All of us, regardless of background, can trace many of our adult behaviors to either the environment in which we were raised or the character of those who helped raise us, if not both. While there are exceptions to all cases, generally speaking somebody who is raised in an abusive environment will seek escape from the reality of that environment in some form of self-destructive behavior, which then carries on into adulthood. Similarly, a person who is raised in a protected environment may be ignorant of some of the dangers posed by a less gentle, less forgiving segment of society. Those raised in areas in which overt racism is present may be more aware of the effects of how prejudices alter perception, and those raised in areas free of such societal pressures may not understand how deeply run the roots of those prejudices may lie.
I’ve spoken of it before, but for those unaware, the vast majority of my life has been spent living in states south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Additionally, my parents are devout Lutheran Christians, which meant I spent a good portion of my weekends and my afternoons during the Advent and Lent seasons inside a church building. The combination of living in the Buckle of the Bible Belt with deeply devout parents meant that I was nearly always surrounded by people who believed to their deepest cores that the Christian Bible is irrefutably sacrosanct, literally true, and an absolute guide for moral behavior. This belief extended to most major areas of notable Conservative dispute, particularly the areas surrounding evolution and human sexuality. I was taught to belief — and encouraged when reciting or defending the belief — that evolution is not scientifically valid and that humans lived alongside dinosaurs. Any belief in the evidence provided by the fossil record was disputed or discarded simply because it did not fit within dogmatic. Simply put, the scientific method was considered irrelevant and, in a fashion that seems to be uniquely American, cast aside not to be thoughtfully discussed.
As I look back to that time in my life, I often feel shame at being sucked into the arguments provided. My blind faith in the absolute correctness of the Biblical accounts of things being the only way “things could have happened” was borderline fanatical, and impervious to rational arguments challenging my beliefs. Thankfully, my parents taught me to be discerning and thoughtful and to never stop reading, which led to broadening my lens and finding additional information that debunked and thoroughly refuted my prior beliefs. My hypothesis had been wrong, and when presented with overwhelming evidence I was forced to adjust my beliefs to better hold with the evidentiary truth. In just such a manner was I also forced to adjust my views on human sexuality.
To my SINful friends who observe the High Holidays, may your fast be easy and your Yom Kippur be reflective.
Stay SINful, friends.
Despite knowing better, I engaged in a comment war on Facebook over the past 10 hours. The comments have been on a picture posted by a religious group, across which was written “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Despite how absolutely ridiculous and trite the phrasing of the statement sounds, the intention from the posting is very clear; God did not make gay people, nor any other kind of people, but instead only made straight people. This has led to a very exhaustive counter-argument on my part where I have knowingly broken my “don’t feed the trolls” mantra of online forum etiquette. Nevertheless, as one who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community and is becoming increasingly vocal in my support for the equal treatment of that community I could not in good conscience sit idly by as person after person praised the bigoted nature of this posting. Below are some of the thoughts I’ve taken away from this defense of my people. Fair warning: if you are a deeply devout Christian, I may be attacking parts of your faith. If this upsets you, move along now.
Almost two-thirds complete! On with another entry in the 30 Days of Truth series!
What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?