Conservatives and Libertarians, please pay attention. Those of us who are atheist or agnostic are not out to get you to change your belief. We are not out to force you to think the way we do. What we want is for you to stop trying to force us to believe in what you believe in and to stop using religion to justify keeping people from their rights. So, I am going to tell you where you are going wrong. In the hopes that maybe, just maybe you will realize that what you believe isn’t important to us but what you do with what you believe in public is.
I grew up in a small town that had more churches than stores. I was raised Catholic, playing in a Methodist church band in Junior High and High School and when I was in elementary I went to a Southern Baptist Sunday School. In between all this I would occasionally go with my dad to Mass and sometimes with my mother to the local Assembly of God church where she worked. During the summers I would go with friends to Vocational Bible School and during the fall I would go with my parents to the local bible study group. Now, you would think that with all that exposure that I would be a Christian right now… Not even close. You see… I was thrown out of every one of those churches at one time or another. Sometimes, several times in the same day. Except for one incident, because I would not accept the answer. “Because the Bible says so.” (The exception involved holy water, lapping and some very awkward encounters with people.)
I discovered at an early age that many in the Christian religion don’t like to answer questions in detail. Oh sure, they will quote scripture and point you to books but they can’t answer the questions in a clear and concise manner. Nor can they explain why they believe what they believe and why it is ok for the bible to say one thing and then another. Still, the hardest question for them to answer is the most simple one. Why? One word made up of three letters and it is the hardest question for them to answer. Typically you get, “Cause the Bible says so.” That is where good Christians go bad.
You see, that is the start of their failure to comprehend the whole concept of what is being told to them through the bible. The bible is a collection of historical religious documents that have been handed down and passed down and rewritten and collects and translated, paraphrases and pretty much isn’t anything close to the original. This is not in doubt but Christians will argue it till their dying breath and that is the other spot where they go wrong. They fail to understand that while the facts don’t lie as to who wrote what and when, those facts are not what are important. The messages that are contained on those pages are what is important BUT they are only important to the person reading them. That is the section where they fail the most. The bible is written for who ever is reading it at that point in time. God will give you the message that He wants you to get and it doesn’t apply to your neighbor or your spouse or to anyone else but you. (you being general for them.)
To make it simple, what you read in the bible only applies to you. It does not apply to the person next to you or your pastor or to anyone else but you. That doesn’t mean that you can’t sit in a bible study group and discuss passages and agree or disagree about their meaning. I am only saying that what you read in the bible apply to just you. If you read the bible and it says to you, “no gay marriage.” Fine… then don’t get in a gay marriage. If you read it and it says to you don’t do drugs, then I guess you shouldn’t do drugs. Remember the parts of the Bible where it says don’t judge and log in the eye and all of that? Why do you think that is in there? Its there to say “Hey! I am talking to you. Not to that other person. If I want to tell them something, I will.”
Good Christians go bad when they think they are mandated to tell everyone else how to live their lives. Good Christians go bad when they use religion to prevent gays from getting married. Good Christians go bad when they are so busy talking to other people about what they should and shouldn’t do that they fail to listen to what God is telling them. Good Christians go bad when they stop believing in God and start playing God with other peoples lives.