Acting on the most basic human need to love and be loved will not send you to hell. Nor is it sinful. Some reading this column may be thinking, “tell me something I don’t know.” Let me ask, however, do you really know it? Do you feel it in your heart?
In my pastoral travels, many LGBTQ and Searching people of faith still have angst their loving monogamous relationship or the search for one is an affront to God. Some wonder if acting on their emotional, spiritual and physical needs is contrary to what the Creator expects of them. Although the emotional and intellectual transition has been made, finding spiritual resolution can be elusive.
For many there remains a nagging twinge of guilt. Guilt is a useless emotion usually with negative outcomes. If you haven’t given it up to the cosmos, then do it today.
Religion, a man-made institution, not to be confused with faith, conditions people to think a certain way consciously and subconsciously. Individuals, as we know from our personal behavior, are flawed creatures whose misconceptions influence religion.
It’s important to remember hurt, fear, or abuse from religion can impact the subconscious. Individuals can act out these past experiences and not realize it. The Creator isn’t sparking negative thoughts in your soul when a subtle prick of guilt is felt. It’s the years of negative conditioning by uninformed, superstitious and the spiritually insecure speaking from behind religious authority.
Several religions take the position that an individual can be LGBTQ without sinning so long as he or she does not act on spiritual and emotional expressions through physical intimacy. Physical intimacy can be sex, as well as simply holding and being held on the couch watching television and stealing kisses. There’s probably nothing crueler than attempting to impose on someone lifelong loneliness, as is often done by misinformed clergy or those who worship false gods.
The reason for this ignorance is based on culture, not faith. In other cases, it involves the primitive understanding of sin. The biblical story about Adam and Eve has nothing to do with sin, but awareness, awakening and consciousness. Nor did Satan cause Eve to eat an apple from the tree of knowledge. Hell and Satan do not exist. Adam and Eve is a teaching story.
If someone’s belief in God is based on the fear that Satan will drag them to eternal damnation, then faith is not genuine. It’s belief for the wrong reason. Instead, the neighbor needs to be loved, including those who are homophobic, because it is the right thing to do and it’s a choice to live with grace, purpose and respect for all creation. Note I said love, not like. There’s a difference.
Satan is also a convenient excuse for too many people, especially by those who make faith and religion into superstition. Some would rather blame a fictional character than take personal ownership. Satan was once blamed for crop failures, witches flying on broomsticks and mental health problems ranging from alcoholism to personality disorders. Science, medicine and common sense has shown humanity otherwise.
The next great revelation, which may happen within 50 years, will include re-thinking sin, hell and Satan. These are obstacles to love, friendship, fellowship, return to mystical spirituality and most important, communion with the Creator.
Healthy LGBTQ and Searching spirituality must include reflection, discernment and perspective. This is a deeply personal journey with Creator and conscience. A life lived with honor, respect, dignity and within a loving monogamous union or relationship is not a sin.
*Paul is an author, attorney, and a seminary trained, ordained priest in greater Albany, NY. He is Founder of www.CorporateChaplaincy.biz.