“Not Just Because I’m Gay” Talking With Parents about Atheism and Spirituality

Talking with parents can be enlightening, for both parties
Talking with parents can be enlightening, for both parties

Homosexual, atheist young men, and religious older parents don’t mix well. I’m very fortunate that my parents are aware of my sexuality and are fully supportive and accepting. The one thing we can’t seem to agree on, however, is religion. I was brought up a devout Catholic Christian, and would’ve had an entirely Catholic education were it not for unrelated medical issues. Everything, from movies, to music, to even books and magazines, were censored. Topics such as sex, sexuality, and other religions were never brought up, let alone discussed in full. (I’m still waiting for the sex talk, by the way). Everything I know about LGBT health, risks, and real-world issues I had to learn entirely on my own.

Spirituality and religion are everyone’s own decisions. But should you throw away everything you’ve ever believed in, everything you’ve ever known, all because of one specific disagreement? There are really only seven passages in the Bible that directly deal with the topic of homosexuality and believe it or not, none of them have to do with Jesus. One thing that really gets under my skin is when people bandwagon on popular gay culture without having a real understanding of what they’re doing. For me, it actually wasn’t the anti-gay agenda of the church and conservative politicians, but rather the Bible’s self-contradictions, the hypocrisy of the clergy, and a seemingly-endless stream of personal and familial hardships, not to mention an increasingly large amount of evidence in favor or various scientific concepts,

When I’m not at school, I live at home with my parents, and whenever I’m there, I attend church. Not because I want to, but rather out of respect for the two people that raised me. However, I make no attempt to conceal my distaste and unimpressed mentality, whenever I have the chance. Recently my mother and I had a quite lengthy conversation about the topics mentioned above, as well as a plethora of other christian subjects, including, but not limited to, suicide, the dinosaurs, and abortion.

It was really the first time we had ever discussed any of these things, and I’d be lying if I said things weren’t tense at times. But It was important and necessary. I needed to show them that my skeptical viewpoint was not just because of what I’d seen in the media, but rather the result of years of weariness, thought-out questions with no easy answers, and an unwillingness to accept certain doctrines that I just was not happy with.

I applaud my mother. She tackled my questions head on, with as much knowledge and faith as she could muster, which, to be honest, at times was not enough for me. I had done my research and the information i had pertaining to certain subjects,passages, and biblical figures far exceeded her own. My father, having been raised Presbyterian, and having converted to marry my mother, did not get himself involved. Smart man.

Several of the topics we touched upon were quite personal to one or both of us, and it enlightened me to the fact that she is not a strict religious missionary, but rather uses it as a way of comfort and strength in times of difficulty, as we are going through right now, all the whole maintaining a strong faith. She does not believe in everything the clergy says, nor does she interpret it literally. She believes gay people are born; that it is not a choice. That suicides, if they led a good life, will receive salvation. She even admitted that everyone, the priests, the Pope, and her, could be wrong, and that Catholics have been wrong many times throughout history. Can I fault her for that? Should I force her to throw away the last great hope she has. No. I cannot. If I did, then how would I be any better than the zealots who continuously insist that the and they alone know God’s mission. She has her beliefs. I have mine. They may not coincide, but we’re still family.

I may be a legal adult, but my mind and body are still developing, and will continue to do so for a number of years. The time has come for me to ask myself, “Is this what I truly believe? Or simply simply what was chosen for me at an age where I had no cognitive mind?” Simplified answers and being told to just have faith are simply not enough anymore. I am not a child, and I cannot continue to blindly accept whatever I’m told. My family andy I have been though and continue to go through many tough times and situations, stemming from physical illness, mental illness, and death. Sometimes I have to wonder that if God is real, why would he do this? Love, a test, a plan? I don’t know. Despite what the priests and scientists say, they don’t really know either. No one truly knows, and that’s what scares me the most.

I will continue to live my life, making decisions that feel right for me, as will my parents. We’ve been through various hardships, as we still are an no doubt will continue to do so in the future. We are family. We support and love each other. They’ve made their decision, as have I. Neither of us can force the other to adhere to their spirituality. All we can do is respect each other. Again, I feel very fortunate, lucky, and yes, blessed, to live in family and community where I can freely express my views and thoughts without persecution and prejudice. Not everyone may agree, and indeed, there will never be a time where everyone truly agrees, but we can still display the dignity and respect that even without religion, would still be expected and appreciated.

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