Thursday, September 20, 2007

Setting The Record Straight

Hypocrite. Liar. Deceiver. Confused. Damned.

I can only imagine the kinds of things a certain person must be thinking of me.

I was chatting with a friend today and someone told him several months ago that I'm an atheist.


LOL, yeah, you can bet I laughed and thought my friend was joking when he asked me if it were true. Then I discovered he was serious. Apparently, someone "overheard" me saying that "I prefer to consider myself an atheist" while I was at the Ex-Gay Survivor Conference a couple months ago . . . .

Wow. Can you believe that?

But what if it were true? What if I was an atheist? Considering all the things i've written about myself and God on this blog, this whole thing would all be a joke. Geez, that'd be pretty messed up.

I dunno how this person came to hear or think that I would say or believe such a thing. Clearly, this person doesn't know me well enough to know better or to give me the benefit of the doubt and seek clarification. So for months, he or she has been under the impression that I'm an atheist.

Does that mean that not only do I not believe in God but that I also hate God? Does that mean that I can't stand hearing people talk fondly about Him? Does that mean that I am godless? Does that mean that I refuse to acknowledge that He is the Source of Life and that He is the one who has provided for all of my needs?

Maybe it means that I don't need Him? Or maybe it just means that I simply don't believe that He exists? Maybe it means that I think I've survived this long without Him? Maybe it means that I think there's nothing to hope for whether in this life or after death?

I could develop an entire identity around this paradigm of atheism.

And what if other people actually believed that I believed these things? What kinds of things would they think of me? They could form their entire perception of who I am based on the assumption that what this person says about me is true.

And what about God? What would God think of me if He thought I was an atheist? He'd think that I didn't love Him. He'd think that I wasn't thankful for every breath of air and life that I took. He'd think that I didn't appreciate the things that I have in my life - family, friends, employment, purpose. He'd think that I refused to acknowledge the good things that He's actually done for me. He'd think that I didn't believe that He was real. He'd think that I didn't accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross on my behalf.

How long could I go on with my life knowing that God and other people thought such things about me? How long could I go on before I felt compelled to tell God and other people what I really believed and thought about God? How long would it be before I had to set the record straight?

I wonder if that's how God feels sometimes.

People, His Church, misunderstand Him or misinterpret something He's written or mishear something He's said (to them) in prayer and they go on telling other people that He hates gay people. They tell their entire congregation that God is more concerned about you loving the opposite gender like a heterosexual (because your purpose is to procreate) rather than you loving all people with a genuine and sincere heart. They tell people that God died for them but gay people are going to hell anyway. Unless they change.

And many people believe what these people say. They believe God to be a God of conditional love. They believe God to value heterosexuality as superior and as His intent. They believe that God's acceptance of gay people is limited to whether or not those gay people renounced their sexuality.

And if a gay person who believes in God also believes in what these people say about God, then that person may think that God doesn't love him or her completely and fully.
That person may think that he or she isn't really Christian. That person may think that he or she is a second-class Christian. That person may form his or her entire identity around the notion that he or she is worthless and unlovable. That person could form his or her entire perception of who God is based on the assumption that what these people say about gay people is true.

How long before God corrected those who missed the point and viewed Him incorrectly? How long before God says to the world that those people are wrong? How long before God sets the record straight?

He'd say that God actually does love all people - His gay ones and His straight ones. He'd say that we are all wonderfully made in His image and on purpose. He'd say that nothing can separate us from His love. He'd say that He knows about the things that burden us and it breaks His heart too. He'd say that even when people abandon us, He never will. He'd say that He wants us.

If there is any doubt - I love God with all my heart. Unapologetically. I believe in Him. I know that He loves and accepts me, despite my imperfections. He walks with me as I journey life to discover authenticity. There's still so much more to learn and figure out. I don't have all the answers - just more questions. But He's my Teacher about life because He's the One who breathed it in me.

It's hilarious to me that someone would actually think that I'm an atheist because I believe more in God than I believe in myself!

It's good to know that God understands. He understands what it's like to be misunderstood. He understands what it's like to be misheard and misquoted. He understands what it's like for people to assume the worst about one's character.

He understands me. And because we know each other, I've no doubt that He knows how I feel about Him just as I know how He feels about me - despite the false assumptions and misinterpretations that certain others may have about me or my God.


Unknown said...

Now I'm really confused....are you saying that you aren't an atheist or you aren't gay?

For future reference... it would be great if you were very clear in your blogs.

I'm just kidding Eric. I don't understand why anyone would have "thunk" you were an atheist. Maybe this person has never read your blog?


Anonymous said...

wait a mean you're gay??? wow...that explains a lot. ;)

j/k. luv u man! i miss seeing/talking to you all the time.

JJ said...

Hey Eric,

Yeah, it's a been a huge while! thanks for stopping by my blog. I need to catch up on yours too.

"And if a gay person who believes in God also believes in what these people say about God, then that person may think that God doesn't love him or her completely and fully. That person may think that he or she isn't really Christian.

I actually met a girl when I was in Korea who fits this description. Brought up an evangelical Christian, she actually said to me one night over drinks that she knows she's going to hell because she's gay, but she doesn't know what to do about it, because she can't stop being gay. Heh, she actually said "I want someone to tell me how to be a Christian when you're gay," which made me laugh considering where I've been and where I am... we talked about it a bit. Maybe we'll do it some more.

Peterson Toscano said...

Eric, thanks for this post. I love the way you let your questions roll and grow and shape. You reveal so much honesty.

More and more I understand that it matters little what we believe--rather it is what we practice that counts the most. Not a matter of "works" but a matter of living a faith instead of articulating one.

Thanks man for your committment to dig up these issues.

ネイト said...

hehe -- people are crazy - i think i've been deemed an atheist 2.. oh and greedy - but thats what all bis are right?