Just finished reading the God Delusion. It has for me, confirmed all I’ve been thinking about and struggling with for many years. Oh joy of joys, free at last.
Born and Christened on the same day! A twin born 6 weeks early, in 1951. They all thought I and twin brother would die and spend eternity in Limbo. Brought up by very loving but Church of England parents. I loved them very much and even though they’ve both died, I still love them very much.
But I’ve grown up with guilt. Guilt for knowing at quite an early age that I was attracted to other females and as a teenager knowing I was ‘gay’, but not knowing how to deal with it. It was not acceptable to my parents or others at school or in the wider community in the 60’s.
I conformed to please my parents, got married to a very nice man who I thought I loved and had two beautiful daughters. Found my now ex husband to be intolerant of most things I wanted to do or achieve. ‘Why?’ was the usual question.
After his business failure and lying to me and my mothers cancer that eventually killed her, I turned to God! At the time it helped me and I went to Bible study with our local vicar at the local Parish Church. I now know that this was a support mechanism to me, with friendship and consolation. A few days before my mother slipped into a coma, she asked me if I thought God heard her prayers, because she didn’t want to die and she’d had no answers. I told her that God heard and that friends all over the world were praying for her. She died a few days later and I accepted that it was Gods will and he was taking her to heaven. My Vicar at the time was comforting and seemed to help me.
I then went to Australia with my family, which was a difficult time to adjust to. I then found friends at a school recommended for its caring help, as my daughter had difficulties. It was a local Catholic school. Caring! Well, quite cruel I’d say. The Nun in charge came across as caring, but to the children she was an ogre. Some of the teaching staff were horrendously cruel and taunting. My daughter says it was the worst time of her life and made her feel useless and constantly doing wrong! I only found this out a few years ago, to my horror.
Despite this, I found friendship in the Catholic Church and a great social community, where I found many friends! So I went to the church and eventually converted to the Roman Catholic Church. My husband raged at me that he hadn’t married a catholic, even though he couldn’t understand why I ever went to church and believed any of it.
During my time in Australia, I met many strong women and people who had the courage to be who they were and to speak of their beliefs (religious or not). I gained courage and strength from that and finally admitted that I was a lesbian. My marriage had broken up, so I made the decision to truly be who I was and had always been and to accept that others may not like it. I was still at that time a believer in my faith.
On returning to England, I went and visited my old vicar at the local parish church. I spoke with him about everything that had happened to me and my ‘coming out’ as a lesbian. (I had expected a concerned understanding from a man of God who would show compassion). At this he visibly changed. He told me that it was wrong, that I shouldn’t tell anyone and that he believed the word lesbian sounded like something that came from Hitler’s Nazi Germany. It was evil. I was, to say the least, gobsmacked. He then offered to pray for me! Well, I declined that and walked out.
Since then I’ve been consumed by guilt, that I’ve ‘come out’, that this was the cause of my marriage failing and that my dead parents could see all that I did and would be aware of my life, because in heaven that’s what happens. I have felt despair that I could ever find joy in life with a partner I love. My daughters both said they didn’t care that I was gay, I was still their Mum and this changed nothing. I love them dearly.
Talking to my older brother about all of this, he too found it difficult to enjoy life without the guilt instilled by my parents religion or any other religion.
I have morals, know right from wrong and wish to treat others as I’d like to be treated.
I have found more honesty and courage in non religious people, than in religious people. I work in the community with people from many faiths or no faith, but find the most intolerant and self righteous to be those with a religious faith. I cannot be doing with it any more.
Thank you Richard Dawkins and many others who tell the truth, present the evidence and give so many people the courage to find out and understand the truth for themselves. It confirms what I’ve been thinking for a long time. The evolution, Darwin denying people of the world cause so may of the problems that destroy our world. It is a super book, full of wisdom and wit. I shall laugh for a very a long time at God being the Divine Knob Twiddler!
Rent open the tiny slit in the Mother of all Burkas and see for yourselves the truth, joy, wonder and beauty that is out there in this amazing world.
Thank you, Richard, you’ve opened my eyes to so much.