One of the things, that is supposed to make the US great, is religious freedom and freedom from tyranny. I haven’t felt this much lately and some of my friends have said the same. I’m not Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or atheist. I consider myself a deist (I believe in a supreme being, a god [little g on that is correct], but I don’t think they give two shakes about humans… we were an experiment it lost interest in almost immediately after it seeded our creation). Being deist, I don’t believe in duality – no angels, no demons, and I don’t believe in sin, salvation, or damnation. When I’m forced to live, via those principles, it’s annoying, because to me, they don’t exist. At the moment, the US has backslid into a very conservative Christian mindset, which seems to be fine for Christians, but for someone like me, who isn’t Christian, it’s annoying.
Deism is a more philosophical belief than religion. Humans are capable of infinite kindness and infinite cruelty. We don’t need angels to offer us salvation and show us the path of redemption, we know it ourselves. We also don’t require demons to sit on our shoulders and tempt us to do evil, we’re very good at that on our own as well.
However, I wasn’t born deist. My parents are non-church going Christians… I had to research what kind of religion I believed in,what “felt” right for me. I did eventually find it in a history class* of all places. My best friend is atheist, but I did and still do believe in a supreme being a god, that started the seeds for the universe. I don’t know if that god is male, female, or a turtle standing on another turtle’s back, but the possibilities for such a being are endless.
In my late twenties, I noticed a trend. A lot of the “Christians” I had grown up with, liked to tell me I was going to Hell or Purgatory, because I didn’t believe Jesus Christ was the son of god and had come to Earth to save us from ourselves, so we could enter the kingdom of Heaven. So, I stopped telling people I wasn’t Christian. I’ve read the bible, I’m fairly certain I remember Jesus talking about how no human had the right to judge another human, but here were all these Christians, doing exactly that.
I was in my 30s, when I published the first Brenna Strachan book. And someone that I had thought was a friend, informed me they could no longer talk to me, because they didn’t want to associate with a heretic. It wasn’t the first time, I had been shunned for not being Christian. But it was the one that soured me the most on the religion, as a whole. Here was someone, who was supposedly a “Good Christian” went to church every Sunday, judging me and judging me a sinner. Based on a work of fiction that did not reflect my personal views, just some of my crazier ideas.
Some of my faith in the religion was restored by my editor. Her and I were talking one day and she is quite devout. When she said “You can hate the sin and still love the sinner.” YES! That is the sentiments of Christianity, as I understood it growing up. According to Christianity, we’re supposed to love our fellow man. It’s one of Jesus’ teachings. We are not supposed to protest military funerals because the government allows gay men and lesbians in the military.
The New Testament is about LOVE. Yet, often, it is judgement and hate that is practiced, not love. Which is hypocritical at best and a sin according to Christianity. My first instinct is to tell that person to clean their own soul, before trying to save others.
And as a deist, being told I shouldn’t watch or read something because it’s blasphemous or because it goes against the teachings of the Bible is a personal affront. Because that means, someone has assumed they 1) know what’s best for me and 2) that I believe as they do.
However, when someone shows me respect as a non-Christian, I try to return the favor. Meaning, when I write a book that has objectionable content like Goddess Investigations, I tell Krissy before I send it. I give her a warning “Hey, Satanists are the victims in Ritual, not the bad guys. Do you want to edit it?” Because I don’t want to send her a book that she completely objects to on all grounds, because it is blasphemous and irreverent. And Krissy has accepted my non-Christian leanings. It only seems fair, that I respect hers. That’s how it’s supposed to work, “hate the sin, love the sinner.”
Not all Christians are like this, just like not all Muslims are radicals who want the capitalist swine of the West to die. But as a non-Christian, I am aware of when the hate mongering starts. And I am forced to live within the constructs of a Christian morality that I don’t necessarily believe in. For instance, since our god doesn’t care about us, that god doesn’t care what we do to our bodies, use it for orgies, be gay… Christians aren’t supposed to judge for it.
I mentioned the other day, that eventually, resentment would grow against Christianity as a whole, because there are zealots who insist that everyone should be Christian, agree with how they feel, and follow their rules. It wasn’t a call for active resentment to begin. It was a statement of fact. Christian women would be annoyed, if they were expected to put on a Burka like a conservative-Muslim woman. And a non-Christian, such as myself, gets annoyed when I’m expected to practice the tenets of Christianity, when I myself do not believe in the Bible, a god that is active in our lives, or Christian sins. This is especially true, because it’s not supposed to matter that I’m not a Christian. I have the right to make that decision for myself, and yet, if I don’t act like a Christian, I will be shunned. As an American, not being Christian is supposed to be okay. Unfortunately, more and more, it’s not. The protest of Good Omens highlights this in all its ugliness. The Ultra-Conservative Christians want to prevent everyone, not just Christians from reading the book or watching the movie, even though for some of us, like me, there is nothing wrong with it. Why am I not allowed to be angry about that? Why shouldn’t I be allowed to voice my opinion regarding it?
And someone asked, what I thought they should do about it, as a Christian… Use your voice, remind your fellow Christians, this isn’t what your religion is about. I have a friend who is Muslim, he protests radical Islam and its teachings. He’s even organized a protest outside of a mosque. Why can’t moderate Christians do the same? “Hey, just a reminder that not everyone is a Christian that believes Good Omens is blasphemous, promotes evil, and gives women the right to be god-like (or something like this since Frances McDormand provided the voice of God in the show). You don’t have to watch it, let those that don’t believe as we do, do what they want, including watch this mini-series. Without fear that us Christians are going to start hunting them down and crucifying them to save them from themselves.”
Because that is the part, that bothers most non-Christians. As the country becomes more conservative Christian, we begin to fear, that one day, we will be forced to accept Christian doctrine, whether we believe in it or not.
*I mentioned that I found Deism through a history class. And I did, I was in an American history class, and we were discussing the Founding Fathers, who were mostly not Christian. Washington, Franklin, and several others, went to church, because it was expected, but they didn’t believe in Christianity. They believed there was a god and that god, didn’t give a fig about humanity. We were a giant ant colony, created but ignored when our creator got bored with us. It was this belief that spoke to me and “felt” right.