Friday, 29 January 2016

You mean I'm really OK??

I've really been into helping people see that they are OK, at the core of their being. They aren't broken.

I love seeing that spark as they realise they have value, that they actually matter and can bring so much to those around them, and even the rest of the world!

But I'm realising I don't quite live it myself - not as much as I would encourage others to do! Sure, I'm happier and more confident than I've ever been, but I'm seeing that my self hatred is deeper than I thought.

I didn't fit in as a kid. Then I realised I was gay - culturally forbidden in the 60s and 70s conservative middle class. Then I got religion, and the self loathing got even worse. My whole life was one of failure - not living up to my own or other's expectations. The image I had of myself affected every aspect of my life. I lived in fear of being exposed as a fraud.

Now, I have come out of that to the degree where I feel free and integral for the first time in my life, but I still don't value my abilities. I still think I'll fail - that people will somehow see that I'm a scrambled mess, and I'm of no real value.

I still walk into a room full of people and deep down assume that they are all "better" than me - more "adult" - more "together".

So here I am, trying to make Silent Gays and my book a going concern, when deep down, there's still that sense of fraud and failure.

I'm not sharing this for pity. Its simply that in seeing this for what it is, I realised that so many of us feel the same. If we've hidden who we really are out of fear and shame, then it will affect every area of our lives!

I passionately want to help the world be a better place, to provide hope and love. We all need to help each other to be all that we can - to recognise the affects of the past and to support and encourage each other.

We CAN do this - We are not our past - We are not who we were.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Jesus who????

Now for the big one!

Over the years, I've heard various alternative ideas about the historical Jesus. The only people who think that the Jesus of the bible is an historically accurate record these days are either fundamentalists or those who have never really thought about it.

Having said that, most people just assume it's close enough not to worry about, and any discrepancies don't undermine the message anyway.

There's a lot of scholarly work now from people like Reza Aslan, that thoroughly researches the culture, sociology, religions and just about every other factor you can think of, to build a picture of the "real" Jesus.

But for some time, there's also been research that says he never even existed! What I'd read of this wasn't particularly credible and had that conspiracy theory edge to it.

This guy however, is rather challenging and, I must confess, pretty thorough and very scholarly. I'm going to read his book and dig deeper.

So if this is true, where does it leave us?

It clearly puts Christianity into the realm of a mythical cult, which, none the less, has a lot of value in terms of spirituality, morality etc.

It would certainly change the entire landscape of christendom, and probably bring the complete demise of traditional church. But then again, there is too much vested interest in a religion with 2000 years worth of traditions for many people.

We may never know "the" truth about Jesus, but I'm glad some objective research is finally coming out.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Arrogant Christianity?

A few people think I'm attacking christianity a bit too much, and proclaim the whole "we're not all like that" thing.

I understand that.

Many christians are very loving genuine people, and can clearly see the horrors of "religion" and the general hypocrisy of the church. These folks exercise their faith in unconditional love without any other motives. They simply love and care because that's who they are.

But I'm talking about the foundations of Christianity itself - about what the real message is and how most christians live, without even realising it.

At it's very core, Christianity says "we have the ultimate truth". By its very nature it declares that God revealed himself only through the Jews and Jesus to the entirety of mankind. It boldly declares Jesus to be the all in all - the beginning and the end - before the foundations of time, and the one who will bring the current world to an end.

It states unequivocally that we are born corrupt and hopelessly separated from God without the saving work of Jesus.

It declares, without hesitation, that only through Jesus can true love be found, and that mankind can be saved and united. It proudly states that all else is a counterfeit and deception at best, to blatant demonic lies at worst, spread to deceive mankind.

It teaches that our motivation should be to "save the lost", that our acts of love and care should be with the express purpose of bringing everyone to Jesus so they will be accepted and make it into eternal glory.

It even proudly cries that we can only become humble by denouncing our humanity and bowing in humble subservience to God.

