In a time long ago, before iPads and laser hair removal, my parents almost got a divorce. I think I was about seven years old at the time.
My dad was working as a carpenter during the day and a taxi driver at night leaving my mother at home with two school aged children. The details are murky, but from what I can tell, my dad was a little too friendly with the receptionist at the taxi company.
The remedy for my parent’s unraveling marriage was God. They both joined a Pentecostal church, got born again, baptised in water and baptised in the Holy Spirit (including speaking in tongues). My brother and I were dragged along for the ride.
My own salvation and spiritual path lasted from that time until I was around twenty-one. Full of self-discipline and the fear of eternal punishment, I managed to (technically) preserve my virginity throughout my teenage years. When I finally succumbed to my sexual nature and slept with a kind ‘unbeliever’, my love affair with Jesus ended.
It was OK to lie about my transgressions and continue in the church, but once I admitted I enjoyed sex and refused to follow the path of repentance and future abstinence I was asked to leave — labelled as a ‘backslider’.
My mother will tell you her greatest sadness is she won’t see me in heaven. She feels she has failed me because she can’t secure my soul’s comfort in the afterlife.
When it comes to God, I know what I’m talking about.
And God shits me.
I could write a tirade against men of God trying to suppress the natural sexual power of women that would be several thousand words long, but not today. Today I am railing against the Christian beliefs that steal happiness and self-love from women’s lives.
“I am a sinner,” she writes. “I’ve read 50 Shades of Grey, I watch reality TV and I get angry at my husband. I’m disappointed that I keep giving in to the Devil and I can’t be more like Jesus.”
Every single day, women beat themselves up because they’ve failed to emulate a man who lived 2,000 years ago. The account of Jesus’ life, recorded in the Bible (by his biased biographers), is the blueprint they hold up for living a rich, full and meaningful life. Anything less means they’re broken, flawed, ungodly and evil. Original sin is impossible to escape.
It’s bullshit. It’s damaging. It’s a lie.
We weren’t born to become cardboard cut-outs of a man who lived in Palestine all those years ago. There isn’t a God in the sky who will judge our deeds at the moment of our death and send us to an eternity of heaven or hell. Reading an erotic book or masturbating doesn’t mean you’ve failed someone or something. When you break rules that are senseless in the first place, there are no consequences.
Religion is indoctrinated into the hearts of many who will never escape its insidious claws, so I know my perspective will never change their beliefs.
But my heart still breaks when I see women who don’t realise how beautiful and perfect being different, being unique, and being human really is.
The only God I believe in is the god essence that lives in me which I recognise as love. It’s my loving nature that feels wounded when I pretend to be something that I’m not. And what I’ll never be is a pure, blameless, righteous person.
It’s just not in my nature, my human nature.
You can keep your God with his non-stop judgment of my actions, and I’ll keep honouring the godlike nature of love that originates from my soul.
I’ll continue to fornicate, get in bad moods, eat what I want and read erotica. I’ll try not to hurt other people, but when I do (and I will) I’ll ask for forgiveness and try to love myself and the world even more.
I fiercely defend my right to be flawed, imperfect and evolving.
These are my commandments.