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05 June 2006 @ 10:08 pm
Crunch time  
I am having a crisis of faith. Or, to be more precise, I am having a crisis of lack of faith.

Basically, when you get right down to it, it's about the porn thing. But I can't let it take all the blame. I have become a person not of lax morals, but of no morals at all. This struck me in the aftermath of watching Lord of War. There were several scenes in the film that were obviously intended to shock, not only with their horror but in Yuri's reaction to them. Instead of being indignant, angry, or disgusted, I fought those reactions in favour of a bland 'What ya gonna do' one. 

I have finally realised what attracted me to slash. It's not just that the public market is saturated with het, both good, bad and beyond the Pale (it is); it's not just that femmeslash in this fandom is bad (it is; I read some recently and, if I were a femmeslasher, I would be heartily ashamed and abscond to, oh, say, the L Word fandom). It is that most Harry Potter slash fanfiction revolves around school-age boys. Who fancy each other. Which no boy is brought up to believe is normal. (Well, perhaps this generation will be, but not the kids of the 1970s and 1980s.) So, a common scenario sees boys liking people they have no hope of earning the affection of because it's just so out of the realm of the ordinary. And that's how I feel about everyone I fancy. One could argue that I have no reason to feel like any boy is out of my league, but I do and that's an end to it. In het, friendship is quite a reasonable basis on which to build on a relationship, which is why I wasn't getting any empathy there.

--> Which is not to say all slash is written like that, but you have to agree that a significant percentage of it is.

But, with slash, comes porn. Oddly enough, my parents never brought me up to consider certain things 'wrong' and 'right'. I went to Mass every week, so perhaps they assumed I assimilated information there. And when you have a kid who does well in school, likes to read, doesn't cause trouble and is mainly quiet, I suppose you wouldn't see the need for a strict moral education. I doubt that my parents regard porn as bad or wrong, given the erotica they have in their bookshelves -- although I daresay there's a big difference between 'erotica for me' and 'erotica for you' when 'you' is your only daughter.

I don't think porn is wrong. I still feel bad about it. Up to now I worked on the theory that anything that's enjoyable and fun, which doesn't hurt others, is okay. But how do you differentiate fictional-character-porn from real-people-porn, where real people are subjected to this for money? I mean, people who don't have religious backgrounds or any other impediments still feel shame about porn. Why is that? Why do I feel that?

That's where the crisis comes in. I want faith in something. Anything. Although I'm sure the strictures of your average religion -- even Catholicism, if I adhered to it -- would make me fret against them in no time flat. However, my mother never forced me and when I stopped going to Mass, she accepted it without a murmur. Mass is a hobby for Irish people; they use it as a half-way house between home and the pub on Saturday nights and between home and the reception for weddings, christenings and funerals. 

I want something to really believe in. Because of my ... interest, I suppose you'd call it, in slash and porn and gay sex, none of which are actively promoted by any deity in existance, I've taken a hard line against religion, to the point where I don't know if anything in the world is wrong. War is wrong? Yes, but if we didn't have it, hundreds of thousands of people would lose their jobs in armament factories and unemployment would soar. Killing is wrong? Yes, but doesn't it depend on who it is you're killing? If it's a despot who sets people on fire for kicks or a man who beats his wife when she's eight months pregnant -- is that wrong? 

If there was some God whose existance was beyond all doubt and whose judgement was truly infallible, then I sure would accept anything he/she/it/them said -- even if it did mean giving up porn, even if it did mean that all the things they think are wrong actually are wrong. Except I don't think there is. And I really wish there was, because I feel so lost.

Current Mood: distresseddistressed
Current Music: Sleeping In (The Postal Service)
kabeyk on June 5th, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC)
I've seen people leave fandom because they believe god hates slash. Maybe he does, or maybe god is the nice sort I like to think they are, and doesn't mind so long as we aren't hurting anyone. You have to make your own morals (based on, or separate from, laws and religion), and I don't think anyone can (or should) make sweeping generalisations about even just what they personally think is wrong or right, never mind what everyone should think. Killing isn't always wrong, maybe, but then, define 'killing'.

