I have come up with the concept of “spiritual orientation” to explain something about human nature that seems to be a puzzle to atheists . Despite the dogmas of major religions like Christianity and Islam being debunked by reality itself, there are still nearly two billion Christians in the world, as well as over one billion Muslims and millions of followers of other religions around the world; there are relatively few atheists and agnostics in the world, and most of them are found in countries like China and North Korea where atheism is forced on the people by Communist governments. The experiences of the 20th Century proved that Communism as an ideology was just as dogmatic, arrogant, and embarrassing as Christianity, so it was eventually discredited. Good riddance!
When there is a conflict between one’s sexual orientation and one’s spiritual orientation, the result is something that can be life destroying.
Everyday Sunday’s Trey Pearson Comes Out as Gay — Will Christian Music Fans Embrace Him?
Trey Pearson, the founding member of Christian rock group Everyday Sunday, kept his sexuality secret for decades. Then, on Tuesday, he came out as gay in an open letter to his fans, published in (614) Columbus, explaining the daily difficulty he faced in pretending to be something he wasn’t for fear of how his church, his God, his family and his friends would respond.
“I grew up in a very conservative Christian home where I was taught that my sexual orientation was a matter of choice, and had put all my faith into that,” Pearson wrote.
“I had never before admitted to myself that I was gay, let alone to anyone else. I never wanted to be gay. I was scared of what God would think and what all of these people I loved would think about me; so it never was an option for me. I have been suppressing these attractions and feelings since adolescence. I’ve tried my whole life to be straight.”
At 35, Pearson has a wife and two children; he’s enjoyed a highly successful career, having sold hundreds of thousands of albums, one of which cracked the Billboard top 200. According to (614) Columbus, he’s performed in every state in the country and in 20 countries. But while Pearson maintains strong faith, he’s aware that his letter could end the success he’s known.
Many conservative Christian circles adhere to the belief that homosexuality is a sin, citing Biblical scripture as evidence. As Religion News Network reported, Christian musicians who’ve come out in the past — Ray Boltz, Anthony Williams, Jennifer Knapp and Vicky Beeching among them — have seen big segments of their audiences shift away as a result.
While some of Pearson’s conservative fans may reject Pearson and his music after reading his letter, the response he received on social media Wednesday seemed overwhelmingly supportive.
Depression runs high in LGBT youth, who are far more likely than heterosexual kids to commit suicide, especially if they come from families that reject their sexual orientation. And if clinical depression isn’t at issue, there’s still the pain that comes from growing up suppressing who you are.
Now that he can be honest with himself, Pearson said he’s finally able to shake that feeling. “It is like this weight I have been carrying my whole life has been lifted from me,” he wrote, “and I have never felt such freedom.”
One of the biggest mistakes, in my opinion, that atheists make in attacking the dogmas of religions like Christianity is their doing so specifically to promote atheism rather than freedom of thought. The most blatant example of this was the publication of Richard Dawkins’ book “The God Delusion”. The implication that all people who choose to believe in any sort of god are mentally ill is insulting rather than enlightening which is why I never bought that book. It enables Christian dogmatists to counterattack by claiming that atheists are just as bigoted and dogmatic as they are, which is simply not true. Maybe less dogmatic and bigoted, but not the same as the way Christians tend to believe in the Bible without question.
From the start of this blog, I have taken a different approach, using SPIRITUALITY as a tool to fight against RELIGION, not ATHEISM. And some of my blog readers have understood that.
So my purpose in fighting religious dogmatism is to free people from it. But if those people have a strong spiritual orientation, one cannot expect them to become atheists. Indeed, no one should expect that. Only atheist bigots insist on that, and I am partners with NO bigots of any kind.
Anyone who is gay or lesbian that feels oriented to Christianity needs to understand one simple fact, that the statements of dogma and rules that appear in the Bible were indeed written by MEN, and there is no reason to assume GOD was responsible for any of them.
So one can embrace both this: http://www.uuchristian.org/
and this: http://interweavecontinental.ning.com/
Because of this: http://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles
Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote seven Principles, which we hold as strong values and moral guides. We live out these Principles within a “living tradition” of wisdom and spirituality, drawn from sources as diverse as science, poetry, scripture, and personal experience.
As Rev. Barbara Wells ten Hove explains, “The Principles are not dogma or doctrine, but rather a guide for those of us who choose to join and participate in Unitarian Universalist religious communities.”
- 1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
- 2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
- 3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
- 4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
- 5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
- 6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
- 7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
Note that atheism is not listed there. Welcoming atheists and agnostics is not the same as them dominating a religious group. Even as an agnostic myself, I oppose that. The Unitarian Universalist Association must appeal to those with a strong spiritual orientation if it is to grow and prosper in the future.
What is spirituality and how does it differ from religion? These memes seems to sum it up:
And these websites also give explanations:
It is very common for younger people to say they are “spiritual but not religious”. Such people should be appealed to to join the Unitarian Universalists, especially if they have children. We have so much more to offer them than cold atheism.
In the next blog entry I will tell a story about my own spiritual experience which prevented me from ever embracing atheism outright.