You God Does Not Apply to Me

One time a coworker of mine was going on about how the Devil was overtaking America and all I could think of was “Wow. That sounds like a Christian problem. Good luck with that.”

Rude? Maybe. But points to me for not saying it out loud. And even if I did say it out loud, at least I’d be speaking the truth.

It is a Christian problem.

Your God does not apply to me.

Your God believes abortion is murder? Wow. Sucks for you trying to access reproductive healthcare. But your God does not apply to me.

Your God believes being gay is a sin and marriage should only be between a man and a woman? Wow. That sounds pretty harsh. But your God does not apply to me.

Your God believes women should dress modestly? Okay then. But your God does not apply to me. Or my crop tops.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m not a religious person. Oh, I dabbled back in the day, mostly with Christianity, but it never stuck. I couldn’t jive with that God. Today, I believe in the Universe. It has everything. Some of the rules are kind of complicated, but only if you’re being graded on explaining them. It doesn’t judge you. It just is. I dig that.

In short, I do not believe in your God. And please do not counter with, “He believes in you!” He can do whatever He damn well pleases. It doesn’t change my position. Jesus might love me, but I opted out of his fan club.

As such, I do not have to abide by the fan club rules.

Your God does not apply to me.

I came across something the other day that summed up my feelings on this. Religion is a personal relationship with God. Personal relationship. What you do with your God is none of my business. It’s quite literally between you and your God. The trouble comes when you try to include me in your personal relationship. When you try to extend the rules of your personal relationship to include me. When you try to enforce the rules of your personal relationship at me.

Your God does not apply to me.

I’ll be blunt. I don’t give a shit what your God thinks. It’s none of my business and none of my concern. Because as it turns out, I do not need the threat of a displeased God sending me to a place of eternal suffering to make me act right. Judging by the behavior of some religious folks I’ve seen, they don’t take that threat too seriously anyway.

Insisting that your God applies to people your God does not apply to is not a demonstration of the strength of your faith. It is oppression. Using your God as a justification to harm and control others is not exercising your right to religion. It is denying that right to others.

If your God is a God who demands total obedience, who insists upon dominance, who propagates hate and bigotry and selfishness, who speaks loudly about helping but does no such thing, who doesn’t believe that prayer is a verb, then by all means, live in accordance to His law. Keep that shit in your houses and your churches and your prayer groups and your schools. Don’t try to make it law. Don’t subject the non-believers to that shit. That’s all your problem. Don’t you dare try to make it mine.

Your God does not apply to me.

Personal Beliefs

It’s possible that I take the “personal” part of personal beliefs a little too seriously. As in they’re my beliefs and they’re none of your business.

Seriously. This blog post isn’t about what I believe but why I keep my beliefs to myself.

I was raised by two atheists. Please note that sentence. I was raised BY two atheists; I wasn’t raised TO BE atheist. I was raised to believe whatever I wanted to believe.

As a kid, I decided to explore the possibility of God and religion. Over the years I went to a few different churches. It might be hard to believe, but at one point I was a very good Bible quizzer. I can still quote bits of Luke.

My parents were cool with it. They never told me I couldn’t go to church, never told me I was wrong, never told me I was stupid. They respected my choice and let me find my own way. They never once pushed their beliefs on me.

My parents set a pretty good example for me in that respect. The word “God” wasn’t an assault on what they believed; it was just another word. They didn’t care that it was in the Pledge of Allegiance or written on money. It had nothing to do with what they believed at the time and as far as they were concerned, in those contexts, it wasn’t infringing on their beliefs and trying to make them change their mind.

It was quite liberating to be brought up in a household like that. I was never made to feel threatened or forced to get defensive about what I believed and I learned to return in kind.

I also learned to keep it to myself.

Without being expressly told, I learned that personal beliefs were just that. Personal. They’re mine, all mine. No one can give them to me, no one can take them away, and I can’t force them on anyone else. I have to admit that due to my years of spiritual exploration my beliefs are pretty customized. It wouldn’t be easy to preach my gospel.

And I wouldn’t want to. Oh, I will discuss it when asked about it provided that I feel the conversation is safe for expression. When I talk about my beliefs, it’s not an invitation for conversion. I’m not trying to convert you, don’t bother trying to convert me. Don’t worry about saving my soul or convincing me with science. I’m good where I’m at, thanks, and I wouldn’t be so disrespectful to you.

It really boggles me when people express their personal beliefs like they are the statement of utter right. What ego must go into that. What disrespect for anyone who doesn’t think the same. What blindness to think that your beliefs won’t be criticized when you put them on display like that.

There’s another thing. It’s hard to insult me about what I believe when you don’t know what I believe. Oh, I’ve had my feathers ruffled before by people saying things, but the insults weren’t direct because there was no way the offending person could know any differently. I could have, of course, pointed it out, but there’s no satisfaction in the correction when the person just says, “Oh, I wasn’t talking about YOU”.

Instead, I comfort myself in the thought that the person running their mouth is really telling more about themselves than the group they’re insulting. And, yes, I’ve been equally offended by Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, and everyone else.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m human. I think some things that some people believe are absolutely ridiculous and can’t even begin to understand it. But I try to keep as much of that to myself as I can. If I don’t like people offending me, then I need to work hard to be the bigger person and not offend them. It’s hard and I fail, but I keep trying.

Why?

It’s one of my personal beliefs.

And, yeah, for the most part, I keep it to myself.