One thing I do think is that writing porn the way we do is one of the least exploitative forms of pornography ever, even less so than the porny thoughts people think when they fancy someone. We aren't even using the imagined images of real people! And if we are exploiting anyone, it's one person and she's a millionaire and doesn't give a toss so long as we aren't stealing any money that might rightfully be hers. :D

We're taught sex is wrong - and therefore porn must be wrong, our silly little minds tell us. I can still remember when I thought 'bum' was the rudest word ever. Sex is natural, religion and society make it complicated, whereas most animals just shag when they need to or want to. Porn, you could say, is one of the good complications that comes from conscious thought and having bigger brains than the damn monkeys.

I don't really think porn is wrong, but I know that most people I know whould be deeply shocked by what I write, so I don't tell them.

Are you asking god to come down and smite you and tell you what to do? Tell you to stop writing slash and start settling for the boys you don't fancy that much but who you think are in your league? I think we all hope that doesn't happen. If you want someone to tell you what to do, I could tell you to write some Sirius/James, if you like.

I'm not even drunk, yet still I make no sense. Sorry about that; I just sicked up a load of words onto your lj. :D
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Grand jetescoradh on June 5th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
I don't think sex is wrong either ... and I totally agree that if porn is what you do, then fanfic is the way to do it. In many cases (ie yours!) it is very nearly an art form, not a cheap way of getting off.

Frankly, I think you're right. I am just looking for someone to tell me what to do. I don't understand why I am the way I am. It would be nice if some religion would allow me to subjugate myself and deny all these confusing things, but that would be a cop-out. I suppose I must do the harder thing of facing up to things. It's not like I have a hard life compared to someone in, like, Darfur.

This really wasn't a diatribe against porn. I mean, I don't want to be a hypocrite on top of everything else! [sigh] I was thinking of writing this big AU J/S where Remus eats Peter by accident, but then I'd no idea what actually do to do with them then. Maybe all this stuff is writer's block, 'cause I always get stuck in the middle of fics (like now, 13000 words of Neville/Draco. Yuk).

A Better Word for Weirda_leprechaun on June 5th, 2006 03:00 pm (UTC)
You could always worship Dionysus.

*is only 2/5 joking*
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Wing babyscoradh on June 5th, 2006 03:31 pm (UTC)
When I was about 12 I seriously considered setting up an altar to Athena in my bedroom.


This shit has been going down for a while.
Gin: Slip away discreetlybackinblack on June 5th, 2006 03:54 pm (UTC)
I'm going to come back to this and talk at length. I've never had a crisis of faith (or in this case, a lack of faith), but I think most (okay, a lot? a few?) people in fandom go through something like this with the gay porn. It's not as shallow as that per se, but it's what it boils down to, isn't it? Anyway, bbl. :))
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Apollo balletscoradh on June 6th, 2006 02:09 pm (UTC)
Really? It's good to know I'm not alone, but I haven't ever come across anyone else with this ... problem before. Still, do talk at length. Someone (besides me, who might have a clue) needs to. ♥
cordelia_vcordelia_v on June 5th, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC)
If there was some God whose existance was beyond all doubt and whose judgement was truly infallible, then I sure would accept anything he/she/it/them said -- even if it did mean giving up porn, even if it did mean that all the things they think are wrong actually are wrong.

Man. This is something to write volumes about, not in one comment. And I doubt you'd want to read it all, too. But I know what you mean, about feeling lost and wishing for faith (as opposed to really feeling any faith). So, I'm moved to share a little bit about what I think. I hope that some of it is useful, although perhaps none of it is.

As you may know from reading my blog, I'm Catholic. I sing in a really good choir (which of course means going to Mass weekly, and more often on holidays), and the music is a transcendent experience for me. I also like the ritual, because if you were raised with the Mass, you hardly need to think while it's going on (I'm sure you know what I mean). You can really function on autopilot, and fall into a meditative state. For me, it's like turning off that hamster wheel of thinking, thinking, thinking all the time. I get to not think, not analyze, and instead meditate.

But I think that faith is a gift. You can't force it, any more than you can force experiencing the presence of God. When you do experience those things, it is tremendously sustaining and wonderful. But it comes when it comes.

All you can do is to put yourself in a place where it might happen. That is, find a congregation or group or spiritual practice that might work for you, and begin to practice that. Give it at least six months, and see if anything inside you is cultivated by that regular practice. You will need to shop around to find a congregation that is like-minded, but I'm sure you could find one. You practice it regularly, make yourself open to faith coming to you, and . . . . sometimes it comes to you. More and more often, if you practice regularly, and have a good group of fellow congregants (in my experience).

