Sunday, June 8, 2008

Now I remember...

So today I went to church for the first time in a loooooong ass time. Now let me just say I have no problem with people going to and enjoying their church experience. Having faith in something is very important and comforting for millions of people, especially in times of stress or sorrow. However, some of the things preached and said in the churches I have visited have caused me to avoid going to church and wishing I hadn't wasted my time as a child.

Looking through diaries from my much younger days(I'm talking about back in like 1996 when I was only 11yrs old) shook up old memories from when i was a child. I can now say for sure that I hated boys for the most part and thought they were only useful on the soccer field. I can also say I was a closet militant southern baptist. Some of the things I wrote, "homosexuals will burn in hell" "those that don't believe in GOD are heathens" etc. just make me tear up. I can barely remember those times so I don't know if those things are what I truly believed in or if they were part of what I had been taught and went with blindly. This militant time was followed by a time of sexual orientation confusion. Suddenly I was wondering if i was the very thing I had preached against. But how could that be if God made me? He made me to go to hell and suffer?

After that time I began to actually read the bible for myself and really listen to what the preachers were saying and thinking about what those sayings meant to me and others. Some of the things that had been preached truly sounded like borderline hate speech. Now I'm not saying that all preachers are bad or having your own opinion is bad. However when things are being stated against peoples who have had so much pain and suffering...case in point today.

Today we had a small celebration for 2008 graduates at church(which is why I went). A deacon stood to say some words to us that completely threw me for a loop. Almost word for word he stated that the tragedies that have occurred in Myanmar(which he stated was in India???), India and China were the consequences of believing in Buddhism and Confucianism rather than the "only" true and living God. He then went on to state that because the USA is a "true" Christian state (aka not Catholic, Mormon, etc.) we young people have not been faced with tragedies such as the earthquake that struck Chengdu and the countless typhoons of Asia that kill hundreds of thousands and misplace millions. It is also why we young americans have the chance to go to college and get a degree. So basically if Asian countries want to stop being devastated then they should believe only in God.

I honestly almost walked out right then. I could not believe that someone would use those tragedies as a platform to prove that Christianity is the true religion of the world. I honestly likened it to saying that because our African ancestors believed in multiple and perhaps no god then they brought slavery and death onto themselves. I wanted to ask him if he believed this once church was over. If he believed that our people deserved to be taken from their homes, killed, sold, beaten, separated from their families, raped, shot and hung because they had previously believed in so-called heathen gods.

I believe everyone is entitled to believe what they like as long as it does not violate someone else's rights. However, views like these are one reason why I have continued to stay away from any church that states that THEIR religion is THE religion.

Faith is too important to too many people to play this my God is better than your God game.

5 comments:

t-hype said...

Um, wow.
I won't ask what church you were at but I'll definitely say you were subjected to hate speech. That suuuuuucks. I wish you had asked the preacher about the slave trade. I would pay money to hear what his response would be!

Interestingly enough, the Bible is pretty clear that many misfortune/disasters/illnesses happen to people and have no relation to their "sinfulness." In other places, people were affected by their sin.

Since it's so hard to tell which is which, you'd think people would stop trying to plan sermons around other people's disasters...

Why am I here??? said...

NICELY SAID!!!!

Great writing Kristen. I feel the same way ;)

t-hype said...

I'm leaving at the end of August. If you wanna hook up for coffee or something before you leave, I'm all for that. I'll be heading out to Seoul alone so it's nice to know more folks...

Also, don't forget to post about your trip to the consulate. You're a bit ahead of me in the paperwork process so I'm curious to see how that goes...

Joia said...

Oh that pastor needed a good kick in the balls...unbelievable that some people really think this way!!! I was turned off to church at a young age and I still don't care for it. Maybe one day but no time soon...good writings though!! :)

Erin said...

Really thought-provoking post. It totally depends, obviously, and what church you're attending because mine (located in Dupont Circle, Washington DC) is incredibly liberal and accepting. One of the things I'm looking to do in Korea is join a church because I hope it's a god way to meet people...but I definitely think it's hard to find a good fit!