By Trevor Goforth
All my life I have grown up with belief in a higher power or “God.” As far back as I can remember I have had a fascination with belief.
Part of that was the way I grew up. Both parents went to church and my mother taught Sunday school. You could say it was in my DNA but we all know it wasn’t.
What was in my DNA was a curiosity to question things. It was Robert F. Kennedy that said; “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not”
At 17 years of age and during a time in my life where I was hurting and very naive, I joined a conservative church movement of Christianity that believes in the literal translation of the bible. Yet during the next 30 years the questions remained. Sure I could preach with the best of them. Talk like them, act like them but inside I knew I was living a lie. Let me explain.
Many times I would express these doubt and questions. But I would get told to “pray” about it, or it was the work of “the devil.” I would just return to my shell and play the part.
Then year ago I started to think for myself and really examine what I believed and why. I realized that I no longer believed those things anymore from a literal standpoint. How my church friends reacted was just another proof for me that there was something wrong with this way of life for me. They only “loved” me if I talked as they did or believed as they do. When I am asked to believe in this way of life I say; “No way that is abusive and wrong.”
What I realized is that it is not “God” who is jealous but his followers. They act this way out of sense of arrogance that because they feel they are created in the “likeness” of God that it gives them the right to treat others like shit. I for one do not believe that “God” or the “Great Spirit” as some call it, is like this. “But what about the violence in the bible or the fact the bible states that if you do not believe you will be cast into a place of eternal judgement?” Some may ask.
For some of those questions I do not have the answer other than this, I believe that all scripture or holy texts are a metaphor or allegory. Just a story to point to something bigger. Many of the ancient texts were written thousands of years ago by people who had no idea how we would evolve as human beings. When it comes to the argument that religion and science cannot co-exist I do believe that they can for me both have a mystery about them. I am a student of both religion and science. I am constantly a work in progress. I have seen both good and bad come out of both arenas. Anything else is a matter of personal faith.
During the last three years of my life I have discovered who I am as a person. If you want to believe than that is fine. I will defend your right to believe as long as your belief leads to empathy and compassion. If your belief leads to ignorance and intolerance then for me the conversation is over.
Turn on the news today and we see the results of religion and whose God is better or who’s the chosen people or not. This type of literalism is divisive and destructive.
In the words of John F. Kennedy; “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
Life for me is constant evolution, ever changing. I believe that we will one day grow beyond superstition and myth. Religion and faith will either evolve or fade away to be thrown in the trash as a historical footnote.
“That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight;losing my religion…Oh no, I’ve said too much,I haven’t said enough” – R.E.M