Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Gospel of Understanding

I don't often change my mind.

I'm a born skeptic, a doubter. So when at last I decide that I believe something, it is with unshakeable conviction and certainty borne of exhaustive research and soul-searching. In other words, I don't believe or disbelieve lightly.

Recently, I posted about the issue of science and spirituality and how to explain it to my children. I asked for people to share their thoughts, and got some good responses. I linked to those responses in a post below.

I was re-reading some of those links, and was disconcerted to find that one of my readers, A Christian, was having second thoughts about linking to my blog, though she expressed enjoyment of my writing, because of some of the beliefs represented in my sidebar.

I'll be honest, I was really pissed off at first. Typical judgemental Christian bullshit, I thought. But after I calmed down a bit, I went and re-read the post, and tried to see the issue from her perspective. Would I link to a blog that espoused a view I found to be morally reprehensible? No. I wouldn't. And I wouldn't give it much thought either.

But she did.

She wrestled with her decision. She questioned her motives and her right to judge me. She chastised herself for being presumptuous and arrogant. Why? Because she felt compelled to pray for me. In other words, she acted exactly the opposite of what I have come to expect from (many, not all)Christians.

I stopped being pissed.

I posted a response on her blog, hoping to open the lines of communication between us. She responded with a heartfelt email, and we had a very nice conversation. I came away feeling that we had furthered understanding between us. It felt good.

One thing she expressed in her email was that one of my buttons...

made her feel angry and hurt. She felt that the saying implied that Christians are blind followers who can't think for themselves. That they don't question and they don't seek answers. That they are limited in their scope of understanding and intelligence.

I was surprised, because that is not how I interpreted the saying at all. I believe strongly in separation of Church and State for several reasons. First, because America is not homogenous. Every day we become more and more diverse; ethnically, culturally, religiously. By allowing prayer in schools we create and promote the ideal that Christianity is the gold standard of spirituality, which alienates children who do not practice Christianity and forces them to engage in practices that may be in direct opposition to the teachings of their own religion.

Secondly, I do not believe anyone, particularly children, should have to defend their beliefs publicly. They should be able to go to school and learn without having to fear reprisal, judgement and bias for issues largely beyond their control.

To me, the button means, Church is for worship, school is for learning. It means that I, as a non-Christian would not enter a church and start preaching the gospel of evolution, because I understand and respect that the church is a haven for Christians where they practice and share their faith. It is not meant to be a place of diversity. It is not appropriate for me to disregard that to pursue my own objectives. It's rude. It's disrespectful. It's wrong. It means that I expect the same respect in return, and if it isn't given, then I will take it by fighting for my right NOT to be subjected to religious teachings in a secular environment.

My stance on that has not changed, but I have realized that she is right about the button being unnecessarily insulting and contentious. I didn't put it there to anger or alienate Christians, but it seems that is exactly what I have done. So I have decided not to remove it, but to change it to something less....pissy.

I think it gets the point accross without being in-your-face confrontational. I hope.

Apparently, my views on homosexuality and abortion are problematic for Christians as well. Again, these are issues that I feel very strongly about.

I would like to share that I am not pro-abortion, and I am not pro-life, which is why I was very careful not to put a button representing either in my sidebar. The button I have choesen promotes Reproductive Freedom by upholding the right to CHOOSE. I would not choose abortion because of my own experiences, but as with everything, my choice is not the right choice for everyone. Therefore, I have no right to decide for anyone but myself.

The issue of gay rights is, for many reasons, very near and dear to my heart. I have written about it, and it explains many of my feelings, as well as the history of how my belief evolved. But what it doesn't tell, is that right now one of my deartest friends in the whole world is struggling with her recent decision to come out. The repercussions have been heartwrenching. I want her not to hurt anymore. And maybe someday she won't have to.

Christians, like you, I have to be true to who I am and what I believe. So while I will regret very much if someone chooses not to read or link to my blog despite the fact that they enjoy reaading it, simply because my beliefs differ from their own, I can't and won't change to mollify or hold onto readers. But I do want you to know that proclaiming my own beliefs is not an attempt to impugn yours. I admire and respect your beliefs even if I don't share them. I hope that you can extend me same courtesy.

Thank you to that certain Christian for being so open minded and understanding. For respecting me as a person even if she can't agree with my views. For hating the sin, and not the sinner. And yes, for praying for me.

Peace everyone.


  • At 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am a newcomer to reading this blog, brought over by the "Weighty Issue" post. Yeah, I can't euphemize anymore either.

    I wanted to tell you thatI really admire the way you have handled this most recent thorny issue. The more people can discuss things without being all pissy, the better. It's been so interesting to read your thought process on this stuff.

    I'm a Christian, but I don't support prayer in school either. That's why my kids are home schooled, so that I can make those choices without infringing on other's choices.

