I'll let you all in on a little secret. I was raised to be a good Catholic boy, but I'm not. I'm a cocksucking fudgepacker, you see, so I can't possibly be a good Catholic boy, although I believe I probably qualify for the priesthood, based on those two talents alone.
I think I've shared here before that I've known I was "different" in that way since I was five or six, that I had a massive "crush" on my schoolbus driver when I was in the First Grade. Needless to say, this didn't exactly jibe with what I was having shoved down my throat every day in Catholic School, nor on Sundays in church. So, by the time I was 14, and REALLY knew what it was that I wanted shoved down my throat (and it wasn't religion or a communion wafer), I also knew that "something had to be done" about the irreconcilable feelings inside me and the irreconcilable teachings of Holy Mother of God, The High and Mighty Roman Catholic Church.
So I chose me.
And with that single act of self-will I decided to fly in the face of 4,500 years of Judeo-Christian teachings and to violate the writings of many sun-drenched, half-baked desert rats whose real interests regarding God lay in a) His Portability (a single, invisible God being very handy for a nomadic people who had enough shit to lug around as it was) and b) an Almighty God, into whose mouth Words could be inserted that served the interests of the Oligarchs who ran the clans.
The first chink in the dam. There was nothing wrong with me, ergo sum, they are incorrect. Imagine that. A 14 year old actually thinking, "The Church is incorrect." But that's what I thought.
And it was a very short jump from there to, "Hey... if they were wrong about THAT, what else are they wrong about?"
And, as it turned out, they were wrong about ANY NUMBER OF THINGS.
The second chink in the dam. The Church was pretty fucked up about a lot of shit, and I was no longer BUYING the rather faulty looking product.
You don't have to stand back very far from religion in order to start seeing its flaws. All it takes is a little lack of faith.
I do not believe in The Virgin Birth. I do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I do not believe that he was resurrected, nor that he arose, bodily, into heaven (and neither did Mary!)
I do believe that there is a God. I also believe that there was a Mary, and a Joseph, and an Andrew, John, Matthew, Mary Magdalene, Jesus and all the rest of them. I do believe that Jesus started a sect of Judaism which preached tolerance and love and forgiveness and acceptance. I believe that he was a GOOD AND HOLY MAN. The operative word being "man.'
And I believe that an awful lot of people got very, very rich and very, very powerful, and that they continue to get rich and powerful, by twisting and distorting and spewing venomous, hateful words, in Jesus's name, totally forgetting his words of love and forgiveness and tolerance and acceptance. Instead, they preach a message of conformity, of lock-step thinking, of dogma, of unbending, unaccepting, unloving, money-donating obedience. Not to God, but to "themselves."
And I believe that IF there is a place in some sort of human-shaped afterlife where there is something like humanlike consciousness, that there is a very special version of Hell for all of those people who told me, and millions of others like me, that I was sick, that I was sinful, that I was rotten, that I was no good, that I was unacceptable to them, that I was unacceptable to God and that I was garbage.
They were wrong. I am Ron. God loves me, every square inch of me, warts and all.