Thursday, 4 October 2007

The Dark Side


Oh my God! What the hell?

The last time I went to church on a Sunday morning - I was 23. While looking up at the sunlight streaming in through the high windows, trying to stay awake through a sermon that really awoke nothing within me, I was wondering what the hell I was doing there. Worse still, my friends were playing beach volleyball just a km or two down the road.

I wasn't out - I didn't want to be gay - but was figuring quite rapidly that it wasn't really a decision for me to make. I still recall one family friend standing up in church making some scared plea to vote for the christian democrat party in the coming state elections to stop the passing of some pro-gay law (which was really more pro equality). I remember thinking then and there - this really isn't the place for me. I'd waited long enough to have that sensation that I needed to be baptised, that I had the faith - (yes it was a Baptist church) - and figured it was time to look to the dark side... all the good Christians seemed to have been to the dark side and come back with extra fervor.

So one Sunday I just went to beach volleyball instead. I never looked back. Sand between my toes, sun on my skin, and the ocean in my sights, I had never felt so free, liberated in all my life! I probably became more spiritual after leaving the church than I ever had been while attending. And no one ever asked me directly about my disappearance... not even my parents. I was shocked at how easy it was to just not go back. And I had my weekends back! No more Sundays wasted! Quality of Life just got a promotion. The dark side was looking quite bright! But it wasn't just freedom to be at the beach or wherever I chose, it was freedom from having to believe something that didn't feel right, or think in a prescribed manner. The ability to explore my own path, in my own way.

I've been back to church from time to time - but just for weddings and christenings and the like. It feels foreign to me each time now - it feels like going back to primary school - you recognise it - and feel familiar with it - but you just don't fit in there any more. And usually when I'm there I wonder at the reason for the persisting religious intolerance to gay people, and the true lack of compassion which I felt was an essential Christian value... And why is it that people will much more readily just gloss past the issue rather than address it. Perhaps it is easier to live a life of faith rather than question things that seem, at least to me, so obviously flawed.

Life without religion, for me, is fantastic.
The dark side now seems to be labelled with a cross.

11 comments:

Christiaan said...

Really lovely post, Teehee.

Cx

Tom Cat from Bondi Beach said...

Yes agree 100% : all the religions seem intent on Controlling rather than Compassion.

wally said...

it will take a couple hard stiff drinks to get me back into a church! esspecially enduring mormonism for too many years and before that the baptist's?..slow thinker..lol

Trevor said...

Christiaan: Thank you!

Tom Cat: Yes sometimes I wonder what the motive of organised religions is... Though I do know some fantastic people who are involved with the church at various levels who I would trust with my life.

Wally: Keep away from the stiff drinks - just don't go...

Colin said...

Gay Christians particularly perplex me, why seek the good opinion of people who despise you and take every opportunity to ostracize the gay community. It’s a queer type of self immolation; fed by a misplaced sense isolation within and from ourselves. You don’t need to seek the approval of hypocrites to determine your self worth and value within society, your relationships are not less because your gay.

Martin said...

Firstly, that is a HOT picture. Please send that boy my way.

I had such a similar experience and background - I must post about that sometime. I did a lot of research into it at one stage and what freaks me out the most is how "Christian" viewpoints on matters (such as homosexuality) are actually formed through political decisions. At the end of the day it's often just another way of controlling the masses.

I do agree that there are still many of my friends involved in the Church that I would trust with my life - I think it could potentially have a very valuable role to play in forming values and moral standards (not to mention humanitarian and charity functions) if we could only get rid of intolerance and hypocracy.

Sue said...

I was raised Roman Catholic and quit for good at 13. They just really pissed me off with their sanctimonious sermons saying things like "Stand up now if you are not evil." I felt like standing up because I was only 13, and how evil could I be??? So I left and I felt the same as you describe. I had my Sundays open and it was great! I felt so free and I have never looked back. Of course, I'm not gay... But I can relate to part of what you are saying. :) It is not the dark side at all Trevor! How can it be when we are so happy? BTW - I still love the cross as a symbol. It is pretty, especially inlaid with gemstones.

lynnette said...

Well I guess I should be the lone voice of descent here...I think often people who oppose religiosity are as intolerant and assuming as the christians or others they are opposing. Not all christians are anti-gay, nor conservative, nor lacking compassion-- and by contrast i know many who embody a selflessness and compassion that ive not seen anyone else rival. the life of christ was actually a radical example of commitment to social change and justice, and in fact you do find that christians who emulate are extremely committed to those causes. why are there not more like that? i dont know- i suspect it mirrors the rest of the population in that selflessness and compassion are just rare qualities. easier to judge than to change.

Trevor said...

Lynnette: I think you'll find here not necessarily an opposition to religiosity, as you describe it, but more to the sometimes hateful stance taken by many religious groups. To be told that you're always going to be a sinner / evil because you love a person of the same sex, when that emotion is itself pure and loving, is intolerable. I've been told that as a person I can be accepted - but that my love for another man cannot. I have no problem with religion or religiousity, until it tells me who I can love. I know that not all Christians behave this way (and pointed this out in the post) but if their church condemns me, I'm not exactly going to want to be a part of it.

I've tried to understand the church - but I have never felt that the church has tried to understand me. So I encourage spirituality - but not necessarily religiousity, although it works for some.

lynnette said...

i meant dissent!

Jecky said...

Trevor, your experience with church is mine as well. I had many years in churches, but felt the most free, alive and spiritual when I left their judgementalism and lived honestly as who I am.

Thanks for a great post and blog.