Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"I can do God all by myself"

      Alrighty well, it's literally not even been a week but I feel the need to blog some more so get over it. I've been doing some critical thinking lately, which isn't uncommon for me. I consistently find myself thinking untill the wee hours of the morning when I finally get delusional and decide that when I see kittens running around that aren't there it's about time for bed. But most of my thinking lately has been about God and the Bible Study I go to.

    To begin this I have to tell you a story. It's a semi long story that I haven't really told anyone in general about. If you do not already know, I'm a pagan. Currently I'm more of an atheist/pagan. But at one point I was just plain ol' pagan. And to be more specific on that point I was a shamanic pagan, with eclectic tendencies. I came to paganism because it kind of always called out to me. In some way I always felt more in tune with nature and the natural order of things than I did with a supreme holy being and good vs evil and such. So when I discovered paganism I was drawn to it and I felt very at home with the ideas that were presented through the belief system. I wasn't a shaman to start with, I dove into wicca, witchcraft, druidism, voodoo, you name it I looked into it. Because I did a lot of research on everything, that is why I became an eclectic shaman. When I found Shamanism it felt more at home to me and so in tune with nature and the spiritual side of nature, but I took a lot of the beliefs that came from the other parts of paganism as well. Now, there is a specific part of shamanic practices that most people probably haven't heard of. It's called a shamanic journey, and it's where you travel between spirit worlds. To shamanic people there is 3 different spirit worlds. There is a lower world, which is more natural ( At least that's how I perceive it). There is a middle world, which essentially looks like this world but you can see the spirits that reside here ( I picture it in black and white for some reason). And then there is an upper world, which is hard to explain ( I see it as the heavenly aspect of the world, which I clearly got from christianity, and so that is where I go for anything spiritual or to do with the afterlife or gods/goddesses). I've done a handful of journeys in my life and one that stuck out to me the most was one where I Met God and Jesus.

     So I went on my journey and went to the upper world not sure what to expect as you never know what's going to happen on a journey. So I went up ( my spirit animal to get there is a hawk, so I flew there) and was greeted by Jesus. Now I should tell you I was going through a tough time in my life where shit was consistently hitting the fan and the last thing I cared for was christianity or any abrahamic religion. I thought it was odd, but figured it best to just be polite and nice. So we had a decent chat as I followed Jesus to who knows where. I don't particularly remember our chat, though I remember talking about his teachings and the bible a bit. Then we stopped at a golden gate and he let me in.

     As soon as I walked in I was in what appeared to be an ancient greek town center or something. There was a fountain in the middle and buildings around me. It was night time, but the sky was clear. I didn't know what to do I was all alone and as I looked up I saw a constellation. I don't mean just the stars, I mean literally it was like connect the dots, but it also had kind of a cloudy texture. It reminded me a lot of the part in Lion king where simba sees mufasa in the sky. Well anywho, apparently this is God and so he says hello and we begin a conversation. I asked him a bunch of questions, I asked him why the bible was so horrible and he tried to reassure me and get me to look past what is bad in the Bible and to seek out the good in it. We got on the subject of homosexuality, obviously, and I started getting pretty passionate in my conversation and I remember crying and I asked if he hated me and if I wouldn't be let into heaven if I did in fact believe in him, but was gay because it wasn't something I could change. He reassured me that if I had faith in him, my sexuality wouldn't be a deciding factor on where I would end up. It was almost like I was talking to a caring loving father so the reassurment that I possibly wouldn't be placed somewhere that I burn in hell for eternity was a good feeling.

    Eventually he asked if I would ever turn to him, and I told him currently... at the moment... I could not. At least not with the way christians have treated me and used the bible as justification for it. Then he said something along the lines of "ok, but remember my door is always open for you" and then a star from the sky near him fell down and landed in my chest and I remember just feeling a sense of passion and self esteem and joy that I hadn't felt before then. The drumming for my journey was starting to speed up, indicating it was time to come out of the journey so I said my goodbyes and made my way back to my body.

