Thursday, January 14, 2010

I Can't Believe Some of the Words That Come Out of People's Mouth

I've seen and read the comments made by him, and I'm not even going to dignify mentioning his name because I'm still stunned that someone could really see the photos and videos and really believe those words. We hear more about the stories of people missing, massive destruction of cities, family members trying to find out any word about their loved ones, and he said that this was because of a pact to the devil?
I'll preface my comments by saying that I'm a recovering Catholic, having spent many years in parochial school when I was younger, and I attended a prominent Jesuit college and am a proud graduate. I learned my faith from my family, especially my grandmother who attended mass every day of her 99 years because it gave her balance and certainty in her life. During my honeymoon, I got her a rosary from Vatican City blessed by the Pope, because I knew that she would love it, and sure enough, it was all she could talk about in one of the last letters I got from her before she died last year. She loved the church more than anything, and couldn't see anything wrong with how they operated.
And until recently, I could follow that line of thinking until I lost my mom to cancer. In trying to make heads or tails of what happened, I spend some time talking with the priest that presided over my mother's service and he said faith would get me through my pain. So I did what he said and attended church and prayed, and the more of that I did, the more alone I felt, the more frustrated I was that I lost someone important to me. It didn't make a lot of sense to me, and then around this time, it was announced that there were many claims of child abuse by selected clergy members against children in their congregation. It became a crisis for me, trying to believe in an organization that I was trying to achieve direction and guidance from, and in a monumental decision, I decided to forgo what I had grown up around.
I met my wife right around this time, and she is an extremely spiritual person who has a strong belief in herself and the forces out there, and seeing her have a strong sense of self I knew it was possible to find belief outside the confines of organized religion. And knowing what I've encountered over the years, I realize that there are many beliefs and doctrines out there that people follow, and for the most part, most of them follow the same principles. What I've found is that it's important to believe in something, even if it's nothing, even if it's a being, even if it's two beings, even if it's in yourself. And in setting this belief, it's also important to realize that while the things you believe are important to you, not everyone sees things exactly the same way and it's important to respect those differences.
And I would never advocate that my beliefs are more supreme or important than anyone else, much less advocate harm or danger against people that don't follow my plan. Faith is an extremely personal choice, and while I'm sharing part of it with you all, I don't expect that people reading this will completely understand or be able to relate to what I'm talking about. But I respect those around me enough to be able to share this and believe that all of them will support me no matter what because it's what makes me happy. Granted, this is extremely simplistic, but at the same point, boiling some things down to the simple points makes them easier to digest.
So in listening to this person's words that this disaster was caused by an entire region's faith which is different that what he believes, I can't sit here and not say something. I'm tired of living in a society where some people think what they believe matters most, and if you don't buy into their idea of faith or salvation, you're not worthy. I don't understand what gives him the right to be some judgmental, so arrogant, so smug in professing what he believes, but then again, he's said other things like this before and it's all veiled in a "I'm just professing my belief" manner. It might be labeled as free speech, but it's filled with vitriol and spite, not love and optimism, which is how I view the supreme being. I don't think of this force as angry and vengeful, but again, it's my impression. And while I understand our way of life allows people to say and believe what they want as long as it doesn't infringe on others, I'm not happy a message like this is being portrayed as loving, Christian, or whatever.
And that's why I'm writing these words. I don't expect that this will change anything, except to make me feel better about sharing and giving people a peek into my insane world. And I promise that to those that call me friend and I call friend, I will provide you love and support because that's what I do and I believe in treating others like I want to be treated. And in my book, Haiti didn't deserve anything like what has happened to them, and my thoughts and prayers are with them as they try to recover from the devastation. And to him, I hope that at some point, you have a conversation with whatever force or being that you believe in, because I also believe in what goes around comes around, and I'm not sure I would want to be upsetting anything that powerful.

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