    I don't want to be a Christian that misses the point of Christ. Defensive arguing, hypocrisy, and intolerance are not the point.

    I'm enjoying your blog very much, thanks.

  • At 4:22 PM, Blogger Angela said…

    Excellent post. Recently I (a Christian) read a post by an Athiest about getting infuriated over church fliers being passed around at her kids' school. She was irate and posted about it more than once. I didn't understand the anger. I wanted to ask her, but was concerned it would be misinterperated as judgment. I don't necessarily agree that such fliers should be passed around, but I didn't understand the lengths she went to "get to the bottom of it." I mentioned it to my agnostic/athiest SIL who put it into a scenario I could understand. Ohhhhhhhh. I see! It took someone else to show me to step back and look at it, something you and the woman you spoke of did with civility and effectiveness. Kudos to both of you for having that honest and open line of communication. It wouldn't have been real if what she wrote hadn't pissed you off, and it wouldn't have been a meaningful if you guys hadn't "hashed" it out. Thanks for sharing.

  • At 4:34 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I'm fairly new to this world of mom blogs, just found you all this summer. I'm really enjoying many of them, but admit that I felt a sense of relief when I found yours. I agree with you on many issues. It's just nice to know that polite discourse is still possible in our world today.

  • At 4:38 PM, Blogger Oh, The Joys said…

    I'm right there with you on all fronts here.

  • At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wonderful post. I am new to blogging as of this summer and feel lucky to have come across your blog. I have a very close friend that is Christian and we disagree over all the points you made. Yet, we know we are both smart, loving, moral and caring people. So, we never judge and try to appreciate eachother's view beyond merely tolerating them. I look forward to reading more. Thanks.

  • At 6:48 PM, Blogger Arwen said…

    It is really difficult to be open about people we see as the other. I often have to stop myself and remember that some of my most progressive friends are devoutly religious. We learn the other is not what we are. I remember one time a woman at our house was shoked to learn I considered myself an atheist. She actually said to me 'But you are so nice!' My immediate thought was 'yeah, I am an atheist who didn't eat her young' but I said 'we all have reasons for being nice, not all people are nice because they want to go to heaven.' It was equally as insulting. I sort of feel bad but I was sort of mad at her for being in my home and being so obviously ignorant. At that point in time I didn't want dialogue.

  • At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    proclaiming my own beliefs is not an attempt to impugn yours

    Hear hear. That was wonderful.

    Likewise, I have never been offended by someone blessing me or praying for me. I consider it a compliment and a way of showing that they care for me.

  • At 2:57 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    I love when you write posts like this. I find myself nodding along with every line, I only wish I were as eloquent as you if I were to write something along these lines.

  • At 6:59 PM, Blogger molly said…

    I read your writings because they're intelligent, thoughtful and, oh yes, reasonable. I'm a nurse and worked in a hospital where, as a Jew, I was a minority. All the other nurses were Christians. Religious difference was never a sticking point. We gave and took information, corrected ignorance, shared traditions and recipes (I make a mean chicken soup!), all the while we cared for the patients who came our way. We were a professional family, and some of the women I was closest too were women of the deepest Christian faith, a Bapist woman studying to form her own ministry, a born-again Christian woman who I loved like a sister, and a Catholic woman whose sister became a nun. I'm not religious, and one of these women once said to me that lacking in formal religious belief or training does not mean that one lacks in spirituality. The two things should not be confused.

    You are so right that we can choose to respect and, I'll add love each other, despite our differences. We can keep our hearts and minds open to the feelings and opinions of others. I think that changing your no-prayer-in-school button to one that expresses your opinion in a straighforward manner without sarcasm was a strong thing for you to do. It put your opinion out there in no uncertain terms. Sometimes it's easier to hide behind sarcasm than to say a thing straight out. The change you made, though small, was brave and unequivocal. Good for you.

  • At 12:32 PM, Blogger Occidental Girl said…

    I enjoyed this post because of your willingness to embrace different ideas with respect and honesty.

    We are all, as people, never going to agree on everything. That's fine, I don't think we necessarily should. However, if we could all have this high level of discourse, get beyond the knee jerk reaction of anger and instead be open to find out what is behind it, we would accomplish so much more. In my opinion.

    Thank you for taking the time to consider, to be honest, and to set such a wonderful example for all of us.

  • At 9:40 PM, Blogger Lisa said…

    WOW .. what a truly open view you BOTH took and being brave enough to share with each other. How nice a world it would be if we could all do this.

    Great post and thanks for sharing.

  • At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Exactly. It's not about agreement on an issue, but about respect for the person.

  • At 4:09 PM, Blogger Vickie said…

    You set an example for all of us to follow. You took your anger and did not allow it to to work against you but for you and the outcome
    has been very beneficial for all involved. If only more could/would do the same all of our lives would be much better.

    Thank you for this great post, thank you for the sharing you do.


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