But it is nothing more than absolute pride and arrogance. It's the antithesis of real love. It assumes that without Jesus humanity can never experience or express true love. And yet more atheists live a far more genuine life of unconditional love than most christians. They know what it is to give without an agenda - to see the beauty in the hearts of every person, to live with real compassion and empathy.

Yes, other religions also suffer from the same thing, but I can only speak from my 40+ years as a devout christian with any authority.

It has attempted to convince the world on a massive scale over two millennia (by whatever means it can) - that it alone has "the truth".

It doesn't get more arrogant than that.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Apologies? Yeah, nah...

Should I apologise to all the christians I've offended?

I post a lot of apparently "anti-chrisitian" stuff on my Facebook page and I get a lot of different opinions about the stuff I post.

But I'm often a little ambiguous and leave a lot of wiggle room for those who have a firm belief in the "work of Jesus", and for those who have completely ditched the foundational beliefs.

I interact with a lot of "fundies" as well as liberals and atheists. I understand the need for religion. I've studied all the doctrines and know all the standard doctrinal and theological answers and all their variations.

I confuse a lot of people, for one simple reason - I refuse to fit into a box. Many think I've become atheist, or at least agnostic.

I will not be defined by any label, let alone a dogma. One thing I've learned above anything else is the absolutely essential need to ditch certainty, dogma, tradition, biases and subjectivity.

Exploration, uncertainty, questioning, re-evaluating, learning, challenging, "embracing the journey"... these are the things that truly make us humble and loving. When we realise that the only thing we know for sure is here and now, and that anything beyond that is conjecture, we begin to embrace the depth of life as it is.

Our life right now is all that matters, and when we live that with every ounce of integrity we can muster, then we can ask no more of ourselves. Whatever we may believe about the future and even eternity, is nothing more than an act of faith. It may help us bring love and life to the here and now, or it may not. Religion in all it's forms tends to bring death, separation, exclusion, division, bigotry and dogma.

For me to say I'm anti-religion is probably more accurate, but even then, many christians will agree without really understanding what I mean. Just for the record, I include ALL religious belief systems at their foundational level. I believe christianity, islam, whatever... are all reflections of the same human desire for certainty and control. They appeal to that part of us that wants to be exclusive - to believe that we have the truth and are better than others. Even the most caring christians I know still, at their core, believe they have the only truth and the rest of the world is doomed if they don't believe the same thing.

Religion, in any form, has proven to be the worst thing that the world has embraced. And yet we still persist in the vain hope that OUR religion will change the world for the better.

Ultimately, if your beliefs bring love, unity, compassion and empathy to the world, then go for it. But don't claim them to be the ultimate truth. Likewise, if your beliefs bring division, bigotry, hate, intolerance in any form to the world, then you desperately need to question them.

What do I believe?

As I've always said, no matter what - live loved. Theology and doctrines are interesting but nothing more than hot air. If you don't live in a state of being and giving love, then you are part of the problem no matter what you believe.

No apologies needed!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Blessings and fortunes

We love to give and receive "blessings".

"Bless you brother"
"You have been greatly blessed"
"God bless you"

Or "fortunes" for the less religiously inclined.
"You are so fortunate"
"May you have good fortune"

...and all the other variations on those themes.

Basically we are assuming that a greater power has the ability and desire to favour some people more than others. We believe we have the ability to increase the odds of this power's favouritism by speaking it out in some form.

We only need to ponder this for a minute to realise how absurd it is.

However, its done with the best of intentions, and we do hope for better circumstances for those we love, and to convey friendship etc. So it's not a bad thing when we consider the intentions.

But when we use these terms, we are reinforcing the idea that God (however we view it) is separate from us, and can dish out good/nice/loving/favourable things on a whim, if asked properly, or we do something good enough.

Perhaps we would be better to simply be thankful, to honour people as human, from our heart. Maybe we shouldn't declare them blessed or fortunate, but rather praise their humanity/kindness/generosity/selflessness... all the things that really matter and "build each other up in love".