     I didn't make much of this journey untill now. It was as if God knew at some point I would turn towards him, he just wanted to speak with me personally. Ever since that moment, from whatever the heck it is I got in my chest I have been more passionate in everything I do, I have been more happy in my life, and I have been more mature in the way I handle situations. I feel like through that conversation with what I believe was really God ( And not the devil as so many have tried to make me believe) I've gained a lot I can use in life now. It built me up from a place in which I felt so low I was going to therapy.

     Now that I've gone to some Bible studies and the interest in God and christian faith has reasserted itself in my life I've decided to go about seeking God, though not by normal means. I do not appreciate the bible still, so I will not be looking to the bible for answers. If I do seek a single God, I believe all my answers can be found through a personal relationship with my deity and I do not need others to tell me I am right or wrong in the ways I go about seeking him. It's for this reason that I only plan to ever attend one more Bible study. I've found that while the people there are absolutely amazing people who have changed my lives in ways I can't really explain, because the central focus is the bible I cannot find a love for myself there. I learn to hate myself over and over when I attend the bible studies, and I'm not ok with that because I do not want to end up in holes I have previously been in. So it's for that reason I plan to attend one more in order to say my goodbyes, though I hope to see everyone that attends them still outside of bible study.

    Many people from the bible study likely think I'm speaking with the devil, or that I'm wrong, or that I'm not turning to the real "truth" but I'm happy with the way I'm going about my own personal relationship with a single deity. If God really does have a plan for everything, and I go through everything for a reason, then I did not go through paganism just to lose it all again. I went in to learn a different way to learn to love a God rather than the way that seems to oppress me and bring me down consistently. If God had a plan this entire time, it was so that I could find a way in which to seek him without wanting to end my life. If that's such a big problem for others, than so be it. But I don't think I went through everything I have been through, and gone to a bible study and spoken with decent christians for no reason. I went through that to gain insight on how to go forth in a new journey in my life.

Thanks for reading, sorry it was so long :|

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The bible

     Normally my blogs have been about experiences for the week ( or whatever span of time comes between the blog post ). However today I am taking a slightly different approach as well. I'll be focusing on the bible for this blog, something most people know that I despise. I've also learned how to post pictures in this, so yay bible with warning label picture.

    So I should probably mention why I hate the bible so much. The bible condemns me. Not only does it condemn me as a person, but it encourages people to stone me to death. Did you hear me right? Yes, that's right... I did in fact say STONE ME TO DEATH. Now, I consistently hear the response "Oh well that's all in the old testament you can't hold that against anyone that was a different time". Well my response to that would be "Why the hell do people bring up Leviticus consistently then, and why the hell do we follow the new testament when half the crap in that version of the bible is ancient as hell too?". Now that's obviously not my only reason, however that is the biggest reason. I also dislike how it encourages slavery, bigotry, hate, discrimination, segregation, and so many other horrible things. I hate the bible to an extent that if I wasn't worried about being blatantly uncaring and rude to 90% of the countries population, I would burn it. But I realize it's importance in the world to so many people and therefor I somehow manage to restrain myself, though at times It becomes a very probable choice to make myself feel better. 

     Another thing I really dislike about the bible is how people will call it the 'Word of God'. I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure we can all agree that a human being wrote this. Yes, a homosapien. Well I'm sorry that you seem to think that they were blessed and the holy spirit helped them write it, however I've seen people talking with the holy spirit and what not and even they make mistakes and even they allow their own pre-existing opinions interfere with what they are conveying. So while they may have all that jazz under their belt as they are writing it, they are still human beings and as such can obviously place their own opinions into a book. You can tell me every 5 seconds for the rest of my life that they were holy men and it's not going to change how I feel about this, no one is above being human when they are human. 

     Translation and interpretation are also two horrible things I hate about the bible. Not only can the bible be mis-translated, which it has been, but it is also interpreted in so many ways. Which is why christianity has so many different denomination and so many of the people in each denomination can be so different in the way they believe things. So, not only can it look bad just from the text, but if someone takes the whole stoning to death thing seriously, well... that's where we get a lot of gay bashing from. 

    Now I realize that this blog seems to be really anti-christian this time around. Well, it's not exactly anti-christian. I'm fine with christians and christianity. I'm not fine with a book that is stated to be the word of an apparently omnipotent being who took control over people to write a story, that very well could be a story, to command people to do some horrible things. All in the name of this omnipotent being. It's like being a slave to a dictator. It's terrible. It's North Korea for books. Who wants to follow North Korea? North Koreans and that's about it, and even some of them don't want to follow North Korea.

