Today I was witness or rather witness to the aftermath of the following conversation:
“Y, are you a Christian?” – X
“Yes, why?” – Y
“What do you think then about gay people?” – X
“Well in my religion they are committing sin.” – Y
“Which means what?” – X
“So that means they’re going to hell.” – Y
“Does that mean you think I’m going to burn in hell?” – X
“Well, yes.” – Y
“Homophobe.” – X
In this instance, both parties claimed they were being discriminated against for reasons of sexuality and religion respectively. Neither party seemed willing to budge or discuss their philosophies past their own understanding and refused to really communicate further in the moment that I was around for. It amazed me a little, that there was no room for nuance in either camp. As someone who identifies as bisexual (or at least no straight as far as I can tell, who knows, I don’t care all that much), I would be one of these fried poor denizens of the underworld.
There was not much understanding from Y who’s opinions on such matters were finite. It wasn’t so much of a stretch of the imagination that this would be the case considering Y’s young age and black-and-white view on the world. It was almost as if they spoke in fact, without malice nor ill-intention. They only became upset and defensive when they were accused of homophobia which to me highlights a whole other topic of definition and semantics and understanding. I was more disappointed by X’s labelling without understanding or room for movement. In a community where we are one and beings of unity, I would have thought there’d be more emphasis on developing understanding between ideologies. Yet X’s opinions were as black and white at Y’s.
In the end, in any case, no matter the philosophy, the following seems largely forgotten:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” – Mathew, 22:37
In this tiny interaction where I witnessed no resolution, I witnessed the beginnings of so many conflicts throughout history. It gave stock to Marcus Aurelius’ writings on familiarity and that all things in existence are cyclical.
What sets me in a pensive mood is the lack of nuance or availability of fluidity and that being a Christian and queer are mutually exclusive, a concept I never really considered. Of course, the mainstream religious schools say this is very much the case due to the writings in Leviticus. Yet recently I read and essay on how this is in fact a fallacy of translation.
“Furthermore, Lings considers the context in which Lev. 18:22 is written. He explains that the passage “deals with various illicit relationships in the sexual realm: one marrying two sisters (18:18), intercourse with a menstruating woman (18:19), infidelity (18:20), and bestiality (18:23).” Most of Leviticus 18 deals directly with incest. Notably, the list of laws from Leviticus 18 is reordered in Leviticus 20. In Leviticus 18 the order of the topics is ambiguous, but in chapter 20 the so-called homosexual law appears within a list referring to incest.” – Anonymous Student, https://blog.smu.edu/ot8317/2016/05/11/leviticus-1822/
Perhaps it is easier to see things in black and white rather than allow for the mind to explore fluidity. It is easier after all to hate than love as it is easier to stereotype and label rather than to not. This goes for any corner of the political and spiritual spectrum. It’s easy for us to point the finger and say: “sinner,” or “bigot” than actually talk to each other as people.
I’ve quoted this before, but it’s relevant again and again, and a testament to why this particular piece of media was so influential to my own life:
“Because it’s always the same. When you fire the first shot, no matter how right you feel, you have no idea who’s going to die. You don’t know whose children are going to scream and burn. How many hearts will be broken. How many lives shattered! How much blood will spill… before everybody does what they were ALWAYS going to have to do from the very beginning! SIT. DOWN. AND. TALK.” – The 12th Doctor, Doctor Who, “The Zygon Inversion”
Conflicts of philosophical interest do not exist. What does exist is a wall of pride built between perceptions hiding the common ground in a DMZ of ideas.
Tear the wall down.