Some notes on questions I’ve received about religion.
Do you believe in a higher power?
I don’t know. I think so. But I’m not sure what that looks like. I was raised Christian and went to church every Sunday pretty consistently up until I was about 11. Both my parents’ parents are very religious – my paternal grandfather was a minister his entire life and my maternal grandmother pretty much runs the Korean Catholic Church she attends. I believe in the universe, and I’m not sure if that’s God; I’m not sure if they are the same thing or not, and I’m not sure it matters. I’m not sure really about much in this realm. And I’m not sure that matters either. I think humans are endless. I believe in souls. I believe that there is more, but then I also believe that humans themselves are more because we are infinite and amazing.
As a matter of philosophy, would you say you believe in the soul—or something like it, anyway—that is your essence? I realized that my sense of the soul—or that essence outside of my physical parts— hasn’t ever been gendered. I feel I would be who I am in other containers, too. This leads me to reincarnation, which I also believe in, and past lives… I imagine, and actually feel deeply, that I have been all sorts of people in past lives, and not just female. If souls (or what have you) do reincarnate, then I wonder how who we have been influences our higher sense of who we are or should be now.
In short, yes. I do believe in souls. But I’m not sure if that means I believe in reincarnation or something similar. I’m not sure if souls are gendered, and but if they are, I don’t know if that means that the gender carries over time and through reincarnation. I don’t think the soul particularly cares about the vessel it is in, so I don’t think it quite matters whether the body is considered male or female by society or by others. I personally feel that my gender identity is who I am and therefore a part of my own soul. But maybe not everyone has gendered souls. I’m not sure. You say you don’t feel your soul has a gender, and I believe you. If reincarnation is real, then maybe this genderless soul indicates that your past lives have been a multitude of genders. And maybe my past lives were mostly male.
I think we are all sums of who we have been and who we are and who we are going to be and perhaps that means that we are reincarnated. Sometimes I think of reincarnation as reincarnating our own selves over and over – that is, the person I was yesterday and the day before that and the day before that, all reincarnated into today. Into who I am today. I don’t know. I’m not sure I’m making sense anymore! This is a really good question. I think I’ll keep it, roll it around for a while.
What are your thoughts on religious homophobia?
In short, I hate it. I understand (somewhat) where it comes from but I think it is awful. I’ve read enough of the bible to know that much of the religious hate speech is paraphrased, taken out of context and selectively chosen to charge hatred. That was not Jesus’s intention, I’m sure of that. I believe in kindness and love over anything and I am so saddened that something originally intended to bring people together is now killing people. In my opinion, sexuality especially does not affect anyone unless you might be dating this person. And if you don’t want to date someone of the same gender because you’re homophobic then don’t date someone of the same gender. [Cue Wanda Sykes: If you’re against gay marriage, then don’t get a gay marriage!] I’m all about people having their own opinions that are different. I support disagreement, I think that it is normal and healthy and good, and inevitable. What I do not support is hatred and impinging on rights and wellbeing when there is no threat to others in the first place.
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I’ve recently received several hate-masked-as-religion comments (swipe to read a few), so here are some thoughts on religion— I was raised Christian and went to church. My dad’s father was a minister and devoted most of his life to the church. My mother’s parents are devout Catholics. These days, I do not identify as particularly religious; I consider myself spiritual. And I am by no means a theologist. But I do NOT hate Christianity or religion. I hate when people use it to fuel or justify their hate. I also believe Jesus existed. It seems clear that he was a very good person who effected radical change in the world. And Jesus’s message was love. Was compassion. That is also clear. I absolutely aspire to practice and hold the values that Jesus did. Integrity, hope, forgiveness, peace-giving, generosity, compassion, and love. I wish these values (not Religion, necessarily) on everyone. — For a kickass poem on this by Elliot Darrow, visit the link in my bio.