    I really cannot off the top of my head think of one good thing that comes from the bible. No morals come from the bible, I'm an atheist/pagan and have perfectly normal and fine morals. People kill in the name of the Bible. Wars have been fought, because of the bible. I mean, it's literally a walking hit list and people just don't seem to care. I really would like to call bull shit on this one, I honostly can't see any reason to follow such a horrible horrible piece of literature.

    Feel free to comment and leave this up for discussion, because I'd be fine with it. I can think of a couple people who I already know will argue over it. But untill they are told they should be killed because they aren't loved enough by their omnipotent being to be allowed to exist, I really don't give two poops. You can never know that feeling. To know that people who are just like you were stoned to death, burned at steaks, and are now beat to death occasionally in your own country. In third world countries, people are still stoned to death. It's complete and utter lack of human morality and it's the exact definition of discrimination and prejudice.

I also strongly strongly suggest you watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q9u81yhIXI&feature=player_embedded

Warning: The video WILL probably make you cry. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

         So it's been a few weeks. Maybe really just a week I'm not quite sure, but quite a bit has happened. But really I think quite a bit happens period when you go to a bible study. This post for my blogs may not be as long as my first, because I don't have as much pent up frustration and it doesn't cover the span of several months. However, there is a very good learning aspect from this short time. The one thing I continue to notice as a grow with these people at Radiant Love is that I always come out of hanging out with them with some new knowledge. Maybe a new perspective on things, or maybe something just completely out there that I never knew.

         To start off I think I should begin with lunch with garrett and heather. We went to La Stradas, which has the best pizza so everyone should go there, and had a nice little 3-4 hour lunch convo thing. Now, most of what was brought up wasn't surprising nor has it never been heard of before. However Garrett decided to get calamari there, something I previously thought utterly disgusting and would never try. However, somehow we got onto some topic where I noticed Garrett was being very closed minded and wouldn't look at something from an outside point of view. Then I noticed I was being the same exact way by prejudging what calamari is like without trying it first. So I took that moment to prove to myself that I wouldn't be closed minded ever, in any situation, and plopped a piece in my mouth. It wasn't at all bad, and I never would have  known that octopus could taste good had I decided to been closed minded. Which I think really speaks about a lot of things in life if you relate it to that same situation. So I vow now to never judge something before I try it.

        Let's move forward to later that night I ended up hanging out with Garrett, Camilo, Alejandro, Kayla, Kresten, and Josh. All great people. We were just hanging around and eventually bibles got passed out and they did some kind of mini bible study thing, I didn't take the bible because personally I won't touch one because I don't like them. However for the first time I witnessed in this little group that there were different opposing views on things. Not so much arguments, nor do I mean they don't agree at all. But if one person doesn't see something the way someone else sees it, they talk about it like grown adults and come to a conclusion on what something means and how to go about things. I thought it was very interesting to see that and it was very commendable. The night wore on and we had some interesting discussions. Marijuana views are completely independent from person to person and is different in so many ways for each person. Eventually I obviously had to leave, but not because I wanted to. But because I had to. It was 3:30 am and I had work in 5 hours and I never did end up sleeping so I ended up staying up for 26 hours ( yay...).

       Fast forward about 15 hours after sleeping for so long and I ended up on Thursday for bible study. This was going to be a neat bible study, because I actually knew someone who was there (yay!). Garrett had been talking to Courtney, an old neighbor of mine, and she ended up coming which was great! The study was on money to give a general idea. About giving and who to give and how much and so on and so forth, everything and every answer for it in the bible. Now, obviously if I'm a non-christian you would assume that I would gain nothing from this at all because I don't believe in a God to give money to and I don't go to a church right? Wrong. I actually learned a valuable life lesson that I've been ignoring a lot as of late. That life lesson would be Priorities. It taught me that I need to really know what my priorities are and that I need to not spend money on useless crap I don't need, like random fish and tanks that cost 140$ and I never ended up liking them after the first day, and spending it on things that I do REALLY need. Such as college. I also learned that I really need to start saving some of my money. While many christians give 10% of their income to the church, I really should be putting 10% AT LEAST in my savings account. It would be nice to know that if I fall on my ass I have money to cover me.

