You always hear about how college changes you. How this time of your life broadens your horizons, forces you out of your box, allows you to see the world from angles you hadn’t anticipated.
I guess I’m one of those people.
I never really thought of myself as ultra-conservative, nor a raging liberal. I’m just…well, a republicat of sorts, weighing each issue as I see fit. I’ve realized (quite dutifully) though that this is no virtue; that in fact, I am easily swayed beyond comfortable admission because of my lack of loyalty to a particular ideology.
For instance. I voted Yes on Prop 8 last year (hold your middle fingers, please), because I felt like I shouldn’t have to change the definition of marriage—one which has remained the same for thousands of years—to appease other’s lifestyles. I thought that even though I voted this, I wasn’t hating on homosexuals. I was just doing what I believed to be right.
Over the summer my mind began to wander, however. I noticed many Christians sporting the equal sign on their backpacks, or unapologetically talking to others about their more…secular, open-minded beliefs. Hmm. I was so used to Christianity being such a rigidly conservative faith—was this changing?
And then, I made a gay friend. One of the most amazing guys you’ll ever meet, really: kind, compassionate, intelligent, and completely self-sacrificing, his homosexuality is just a small facet of what defines him. We were sitting down at lunch a few weeks ago, when I realized. My friend, if actions like mine continued to ensue, would never have a wedding. Would probably never be allowed to adopt children. Would never be married in what I thought were God’s eyes.
It honestly broke my heart. Why would I be entitled to that kind of happiness, while someone who does so much for the world, and loves so much more than I, is not? While I still teeter-totter on the rocks about the religious aspects of homosexuality, I do know this: there are a lot of hetero couples in the world that have abused the right of marriage. And I wonder if it’s so bad to let those who truly live a life of love to have that experience as well.
Speaking of lives of love. As a Christian, I am constantly bombarded with this question (from myself, really): with so many other cultures and faith and deeply-engraved histories in the world, would someone who was born into another religion really be condemned for following it in the end of days? I would certainly not convert to Islam if a Muslim came over to my house and compelled me to see differently; partially because I know in my heart what I believe to be the truth, and also…this is how I’ve always been. How could I possibly believe something that I don’t even remotely understand? I wonder about this and how we can expect those who live in culturally-rich areas to forget all they’ve ever known and convert to Christianity. Of course, you always hear the stories like “once you spread the news, it’s like they’ve known the truth all the long but were just waiting for someone to tell them” kind of stuff. Maybe I really don’t give God enough credit. Or maybe I just believe in a completely loving God; maybe I have faith in humanity, and a sort of transcendental idea that we all need to love one another, as Jesus came to teach us; and that concept in itself is a life God wants from us.
I guess I’ve just truly started seeing people who are completely content with their lives; people who love others with all that they are, and give back more than they would ever dream of receiving. And these are people that think differently from me, worship differently than me…love differently than me. I am a Christian because Jesus has changed my very perception of the world—that there is more to it than these walls I build up around myself. That life is about serving others and glorifying His name, and knowing that each second of our time here is a blessing. Jesus has brought me peace. But if someone were to theoretically find these principles elsewhere…is that faux-peace or something? Or is it what we have been created and compelled to find these ideologies, in one way or another?
I don’t know. I don’t know if I’ll ever know.
But if someone has the answers to these…that’d be awesome.