't matter, cos we're all going to have that differ amongst us.

The other 99% is the important bit.

"The Christian Right is neither." is a good one for me to remember. I march under no banner when it comes to my faith. It may be in common with others, but at it's root it is mine, personal and private.

Joyful - thanks for the poetry links.

Unknown said...

I do agree with all that you say Kath, i am a RC by birth and upbringing but like I can't find a group that meshes with me! So I have just have a quiet interlude with my maker as needed and take courage in my own actions and consequences

Anonymous said...

This was a FANTASTIC blog post. I found myself nodding and agreeing with so many of the points and believes you have.


Sleepydumpling said...

Sleepyjane - you make me blush! Thank you.

Katagal - a lovely Baptist minister I sadly have lost contact with once told me that God is wherever you ask Him to be.

JessicaVanDen said...

I'm on the same page as Heath :) Thank you so much for giving us hope, and something to ponder...

Brenda said...

"God is Love" wholeheartedly agree with you on that one!

Anonymous said...

Right on lady! I really respect people who use their faith positively, rather than to alienate others.

My boyfriend is Christian. I don't follow any religions, but our differing beliefs have never gotten in the way.

Don't get me wrong, he isn't the most devout Christian in the world. He's more likely to have a beer on Sunday morning than go to Church.

But he shows his faith through little ways - like giving change to anybody on the street who asks him and donating to charity. He's the sort of guy who will go for a drink at the pub and end up being the shoulder for someone to cry on or helping a random person in distress. Or he'll watch the sun set and say something like, "Wow, God makes some beautiful stuff."

I told him that I liked that he did all these nice things, and he simply replied "It's because I love God, and that's what he wants me to do."

I guess love really is what it should be all about.

Sleepydumpling said...

Ellie, I firmly believe that being Christian isn't about going to church or belonging to a certain denomination. It's about behaving in the manner that follows Jesus' teachings.

As I said earlier, a lovely Baptist minister I sadly have lost contact with once told me that God is wherever you ask Him to be.