         Now one thing I learned after the study was that when it comes to sexuality I stand quite firm on what I believe. Many people want you to believe that homosexuality is a choice or something you get as you grow up as a mental condition, well I'm here to clear the air that it's not like that at all. It's literally biological and to the core. I'm quite content with going to hell and burning for eternity for my sexuality, because I'd rather die a homosexual than a heterosexual because a belief system tells me so. In the coming weeks I'm apparently going to be meeting a gay-reform-christian thingymabobber. It's likely going to be a heated discussion. I'm fully expecting to cry. I also wouldn't be surprised if voices were raised and we got some stares if we're in public.

       The odd thing about this past week for me though has been that I was able to take something for myself out of a study on the bible, which I truly dislike, that I can use for my life. So as much as I really do not like the bible, I'm finding that within its many pages of horror, discrimination, prejudice, and hate; that there is life lessons that can be applied for everyone. Whether you be Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, or Purple. And that's good to know that I can get something like that out of Christianity. Something I never expected to find along this journey. If people were less afraid of things, and they got to know things.... they could learn so much. Homophobes should speak with homosexuals. Racists should speak to people of color. Anti-Semitics should speak with someone who follows Judaism. The world could be such a better place with all the patience and understanding you gain from looking through the other end of the looking glass. Well, that's my rant. And thanks to everyone who reads. I'm hoping to keep doing this for a while. It's quite therapeutic :)


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christians, Bibles, Jesus, Oh my!

     Now, I don't write blogs or anything of the sort often. In fact this really is my first one. However, I've quite recently for the past 2-3 months had some interesting conversations and intriguing moments that I probably will never forget. I think to really start the story you have to go back to the start of the semester. I had just gotten back in touch with someone who I never considered a close friend by any means. His name is Garret ( Don't hate me for adding you or others to this blog) and he's really a nice guy. I only knew him because he dated a friend, and because of that I never really spoke to him. But we got to know each other over Facebook and then I had found that he was a recently saved Christian.

            Anyone who knows me knows that I have a... distaste I guess would be the word, for Christians. However Garrett seemed very patient with me and even at the beginning when I was at my worst with him and completely terrible to him he was nice to me too. We had many conversations about God, Jesus, Homosexuality, the Bible. All sorts of stuff. He was a semi typical Christian, except that he was so much more loving than many Christians who had condemned me in the past. So I grew fond of our late night (11pm-whenever we just couldn't handle staying up any longer) conversations. Then some of his friends started adding me. I think the first person to add me was Alejandro, then Krestan, and then Camilo. 

           I was remarkably rude to all of these seemingly nice people to begin with. I remember sending them messages strictly prohibiting any form of conversion or attempt at doing so. They responded respectfully and letting me know they would never do that. Which I greatly appreciated. I was growing fond of the Christian religion as a whole, simply because there was so much love shown through these 4 guys. I would never consider becoming a Christian at this point in the story of course, but I enjoyed the topic and I enjoyed learning knew things from them all. Then came the time when Garrett asked me to come by a bible study one day. Originally I had said no, but I caved in at some point and just said what the hell and went

               I remember being nervous. The last time I can remember being that nervous was when I was going to take my final tests for my GED. I literally knew absolutely no one there. I was expecting maybe 4-6 people. But there was at least double that if not more. I felt really uneasy to begin with but everyone welcomed me and were very friendly so I eased up. I had brought a book, because when I hear the word bible study I assumed notes would be taken or something. But none were. I also had printed off about 90 pages from a website with all the contradictions in the bible and some of the horrible things from it. I had no idea what to expect.

                To begin everyone started singing, I wasn't expecting it but it really didn't shock me at all. The lyrics kind of annoyed me, everything reminded me of being a slave to something you can't see. After that was over they started talking about a chapter in the bible. It slips my mind now as to what it was about, but a lot of it had to do with keeping your faith, being patient, not straying from God and so on and so fourth. Then it ended and they all said prayers and did this praying thing that I don't even know how to quite explain. I remember one guy, who's name I won't mention because I don't really know it nor do I know him well, but I remember not praying or having my head down or anything but he looked about on the edge of crying during the praying. I was confused, but he was the sweetest guy I'd ever seen so I almost cried right there on the spot too, especially for what he was praying about. Then it ended and everyone broke off into groups and talking and obviously the first person I talked to was Garrett because he's the only person I really knew there.

