Monday, August 17, 2015

Gay Catholics, and other odd labels

I haven't thanked my Norwegian friends lately.  While my blog has been getting a steady audience of 60 visitors a day, more than half are from Norway.  This has been a trend for almost a year now.  I have no explanation, don't see a pattern in terms of topics that are attracting this interest, and have not received a comment from a Norwegian (to my knowledge) as to why they are attracted to my posts, but I am still grateful. 

Somewhat along that line, I recently had a conversation with a relative in which he said that he was thinking of ways that he could bring new meaning to his life, or more precisely, justify his existence.  While he is certainly not old, he is closing in on retirement age, and seems to be thinking more about life's meaning, his life's work to date, and whether he has given back enough compared to all that he has received.  (As a side note, I can imagine that the entry into heaven may depend on whether one has given more than one has taken).  A question occurred to me after this discussion with him, a question as to whether it is worse to wonder if you should be doing more, or if, while engaging in an activity that you deem worthwhile, wondering if you have made a difference in that effort.  I occasionally question whether anything I write here matters, or matters to anyone but myself, but the discussion mentioned above, coupled with the Norwegian connection I seem to have made, help me to get over such self doubt...mostly.

The Inquirer had an article this past Sunday about a split in the gay Catholic community.  In a nutshell, it was detailing a difference of opinion about addressing gay issues within the Catholic religion, especially in light of Pope Francis' statement about not judging others, and the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.  You see, the World Meeting of Families, which is occurring in Philadelphia in conjunction with the Pope's visit, is a time for the Catholic family to get together and discuss the issues which concern it the most.  The controversy surrounds the lack of meetings being held to address issues important to the gay community; more precisely that out of dozens of events only one, one-hour session is planned. 

Now, one might say, hey, you can't be gay and Catholic.  The lifestyle conflicts with the teachings of the religion.  I am sure that there are Catholics who feel that even one session is one too many. 

I recently spent an evening with someone with whom I was acquainted but had never spoken with at length.  At one point during the visit, he and I had a span of one-on-one time.  During that time, we delved deeply into one another's religious views.  He was very clear in his dismissal of religions, even to the point of having a negative opinion of the current pope.  But he was aghast at my recent effort "An Atheist for Christ", in that he is fully convinced that Jesus died for our sins to enable us to live in eternity with God the father.  For him, nothing else mattered other than believing Christ died on the cross.  At one point he called my life hopeless, because all I had was my life on earth while he expected eternal life due to his belief in why Jesus lived and died.  He seemed surprised that I would not want to live forever, to see again all those I loved who had passed, and to be comforted by the thought that I would see again all those still alive that I love once I die.

If one cannot reach heaven by good works only as I have heard said, if the litmus test for eternal life is believing that Jesus died for our sins as virtually all Christians are taught, then one's gender preference is not important.  It seems to me that Christians who believe that those in the gay community commit sin when they express their physical love, or wish to marry someone of the same sex, are also expressing a belief that Jesus only died for some sins, but not all sins.  That his death only cleansed sins that they deem forgivable. 

Are there other sins that Jesus's death does not cover?  Pedophilia?  Killing one's own children? 

It seems to me that once we assume that Jesus was the son of God, his death, as commanded by the Creator of all things, would be powerful enough to cover the gamut of man's indiscretions.  Perhaps that is why so many people have become lost in their religion, have become victims of the dogma of religions, have enabled the term religious war to not only have meaning, but be waged on a moment by moment basis.   They have lost touch with the true point of Jesus' life and death.  Rather than focusing on the BIG idea concerning Christ, they get ambushed by the little things and choose to focus on superficial traits and preferences that only exist to show the wide variety and combinations that God uses to create the individuals that make up humanity. 

It seems such a shame that the true glory of God's creations, the wonderful differences among us, are used by religions to create wedges between us, to separate us into the saved and unsaved, the forgiven and unforgiven. 

Finally, as I have said before, perhaps we can only understand the true nature and meaning of life without the stone of religious dogma in our eyes. 


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