When I first began this blog my whole tag line was, “Confessions of a black gay atheist.” However, I’m not
exactly certain that I’m even an atheist anymore, ugh! In fact, I’m not really sure what my actual beliefs are at this particular moment in time. Lately, I feel myself back at one…discovering and redefining my own beliefs and values for myself. I’m now going through the process of defining myself for myself. It feels good yet scary at the same time.
Okay, let’s go back in time for a minute…
When I was a teen I was a super duper Christian. I was reared in a very evangelical family. Not only did I attend Sunday school religiously (pun intended) but I was also the leader of my church youth group (I met my second boyfriend in Youth group too). So, needless to say–in spite of the whole Gaysexual conflict–I threw myself into the church. In truth it was the only thing I had and ever knew. Even though I had a homophobic child molesting pastor the church meant so much to me. I really believed in EVERYTHING it had to offer, good, bad, and butt ass UGLY. I believed so blindly that I shut myself off from being a well rounded person (ie…learning about science and various other topics. Completely frowned upon at my church), which was detrimental to me (because I love learning new things).
Alright, move up to my 18th year. I came out. My church Queen boyfriend subsequently dumped me (because he was scared everyone else would find out he was gay too). Then I wound up catching all of this grief from homophobic fundamentalist family members. Thus, I totally threw my entire faith in the proverbial garbage can.
Granted, I’ve always doubted religion. The obvious errors, inaccuracies, and tall tales rubbed me the wrong way (among other things, homophobia being the preeminent issue). Sooooo, when the shit hit the fan I said, “Y’know what, screw this. If there was a God he/she/it would not have made me gay in THIS family!”
So I went from youth group leader to hard line atheist…The transition was pretty traumatic to say the least. I even began frequenting this website called “Exchristian.net.” The people on it were wonderful. They embraced me as I slowly detoxed from all the indoctrination and damage wrought by the Baptist Church.
It was difficult for me to conceptualize there being absolutely NOTHING after our lives on Earth end. I was so used to praying all the time that I felt myself go through withdrawals. It was like discovering that Santa Claus was really my mother. Hell, I liken the whole experience to Neo being pulled out of the Matrix. You really gotta adapt to something like that. That is when I started learning about other religions. I dabbled in Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca, and several other different faiths, hoping to fill the void left by kicking Christianity to the curb. However, I had the same problems with them as I did my old religion. Ultimately, at that time, the answers I sought were not in religion…I was seeking the absolute “Truth.” I needed to know why I was here, why I was gay, and what my purpose in life was…
So, I looked to science and nature.
I happen to love nature and animals. So, delving into the quest for knowledge about life’s natural origins was so fantastic. To this day I love studying about evolution and natural selection. It really is a wondrous process. Knowing that I am intrinsic to this Earth, and every living creature great and small, is absolutely divine (pun intended) to me…
But that is besides the point right now.
As time passes I am beginning to look at science a little differently too. While science and evolution can be proven (fossils, radioactive carbon dating, and etc) evertything is theory until proven factual. So, in that regard it is not emphatically true until it stands up to rigorous tests and the like. I do totally believe in science; however, I’m willing to admit that it is not 100% infallible. Our natural world is so intricate that we are STILL discovering its secrets…Yes, the big bang theory, in all likelihood, is the most plausible reason for the start of life. However, it is a theory…Much like God is a theory too.
Lastly, even though scientific theory helps me to understand the physical wonder and beauty of the world I still long for learning about things that will make me a better person. Science is the technicality. But I need food for my soul. As a creative individual that loves the fantastic and supernatural (I write Fantasy and sci-fi stories for Pete’s sake) I don’t want to totally write off every single thing I’ve ever learned. To quote the late Randy Pausch, “Just because you don’t see fairies on the lawn doesn’t mean there are no fairies on the lawn.” That made so much sense to me. Yeah, you can’t prove something is there…Yet, you can’t disprove it either.
While I really don’t believe in a huge man . I do need to believe that there is something more to life, and humankind, than simply the fight for survival.
True, everyday a little gazelle wakes up his job is to keep from being eaten by Cheetahs. However, they don’t live their lives in abject terror. They frolick, play, mate, migrate, and eat alot of grass too. Yet, when they see a Cheetah they flee as fast as they can. Most escape. Some don’t. But they all fled anyway because they wanted to live. It is beautiful in its simplicity…Yet profound all at once. But, Playing Devil’s Advocate, from a scientific point of view all genes want to survive and go on…But why does the gene want to live? What gave rise to its longing for survival? Even a tiny gene had the wherewithall to create a speed racer, The gazelle, to ensure its survival.
Yes, I am open to the possibility of a God. However, if there is one he or she has to be extremely cruel, malicious, and barbaric; or, he or she is simply…imperfect, just on a grander scale. Maybe there is a force like in Star Wars (or the Tao)? Or maybe it all is organized chaos. I am not sure, but I’m willing to be open now.
I do believe in things like reincarnation, tarot cards, karma, and etc. Even though I don’t take the world religions as fact there is truth in them all. I garner so much inspiration from some biblical scriptures. Lately, I’ve gone back to reading my bible and listening to inspirational gospel tunes(from non homophobic artists of course). I see all of these different religious faiths as different paths to discovering my highest self. All have some intrinsic value if people use them for love instead of hate.
So, presently I am discombobulated…But in a very good way. Now that my rage at my family and church has subsided I am seeing things more clearly and profoundly.
As I said before, If I were to believe in a “GOD” again I would never cosign him/her/it to the lofty precipice of perfection. Because nothing perfect could have devised this chaotic universe. However, the universe is splendid in all of it’s imperfections, in my opinion. Perhaps, if there is a God, maybe he or she is a jolly old wizard who loves science. He or she is capable of creating great beauty; yet, is fallible enough to fuck up (war, death, pain)…And maybe he or she is working on making it all really perfect. Just something I think about. And it makes more sense to me…
Maybe when we die we do go to heaven. Or maybe we turn into stars? Or maybe death is just eternal sleep and heaven is a beautiful dream?
I am thankful for my hellish ordeal with the church and my family. It has helped me to have a grander vision of the world, the universe, and spirituality. I think the Dali Lama, Jesus, and Ghandi are all righteous dudes. And I love to play with tarot cards and read books about new age spirituality. I want to believe there is wonder in the world, not just this three dimensional reality.
Even though I don’t know what in the bloody hell my beliefs are I admit it feels rather good, and empowering, to let them grow and manifest on their own. Maybe I don’t need a label? When we label ourselves we force ourselves into these little boxes that don’t allow for growth and expansion. Whatever belief I settle upon will be the correct one for me. Ultimately, that is all that matters.
Y’know, I needed to be a hardline atheist for a while. I really did. It was profoundly good for me. It allowed me to fully pursue my intellectual pursuits and detox from a religion, that was imposed upon me, for a while. I needed my sabbatical away from the faith to help me appreciate that faith again. True Christianity, Islam, Wiccanism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, at their core, are beautiful concepts.
For now, to quote the great Dali Lama, “My religion is kindness.” I will love, celebrate, and cherish everyone and everything around me. The rest is details.
To all my Atheist Brothers and Sisters…I still feel you.
To all my religious peeps out there…Thank you for not trying to shove your beliefs down my throat.
To everyone else…You don’t have to slap a label on. Just relax, go with the flow, and it will come.
This post was really more for me than anyone else. But thanks for reading anyway!
I am posted up for the next two days! Whew! haha