But although you may come to experience faith, and an assurance of God's presence, that won't (or shouldn't, in my view) absolve you from making your own ethical decisions, when it comes to smaller things, like porn. Because yes: fanfic porn is very small potatoes, from God's POV. Don't you think? I do think that I must accept (if I am Catholic) the larger, more important injunctions about not killing other people, and practicing care and charity towards others. But I don't believe that the Church is right about every small thing: and you and I know they're nuts when it comes to all those stupid rules about sexuality, birth control, etc. Just ignore those details, and decide for yourself what you think, when it comes to gender and sexuality issues.

Honestly, I am pretty sure that Jesus wouldn't give a damn about fanfic slash or using the Pill. He'd be much more concerned that we were charitable and generous with those who need our help, and that we try to practice peace.

/rant. I hope some of it was helpful. If not, I apologize for taking up your time!
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Apollo balletscoradh on June 17th, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC)
First off, sorry about the late reply. All of this was giving me a lot to think about, which led to a turbulent few days.

What you say about not forcing faith seems right to me. I think it's just a symptom of my personality that I'm continually looking for justification for my existance. I don't meld all that well with my peer group -- not in the loner, no-friends way, but in the not understanding the fascination with drinking and flirting way. Whether it's ballet, medicine, writing or religion, I keep wishing there was something that so totally absorbed me that I didn't have time to contemplate all the ways I differ from the social model. IE, the disaster that is my love-life. It's a beguiling notion that if one was truly (eg) religious, one wouldn't have to worry about such mundane, earthly issues. Sadly, I don't reckon it works like that.

I would like to try something like a spiritual group, but in Ireland you'd be hard pressed to find such a thing. As a country that prided itself for so long on having one religion that everyone adhered to, feared and which shaped the attitudes of generations, actual spirituality is regarded with confusion and suspicion. It will simply have to go on hold until I find somewhere more cosmopolitan, where they actually have things like Buddhists, eg London. Until then, I have rosary beads. :)

Thanks for taking the time out to give some advice, I appreciated it.
Ian Anonphysixxx on June 5th, 2006 04:56 pm (UTC)
If there was some God whose existance was beyond all doubt and whose judgement was truly infallible, then I sure would accept anything he/she/it/them said -- even if it did mean giving up porn, even if it did mean that all the things they think are wrong actually are wrong. Except I don't think there is. And I really wish there was, because I feel so lost.

you're not wanting faith, you're wanting infallable truth, undeniable real. That's not faith.. hell, that's not even science.

sometimes the desire to want to believe is just as good as having faith.

as far as the porn thing... stop writing it. if it makes you feel bad, then stop. write stories about guys in love, about the making s of a loving, relationship... maybe there needs to be more of that and less of the PWP. You can lead the way!! I'll follow!

(Anonymous) on June 5th, 2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
The God that I believe in has no problem with stories about loving relationships, no matter the genders of those involved. He/She has a real problem with the president of my country who starts wars to settle personal scores and gets 1000s of men, women and children killed on the basis of twisted lies he tells; and who then tries to put an anti-gay discriminatory amendment into a sacred Constitution to attempt to distract the gullible from his failure as a president and as a human being.

Sorry for the rant, I'm very angry with cynical so called Christian politicians this year.
(no subject) - scoradh on June 17th, 2006 10:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Margravine Palavar: River Margravinemargravine on June 5th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
This makes me think of one of my favrite John Waters quotes.
“I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty.”

I think that when it comes down to it most activities aren't godly pursuits. Leisure is leisure and whether you're reading a magazine or writing some fabulous slash you're failing to actively contemplate and worship God at that moment. That's why we need nuns and various other religions' ascetic equivalents to take care of that for us I suppose.

I think you're using a God-given gift and that you're all good as long as you follow the Golden Rule and don't act like an asshat to your fellow man. That seems to be the common thread among religions.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Jailbaitscoradh on June 17th, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
Thought-provoking comment -- what if gift is devil-inspired? I mean, how would one know? Presumably am now lumped in with purveyors of things like Lizzie Maguire and Ann Summers now.

You know the worst thing about not having faith? Not legitimately being allowed to use 'God' and 'Jesus' as swear words. Lots of people use them who've never been inside a church of course, but I am cursed with thinking too much about this sort of thing. Gah.
pir8fancier on June 5th, 2006 06:37 pm (UTC)
I'm not going to say that people who believe in organized religions are lazy, because I know a lot of people who truly believe and I do envy them. I don't but there's not a whole lot I can do about it. I just don't.

