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Author Topic: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?  (Read 515 times)

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Offline Cleardot

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  • Posts: 8
Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« on: April 20, 2015, 12:18:54 PM »
I recently found out I was HIV+ March 10, 2015.
I grew up in a very religious and strict home. In my teens I hid that I had attraction to men for fear of what my family would think. In my 20's I tried to repress and pray for God to change me, so far as to go to a Christian counselor and even telling my family and pastor about being gay. Finally in my late 20's I lost all hope in being straight or marrying and having a traditional family. I slowly started to  experiment with guys and in my 30's went to a gay bar for the first time and later dated and became a little more comfortable being gay. There has always been an inner conflict with my faith, or the faith I had when I was growing up. My family loves me and has never turned their back on me. They do believe homosexuality is a sin, but they do not preach to me or try to change me. I have many gay friends who love me and accept me. And I told a couple of them recently about my HIV status. The last few weeks have been filled with anxiety and feelings of shame, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness. I want to be a happy person who is accepting of all parts of myself, including being gay. I don't want to feel shame for being gay or my sexuality. I want to be in a loving relationship one day and not carry this shame into that relationship. I don't want memories of sermons preached that I am going to hell because I am an abomination and unable to inheret the kingdom of God.  I started seeing a counselor last month and we are having discussions about this. There is no easy answer. I know there are probably many gay men who had similar religious upbringing and may still struggle to some degree with the conflict of what the church and Bible teaches and being gay. I feel like I had made progress with accepting myself until I found out I have Hiv. Obviously I haven't made the progress I thought. I am reading a book called "Coming out of shame" and I am getting a better understanding of where the shame comes from. If anyone else has any insights or experiences with this, I would like to hear from you.

Online zach

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2015, 01:12:20 PM »
Quote
Give me a child until he is seven, and I will give you the man.-Francis Xavier, Jesuit

The indoctrination of faith begins at young age for a simple reason, young minds are malleable, open to being shaped and manipulated. All to often, bent and broken to the harm of the man.

I was born into the Catholic faith, but I am also a born skeptic. Full of doubt and questions, I accept nothing on blind faith.

My mother does stained glass for the church, I have fond memories of her shed in the backyard... the smell of solder and lead, the sound cutting glass. My brother, paints amazing murals in churches in Mexico and Texas. I spent my summers as teen working fields at a Cistercian Monastery. I can't help but love the Church.

And yet, I am an atheist. Breaks my Meme's heart. Nevertheless, when I was sick in hospital, maybe dying, I took Last Rites (in Latin no less) and I gave confession (poor priest, I felt bad for him) I was truly penitent. That may sound like a contradiction, but there is no conflict in me about that, I reconciled that long ago. Some might say I rationalized it.

Although I find the ceremony of mass a beautiful experience, moving on a deeply spiritual level, I do not find a God there.

Instead, I look at the architecture as Sacred Space... humans are naturally moved and affected by certain spaces;  the way the light plays in the air. I listen to the choir and bells and hear beauty, the stained glass as art, the light dancing through and can't help but be dazzled. I think back to when the Church truly ruled, and think about how the common man lived in those days... a church had to be one of the most beautiful places they ever set foot in. They couldn't help but be moved. Basically, I deconstruct everything about a service into it's Humanist elements that transcend the religion and faith. All faiths attempt to affect the mind/spirit of man in the same ways. I view all faiths as the same, all Gods as the same embodiment and visualization of our spirit. Each culture creates a religion and God that best suits them. The moral codes of all religions are, at the most basic, very similar. Good and evil, right and wrong... these are common traits. They are written on our hearts. A preacher on the pulpit, little more than a car sales to me.

In short, I am an extremely spiritual atheist, humanist in view, but always rooted in the Catholicism of my Meme, and memories of mass in Louisiana.

I find Christianity (mainly American) overall to be destructive to the individual. We have a puritanical streak that I'm not sure will ever be fully washed away. Guilt, shame, fear... these aren't positive things, they are tools to control the masses.

I hope that the counselor you're currently seeing is far removed from that sort of thinking. Reprogramming, or whatever they like to call it these days... is a disgusting practice. The lives it has ruined stand as clear evidence of that.

There is one underlying message to all of Christianity. Love. No more, and no less. Tear away all of the scripture, all of the dogma, and simply be a good person.

Don't be ashamed of yourself, you are as you were made to be.

Love each other, and love your self.




some of my families work, needless to say I am the sheep that strayed far from my flock.

The Crucifixion of St Peter


The Coat of Arms installed at St. Patricks Cathedral downtown El Paso for the new Bishop
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 01:20:27 PM by zach »
An honest tune with a lingering lead has taken me this far

Offline Cleardot

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2015, 08:15:27 PM »
That is what I am focusing on...being kind and loving to everyone and that includes myself. I am thankful for your reply Zach. The art work is beautiful.

Offline tednlou2

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2015, 12:30:43 AM »
I never struggled with it.  I grew up in my uncle's Southern Baptist Church.  By the time I realized I really was gay, I was already on the road to being an atheist.  I think I still believed, at first, but I was quickly moving toward a non-believer.

