It has been a while since I've shared a conversation with a friend on here, it's been a while since I've had one to share. Most of my friends have come to accept my lack of faith and religious debates with them have been sparse. There is the usual nonsense from my family of course: Bombarding my facebook page with god nonsense, pleas to return to god, comments of my goodness being a sign that god is working in my life...the usual unremarkable statements that everyone new here posts about when they first arrive here.
Last night was something different.
I have a friend who calls himself Catholic. He isn't a strict adherent to the tenants or faith, but he does have a belief in some sort of god-power. I find this unfortunate because this amazing man with so much to offer others has had such a hard time accepting himself and his hopes for happiness because of this. He's a homosexual, but still worries that he will never have a happy family of his own because he hold sacred the traditional family. It honestly breaks my heart. He's contemplated suicide on occasion.
Here is this person, who has so much good in him, he has so much talent and honesty, he has almost been able to abandon the lables of the oppessive nature of religion, but this strand. This one strand of pernicious god-faith that holds him back. He wants so badly to be accepted, but he can't accept himself.
So last night I was talking to him and here is what I said:
Do not lend yourself by words or faith to the Catholic church. The universe exploded, stars died, all of the marvels of evolution HAD to happen for your parents to exist and ultimately conceive you. This grandeur of the universe exists and you get the unlikely opportunity to not only experience it but be aware of it. You can look in a mirror and you get to either hate the man you see there or love yourself. You are worth more than all the dogma of the church because you are REAL.
When you lend yourself to the church by labeling yourself one of them you are allowing others to judge you by that label. You give them ammunition to call you "bad" or "sinful" all because of a label. That organization, that pedophile hiding, homosexual hating, sexuality oppressing clusterfuck doesn't deserve you. Being a "Catholic" because you were born into it doesn't give people an insight into who you are. I was raised to believe and argue for that church and I will never call myself one of them. All I have to offer this world is myself, and I will not give any part of myself to them.
He responded by speaking of his loving mother, and how she has never judged him. He explained how he does not believe in a god that is a physical manifest or that Jesus was really a mortal version of him.
Over a year ago we had this same discussion before. I was more aggressive and he was more traditional in his beliefs. We have not officially changed eachother's stances, but I think we have influenced eachother's outlooks.
I find that this friendship, unlike the friend I used to post about, is a great example of the exchange of ideas in an examined life. If you don't allow yourself to stagnate in your opinions you allow yourself to grow as a person. Your ideals may not change, but you can allow yourself to see them through new eyes.