Sunday Deep Thoughts: Spirituality, Acceptance, and… Macklemore?

I originally posted this back in 2014, but the message is timeless. Enjoy!
Just a quick warning — after the first couple of paragraphs, this long-form post becomes very opinionated.  If you don’t want to read my opinions, skip this post.

2d900635-f687-4147-9fef-ed4814945742One of the main reasons I started this site can best be summed up by this meme (featuring Captain Hindsight from South Park) — we all get upset whenever Facebook changes something — but really, how much can we complain when we don’t pay anything to use it?  By owning this domain, I am free to post whatever I want, without worrying about if it will be used by some company to further their own agenda.

Writing has always come easily to me.  In addition to being a kinetic learner, writing allows me to gather my thoughts — whether for a paper in college, a presentation at work, or just to talk to someone about something I’ve had on my mind.  While taking part in a vocal debate would challenge every fiber of my being, discussing issues in the written word is something far more enjoyable.

If you are offended by any of the following thoughts, I offer no apology.  We are all entitled to our own opinion, and this domain is an expression of my own.

Which brings me to the focus of this (long) post.  Driving home from a party last night, flipping through the stations, Same Love (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, featuring Mary Lambert) came on.  While it was released back in 2012, it still holds an extremely relevant message.

In case you want to read the lyrics while listening, I’ve posted them below the video, courtesy of AZLyrics.com.  Reading them really makes a difference.

This song (along with a select few by Eminem) is the reason I listen to the rap that I do.  While much of the genre doesn’t make much sense, the spoken-word songs with an easily understood verse often hold powerful messages — I know I teared up when I was reading through the lyrics this morning.  I don’t often get emotional, but stuff like this tends to pull at my heartstrings a bit.

Lyrics to “Same Love” – copied from AZLyrics.com:

The right wing conservatives think it’s a decision
And you can be cured with some treatment and religion
Man-made rewiring of a predisposition
Playing God, aw nah here we go
America the brave still fears what we don’t know
And God loves all his children, is somehow forgotten
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago

If I was gay, I would think hip-hop hates me
Have you read the YouTube comments lately?
“Man, that’s gay” gets dropped on the daily
We become so numb to what we’re saying
A culture founded from oppression
Yet we don’t have acceptance for ’em
Call each other faggots behind the keys of a message board
A word rooted in hate, yet our genre still ignores it
Gay is synonymous with the lesser
It’s the same hate that’s caused wars from religion
Gender to skin color, the complexion of your pigment
The same fight that led people to walk outs and sit ins
It’s human rights for everybody, there is no difference!
Live on and be yourself
When I was at church they taught me something else
If you preach hate at the service those words aren’t anointed
That holy water that you soak in has been poisoned
When everyone else is more comfortable remaining voiceless
Rather than fighting for humans that have had their rights stolen
I might not be the same, but that’s not important
No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it

We press play, don’t press pause
Progress, march on
With the veil over our eyes
We turn our back on the cause
Till the day that my uncles can be united by law
When kids are walking ’round the hallway plagued by pain in their heart
A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn’t gonna solve it all
But it’s a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it’s all the same love

This song hits on so many messages, it’s tough to cover them all in one post.

When it comes to religion, my short answer is that I’m more spiritual than religious.  Religion is, at its heart, a deeply personal issue.  I believe (I have faith) that there is some power out there in the universe greater than we could ever comprehend.  I remember being taught in Catholic school that Jesus was upset with the Pharisees for worshipping publicly — the equivalent of “keeping up with the Joneses.”  I understand the need and desire for the church community — but at the same time, can that community not be found elsewhere?

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not attacking religion.  The church and the message they spread seem to be two completely separate entities.  As Gandhi so eloquently stated, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.  Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”  The message taught by Jesus was one of love — the Golden Rule.  That’s a religion I can get behind.  However, the Bible (based on Jesus’s teachings) was written by men who came after.  The stories within are an excellent basis for morals — all of which stem from the Golden Rule.  An important point to keep in mind, however, is that the bible was compiled many years after Jesus died — take the First Council of Nicea in 325 AD, where Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman empire.

This is one of the bones I have to pick with organized religion — its use (throughout history and modernity) to further political agendas.  There doesn’t seem to be much separation of Church and state, no matter what anyone says.

Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and many others — they all teach a message of love and acceptance.  Where, in that overarching message of acceptance, does it say that God hates homosexuals?  Or anyone different, for that matter?

It doesn’t.  If anyone tries to say anything differently, they’re a hypocrite.

It’s 2014.  The fact that people still have to put up with hatred that is so incorrectly justified by religion is a travesty.

This is where Marxism could come into play — the idea that religion is the “opiate of the masses.”  The grounding theory here is that ‘man makes religion.’  That line, completed, might read: ‘into a tool to support his own argument.’

Maybe it’s just me, but I have difficulty seeing how someone can call themselves a Christian while being so hateful.  Love and hate are simply polar opposites.

*To all of my friends and family who are practicing Christians, I am not denouncing or attacking Christianity (or any other religion).  I fully agree with Jesus’s message of love and acceptance.  My beliefs are based on the morals I have found through the teachings found in the Gospels.  My own life experiences, and the messages found in other religions, all go to shape my DYNAMIC religious views.  In my opinion, our beliefs are always changing.

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