How Has Religion Affected Your Life? #spirituality #excommunication #biblicallaw
April 7, 2014
Were you personally rejected because of religious opinion or doctrine? Did your overly religious relatives ostracize you for being gay or different? Did you get excommunicated from a church for divorce or remarrying? Did someone you respected in the church molest you or come on to you?
I just had to complete an online course in child molestation. I have to say that I wasn’t shocked when I heard that 65-70% of child molesters were considered upstanding religious leaders. I know personally, because the priest from my home church as a child had been imprisoned for child molestation. This happens because the guise of religion helps protect the deranged. I’m glad in this case, it hadn’t. I believe 14 boys were abused, before he was arrested.
I remember a time when my family tried to get a Catholic priest to preside over my dad’s funeral. Because he had gotten a divorce from my mother and never remarried, the priest would not allow him to be eulogized at the church. The priest would come to the funeral home, instead. This man of God wasn’t very nice, either. Yet, my dad’s side of the family insisted that he should have a Catholic funeral, even though my father hadn’t stepped foot in a church for years, except for weddings or funerals. I was amazed and put off by the priest, but understood how religious laws can override love and decency. I guess…
I also remember a time when I was out with friends for my birthday. We waited to be seated when I saw an ex-student standing at the bar with her husband. She hugged me, and we chatted for a bit. After a few minutes, my partner had come up to me and said our birthday group was about to be seated. I introduced the ex-student to my partner. When he left to go to the bathroom, the student turned to me and said, “I have to tell you—in love—that if you don’t stop being homosexual, you will go to hell!” She said this at Carrabba at the bar with a drink in her hand and breasts nearly exposed. I shook my head and simply left her presence, never to talk again.
Once, a minister of a church in New York City had accosted me sexually. He bought me a Dake’s bible (at that time, the most expensive one out). He invited me to his home. And after I got there, he invited me into his bed. When I refused, soon after, I was asked to find another church.
I have heard stories such as this and, actually, much worse. I’ve been told of ministers molesting young men and women, then telling them that premarital sex or homosexuality was wrong and that each was a sinner. This is what I refer to as religious insanity. It also is outrageous and should be prosecuted. The problem is that religion somehow seems to protect the wrong and neglect the defiled, in these scenarios.
What person would not run from church or God or Jesus if faced with this kind of confusion? Yet, personally, even after being kicked out of a church, I continued to pursue my search for truth, despite being rejected. Why did I continue, and not my brother? Why did you become an atheist and another person turn into a minister, after the same kind of treatment?
Here is the cold hard truth: You can’t look for spiritual understanding through a person or a church. If you do, you’ll be led down the road of idolatry and ultimate deception or confusion when you see your human ministers fall from grace—because all of us do, eventually.
Jesus had the right idea about how to find your spiritual center. He went to the desert by himself to find his communion with God. He had to face demons (perhaps, voices in his head) telling him that they could give him the world if only He would deny his spiritual convictions. Yet, Jesus endured, and became the greatest teacher in history, with billions of followers, even thousands of years after his death.
Every time I have looked to a man or a woman for truth, I have come away with disappointment. I would say, rightfully, so.
If the truth is written on my own heart, then I must begin my search for truth within.
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