I really don't think you need an organized dogma to decide what is moral and what is not. This is obviously a sliding scale. Hitler kills Jews, we bomb Dresden to stop the war. My step-father was in a PW camp in Japan during WWII. He thinks the dropping of the atomic bombs saved his life. Probably did. He was facing another winter and was down to 5-7 stones. The population of Japan felt differently. I take it on a day-by-day basis because that what works for me. I don't believe in a higher deity, but I certainly know cruelty, bigotry. jingosism, genocide, etc. when I see it. You need to make these decisions for yourself. I know you don't want to, but why are you asking someone or something to take responsibility for your own soul? I think we need to answer to ourselves.

I don't think porn is wrong. I think there are places and time where it's appropriate and when it's NOT. Am I evil because I write porn? No. Would I be evil if I was molesting little children. Yes. Do I want my 12-year-old son to read my stuff? No, because I don't think he'd understand it in the context of what it was written. Do I believe in censorship? No. I do believe that as parents we have an obligation to monitor what our kids are watching. Part of the taking of responsibility thing. I abhor violence and therefore I don't let him watch anything really gorey. Nor do I let him watch anything explicitly sexual. He's wouldn't understand it. If he sees something and asks me a question about it. I explain it. I don't lie or tell him that he'll understand when he's older.

Like I said. A sliding scale that's very slippery, but I actually take comfort in knowing I'm master and commander. There's no one to blame but me, but there's also no one else steering the ship.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Deep wizardryscoradh on June 17th, 2006 10:49 pm (UTC)
A sliding scale that's very slippery, but I actually take comfort in knowing I'm master and commander. There's no one to blame but me, but there's also no one else steering the ship.

See, if I had a choice I don't think I'd have chosen to be such a ... not follower. I'm not a follower. I don't mean I stood up and shouted about rebellion or dyed my hair pink. In the end, the people who do that and pierce all fleshy bits and tattoo the rest are just another form of conformists. I always did what I liked and to hell with it. I'm reading a lot of chicklit at the mo set in the Ireland of the 1960s - 1980s, which was not what you'd call the most permissive accepting society in the history of the world. And I know even then I would never have laid down and taken substandard treatment. I don't even let my parents order me around. I'm not cheeky, but I don't like being told what to do. A 'strong personality' with a hefty dose of 'caring what other people think' -- that makes for some tricky mental gymnastics, lemme tell you.

So I don't want to be told what to do, I want to be shown. I think what rosina_alcona said, about coming to the same conclusions as major religions but on my own, is about my only option. It's not like humans are the most original of creatures, nor am I a unique thinker. Just a confused kid, really. ♥
(no subject) - pir8fancier on June 18th, 2006 12:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Pointy legscoradh on June 17th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
1) Love that song so much.
2) How's that going? Right now, I think I want beta-like help. But in two days, I may want to junk in the whole racket again. Oh, for consistency. Like Bulmers. Consistency in a world gone mad. Yet another ad campaign ripped off from Pterry. Anyway.

♥ ++
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - scoradh on June 18th, 2006 10:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
gwathhenationgwathhenation on June 5th, 2006 08:40 pm (UTC)
I too am in a bit of a crisis of faith right now, but it has more to do with the fact I have completely rejected all formal religion and an uncertainty in what does exist (if at all anything), and have no given institution to turn to spiritually.

I tend to view morality as very personal, and determinable only to an extent by society (eg. I'm willing to accept that murder is wrong, however many societies say homosexuality is wrong and I completely reject that belief). For example, if anything, I'm protective of my right to indulge in slash, I think I should be able to read and write about gay men/women, the church, parents, and their morality be damned. I am far more worried about the morality of my inherent petty vindictiveness and thickly-veiled wanton cruelty to others that I increasingly display these days.

Ultimately, it's completely up to you to decide what you find immoral/amoral behaviour and what can fulfill you spiritually, but I personally would not worry about the slash causing moral degeneracy or displeasing whatever god you put your faith in.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Cryscoradh on June 17th, 2006 10:30 pm (UTC)
I am far more worried about the morality of my inherent petty vindictiveness and thickly-veiled wanton cruelty to others that I increasingly display these days.

