Godless

coexistThis week, I was told I was godless.

That was news to me, but in this era when people can post anything on the internet and pretend it’s the truth, I have forever been labeled godless.

In reality, that doesn’t actually mean that I don’t believe in God. It just means I don’t share the narrow-minded, judgmental views belonging to some people who call themselves Christians.

Because I support gay marriage, believe in comprehensive sex education, will always fight for separation of church and state and don’t believe that Christianity is the only legitimate religion, to them, I am godless.

This isn’t the first time someone has questioned my faith.

When I was a teen, I often attended youth group activities with a friend at a fundamentalist church. Upon arrival, my friend always got the attention of  boys while I always watched from the sideline. One evening, I just couldn’t deal with the situation, and the youth pastor picked up on my petulance and jealousy. He asked me to come to his office, and I agreed because I thought he was going to provide some words of wisdom and solace.

Instead he interrogated me about my religious beliefs.

“Are you saved?” he asked me.

“I go to a Methodist Church,” I said, thinking he would understand that most Methodist weren’t real big on going up to the altar, getting on their knees and proclaiming they were “born again.”

He didn’t like my answer.

“Well then, you aren’t a real Christian,” he said.

Even at fifteen, I knew he was full of it. But, in order to escape his small office, I promised I would think about his advice.

I never talked to him again, which probably wasn’t real Christian of me. Instead, it was actually rather godless, because the God I know is loving and forgiving. I wasn’t being either.

There are times, like this week, when I’m still not.

I question people who wrap themselves in Christianity and proclaim that the way they live their lives is the way everyone else must live theirs. I swear when those same people call me a hypocrite for saying I believe in diversity but don’t believe in exposing kids to the lies they want to perpetuate. And I have a hard time loving and forgiving people who are more intent on justifying their own beliefs rather than caring for others.

I was too angry to truly exemplify God’s love and ability to forgive, so maybe people were justified in calling me godless.

But I’m pretty sure God understands and forgives me.

About Trina Bartlett

I live in the Eastern Panhandle of WV, with one dog, two cats, a theater kid in high school, a band kid at West Virginia University and a husband who works strange hours. When I'm not working as a director at a nonprofit social service organization or being a mom, I can generally be found riding my bike, walking my dog and stirring things up.

Posted on April 20, 2013, in religion, spirituality and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I’m with you totally–I hate it when I totally agree with people and am going to stop making exceptions for you soon. :>) My tongue has scars from biting it so much dealing with people like you just described. It’s really sad how people can be so manipulated by those with what really amounts to so little wisdom. How can someone take religion–a skillful, thoughtful and thankful approach to life–and turn it into something that, in the end, breeds ignorance and hatred? Take heart–you are far from alone in this one.

    • Now you’ve provided a challenge. I will do my best to write something you disagree with. What I don’t understand is how they don’t see how their behavior is in direct opposition to what Jesus preached!

  2. A few years ago my daughter, one of the most spiritual, thoughtful people I know, bought herself a bumper sticker. It said, “I’m OK with God. It’s his fan club that I can’t stand.”
    Sort of sums it up, doesn’t it?
    I have slowly come to the realization that the most “Godlike” people I know are those who align themselves with no particular view of God. I like to think that He smiles most on those who readily admit that they can never truly understand or grasp all that He embodies. I find it the height of arrogance for any church/denomination/faith to believe that they actually know the mind of God.
    I mean, seriously?
    I have decided, in all my own infinite wisdom, that the truly religious are those who claim no one religion.
    I like it when I am called “godless” because I take it mean that I am free to really think about the meaning of God.

    • Well said. What bothers me most are people who believe/profess/worship for the primary purpose of ensuring a reward after they die. I like to think faith guides how we interact and treat people while we are on earth for no other reason than it is the right thing to do…

      • It IS the right thing to do; and I am sure, beyond any doubt, that God sees those actions and acknowledges them in some profound way.

  3. Over the years, I have belonged to and faithfully attended several different denominations. Now I do my own thing. The important ingredient in faith for me is honoring diversity among human beings and practicing tolerance. We can live together in peace, I know we can. It’s the only way to express the love of God for all.

  4. Trina, It’s so good to see someone else with these views. I become so frustrated with the beliefs that Christianity is the “only” religion and that it is often used to discriminate against others. Thank you for sharing!

  5. God does know the hearts of all people. Our wonderful Creator knows your heart and will help you move from where you are to be more forgiving, but not forgetting. God does this for all of us if we are open to our wonderful Creator. The one great commandment in the Bible is “Love the Lord your God, with all your heart mind and soul and your neighbor as your self. ” We humans, tend to really screw that up, but this is what we are called to do as Christians. Margo

    ________________________________

  6. Trina, so happy to see that your mind is still free and questioning. Wishing you and yours all the best.

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