Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

That’s Me in the Corner

Posted: 19 December, 2018 in Atheism, Gender, Rants, Religion
Tags:
That’s Me, Losing My Religion

Or to be more accurate, I didn’t lose my religion: it lost me.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Growing up as a PK (Preacher’s Kid) had is advantages and its drawbacks. On the negative side, I was always in the eyes of the community — especially a problem when the community is so small that when you sneeze at the east side of town, somebody on the west side says, “Bless you!”

I couldn’t get away with anything.

But there was also a positive side,which became quite useful when I hit high school. That was back in the day when parents wanted to know everything there was to know about the young man who wanted to date their Mary Lou.

But being a PK, I was spared the third degree simply because of what that label implied: a safe, high-minded, perfectly-behaved young man. Emphasis on safe.

Silly parents! If any one of the girls I dated had told their parents just a fraction of what went on in the back seat of my daddy’s car on those dates, I wouldn’t be here to write this today.

Leaving Lutherism

Just as my father rejected his parents’ Anglican (Church of England) heritage in order to become a Lutheran minister, so I moved on from mystery father’s faith into Hinduism, Buddhism, the Baha’i’ Faith,finally arriving where I am today: perhaps not quite an atheist, but definitely an agnostic: I don’t know, and neither do you.

The problem I have with most religions — or to look at it more honestly — they have with me, revolves around a basic point: who I am.

I am a 68-year-old transgender bisexual woman. It’s more complicated than that, but I’d like to keep things uncluttered.

As such, while many Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc.) may accept my existence, they still won’t extend to me or “my kind” the same benefits and acceptance they do for their heterosexual members.

Yes, I’m referring to sex.

I am forbidden from physically expressing my love for another person except by a hug or a handshake.

The reason? Sex is only for procreation. Therefore, same-sex or same-gender relations are forbidden. Sexual acts that are not done with the intention of producing offspring are prohibited…

…unless you’re a married couple who don’t want kids. Or you’re too old. Or maybe you already have as many as you want. Or one or both of you is sterile.

In that case, by all means, fuck away!

But if you’re gay, bi, trans, or anything other than straight, you’re fucked.

How I long to belong to a spiritual, non-denominational community where I can be free to worship my creator — however I may conceive her — as I see fit. Where I am accepted, rather than merely tolerated.

I am a human being, not a fart in a crowded elevator: I deserve more than merely being tolerated.

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, King James Version).

I was raised in a Christian household. Indeed, my father was a Lutheran minister, an Air Force Chaplain. I grew up accepting whatever I was taught, never questioning anything. It wasn’t until my senior year in high school—1967, to be exact—that I started to have doubts.

‘67 was a strange year.

1967 the continued presence of American troops increased further and a total of 475,000 were serving in Vietnam and the peace rallies were multiplying as the number of protesters against the war increased. The Boxer Muhammad Ali was stripped of his boxing world championship for refusing to be inducted into the US Army. In the middle east Israel also went to war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan in the six day war and when it was over Israel controlled and occupied a lot more territory than before the war. (See more here.)

The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band provided the soundtrack for most of my life in 1967 and 1968. John Lennon’s infamous quote—so often taken out of context—was true: the Beatles really were more popular than Christ. I say “taken out of context” advisedly: Lennon himself later explained that he wasn’t bragging; rather he was making a sad comment on society at that time.

Christianity no longer held the answers to my questions. “Thou shalt not kill” began to be replaced by bumper stickers exhorting us to “Kill A Commie For Christ.” Any questioning of our government’s foreign policy was countered with “America: Love It or Leave It.”

And I couldn’t reconcile the teachings of Christ wit my father’s chosen vocation of ministering to men and women who were dropping bombs on brown-skinned people thousands of miles away to protect us from invasion. (History has now shown that we were the invaders.)

The following fall when I left for college, I left my religion behind.

And yet….

There was still a part of me that wanted to believe. Over the next several decades I experimented with various religions and philosophies until I found The One True Faith®.

I stayed with the Baha’i Faith for almost 40 years. It wasn’t until I started my transition that its ban on same-sex relationships affected me personally, and I began to doubt the validity of yet another Abrahamic religion that wanted to control who I could and could not love.

So I told myself, “Screw it. There’s no religion capable of dealing justly with the way I was created, so to hell with them all. I’m a fucking atheist.”

Ironically, that was the same year my wife gave me a copy of Merlin Stone’s seminal work, When God Was A Woman. 

Here, archaeologically documented, is the story of the religion of the Goddess. Under her, women’s roles were far more prominent than in patriarchal Judeo-Christian cultures. Stone describes this ancient system and, with its disintegration, the decline in women’s status. Index, maps and illustrations. (Goodreads)

I still wasn’t ready to give up my disbelief and embrace goddess-worship. It all still seemed too us. v. them and divisive. I had long ago left behind any concept of an anthropomorphic deity, and I wasn’t about to go back to that ancient system.

And yet….

Quarks. Quasars. The Strong Nuclear Force. Gravity. Electromagnetism. Dark Matter. There seems to be something, some common thread, running through all creation and holding it all together.  And for lack of a common definition, various peoples at various times have put names to it, in order to be able to talk about it.

Some of those names are God, Allah (which translated from the Arabic means “God), Cosmic consciousness, The Force, or any one of thousands of other names of gods and  goddesses that have been used down through history. Even in the Mel Brooks/Carl Reiner comedy sketch, The 1,000 Year-Old Man, there was a strong, irresistible force. “We called him Phil.”

And while I reject any anthropomorphic object of veneration, I do believe that whatever we call whatever it is that binds us all together and keeps our atoms from flying apart, that force—creative in nature—is most likely feminine rather than masculine.

And so I worship no one. I adhere to my own private creed, and do not embrace any formal belief system. When I let go of religion, I let go of guilt, of trying (and failing) to measure up to any standards.

I sleep better at night.

Robyn Jane