I'm sure at this point it goes without saying that I am judgmental. I am definitely the kind of person who believes that everyone should live how they want and believe is right, with the exception of stepping harshly on others civil rights, but that doesn't mean I don't judge them while they are living the way they want. It's become very easy for me to accept almost anything you can throw at me. I openly embrace pretty much any lifestyle as long as it doesn’t out rightly benefit from the pain or injustice of another. The only thing I have no tolerance for anymore is Christianity.
I’m not a fan of any organized religion, but none bother me as much as Christianity. Maybe it’s because I was a part of it and I’ve seen the inside. Maybe it’s because I was a part of it and I’m bitter, although that honestly feels like the least likely option. I don’t feel bitter, not anymore. Maybe it’s because Christians are the only major religion that is bent on everyone knowing they are the right ones. Maybe it’s because I find it a foolish thing to think is true. Maybe it’s because Christians are the only ones selling their religion. Maybe it’s because you know they’re always thinking you are lost when you’re with them, praying you would someday be like them, believe like them, love the lost like them, be saved like them.
Maybe it's all of the above.
This wouldn’t be a battle for me if I didn’t have Christians in my life, Christians I hold dear and respect. There are Christians whose ideals and morals I just do not respect and there are Christians whose ideals and morals I don’t understand but respect. Maybe there will always be a side of Christianity I hate, and the rest will always be something I’m just ok with accepting for the sake of the ones I love. I think even a lot of Christians feel this way, that there is a big world of Christianity they don’t want to be associated with. As much as that is the biggest issue to me, I’ve gotten to the place where I’m not even comfortable with just the idea of believing Jesus is god, or the bible is true. In my head I just think it’s so idiotic and can’t understand why intelligent, respectable people choose to believe and follow such nonsense. This is not where I want to be. I don’t want to be one of those, an atheist who thinks they’re above everyone else because their scientifically superior brain cells out think and out analyze everyone else’s data coming up with the clearest most sensible answer deeming everyone else foolish sheep with no minds of their own. There will always be people who live as sheep, and so will be seen as such, but I want compassion and understanding for them as well. Making a better decision, in putting thought into who or what I follow, doesn’t make me a better person. It just makes me a better decision maker. And even that can be argued.
It would be so easy to separate myself from all those who follow Christianity, to cut myself off.
I think this is why the heathens stick to themselves, only bumping into the religious in freak accidental meetings and why the Christians stick to their fellowship, only straying to “save the lost”. The same reason people with kids tend to hang out with people who are just as crazy as them, fellow parents. And people without kids tend to hang out with people who live life just as well as them, eating out, traveling, spending quality alone time doing things they love, all without children screaming in the background. It lessens our battles if we stick to what we know; if we love what we see in the mirror and only look for more reflections.
I don’t want to see more of myself. I don’t want to walk around with a full length mirror in front of my face. I want to look around and see people. Fully see. I have done this and done it well. I can relate to anyone, I can put myself in anyone’s shoes and come to a clear understanding of their choices and actions. I have hypothetically put myself in terrorist’s shoes and been able to have compassion. I have put myself in the hypothetical shoes of polygamist Mormon leaders, criminals, extravagant spenders, people who just live differently than me and had understanding. I can go so many places in my mind and find the place where I relate to these people, I can relate to the feeling of walking in anyone’s shoes. Anyone’s shoes but my own, my own old, thoroughly worn, shoes.
Maybe those shoes are the most uncomfortable because I remember how painful they were, how they gave me blisters, how they struggled to fit my feet inside them, how they spoke nothing of who I was and just matched the shoes around me, how they stomped on others beautifully humble shoes.
When you come out of something I guess the only way to move forward is to remind yourself of the reasons why you are leaving. Otherwise you’d never go. But you have to get to a point where that past isn’t related to you anymore. Christianity isn’t related to me anymore. It’s nothing of who I am. It’s the same to me as Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism. None of these are a part of me, who I am now. And I need to look at them the same, with compassion and a desire for understanding. It’s time to put my shield down, drop my sword and stop battling with an unarmed enemy.
There will always be things that Christians say and do that bug the shit out of me. But I don’t need to be defensive against their desire to get me back, it has nothing on me, if something can’t take you down there’s no need to fight it.
I don’t know how to change my mind, how to see people who I think are great, but are Christians, and not have that feeling of sadness and loss because there’s a place you’ll never share, a place where there will always be a valley between your minds, your hearts, your souls. Maybe I can’t.
In the end all I can do at the moment is try to get compassion back, to fill myself again with love, to take off my atheist glasses and remember that I am the same as a gun toting, pro-life, conservative Christian republican. We both fight for what we believe and we do it because we think it’s what is good. People’s hearts are not very complex; we all want the same things at the core. So if I don’t understand why you think a man who lived two thousand years ago is the god of the universe and if you don’t understand why I think humanity is the god we need, at least we can understand where we begin. We begin at the core of our hearts where we all want love, we all want the ones we love to be around us and have all that is good, we all want to find that thing that gives us peace inside, that tells us we belong, and anyone aiming for those things has my respect whether they find my truth or not.
Let the compassion begin and the love fill me.