I've always wanted to do a post about religion and homosexuality because I remember the guilt and pain I used to put myself through for being sandwiched contradictorily between my sexual orientation and my faith. The idea of a gay guy being a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist or a Jew sounds kind of backwards. How is that even possible? But the truth is, like many, I am sure they exist.
Recently, I received an email from a 16 year old guy containing the following sentence in which I think might help some people out there.
My whole family is Christian and the specific church I belong to says it's wrong to be gay. Do you believe in God? I am not sure if I do... But if he exists are we going to hell?
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My Reply to Him:
I remember a scene from a movie, where a Southeast Asian medicine man once said: "Not too much God, not too much selfish. Otherwise, life too crazy." I find this saying very wise because in life, it is very important to have a balance in all things.
Although I'm not a Christian, but I do believe in God due to my upbringing from a multi-religious country. I also personally believe in the philosophical teachings and existence of other higher powers from a multitude of religions that oversee us.
As humans, we're all brought up to be God-fearing beings. Therefore sometimes, being too deep in that state of mind can cloud our own judgement and ability to think logically for ourselves as human beings. Trust me, I've been there. I previously couldn't even pray or walk into a shrine without feeling ashamed of how I even have the audacity to be a "religious gay". Because being gay in itself is already wrong, and a sin.
Firstly, before you think God is going to punish us all for being gay, you must first ask yourself this question: "Was there an age or a point in your life where you were 'being offered' the option of 'choosing' whether you want to be sexually attracted to 'men' or sexually attracted to 'women'?" If your answer is no, then it is definitely NOT your fault for feeling whatever it is that you're feeling.
Sexual orientation is something beyond our control. We didn't play a part in choosing it at birth, just like our nationality, our skin colour, our face and our status in life. Because if we did, everybody would have chosen to be born in a perfect world where everybody is physically beautiful, intelligent, charismatic, attractive, wealthy, and straight. Think about it, why would one choose to be gay? Or why would one choose to "want to be gay" in an already-problem-filled world?
It depends also on one's definition and parameters as to what "being gay" means. I spent years, coming up with reasons as to what makes me gay and what makes me not. Kind of like in denial but also telling me to stop kidding myself.
For me, I finally identified with being gay because I am a guy who is sexually attracted to other guys. The sexual part was the "wake-up bullet" that made me think: "Okay, fucking shit I'm gay. Really gay. And I can't control it. Why is this happening to me?"
As guys, we are being brought up to be naturally attracted to girls, which is what the rest of the world is, the majority as we call it. But when an unlucky guy like me strikes the unasked lottery of being attracted to the same sex, I am perceived to be a level lower than others who are not a defect.
The reason why being gay is so unacceptable, is because the vast majority of people in this world are not gay and never have to worry about the burden that comes with being one. So when somebody is not in a crisis, they will never understand. Simply because they don't have to, it's just not their problem. And that my friend, is the painful reality of the world that we live in.
Listen, I am no attorney or religious expert, neither am I here to decry religion. But from a logical point of view as a human being, here's what I think. If God truly is the compassionate creator of all things, why would he create and let gay men exist within men in general just so that He can specifically send gay men to hell?
It just doesn't make sense. Think about it. Because if that is the case then God himself is being discriminatory on his part, and it would be unfair to the rest of us who "didn't get a choice" in "choosing to be normal" or straight like the rest of the world.
As gay guys, we are already having a tough time on Earth. So if God decides to punish us further for "being gay" so to speak in the afterlife, then He is being unreasonable because He created this biological body and mind of ours, along with the blood flowing in our veins.
Therefore, my best advice to you is: "Have faith. Have faith in yourself and most importantly, have more faith in God than God has of Himself." That is if you consider Him and religion in itself to be a central part to your life.
And I honestly understand the pressurised nature and lack of freedom that comes with being 16. There are churches and religious establishments that will accept you for who you are because they believe in the compassion the higher power grants all living beings regardless of sexual orientation. So until you are in the position to make independent choices for yourself, you will have to be patient and tolerant. Don't beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself and let everything work out the way it's meant to work out, because it will, in time.