I am not a conservative Christian. Nor am I Roman Catholic. In fact, I was never raised in an environment that influenced me to follow in the ways of Monotheistic religions such as Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Although Mama would never have discouraged it.
Mama was one of those Pagan-Wicca-Spiritual-I-dunno-whatever kind of people. I am not much different. Growing up, we did full moon rituals, made clay dolls based on the season, and recited all of the Chakras in order before bed. Halloween is one of our favorite holidays since it’s OUR holiday for once (not mention, all that witch merchandise though), and I am born on the original Christmas – Winter Solstice.
When I was younger though, I was in the closet about my religious beliefs. My town was very Christian and Mama felt that kids would not react to it so well, so I did not tell a soul until I was 14. Unfortunately, not going to CCD classes definitely set me apart from the kids, so I was welcomed with phrases like “You are going to Hell” and “Jesus is going to kill you”!
I ended up having a lot of nightmares about Jesus. Didn’t help that the first image of Jesus I saw was at the church where my Dad got remarried. That statue of Jesus hanging from the cross still gives me the shivers.
Anyway, Mama saw that the bullying was getting out of hand, so she decided we should attend a Unitarian Universalist church nearby.
Well, I confused people into complete silence instead having them yell slander at me on the playground.
I’d say that’s a success.
Years of Unitarian Universalist youth group sessions, Mama reading me spiritual children’s books at bedtime, and my own life adventures has formed who I am spiritually, and I am damn proud of it. I believe in the Universe and its power to bring what I need when I need it, be it in the form of an event, a God, a human, an animal.
I don’t see anything wrong with that, or other people’s interpretations on religion and spirituality. I rather enjoy getting into debates about such things with friends and family. I respect all viewpoints, and I expect the same from everyone else.
So naturally, I am not a fan of those who go out of their way to tell you that your spiritual point of view is wrong. And no, I am not just talking about the guy who comes up to you once a week to tell you that you are going to hell (thanks for that memo, by the way). I am also talking about…
Atheists! Or more specifically, what I liked to call the Fundamentalist Atheist.
I am not talking about the average atheist who is just like “Yeah, I don’t believe God”. (Sidebar: There are other Gods besides the big G-O-D. Just saying.)
I am talking about the person who laughs in your face as soon as you say your beliefs.
I am talking about the person who goes up to you and says “You know everything you believe is crazy, right?” and then makes rude comments about odd things related to your spirituality. (Astro projection is a relaxing meditation, thank you very much)
I am talking about the people who think that religion is the reason for 9/11.
I am talking about the people who hate on conservative, Christian republicans and say that those people display crazy behavior, when they themselves display the exact same behavior.
And I am not okay with that.
I am not okay with you disrespecting my friends, my family, other people, or myself.
You do you.
Please remember re-read your tweets, your FB posts, your own thoughts, before you express them, and think about how you make people feel. Think about how you would feel if you were being attacked for your non-beliefs. You may think you are helping people, but you are actually hurting them, and you are pushing away new experiences and opportunities to understand a viewpoint that isn’t your own.
I am not saying to start believing in God, or Buddha, or Bastet.
I am simply saying to open up your heart and listen to what people have to say about their spirituality. It might not change what you believe, but it will teach you something.
And doesn’t that make it worth it?