Word. I have so many faults that I just let slide. At least with most religions, there's a big chunk devoted to, eg, controlling your anger, or not envying others. I think I'm more worried about the fact that I don't think about most of what I do, and that there seems to be no rhyme or reason to anything, than in a god. It's just ... what is it about porn and stuff that riles people so? Is is just built into our makeup to revile that which is most natural to us? A disturbing thought, but anyway. ♥
Minnow: Eeveeminnow_53 on June 5th, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC)
It's definitely easier being a Protestant, I can assure you.

As others have said, I really don't think that a kind, benevolent God is going to fuss himself about a bit of slash. He's got far heavier stuff to worry about.

Buddhism seems the most tolerant religion, as you probably already know. And yes, I do realise this doesn't actually answer anything, but it's just meant to be a bit reassuring. And probably failing miserably.

every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Chatting ballerinasscoradh on June 17th, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC)
Like this global warming stuff, whereby we'll all end up living in the Artic Basin? I would be worried about that if I was God. I mean, talk about poor forward planning.

I had thought about that -- the Buddhists seem to be the only ones who haven't started or fought in any wars. Given that they've been around as long as/longer than Mohammed and Jesus, that's some achievement.
SilentAuror: Boyd!Draco - bad faithsilentauror on June 6th, 2006 12:39 am (UTC)
This is a hard topic for me to discuss, especially in the fandom, and it's not because I'm ashamed of either what I do in fandom or of the fact that I do have faith of a mostly Christian variety - it's because I hate the ideas that go along with both groups to the other. To me, there's no dilemma. There's also never been any sort of debate between, oh, creation versus evolution to me. It's not an either/or question in my mind. I'm probably a horrifically unorthodox believer as far as dogma goes, but I'm all for love and acceptance and treating people with respect and dignity. There is no disjunction between my fandom life and my day-to-day life, and I keep neither topic secret within the other life. I mean, I don't broadcast to all and sundry that one of my very favourite things to do is to write gay wizard porn, but if someone asks, I certainly wouldn't deny it. And a lot of people in my life know.

I'm not much of a church-goer, though I've been terribly involved in the past with the music thing and all, but this one thing that a minister once said at my last church stuck with me - he said that if you worry about the fact that you don't have faith, then you probably do. The fact that you think about whether or not there is some sort of higher power and feel lost because you can't seem to believe in it means that you're doing just fine. I personally think that people who don't question those things deeply enough should really ask some big questions. I've certainly had my doubts. Up there, when I said that I "had faith", I was seriously contemplated deleting that and modifying it somehow, because it's a rather bold statement. Sometimes you just have to accept that it's something you'll always have to deal with on the intuitive level rather than the rational, and then it feels a little better. The sort of thing that's best glimpsed sideways in flashes, rather than dissected in a laboratory, you know?

Most of the world's Christians are a profound embarrassment to me and I want nothing whatsoever to do with them. I have nothing whatsoever to do with them. Just a whole lot of NO there. I'm a proud gay rights supporter, pro-choice supporter, women's rights supporter, etc., and to me, that's what it all boils down to, regardless of whether you call it morality, Christianity, Buddhism, human rights activism, or just plain normal interactions with other people and the planet. Whatever it is, that's what people should be about, I figure. And whether you attribute your motivations for that to God or other spiritual forces or just love for other people, I don't think it makes a whole lot of difference. As far as having some sort of reference for decision making, I think that your gut is usually a good call.

Wow, this is rambly. My apologies. :) I'd love to know what you thought of this, though. Please note: I am NOT trying to push my own ideologies on you at all. Please don't think that!!! I'm just trying to explain what's going through my own head on this topic. :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Cat personscoradh on June 17th, 2006 11:07 pm (UTC)
I don't broadcast to all and sundry that one of my very favourite things to do is to write gay wizard porn, but if someone asks, I certainly wouldn't deny it. And a lot of people in my life know.

Feel free to tell me, as so many others have done before, that I shouldn't care so much what other people think, but what does that make us in the eyes of the rest of the world? I know what I am, but this isn't exactly a common hobby. Hurling, yes, drinking yes, salsa dancing yes, writing porn, not so much. I can't justify why I put so much effort into this for so little reward (particularly when far worse writers than I get far more plaudits), but I tend to do that with everything. Don't do things by halves. That's my justification problem, not why I do it in the first place -- but that's what other people would have problems with, I think. So I can't tell people, and I feel like I have this burden of a secret, and then if I do crack and tell people they'd get totally the wrong impression of me and that worries me a lot.

The fact that you think about whether or not there is some sort of higher power and feel lost because you can't seem to believe in it means that you're doing just fine.

