The last couple days Iíve been doing nothing but complaining. I canít get Emily Moss out of my head. How can I be so annoyed at her when we got along for so many years? Honestly, for most of my life I considered her my best friend. But as soon as I started seeing outside the little bubble I was in, things started to change between us. Now Emilyís acting like I died or something just because I quit going to church.
Well, not exactly that. Sheís all mad at me (or worried about me, or something) because I told her I am not Christian anymore. Emily and her family (not to mention my family) have always been devout Christians, and now that I am moving away from it Emily is pulling the whole ďIíll pray for youĒ bit. I started reconsidering religion because I hit some passages in the Bible that just totally clashed with what I believed. Iíd never noticed them before. It was like Iíd read them before but never thought about what they meant. I just accepted it as truth because everyone I knew said it was, and it was not to be questioned. Like the one part about eating from the tree of knowledge being forbidden. I donít think being blissfully ignorant is better than being aware, even if it does cause you some worry. If somethingís worthy of worry, it needs to be passed on so it can be dealt with or fixed! Not just ignored so we can stay happy! That was the first time I disagreed with the Bible, and there were quite a few times after that. It was such a strange revelation . . . it was like being told for years that washing your hands is good for you, only to find out that youíve been washing your hands in poison. Those Bible verses were poisonous to my brain. It made me feel really unsettled, because I didnít agree with the guy I thought was God. Then it struck me to realize . . . hey, maybe God didnít really say this. Who says He did, anyway? No one seems to be able to give me a straight answer on that one, as to why this book is necessarily the Word of God and how we know that, and why all the other religious books arenít Godís ďrealĒ Word. They just tell me I have to have faith. Iíve had enough of faith for now. It seems to be a euphemism for ďI donít know the answer, so youíd better shut up before you think too much.Ē
I finally realized that I needed to get out of this poisonous atmosphere when I met my girlfriend, Tai. Iíd never had a boyfriend, but I had expected that my first date would be with a guy. It just didnít happen that way. Iíd never ďaspiredĒ to be a lesbian before, but something with Tai and me just clicked. Not common interests, not physical attractiveness, but just something else. Something I never felt in my experience with religion. We were always talking about the glory of God and all that, but I realized I really didnít see much that was glorious about it.
Emily is really, really against this. Up until a week or so ago, she was always calling me and trying to talk me into ďcoming back.Ē It annoys me so much that I canít make her understand why I feel this way. I admit, it was a little scary to ďleave the arms of the Lord,Ē so to speak. I mean, Iíd been raised to think any other way of believing was a one-way ticket to Hell. But I realized I wasnít leaving any Lordís arms. If there is a God, I really donít think He cares too much about whether I believe in Him this way or that way. And if thereís a Heaven and He wants me there, I reckon Heíll put me there. I wonít argue. I just am not going to make a belief system out of closed-mindedness, which is how I see Christianity now. Itís an open, shameless admission that youíre positive youíre right, and that your way is the only right way. How cocky is that?
Emily tells me that she feels the truth of Christ in her heart. I think that if she believes Christ is going to save her from Hell and it makes her feel better about herself, Iím all for it. It makes her happy. But as soon as she starts getting hoity-toity about the ďrightĒ way to believe, she loses me. I canít believe thereís only one ďrightĒ way, especially not in a world where just about every religion thinks itís the one true path. How can I be sure that one of them isnít, or that Christianity is ďtheĒ one? I just have to go on my feelings, and I donít feel that Christianity is right for me. Especially not in the way itís taught, and with the whole thing about not letting me love my girlfriend.
Whatís different about my love? Emily says itís lust. I suppose that if I was dating a boy (probably as long as he was Christian), she would think it was cool. But since she doesnít like it, it means I am operating on lust. To tell you the truth, I have not even had sex with Tai. We kiss and now and then we go to second or third base, but nothing else. And I do that with her because I love her, and we consider it an expression of our love. I like to be close to her. The Bible says that what weíre doing is a sin and it simply does not allow it. I think thatís ridiculousóhow can love be thrown out the window just because it involves two girls instead of a man and a woman? Itís the same kind of love, at least, I think it is. Maybe my love with a guy would be different . . . but then again, my love with any girl besides Tai would be different, too. I think it depends on the person. I think itís really rude of Emily to try to tell me my love is not okay with God. Who says?
