I was raised in a rabidly devout fundamentalist Christian home. From a young age, I was taken to church three times each week. It was a big church but not what are known as mega-churches these days. There I was taught the seemingly simple truth that I was destined for hell, unless I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart as my lord and savior. I had to be saved from my vile, wicked self.
As a young child, I couldn’t imagine what I’d done that was so bad, but the preacher corrected that thought. In fact, it was with thought that I had sinned the most. If I had thought the sin, I’d done it, or so I was told.
As I began to grow up, I became aware that I was somehow different. I didn’t have a word for it, but I felt I was different from my friends. When I reached the age when boys start to mature sexually, I realized what the difference was. I looked at other boys the way my friends looked at girls. I don’t remember when I first heard the words homosexual, gay, or fag, but they were thrown at me at a young age in hateful ways. What’s more, the preachers told me that as a homosexual, I was irredeemable. Unlovable. Sub-human.
In adulthood, I searched for a Christian religion that would provide me with love, solace, and salvation. I didn’t find it. I read a lot about Buddhist teachings, and I don’t believe there’s a match for me there either. However, I do enjoy meditation, but that is not exclusively Buddhist.
It was actually in A.A. that I found a faith that worked. I have a spiritual belief today in a loving universe that wants the best for me. I can close my eyes and feel loved. I used to close my eyes and find hell. Now, there is peace and quiet.
I don’t know what to call my faith. I follow no religion. I simply choose to believe that there is something more to life than what meets the eye.
I don’t know what god is. I don’t know if it’s an old, white-bearded man on a throne in the sky or Aristotle’s unmoving mover, or the scent of marigolds on a hot day. I know that I choose to believe.