This is not an argument about whether there is a god for the sake of the following I assume there is. I also think it is important that a few things are known about how I think.
1. I love everybody. I am not emotionally attached to everybody and I certainly don't like everybody but I honestly do love everybody. I want for all what I want for myself.
2. I do not believe that any one is evil. I believe that there are evil states of mind which can be altered.
3. I believe that how we think and what we believe is of the utmost importance. It is our beliefs that creates the world that we live in.
I understand how Vicky and Joyce think the way that they do. Fear can make us all think illogically. It can also make us behave in evil ways.
I had an evil mindset because I was taught to have one. I was taught that I was born evil and that only through accepting the unacceptable would I be loved. I was taught that I was destined for an eternity of burning in Hell. I was taught that just like people’s, god's love was conditional. I cannot speak for other religions but Christians deny that they're god's love is conditional. It clearly is. Having to believe something in order to be loved is a condition placed upon that love!
I was taught that merely to question is evil. It was Satan who put the questions in my mind, who made me doubt, and that I, because of my innate evilness, allowed Satan into my life and thus doubt.
On top of all this was the threat of abandonment. It is very hard for people to go against the prevailing ideas. To do so means one is risking all. One risks being shunned, not just by one's community but by one's family also. This is a truly terrifying prospect. Anyone who has experienced abandonment knows this to be true.
I also happened to have parents who abandoned me at a very young age. They did not physically abandon me but abandon me they did. They abused me, they did not love me, they left me in my fear without any solace or comfort or care. They abandoned me.
I had absolutely no difficulty in understanding that I was going to Hell. Not only was my day to day life fear filled but there was no prospect of the fear stopping. I already knew that I was not acceptable to my parents, especially to my father, but I was too young to understand that it was because I was homosexual. When it became apparent to me that I was one of these evil people I lost all hope.
Love saved me and brought me out of Hell. Firstly my partner John. His loving kindness allowed a little, very little, crack in my thinking. Whilst I could easily envisage my own damnation I could not envisage his. This was the beginning of my freedom. The second man to love me was the therapist I saw for five years who was experienced in deprogramming the type of mindset I had. He never once told me that there was anything wrong with me. All he did was point out different options in thinking. This I found both terrifying and amazing. I had not been aware that there were other ways to think.
Fundamentalists are very much like drug addicts. I have known many addicts who put down their drugs only to take up another addiction, that of fundamentalism. Whilst whilst one is high on drugs that is all one cares about. It feels so good one does not think about the effect one is having on others. In just the same way whilst one is high on an idea of Jesus and Heaven one is so wrapped up in the high of that, that the welfare of others is of no consequence. As with the drug addict thinking becomes black and white with only one goal in mind: being high.
Christians it seems fall into two camps: fundamentalists and liberals. Fundamentalists say that they believe and follow every word of the Bible, which is a lie, whereas liberals say they believe in Jesus but not the bits of the Bible they don't like. Fundamentalists believe that god will cause unbelievers to suffer the agony of burning for eternity. Liberals, because they think they are so much kinder, believe instead that unbelievers will suffer eternal abandonment. Both end games are evil. Only an evil mindset could conceive of such wickedness or believe in a god who would do either!
People often use their religion as their reason for believing as they do. This is a lie. Those who say that they believe that being homosexual is wrong because their religion says so are lying, to themselves and to others. If their own conscience was not in accord with their religion they would reject this evil teaching. They are personally responsible for what they believe.
I am referring here to adults only. However one was brought up, one is personally responsible for one's present mindset. Not necessarily for the way one thinks but certainly for looking at it and doing what is necessary to change and grow. The fact that it is frightening and painful to examine one's self and one's beliefs is not an acceptable reason to stick with the status quo.
Whilst I have compassion and understanding for people such as Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and others who think in this way it does not mean that their ideas do not make me angry nor do my feelings of compassion and love for all mean that I ought not be vociferous in my opposition to the evil they espouse.
When it is suggested that I ought not to criticise others beliefs and I find myself wondering if there is some truth in that I remember Matthew Shepard and that poor 10 year old boy who hung himself because of homophobic bullying. Even though the Jewish State and historians in general would like us to forget that homosexuals and the disabled and gypsies were also tortured and killed in the Holocaust, I personally do not forget any of those millions who lost their lives through bigotry and hatred and as a result I find I cannot keep quiet in the face of such evil as espoused by some commentators on my blog and by religious leaders and religious followers in general.
Anger and hatred are not the same thing. Yes I get angry at the pain and suffering caused by people to people. If my anger leads me to want to harm or condemn others then my mind set in that would be evil. I hate evil, that is true. I do not hate people. I wish no one harm. I am well aware that people choose to use lies to attack me such as Vicki did, where she wrote that my blog was mainly composed of negative flaming, when one only has to scroll down to see that it is a lie. People also choose to interpret anger as hatred because it suits them to. If they allowed themselves to read what I write honestly and with an open mind they might feel and if they felt they might not be able to live with themselves in their present state of mind.
The worst thing any of us can do is decide that they know THE TRUTH. Once one is convinced that one's own judgment is beyond question, one's mind becomes closed and evil results. In Christian terms a closed mind cannot possibly admit the Holy Spirit and cannot be healed. Therefore sin cannot be forgiven. Meaning error cannot be corrected because such a mind does not see the need for correction.
I have done my best to state my position clearly. O and I would like to add that I find the atheist position to be just as closed minded. To say that without doubt there is no god is just as fundamentalist as those who insist in their own rightness. If my understanding is correct, agnosticism would be the only honest position.