That's something that's stuck with me while I was thinking over this the past while. I've come to the conclusion that a blind faith wouldn't be a good thing at all, because you can't see out from inside it. I want more of a ... a coffee morning with God, where we can sit down as equals and thrash a few things out? That sounds so silly. I want to know why some things are like they are and why others aren't. I tried to believe in fate and destiny for a while, but what did rapists and murderers do to deserve having a destiny? Am I on a par with them? And if everyone doesn't have a destiny, what makes me so special to think that I do? Urg.

Don't worry, I didn't think you were pushing idealogies at all. If you'd tried to tell me that your way was the only way, maybe, but not when you were just showing me how you felt. Enlightenment is only achieveable by one, I feel. ♥
(no subject) - silentauror on July 2nd, 2006 08:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
rosina_alcona: Ritarosina_alcona on June 6th, 2006 05:22 am (UTC)
come with me and be an atheist!

There's no need to feel lost. There is no 'good' and 'evil' or clear cut 'right' and 'wrong', just a wonderful/horrible jumble of grey areas. That's just the way it is and always has been forever and ever amen, and going to a church isn't going to fix it. You can decide your own moral code, based on thought and reason - and you may very well come to the same conclusions as a major religion, but at least you won't just be blindly accepting stuff.

I mean, you already don't believe in most of the gods out there, and you're wibbly on the last one, so just relax and let it go. And read yer porn! (and write more too *nods*)
muchspork on June 7th, 2006 04:51 am (UTC)
religion doesnt always mean blind acceptance. most educated people believe religion allows room for your own thought and interpretation, and religious texts provide only a basis.there are always fanatics, who have obvs. never heard of postmodernism or pluralism, but there are fanatics everywhere (even atheist fanatics who get mad if you say you havea faith).

but yay for god as a human construct!
(no subject) - rosina_alcona on June 7th, 2006 05:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - muchspork on June 8th, 2006 02:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on June 17th, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
muchspork on June 7th, 2006 04:49 am (UTC)
um, i actually have nothing much helpful to say, but i thought i;d tell you you're definitely not alone. i had a crisis of faith earlier this yr in which i thought about converting to judaism. i'm muslim. (kind of anyway. i keep getting more humanist as i get older)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Blue dancerscoradh on June 17th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
It's pretty tough, all right. And it's not something anyone really talks about. Imagine interrupting a conversation about a night's drinking or the latest romantic scandal to say 'Hey, I'm freaking out because God might not exist and I've started praying again, what about you?' Meh.
(no subject) - muchspork on June 18th, 2006 01:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on June 18th, 2006 10:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - muchspork on June 18th, 2006 10:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on June 18th, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - muchspork on June 19th, 2006 07:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
Sabine: begoniasabine91175 on June 18th, 2006 02:03 pm (UTC)
Your 'crisis' speaks to me so much. I've been going through a lot of similar feelings lately, deciding to come out (at least online so far) as bisexual and so many other things that I know my parents would be horrified by. I think a great part of being able to cope with these things is by differentiating between what you can scrabble together as a set of morals, and what your parents think, or your religion, or whatever. You have to decide what's right for you. God will know what's in your heart.

Personally, I've fashioned a religion of my own that I feel is really more spirituality than religion. I have belief and faith in God and Jesus (as I don't think I'd be able to get through tough times without Them), but I believe that God made us the way we are for a reason. And how could it possibly be right to deny something that God put in us?

As for porn and stuff like that, I think a lot of guilt comes from the way society views it, if that makes sense. For instance, my mom believes that if I die minutes after saying a curse word that I'll go straight to hell. But think about it, these words are no different from other letters strung together, except for the importance we place upon them. Again, I go back to God knowing what's in your heart and that it can't be right to deny something that God designed in us.

I know I'm going all about this in a very jumbled-up way, but I really believe this, and I hope it might help you in some small way. I've had a really tough time with it and it would've helped me immensely to have had someone say something like this to me a few months ago. ;)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Gauzyscoradh on June 18th, 2006 09:33 pm (UTC)
But think about it, these words are no different from other letters strung together, except for the importance we place upon them.

That sure is a good thought. Considering that up until the age of fourteen, I never spoke or even thought a swear word. Not because anyone had told me it was bad, but because I'd decided it was and couldn't even contemplate the ramifications of saying one. Nowadays I'm swinging back to the less is more view on swearing, because I don't like how so many people limit themselves to swear words for everything.

