No Longer Default

It has been quite a struggle in recent years coming to the realization that Christianity is no longer the “default” religion in the United States.

When I go to church, I usually go alone, in a congregation of many middle aged and older folk with little to no Christian youth. It feels isolating and it feels bad.

I wish that I had more Christian youth to mingle with but I require a certain type though. I have no desire to intermingle with fundamental, orthodox, traditionalists. I want liberal, leftist, Jesus “the hippie peace and love man” Christian friends.

It’s not that those are too far in between, I am just not in contact with many. Apart from that the 20’s age bracket is a bracket of great change and many are moving from place to place and usually are not staying at their home church anymore.

What I am trying to say is that, I find myself becoming incredibly lonely and isolated age wise in my faith. I remember when I grew up as a child and until about the age of ten I thought that every single solitary human being on the planet was Christian like me. Learning that there were people who did not believe in God or Jesus Christ was world shaking to me. It wasn’t world shaking because it made me question whether God was real, it was world shaking because at the time, it was like learning that there were people who didn’t like to breathe air.

It seems quite popular these days to condemn religion as completely harmful and wicked and I just don’t agree. I acknowledge that it has done harm and there have been wicked individuals but to say it has done no good I feel is a farce. Organized unity tied with compassionate action has moved mountains and changed lives. The good needs to be acknowledged too.

I make the mistake sometimes, of engaging with people who disagree in arguments. I do not like to argue, I hate conflict and I enjoy discussion. However, as a human being sometimes I fall into the trap and take the bait. Some people are out to prove that all Christians are absolute fools. I don’t have an agenda to prove that atheists are absolute fools. In fact I’d be lying if I said I don’t struggle many days with keeping my faith in tact.

It is important to me and I try to remember that there are people who have been hurt and there are people who have been raised in secular homes. All my life I have been raised around clergy members. I have a bias, everyone does and I acknowledge that. What saddens me is that for those who have never met a good loving pastor, and for those who refuse to ever take the chance to do so, they will never meet my father or grandfather. For those who refuse to ever meet a kind and loving nun or priest, they will never meet my great aunts or my cousin.

I think about all the wonderful memories that I have had in church, and how supportive my church families have been and how they rescued me from such turmoil and loss in my life. My experiences haven’t all been good. For crying out loud, I’m black, female and part of the LGBTQ community. I have had plenty of pains from the church, but I have also had plenty of good things too.

I resent being mis-represented by bad Christians who oppress, and force their religion on others. I don’t do that, I don’t believe in doing that, and neither did Jesus Christ who simply offers himself to people.

The argument basically ended with exhaustion and finally I was cut at a crossroads. I was told that religion is fear based, unnecessary and Christianity specifically is a “turn or burn” gospel with justification from the Bible.

It’s not my place to say who goes to Hell or Heaven because I’m not the judge of that. Hell as a Catholic I have been told by Protestants that I’m going to Hell. Other Christians have told other Christians they are going to Hell, whether they be from different denominations or what have you.

We are not united, and we are very different in our values and beliefs. I don’t like that Christians and Christianity is so often simply molded together as if it’s one singular group with singular beliefs. We have a core belief and that’s about it. We disagree on doctrine, how to carry out the Bible and so on.

Anyway, people don’t simply come out of fear alone. Sometimes people feel moved by something, something they cannot explain. They feel something outer worldly and they wonder if that feeling is God.

Whether God is real or not I certainly whole heartedly believe in a living force within the universe that binds us together as human beings. I believe in a beginning and a creation and a purpose for each and every one of us. I believe in the eternity of our spirits and the energy that vibrates between our souls.

I do believe in an after life whether that be heaven, hell or God forbid reincarnation which I hope isn’t real because I don’t want to be on Earth over and over and over again. Honestly if I am a reincarnation I probably wouldn’t be aware of it, but at the same time, unlike most people, I desire for life to end at some point. The world is quite tiresome and it exhausts me. I always feel like I’m swimming upstream with people who don’t understand me at all. I feel like a star child, and indigo person because I just never fit in anywhere and I really don’t belong here at all.

I think beyond what I see. I see beyond what I know. My head hurts sometimes because I think too much. I’m a mad genius of sorts and it creates a tortured soul. Sometimes I just don’t like being around people too much because they are too simple and too basic. What saddens me is that many people I believe could be so much more than what they are, they just simply choose to live on the default settings: like in Lego Movie.

Perhaps this confuses people because according to others, following Christianity is following the instructions and being a mindless drone. To me being  Christian is a rebellious act. Many of our teachings are the exact opposite of human nature and what the world would tell us to do to live a full life as a human being.

I am a rebel. I am a rebel and a thinker and a bleeding heart liberal. I care about people dammit. Unfortunately, I care a little too much, maybe, a lot too much because honestly, people who I care about, the majority, probably give less than a damn about me.

But that’s what happens when you love people. You get hurt. In Christianity we’re told not to love the world and not to put our faith in man. I am still working on that detachment. I love the world too much and I put my faith in people too much.

I pray that changes soon because I’m sick of getting hurt and let down.