So, Iíve been complaining to Tai about how annoying Emily is being. I think sheís tired of hearing about it, but she knows itís really important to me to get this issue straightened out, so she listens. Another reason why I love her: she cares about my feelings, which apparently is more than I can say for Miss Priss Emily Moss. Emily says she canít even talk to me anymore. I know it sounds really silly but I donít want her to stop talking to me, even though all she can talk about lately is this God thing. She says she keeps harping on it because if she doesnít get me back to God Iíll go to Hell, and nothing is more important than going to Heaven. But I sure wish sheíd let me figure out religion for myself, and just leave me alone. Thing is, when I was ďChristian,Ē we were such good friends. We had so much in common. I really donít want to lose her as a friend, but Iím not going to say I believe in something that I canít believe. Emily says we shouldnít talk anymore because until Iím back in the arms of the Lord, Iím a lost soul, and she canít stand to see me like that. So, basically, sheís saying that she is just going to talk my ear off about God until I break down, and until I do break down, we canít hang out. She says weíre going to be separated come Judgment Day anyway. If thatís true, so be it, but I wish sheíd let God separate us instead of doing it herself. She canít accept that she might be wrong.
I love Emily, but I canít deal with her closed-mindedness. She wonít read other philosophies or religious texts, because she says that theyíre only Satanís crafts, trying to trick us into going away from God. Iíve been reading a lot of stuff: a little Buddhist stuff, some on the Jewish faith, and a lot on pagan and Wiccan beliefs. The Earth religions are especially interesting to me because they say thereís as many ways to believe as there are people in the world, and that as long as you donít hurt anybody itís your choice as to what you want to believe. So, Iíve been reading over a bunch of religious books, picking out what rings true with me and adding what I find out to the beliefs I already have. I havenít rejected all of my Christian teachings, just the ones that donít make sense to me. Like, Iím totally okay with most of the commandments: ďthou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal,Ē et cetera. But the whole thing with ďthou shalt not worship any other Gods but meĒ . . . whoís the God that said that? Whoís to say Iím not worshipping the same one? I mean, if weíre all worshipping the ďoneĒ God but we call Him different things, does that really matter? Iím sure thereís a different word for ďbookĒ in a hundred languages, and they all mean the same thing. None of them is more ďrightĒ than any other. But thatís not really what Emily and I were arguing about anyway. She thinks thereís only one way to reach that God, whatever you call Him. Iím not so sure you even have to try to reach God at all. I think weíre already there. I think God is with us, and weíre already living with Him every day. The idea that I would have to accept a certain story, which sounds more like mythology to me than anything else, in order to reach God sounds completely ridiculous.
I think that Emily is still living in a bubble, like I used to. Maybe one day sheíll meet a nice girl, too. That would be great. But really, I think that she believes so seriously in the Christian ideals partly because sheís never heard anything else, and anything else she does hear just gets weighed against Christianity and thrown out if it doesnít match, rather than being considered for whether itís really right. She compares things to a book, and I compare things to my own spirit, which is just as much a piece of God. But she just wonít open up. Every time I say something that makes too much sense to her, she claims itís just Satan trying to trick both of us but that Iím the only one falling for it. I think that if thereís a Satan, Christianity sounds more like his religion than any of the other religions. I donít think Iíve ever heard anyone trying to recruit for Christianity by talking about Godís infinite love. More often than anything, they warn against Hell. Indoctrination through fear and ignorance. Thatís not for me.
I hope that one day Emily grows up a little and realizes she really doesnít know whatís right, that nobody does. Iím not saying I hope one day she discards Christianity. I really think some parts of it are positive, and she seems to enjoy it. But if she canít accept that she has no right to snub other people when they donít agree that thereís ďone true way,Ē then sheís acting childish, and I personally would rather be awake and mature. Maybe one day sheíll quit being a spiritual brat and we can be friends again. But until she drops that holier-than-thou ďI just want to save youĒ attitude, I canít deal with her. I wish it wasnít this way. But itís her choice. Iím the one whoís open to being friends with her, and sheís the one closing the gate. So I suppose Iíll just continue to rant to my girlfriend about how annoying she is until either I get over it or she comes around.
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