I'm glad for you that you seem to have found the right balance of faith, but I'm still wondering and feeling unworthy. Quite a lot of the time I think there's a God up there, but can see no reason why he'd want to be especially nice to me, or help me out when there are so many needier people and people who are much more 'good' than I am. I just can't rise above the judgement part of it, even though a higher being would undoubtedly have an operating system that I can't even begin to understand. It's all confusing and troubling and of course, it's made worse by the fact that I'm surrounded by people who never worry about this kind of thing at all and seem to get on just fine without it. Or who just accept the religion they were given as children without defining how it applies to them personally.

Frankly I could do with a bit of divine inspiration on this point. :) But it's good to know I'm not alone.
(no subject) - sabine91175 on June 18th, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Eloise Lovelaceeloiselovelace on July 19th, 2006 06:14 am (UTC)
Hello, you don't know me -- I'm a random fangirl coming out of the woodwork after reading all your fics (which are massively brilliant, all of them, even the pairings that I don't normally "do") and deciding that you absolutely had to be friended!

I'm not religious, but I have a lot of friends who are, and I am very gay and my wife is very bisexual and yea, if they weren't accepting of that and the fact that we have a very happy active femmeslash love life, they wouldn't be our friends. :) Our wedding was officiated by the associate dean of the chapel at the university we attended for undergrad, even though she had to fly in from halfway across the country to officiate our nonreligious ceremony. She and a bunch of other devout but not bigoted friends really helped redeem religion in my eyes.

Anyway, I think that there are a LOT of gay-accepting "welcoming" churches, at least here in the USA... so I really don't think you need to necessarily use the "I believe in slash" as a point-blank reason to dismiss all religion. And I'm not just talking about the Universal Unitarians, who are not only accepting of gay people, but also of people who are classified as heathens by most other branches of Christianity. (UU is pretty remarkable for being an organized religion that states point-blank that they welcome in their congregations those who don't believe in a deity at all -- which might be the right sort of thing to consider in your case - google it.) But there are a lot of more traditionally Christian churches who are much more God/Jesus based, who also have "affirming" policies which pretty much means they say "yay, gay people having gay sex" rather than the traditional stance that one expects from Christianity of "okay with gays as long as they don't ever have gay sex ever". The United Church of Christ in my city has an ENORMOUS rainbow billboard with a "come as you are" slogan, and they have had a big national ad campaign running to emphasize that they accept all people, including the gay ones. It's very very awesome and makes me so, so happy - this is the church that my Mother-in-law is active in.

Anyway, my not-being-religious stems from being a scientist with a very naturalist world view, and not at all from The Gay. I think that non-religious atheist and agnostic types have just as much of a moral code as religious people, generally even more so, because they've actually had to work out all the issues themselves rather than just blindly accepting a moral code handed down from above. I suspect I have much more hard-line "traditional" morality than a lot of spiritual and religious people in my circle of friends.

Anyway, reading Thomas Paine's "Age of Reason" might cheer you up, as it always does me when I'm having a crisis of lack of faith. He's a deist, not an atheist, but the whole business of deriving a moral framework from reason and logic is very comforting to the nonreligious as well. After all, whether the big bang created our universe or whether a creator set the big bang in motion after setting favorable physical constants (and then remained hands-off ever since), it pretty much all means the same for day to day operation. :)
Eloise Lovelaceeloiselovelace on July 19th, 2006 06:28 am (UTC)
Also, I think that the Catholic Church's official stance on gay people is very different from what the majority of actual Catholics believe. We've got a bunch of Catholic friends/family, some of whom are VERY devoutly Catholic (for whom being Catholic is a really big part of their lives) and who were also the ones who were insanely super-excited about our gay wedding.

And my wife's Catholic grandmother was incredibly, amazingly happy about finding out that I was dating her granddaughter. (She had way fewer issues with it than the Protestant Grandmother-in-law, actually.) Truly, the Catholic grandmother was delightful (sadly, was in the past tense because she passed away) and couldn't have been more welcoming and accepting of me.

She also read romance novels (aka "het porn") a great deal, but was in the habit of pasting over the tawdry covers with Christmas cards, which I thought was the most endearing contradiction ever. I'm also an avid romance novel reader, and the "cover sanitized ones" are the best memento of her.

(no subject) - scoradh on July 19th, 2006 09:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eloiselovelace on July 19th, 2006 07:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on July 19th, 2006 09:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on July 19th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)