Friday, October 28, 2011

Religious Conscience and Lifestyle

I recently commented on a friend's post about research on "gay lifestyles". The post was referenced back to "Renew America", which is a Christian grassroots political organization. Such organizations have a particular agenda that they deem significant because of their belief that "God" has ordained Scripture to be the "tried and true" (and right) way to promote human flourishing. I have questions.

First of all, I do not accept that the text as "inspired by God", other than it was written by men in certain situations that granted wisdom of and for that day. Today's wisdom is a scientifically oriented one, not a religiously biased one.

Secondly, I do not believe that anyone should be promoting a re-orientation to another's identity, unless it is damaging to society. This research was promoting a "repentance" from a lifestyle that was considered forbidden by "God", as they take the text at "face value". Such "re-framing" of identity is "in Christ". It is a movement of social organizing for a specific purpose, which is "God's Kingdom", as they interpret Scripture.

Such people believe that "God" exists and oversees all things and "God" has revealed His will in the confines of The Book. This is the traditonal view of evangelical Protestant Christianity, but it does not recognize the broader questions other than take at "face value" what is "to be believed". They seek to validate Scripture by a presuppositonal stance toward it! There is no way to disprove Scripture, because one's community is a self-perpituating entity. Truth is to be proven, and experienced, instead of sought out and discovered! And those that don't believe "lack faith" to believe and be "saved"!

This "tradition" does not take into consideration the history of the Church, or the roots of Judiasm, when they think of "faith". Theirs is an experiential and lived faith that they think is appropriate to promote for everyone. Theirs is an intense "mission focused' and oriented. All people are to be brought under their umbrella, as this is promoting "the Kingdom of God". While such a movement is not rooted in "deep history", it is rooted in American Revivalist tradition, and serves the purposes of furthering the political machine of "the social".

I know what it is like to suffer under another's religious conscience. Transitional and memorable life events were tainted or undermined by those that "thought better" than what I desired! The reason could be nothing other than the "conviction" that they were right and I was wrong, or that they were the "authority"! There was no "discussion" about differences of opinion, because their "conviction" was "not an opinion"!!! It was "God's fact"! If there was resistance, then I was rebellious, disobedient and would live under "God's judgment". The fear of God was to "keep people in line". Such attitudes did not "happen" until there was a conversion experience! Then, the experience somehow gave such as these "God's mind"!

"Self" is defined by such religious cultures and ceases to exist apart from another's sanctoning, sanctimonious and righteous attitude about life and all that is! Persecution will ensue if one does not acquiesce to such "convictions". A Bible beating is the end of such questioning, or differences of opinion. One wonders if these have any sense of "self" other than what they "feel" to be "God". The truth is that "God" is really THEIR conscience! And others are to be conformed to it!

I have come to the point where religion is not beneficial to me, and I do not want to promote it, other than allow those that want to affirm their faith in a way that is non-interfering to others.

When I think back about my journey, I used to also be persuaded that leaving churches that allowed divorcees to teach, or withdrawing approval of those that chose to see things differently was an appropriate way to handle "life's problems". And if everyone would concur with Scripture everyone would come to a unified understanding and life would be "perfect". In the meantime, I was comforted with the fact that life's tragedies were to teach me for "God's purposes"! It was all about me, because I needed it to be!

I still need it to be "about me", as everyone else does. Self interst is a "fact of life". Individuals are unique in their interests, but not in their desires. The desire to be loved, accepted and understood is a human trait, but all individuals will differ in interests, values and commitments. I don't believe that to be "human" means that one has to be a clone in one's interests, values and commitments. This seems to be the case for many in the evangelical camp. They think that if one has a difference of opinion concerning such social issues as abortion, gay marriage, etc. then, you are undermining "God's order" of the universe!

Gay marriage should be legalized in our society because it is just. Society can stll affirm monogomy which affirms the value of the two individuals involved, as well as protect society from STDs. Gays have desires, as all humans do for sexual expression and commitment to the person that means the most to them. That expression should be allowed within the confines of a marital relationship, where the partners can be respected as equal before the law and not marginalized by those that think they have "God's mind"!

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