Photo by Patrick Roos
I am the progeny of the survivors. Everything they have done, multiplied by my actions have brought me here at this moment. They sit frozen in time, but I know I spring from courageous adventurers, outsiders, fanatics who made terrifying decisions. As difficult as their paths have been, the tenant of organized religion has usually inspired the most outrageous actions. I know I come from the snakes driven out of Ireland, the pilgrims that sailed and died, pagans and Christians all building lives to honor their beliefs. Ancients that I can never remember design me, but they all live in my face and whisper in the primal core of my mind.
The present Christian society tells me to have faith. To question is a failure, but what exactly is faith? Frozen in time and dogma my foundation is derived from a myriad of holy books interpreted by narrow minds and often misquoted. In the sermons, the command is to stay static in a conviction carved from millennia of oral stories preached now as literal history. Oral stories once flowed with life and lessons varying with each singer until frozen by the printed word. Outspoken leaders tout my need for an unquestioning belief in myths and parables translated, edited and cherry-picked by committees of influential men. Each member of the conclave moved with a private human agenda. I find it impossible to believe that my sex consists only of virgins, harlots, and minor footnotes. I know that if man was there, woman was too – in equal number and action.
Our religions currently appear locked in an eternal crusade to replace one narrow belief with another. Judged by ministers who broadcast a message not to judge, but I know in my soul that each theology originated with a similar goal for doing right, love, and acceptance. For thousands of years, all the main religions have lived and mutated with the missionary of war and survival continually adapting. In these modern times, rigidity is preached with little forgiveness for the circumstance. Failing to recognize that and to follow blindly without true compassion is the death knell for every sect.
I know I will not participate in a faith frozen in literal interpretations. I will not be someone’s shallow stereotype isolated in the prison of ideology. One of the most important choices about who I am was decided well before this incarnation. As much as I trust my parents who believed their parents, who followed their parents, I pray for a breathing religion. Something that mends, bends, and grows within each lifetime. I vow to read, travel, listen and explore. I have the responsibility to build on to the foundation of the past and become a good pioneer for those who come next.