Yeah, Yeah, I’m Going To Hell
I recently received a comment on a blog I posted a while back about religion that told me I need to “open my mind” and questioned my beliefs because something must have existed before the big bang and “after the future,” whatever that means. If you’re not familiar with my religious background, I was raised Catholic but abandoned my belief in God for a number of reasons. I’m not shy about that fact, but I’m also pretty respectful about it; I don’t go around telling religious folk that they’re wrong/stupid/ill-informed unless they are in fact a moron who uses religion in a harmful way. If you’re an ass who tells homosexuals they will burn in hell while hiding behind a bible, I’m going to blast you. If you’re a God-fearing person who goes to church every Sunday and enjoys prayer, I respect your lifestyle and have nothing negative to say about you.
The idiot that commented on my previous blog, telling me to open my mind, represents the kind of religious person I dislike. If someone asks, I’ll openly say that I don’t believe in God, but I don’t go around broadcasting that news to everyone while questioning those who disagree with me. It confuses me that certain religious people lack the same respect for others; while waiting tables I was often left God pamphlets, I get told that people will pray for me because I’m not religious, I get questioned and almost harassed by certain people because I lack a belief in God, and I’m told I’ll “come around” or end up in hell.
In my opinion, I’m not the one who needs to open my mind. My mind is completely open. I am educated about Catholicism, my former religion, Christianity, as well as numerous other religions that are presently practiced and those that were practiced in the past. I believe that everyone is entitled to believe whatever they wish and everyone is entitled to believe that others are incorrect if they believe something different. I also believe that the ability to speak doesn’t give you the right to open your mouth wide and attempt to convert others to your religion because you think you’ve got it right. You don’t get to tell people like me to open our minds just because we don’t choose to buy into the things you believe in.
I’m not a perfect person by any means, but I’ve never condemned someone for believing in God, for believing prayers can be answered, or believing in any sort of higher power or organized religion. I may think Scientology is moronic, but I don’t seek out Scientologists and bash them for what they hold to be true. I don’t think Jesus was anything beyond a great man, but I’m not going to tell people they’re wrong for believing he is the product of a virgin birth and the son of God. I get to say whatever I damn well please on this blog because it belongs to me. When I start visiting Christian websites and leaving rude comments on their page, then there is reason for religious people to attack me. And I’ll tell you right now, it won’t happen. I have better things to do.
Everyone has the right to publicly bitch though, so I suspect the religious crowd will continue to show up now and then and try to save me from eternal damnation. What I would like is for them to open THEIR minds a tad and have some damn respect. There is one person who I went back and forth with in comments for a while who made it clear that it would be great if I changed my mind and embraced the Lord, but who also was incredibly sweet about the whole thing. They acknowledged that there are religious nutcases out there and they can be intolerable, but they also showed me the brighter side of the devout; the respectful side who wishes to save those they believe need it but who also don’t take it upon themselves to bully people into embracing God. It was a breath of fresh air but it also made me a bit sad that more people can’t be that way.
If I’m a close-minded moron and if I face eternity in the fiery pits of hell for denying God’s existence, that is my problem and mine alone. I’m not damning my son by telling him God doesn’t exist (he was baptized and he attends church every so often with my mother-in-law and other family) and I’m not standing on street corners with a megaphone trying to get others to give up religion in favor of Atheism. I’m simply believing what I think is right and I’m doing so without being a criminal or horrible person. I’m not being a hypocrite by going to church just because I think I’ll be struck by lightning or judged by my peers if I don’t, nor am I hurting a single solitary soul by believing God is a fictional character. I’m not the one with the closed mind.