While I have been frolicking around the periphery of a officially sanctioned faith, identifying with Christianity in an ‘on again, off again’ basis, I think that it’s no secret that I’m still fairly open. Whether it be the Australian Christian Lobby celebrating that fact that an anti gay marriage, anti legalisation of abortion candidate won in my electorate on the weekend or the fact any belief that advocates that it is the only way means that, by default, a really large group of people must be branded as ‘wrong’, organised religion has begun to leave a bad taste in my mouth.
My eldest son has a friend (they are 9) who has apparently been telling him recently that he (Jasper) is going to go to hell because he does not believe in heaven.
Over the last few years I’ve expressed annoyance at the fact that people stereotype Christians. I’ve hated the fact that they are seen as judgemental, basking in the knowledge that they are the guardians of the only way.
But I’m suspecting that, because I’ve found a few comfy little progressive niches on the Internet, I’ve kind of lulled myself into thinking that most Christians are left wing, and the judgey- judgers just tend to be more vocal. Sure the ACL was pretty vocal this morning in the radio about their delight in the defeat of my preferred candidate but most Christians aren’t like that.
I’ve actually become biased, but in the other direction; deciding that Christians are ‘good people’ and that, for example, if my son is best friends with a boy from a family that identifies strongly with that faith then all will be fine and dandy.
Until that awkward moment when your 9 year old comes home and tells you that his friend frequently tells him that he is going to hell because he doesn’t believe for sure in God and heaven.
Much ranting ensued. Much, much ranting. I believe that at one stage I told him that any god that would do that to someone can kiss my bum.
What sort of crap must be filling a child’s head for him to actually conceptualise the idea that his friends will be going to hell.
‘How to fuck up your kid 101’
It’s all very well for me to tell myself that Christianity is about peace and love, but in actual fact are the vast majority of Christians judging the almighty crap out of anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe?. My son likes the idea of god and heaven and thinks that there probably is both, but is open to other ideas because I’ve taught him that we don’t have all the answers.
And, for this, another child tells him that he is going to hell.
Well, you know what? I’m glad I have the kid who is open to other ideas. I’m glad that I have a child so doesn’t think that he has a mandate on certainty.
So here’s the where I stand. No one book has all the answers.
We just don’t know.
Am I going to keep searching spiritually? Sure, I think that there’s lots of unexplained stuff out there and I plan on thinking out it and exploring it for the rest of my life because it’s fascinating and I love it. There’s a lot I like about Christianity and I’m not going to just abandon all that I’ve learnt.
Is Christianity the way to God? Sure, if that works for you. But if believing in a Christian god means that you reject other systems of belief as heresy then screw it. Yeah, it’s one way.
But, Jesus said that he is the only way.
And I don’t believe that.
Why? Because a small indoctrinated child opened my eyes.
You know what, do what works for you but try not to screw up other people on the way. Fill the world with love and light and be a good person.
There- a 12 word manifest.
Have at it, people.