Have you ever written something, then wished you hadn’t? What did you do about it, take it down or rewrite it?
In today’s electronic age, making sudden alterations or deletions is easy and quick, but I grew up in the print generation, when we lived (and sometimes died) trying to get it right the first time, and knowing that once that horse was out of the barn, baby, it was gone.
Perhaps that’s why I’ve strongly resisted going back and deleting even those posts that left me feeling queasy later. Oh sure, I’ll correct spelling or grammatical errors when I find them, but ever since I’ve been blogging, I’ve only deleted something once, and that was when my daughter threatened to write me out of her will over a post about baseball, of all things.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t been sorely tempted. I once trashed a less-than-flattering post about my deceased father, but put it back up the next day, along with some explanatory notes that made me feel slightly better about it. More recently, I thought about killing my post from earlier this week, the one about god, religion and the Orlando massacre.
That post raised a few eyebrows, including my own. It’s not that I’m afraid of pissing people off (I piss people off all the time), but I much prefer to piss people off for the right reasons, and this time, I don’t feel that I did. “Did I really write all that?” I asked myself.
I almost yanked the post (in fact I did delete the reference to it on Facebook), but in the end decided to leave it up because I know what I meant, even if others do not. I’m not afraid to say that I wrote something in anger in the wake of the Orlando massacre, and I’m also not afraid to let people see that I’m human. I wrote what I wrote, and that horse is out of the barn, so instead of trying to lie and say it never happened, I’d prefer trying to explain it.
Despite how my previous post read to some people, I don’t for a minute believe that all Muslims and/or Christians are bad people. Furthermore, I wholeheartedly reject Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s suggestion that Muslim refugees be banned from entering the United States, and am on record slamming him on more than one occasion.
The point I was trying to make is that any belief should be subject to periodic review, especially ones that might cause you to hate or kill another human being. Challenging and reassessing one’s beliefs is, I believe, a healthy thing, and is something I have never been afraid to do.
My own beliefs have changed several times, beginning as far back as 1973 when I was nearing the end of high school. Now almost 60, I wouldn’t be surprised if my beliefs change again at some point before I die. Maybe they will and maybe they won’t, but one thing for sure, the prospect of reassessment and change does not frighten me.
When I wrote that Christians and Muslims should reassess their association with “a blood-soaked god,” I didn’t mean to suggest that all adherents of those faiths are predisposed to violence. In the wake of Orlando, I did, unashamedly, point out that both religions are already responsible for the deaths of millions of people, a historical fact that cannot be disputed.
However, another fact that I conveniently glossed over is that in this day and age, both religions are practiced by predominantly good people, who far outnumber the bad. That is not to say that a significant number of bad apples don’t exist, and concerning them, the point I was trying to make was that I don’t think it would be untoward for people of faith to ask themselves, “If the teachings say A, how is it that so many people keep hearing B, and what can we do about it?”
It’s been a few days, but I remain shaken and frustrated by Orlando, and sadly, I don’t anticipate an end to incidents like it anytime soon. If you were offended because I shook my fist at your god, then I apologize, but what I won’t apologize for is suggesting that you ask yourself why you believe what you believe. I won’t apologize for that, because I ask myself the same question all the time.
Every long-held belief should be able to stand the trial of self-examination. If yours pass such a test, then I am truly happy for you. If they do not, then you’d be a fool not to search for other beliefs that ring true.
Ending the hate and stopping the bloodshed may take drastic measures, and looking deep inside ourselves — honestly and without fear — might be the best place to start.