Monday, June 25, 2012
I used to be a christian. I also used to think being gay was an abomination. There is no coincidence there, it is because of the first thing that the second thing happened. I really took what the bible said about homosexuality to heart, and more or less despised gay people. Moreover, I saw them as enemies, not as human beings that were related to me in the most profound sense.
This sort of religious thinking is now seen by me as obviously detrimental to myself and the rest of society, and I am glad to say that I have been able to move on past that archaic and superstitious way of thinking. But artifacts of my religious thinking still remain hidden away in the dusty corners of my mind. I thought I had checked everywhere, eliminated the prejudices and unreasonable discomfort that homosexuality brought to the surface, but in 2008, I voted against marriage equality in California.
That made me realize that I still had some fear of god, some traditional, conservative values and hatreds that had not been completely eradicated. I had not actually ousted the fear of people who act and think differently than I, and I was very far from accepting them. I had not completely kicked my christian views out of my mind. I deeply regret voting the way I did, and I am sorry for it. It was wrong, and I am still ashamed of it.
I am happy to say that I have made good progress. While I don't think that the effects that religion has had on my mind will ever be totally gone, but I find instances of that backward thinking are much easier to spot and squash now. I try to think more deeply about moral questions now, instead of searching for reasons why it's ok for me to hold on to prejudices. I seek to rid myself of all traces of the bigot that was once me.
When I really stopped believing in god (soon after that Prop 8 vote), I quickly started shedding the obviously useless and silly things I used to believe. I still remember having a conversation with my girlfriend at the time about just how absolutely wrong it is to withhold rights from other human beings because of something so ridiculous.
I saw very clearly then that if I didn't believe in this christian god, I then had the capacity to be a much more moral person. Without him and his holy book, there was absolutely no reason for me to think that they should be treated as something less than a human being. Only by giving god up could this have been possible. I am now able to follow the dictates of my own conscience and make moral decisions without having to consult an ancient book written by superstitious, bigoted, ignorant and illiterate tribesmen.
Posted by Eric Burton at 3:22 PM
Labels: apology, atheism, Bible, Christianity, freedom from religion, freethought, gay rights, god, homosexuality, humanism, morality