The homosexuality issue is one that always causes heated debate, not to mention so much pain.  If someone is a believer, Jesus never said a word about homosexuality.  And, it was certainly around in his day.  Many want to use the Leviticus passage.  Well, right there next to that are abominations about eating shellfish and pork.  So many of my "gay equals sin" family eat their bacon and ham and head to Red Lobster after church.  That Leviticus passage only discusses men, so I guess lesbians get a pass?  Lesbianism is not mentioned; it is the men.  So they also bring up New Testament passages.  I think there are 6 in all.  Many theologians believe those passages were about men taking young boys as sex slaves-- forced sex.  Many pick and choose their "sins."  Religion causes people to feel shame about sex, whether straight or gay. 

I hope you are able to move passed the shame, which was taught to you from an early age. 


Offline AT

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  • Take your meds, keep your chin up and enjoy life.
Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2015, 01:08:05 AM »
I struggled with my fundamentalist past, not roots, but from my experience in a "hell, fire and damnation" fellowship during my 20s. During my HIV diagnosis depression six months ago a friend led me in some guided meditation and imagery where I let go of that guilt and coercion. It was a great start to overcoming similar issues that you have described. A good documentary on the subject is "For the Bible Tells Me So" streaming on Netflix.

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2015, 04:03:14 AM »
Cleardot - why not take a comparative religion class and put some of this into the area of "relative" and "culturally determined" and not absolutes.  Didn't one of the popes say its all one God?  So some people in some religious setting might be living with a lot of intolerance which is "justified" through the faithfuls' interpretation of the faith but not provably because its "God's will."  There are still plenty of spiritual leaders, local to international, who are even in established religions, and who are preaching universal love and tolerance and respect. Self love too.  Try the Dalai Lama for example.
So see things more globally and free up yourself form the constraints.  ON the other hand, act locally. You should find a church in your area that is ON THE RECORD for loving LGBTQ people. Such as Metropolitan Community.
You can't do much to fight or change a context this is rigidly full of intolerance so please change your own context ASAP as life is too short to put up with such people and such intolerance.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Cleardot

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2015, 11:47:07 AM »
Thank you guys for your thoughts
Tednlou- I am jealous of you in that you never had that struggle. As a child I took comfort in my faith when I felt alone and ridiculed by kids at school. I feel disloyal if I even consider rejecting my faith or the existence of God or the death and resurrection of Christ. I will agree that the Bible, Old Testament in particular, is very rigid and has laws that no person could realistically follow. The New Testament is more about love and the idea that our righteousness comes from Christ and not any good deeds that we do. The law of the OT was abolished basically because no one could ever follow those laws.
AT- I will check out the documentary on Netflix, thank you.
Mecch- that is a very good idea. I will see if there is a class like that offered at the local universities. Thank you

Offline vertigo

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2015, 03:59:28 PM »
My observation has been that organized religion does a lot of harm to young gay kids, and that this damage can linger.  If there's any consolation it's that your story is not unique.  Take mecch's advice and find a church that's welcoming to LGBTQ members, a place where you can experience faith and spirituality in an affirming atmosphere, not a negative place of condemnation.  Personally I am agnostic, but I'll take a message of joy and love in any setting.  The idea that a few words of approbation in an ancient book tar me as morally deficient is patently ridiculous.

Offline RobbyR

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  • Posts: 384
Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2015, 03:31:42 PM »
For me, everyone has their own unique individual personal journey & experiences so I can only speak for myself. I was born into organized religion, I don't discount it, but ONLY if it is a tolerant, accepting community that loves people for themselves regardless of their orientation. I went through my skeptic phase, but as a science enthusiast as well, I don't feel the two are mutually exclusive at all. What I hate is people who stand on pedastals & judge people based on superficial crap.

I've found a church in my town that includes LGBT people & welcomes everyone (though I haven't yet attended it). To me that's what it should be about, mentoring & loving others.

In the past year or so, I have (on my own) rediscovered my own private personal relationship with God & even come to pray regularly on my own, & just live my life as best I can treating everyone with dignity & respect. The old saying, it doesn't matter what you do on Sunday, what matters is how you treat people & how you act every single moment is what really counts.

I don't think anyone can or should force anyone, everyone has to find their own paths. I consider myself spiritual, I believe in God, but I don't get into herd mentalities (those are dangerous I think). It's hard to explain, but for me I feel strength & spirituality in quiet, peaceful places, like in nature or just in solitude by myself where I can hear myself think. Anyone who says they are religious & go through the motions but belong to a group that teaches subtle & blatant discrimination isn't spiritual in the least, but hypocritical.

The key is finding your own path of spirituality whatever that may be, it should be affirming and rewarding & not contain any toxicity! That's what's worked for me! Hope that helped a bit. xoxo
Started Atripla August, 2010.

Offline Cleardot

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2015, 11:06:16 AM »
I watched the documentary For the Bible tells me so, yesterday. It was very good and I will likely watch it again. It gave me hope. Thank you for the recommendation.

Offline Kendoll

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  • Love is a gift, never owed...
    • Adventures In Gay Dating
Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2015, 09:07:18 AM »
I was raised in a strict Southern Baptist home. And well, you guessed it...I nearly drove myself crazy when I realized I was gay.

I knew that I wanted to go to heaven when I died. I knew that I wanted to please God with my day to day living. So, how could I do that being a homo...a queer...a gay man ?

Remember that old saying, "God doesn't make trash" ? It applies here. God made me. God made me just like I am. I am not a mistake. I am loved.

I just wanted you to know how I got through. Hugz from North Carolina.

Offline Cleardot

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Re: Anyone struggle with faith/God and being gay?
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2015, 09:49:32 AM »
Thank you Kendoll :)

 


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