I recently posted on my Facebook wall, support for LGBT rights during the struggle against Indiana’s controversial “Religious Freedom” legislation. In the context of that discussion, a close relative of mine, who is an Evangelical Christian, posted about homosexuality being a sin, etc., etc. His argument was that it was logical to allow Christians to discriminate against Gays because their “activities” offend them. I followed up with my own supporting argument to the contrary: according to Christianity, we are all sinners; no one sin carries any particular “weight” in the eyes of God, so why pick on Gays? Should Christians be allowed to deny service to adulterers? thieves? liers? The simple truth is that every customer that walks through your door is “guilty” of something; after all, we ALL are! So, wouldn’t that be hypocritical? Then, it got ugly…
The discussion evolved (degraded?) into a discussion on Christianity itself, its many denominations and contradictory doctrines; who was he to judge a gay man, or any other sinner? Who was I to judge his interpretation of the Bible? He launched into a long winded defense of his own doctrine, a scathing rebuke of other “Christian” religions (his quotes), and why all of them (except his) were damned and going to Hell!
All I asked of him – and all I can ask of anyone – is that while he may disagree with my choice of church or various tenets of its doctrine, he has no right or authority to pass judgement against me or my church, and would he please respect our differences and give me the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately in his eyes, there is no doubt.
This is the inherent danger of ALL religions! I personally accept that I may not know everything, although I have spent a large part of my life researching not only various denominations of Christianity, but Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, Confucius, Shinto, etc. It is my personal belief that ALL religions are deserving of respect. Individual practitioners, on the other hand, are another matter. The same “all or nothing” belief system that fills my friend with bigotry, fills radicals the world over with hatred and the justification to kill in the name of God. Please: pray to the God of your choice – or none at all – but have the decency to allow other human beings to walk their own journey. Someday, maybe they too will come around to your way of thinking – or not. However, it is my personal belief that anyone who searches for the truth will find it, even though their truth might not be the same as my truth. That is the nature of truth: reality is perception, and we all see the world differently. The important thing is to acknowledge those differences, respect those differences, even revel in those differences, because if we were truly all the same, the world would be a very dull place.