The meaning of life is to love each other.—
God (@TheGoodGodAbove) December 30, 2013
When I originally wrote this post, it was quite ranty and full of opinions about equality and other unimportant stuff. I don’t want to debate what is and isn’t equal. Instead, I want to talk about this trend of forcing people to follow the opinions or beliefs of others through law.
Maybe it’s wrong to call it a trend. Have religions and organizations always tried to force their opinion through law? Certainly the lobbyist in Washington do that to some extent, but I never thought of those decisions revolving around what people do with their own body or how they choose to live their personal lives.
Laws that dictate people private lives really rub me the wrong way. In order to have my freedom of choice, my freedom of religion, my freedom to marry and my freedom to bodily autonomy, everyone else must be allowed the same. Politics scares me sometimes. It scares me because winning my vote should be easy. Stay out of my vagina (MINE, not yours) and don’t be a bigot. The amount of people who don’t meet that criteria is terrifying. Certainly I should be able to ask more of my politicians.
All that is beside the point (I promised myself there would be no ranting). I don’t like people who try and force people to do something they don’t want to do. By far, it is in the church where I have seen people work the hardest to force their views. It’s not about what the priest or pastor says. It’s about the community. That’s what I find most telling of a church’s values. Do people force, judge and condemn, or do they embrace people for their differences.
I think there are far better, more effective ways of swaying people to see things your way than compulsion. While I see religion behind most of ridiculous laws that dictate people’s personal lives, I also think religion has the greatest potential to do the exact opposite. I wouldn’t even care if churches promote ideas I disagree with. They can do it in a good and just way. They can do it with love and understanding, values that should be prominent in every religion toward every sinner.
NEW COMMANDMENT: Thou shalt be excellent to each other.—
God (@TheGoodGodAbove) November 05, 2013
The best example I have of this comes from a church I tried out and decided wasn’t for me (they didn’t observe equal marriage). After a service, they discussed a program they had for single, pregnant women and single mothers. They asked the congregation to donate money, or better yet, stuff. They needed cribs, diapers, high chairs. If I remember correctly, they even wanted volunteers who would be willing to babysit for free.
The idea they were promoting was clear. They were reaching out to scared women with their message to carry their child to term and embrace motherhood. As single women, we can assume they took action this church was against, such as having sex before marriage. I don’t know what these women had to do to receive these services, but my guess is that they didn’t condemn and judge them as they handed out diapers. They didn’t see those women as any better or worse than anyone who was a member of the church. Instead of preaching, they reached out with a helping hand. In doing so, I’m sure they could convince many women who were considering abortion to have their child. I mean, they essentially handed them a support system.
If I would have thought the church was for me, I would have stuck around to ask more questions. What I imagine is the worst of the worst. Say you are a 17 or 18-year-old who has spent the past few months hiding your pregnancy. The biological father is no longer around. Recently, your parents discovered your predicament and kicked you out of the house. You literally have nothing. Maybe, just maybe, that church would reach out and be a support system for you. Maybe that’s their aim. That is something I can get behind. More churches should promote their ideas that way.
We don’t need to condemn people to hell, excommunicate them or create a law banning their choice. I’ve always found the excuse “but it’s a sin” very odd when it comes to the law. If you force someone to accept God, have they really accepted God? If you force someone to do something they don’t want to do, does that make them better in God’s eyes? Does that make you better? I will never understand why certain religious institutions feel the need to force instead of embrace sinners.
Do you think religion has the potential to be more of a positive force? What methods, outside of force and law making, do you think would be an effective way for people to promote their opinions? Do you follow God on Twitter and Facebook? You really should.