                So we start talking about what I thought, I wasn't surprised with anything that happened but I wasn't completely upset about it either. We started talking yada yada getting into some of the more heavy conversations. Before I knew it I was surrounded by people, or at least it felt that way. Everyone was paying attention to our conversation and it was becoming a tiny bit awkward. People would jump in and give there point and how they felt and I remember one person, her name is Kayla, who just came off as an extremely loving person. I don't know her well, but she definitely made me feel more comfortable in what would have been an awkward situation. When homosexuality came up is when things began to get touchy. I kept cool but inside I was really wanting to scream and cry. Everyone gave their opinions on it and everyone said it in the most loving way possible, but I felt like no one really cared to see it how I do or put themselves in my place. They said they did, but I could tell they weren't really. Nothing knew to my knowledge was said and nothing surprised me from it, but I was a tad bit hurt that no one could simply drop the religious beleifs for a simple second just to be a little empathetic rather than simply sympathetic. I left on a good note and was generally happy with how the evening had gone.

                      Over the next several days, which ended up the next two weeks, I found myself struggling internally. I so longed for such a loving relationship with people like they all had. They were all very clearly genuinely happy and I wanted that, because while I am very happy for the most part there is always a pit inside of me full of angst and despair that hurts. Mostly because of my past and what i've gone through. Seeing these people so happy made me feel like that pit could be filled and covered. So I had come to the realization, at least for the moment, that I wanted to be a christian. However I knew I couldn't give up my sexuality because I knew I could never give up something I've always had. None of them understood what I mean, and they came up with their own reasonings. But when you are born liking boys how do you just change that on a whim for a God who may or may not be real and for a religion that condemns you as a person and everything you stand for morally and have fought for since you came out to the world. 

                 I tried talking to everyone about this stuff, I really did. I found letters from pastors that were pro homosexuality and I went through the depths of myself to try and show them how it felt. I opened myself up to basically complete strangers, just to be open for painful heartbreak in their responses. Nothing had changed, and none of them were opening up their mind or being empathetic in the slightest. Sympathy can only go so far, but to truly understand something you really need to be able to be empathetic and place yourself in someones shoes. No one seemed to be able to discern themselves with their Christian selves in order to see things the way I do. To see why it's so painful. For the first time ever, in an attempt to find love and turn to God and Jesus, I felt dirty for who I was because of my homosexuality. Those who know me know that my sexuality is the one thing in this world I'm most proud of, that I stand by consistently. It's the one thing I value the most. And to feel dirty because of it only caused me more sorrow and hurt. I was completely lost as to what to do with myself.

                   This leads up to where we are today, I still feel the pain but I've gone back to 3 weeks before I went to the bible study. I've learned to not pre judge Christians in general, because many are very nice and loving. However nothing is different when it comes to their beliefs, only how they go about it differs. I'm still at an internal struggle with myself but It's slipping away. I'm beginning to love myself again, which feels good. But now I feel more anti-christian than ever before. Especially at the recent notion that God can remove homosexuality. On a mission trip Garrett went to he met a gay reform christian who is now straight and has a family. This was the one thing that sent me over the edge and upset me enough to not want to be a christian. Because either A) that person was never a gay man in the first place he was only curious and is now spreading lies. Or B) that man is Gay and is trying to please society and is risking his family by being in one with a woman, as so many politicians have shown.

                Now I would like to clarify, none of this was to look down upon or to throw anyone under the bus. What this is, is my way of getting everything I feel off my chest. I've been telling myself I would blog about Christianity in general for a while, considering I keep seeing pro Christian blogs consistently. I  really do love everyone mentioned in this blog in a special way, not that kind of special. But in an odd way that's not like my other friends ( who I love so dearly <3). 

               As I continue on this journey of internal struggle and realizations and just the new knowledge that comes from having a broader circle of Christian friends I will also continue to blog about it. It seems healthy as well as interesting in the long term.