For some of us, God dies the moment we acknowledge our gay nature. Marrying our faith with being gay seems inconceivable. To aim at joining the two is like succumbing to a sin more atrocious than acknowledging the quality of our sexuality, it is like agreeing to sleep with Satan. The more reasonable path to tread in living with our homosexuality, it seems to us, is the one where God is dead.
But it’s possible to hold a more sympathetic approach towards reconciling our faith with our homosexuality.
First and foremost, it pays to discard the idea of being a sexual atrocity. But rather than make a case for this indispensable intention this piece will lay focus on something else of equal importance: An understanding of what it means to have faith.
To get the meaning of faith we must turn to a man who made remarkable contributions on the topic: Alan Watts. In his book, The Wisdom of Insecurity, Alan is introduced as a man who “held both a master’s degree in theology and a doctorate of divinity.” It goes on to explain that, “[Alan] is best remembered as an interpreter of of Zen Buddhism in particular, and Indian and Chinese philosophy in general.” The short of it is Alan Watts did his fair share of studying human conduct in relation to God.
Alan’s position on faith comes served in simple terms: It is important to separate what we consider to be belief from what we consider to be faith. A mighty distinction exists between the two. Alan explains:
“We must here make a clear distinction between belief and faith, in general practice, belief has come to mean a state of mind which is almost the opposite of faith.
Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would “lief” or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes.
Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception.”
The reason many of us find it difficult to entertain faith is due to ideas of what it means to have faith. As we are made to believe, to be in good standing with faith, we must go to church every Sunday, we must fast at least once a week, we must defer from practising sexual immoralities like homosexuality. Our tendency to hold on to what we think to be the tenets of faith, our beliefs, robs us of the benefits that comes from living with faith in its truest essence. Alan’s distinction of faith as opposed to belief offers route to understanding that the only requirement of having faith is an “unreserved opening of the mind to the truth.”
But in a world inundated with information it can be a challenge to seive out bits of knowledge which point to truth. However, unlike general interpretations of what it means to have an open mind, where we are to grant access to whatever information comes our way, the key to understanding Alan’s view of an open mind resides within the sentence, “belief clings and faith lets go.” Scientist extraordinaire, Richard Dawkins, put the idea of an open mind in proper perspective when he said, “by all means let’s be open-minded but not so open minded our brains fall out.”
Faith remains devoted to truth and clings to this alone. With faith, we are alive to the awareness that truth can be found in any bit of knowledge and as such constantly open to examine and re-examine bits of it that present themselves as truth. When a bit comes faulty in its demonstration of truth we defer from clinging to it, we let go.
No man bears a deeper conflict than the gay man who aims to condition his homosexuality to fit his preconceived ideas and wishes of faith. He is the one who experiences his homosexuality in episodes, making humorless statements like, “If I die now I will definitely go to heaven, I haven’t been gay for the past three months.” His relationship with God and his sexuality, a dirty garment that he can put on and pull off as he finds pleasing. Clinging to unsteady wishes, he remains conflicted and journeys through life never knowing the joy of living with faith absolved of belief and never appreciating the possibility of bliss served by his homosexuality.
An understanding of faith and by extension God saves us from conflict. We can agree to sleep with Satan (at least with the one portrayed in the show, Lucifer) without entertaining the death of God. We can live with God and our desires to be with men. We can marry our faith with being gay. In recognizing our homosexuality and the detail it adds to truth, we find that we free ourselves of deception and become one with faith in its truest essence.
You are Awesome!
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