Yes, I changed. I’m saying it plainly now, although I don’t think it comes as much of a surprise. I’ve already been experiencing reactions to my perceived changes of opinion that range from surprise to befuddlement to anger to sorrow. Some of the most devastating have been from family members informing me that they never “knew how much a heart can ache”. It’s been distressing to hear some of those reactions. But I’m finally ready to speak my mind.
First, I want to state as clearly as I can that it’s never been my intention to hurt anyone. I’ve never had any personal vendettas and my opinions have never been motivated by anger, bitterness, or rivalry. It might sound trite, but I’ve really just come at them by reading, thinking, and using my mind the best I know how to make sense of the world around me. They’re only opinions. I try not to impugn the character or motives of people who have come to different points of view than my own. I love receiving the same courtesy in return.
Some have asked me why I need to air my opinions in public when I know others may find them offensive. Well, it went against every impulse, but I actually did try for a while to keep them to myself; but at the end of the day, I discovered that’s just not who I am. I’m an honest person. I speak my mind. That’s always gotten me into trouble since my mind isn’t generally the same as everyone else’s around me; but at least I can rest my head at night in peace. At least I still have my self-respect. I don’t think I could live with myself if I tried to pretend that I’m someone I’m really not, or that I think in a way I really don’t. That’s it.
I also want to assure everyone who may feel shocked or confused that I was always sincere. My old beliefs were never feigned. I’ve always sought the truth with all my heart and clung to my best understanding of it with fervor. Since I was taught from childhood that the bible is the divine source of all truth, I was really passionate about studying it. I memorized chapters and books. I devoted countless hours to studying Greek and Hebrew grammar so I could read it in its original languages. I labored over it from beginning to end, seeking the best I could to reconcile all its distinctive parts and never daring to doubt its divine origin and inerrancy. It’s way too long a story to relate in one post (although telling that story is one of my motivations for starting this blog) but basically, I finally got to the point where I’m no longer willing just to lift my morality straight from the pages of a book with such disturbing elements as the bible has. I can no longer stomach the divinely-commanded genocide, infanticide and rape or the gay-bashing. I’m appalled by the horrors of an eternal, conscious and unspeakably agonizing existence in hell for the vast majority of persons who have ever existed, all because they didn’t have the right opinions on some matters. I realize that this admission alone could be enough to consign me to those flames, a point that some have already taken it upon themselves to assure me of (and believe me, I’ve had enough hell-inspired nightmares and terrors throughout my life that I don’t need anyone to rub the point in). I guess I’m hoping that the isolation and ostracism my opinions have already brought me in this life may count as hell enough. And if God summons me before his judgment seat one day and asks me to give an account of my life, I suppose all I can say is, I truly tried to love my neighbors as myself, no matter how despised and marginalized they were, and no matter the personal cost.
So yes, I’m on record now. To every person who self-identifies as LGBT (or whatever), to every freethinker or atheist, to everyone oppressed or isolated for daring to be who you are, I’m officially an ally now. I take that announcement seriously, because it’s come at a relational cost. If you care to hear more of my personal story, my thoughts and perspectives, my creative endeavors, whatever else this blog decides to be, stick around. I’m sure I’ll still convey my opinions with too much bullheaded ardor (a bad habit I’ve had a hard time breaking), but don’t be intimidated. I’m not at all threatened by disagreement, and I respect firm opinions aired passionately (and reasonably!) no matter how strongly I may differ.