“You’re Going to Hell” – It’s None of You’re Freakin’ Business

That awkward moment when you’re in a roomful of people bashing on religion and they don’t know that you are a practicing Christian. This happens to me more than I care to count. I’ll be innocently standing there, and someone will comment on how “Christians are not intelligent people, otherwise they would look logically and scientifically at the prospect of God and realize it’s a load of bullshit.” Everyone else in the room nods and laughs going, “I know right?” I believe this has been particularly heightened because of the elections, which have become so unnecessarily drenched in religion. These comments hurt.

In my fantasy of this event, I say boldly, “I’m a practicing Catholic. I don’t shove the bible in your face, I don’t shame you for not choosing my faith, I go to mass, confession, and I read scripture. I can’t stop stereotypes from forming, but please consider this as an issue of respect while I’m in the room.”

You wanna know what really happens? I keep my mouth shut and wait until the conversation topic shifts to something else. And so it goes.

It reminds me a little of reverse racism. Two wrongs don’t make a right. A lot of people in my life that have some kind of affliction towards religion have been personally attacked by religious people. Well of course you’re going to feel defensive, of course you’re going to attack back.

Quite frankly it’s none of my damn business. Attacking people for their decisions is 1) exhausting 2) futile and 3) disrespectful. Someone asked me what I thought about gay people as a Catholic – my reply was, “What do you mean what do I think about gay people? What about them? Can you be a little more specific – perhaps give me a person instead of an entire population?” They said, “No, do you think they’re going to hell?” I answered, “It’s really none of my business.” I have always held the notion that instructing someone of their divine fate is something you just – don’t do. I don’t care if you’re the Blessed Pope himself, you don’t tell someone they’re going to hell or heaven because for one, you don’t know and secondly, it’s just rude.

As pro-NFP as I am, I have absolutely no intention of telling anyone that their decision to use artificial contraception is “morally wrong” and it will send them straight to the fires of hell. (I don’t think it will, but even if I did, I wouldn’t tell someone that.)

It saddens me that this election has created an even greater divide between Christians and non-religious people. This barricade grows larger and larger as human dignity and respect go out the window. It’s very sad.

The take-home point is this – I want to say on the record, I am a practicing Catholic. I believe in a higher power, I believe in the Eucharist, and I believe life is a gift. I won’t push these beliefs on you, I won’t scold you, and I won’t condemn you. Because quite frankly, it’s none of my damn business.

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7 responses to ““You’re Going to Hell” – It’s None of You’re Freakin’ Business

  1. Just a comment on your NFP paragraph — there’s a big difference between telling someone their decision to use artificial contraception is morally wrong, or telling them it will send them straight to the fires of hell.

    After all, murder is morally wrong, but I still won’t say that it will send someone straight to the fires of hell. Extortion is morally wrong, but… etc, etc, etc.

    • Thanks Marie for that clarification! I find myself on the fence sometimes about this topic. (The church’s stance on contraception.) It’s one of those things that I implement in my life but can see obliging it on others. How do you feel about it?

      • Interesting conversation, because I think I’m somewhere in between.

        I find some forms of contraception very harmful and particularly troubling. Others, not so much.

        I’m pro-fertility awareness, because this is healthy and good on so many levels, but hesitant to recommend NFP to anyone who isn’t already a very committed Catholic.

  2. Pingback: The Christian Superiority Complex | 20somethingcatholic·

  3. Yes I feel so contrived when I think about this complex issue! I would have been totally into this years ago, before I came into the Catholic faith – so I think for some women it would be totally realistic without a Catholic faith. But I’ve also thought, it does take a certain “giving up control” factor. And it’s simply not ideal for all people. I’m just mildly (and by mildly I mean extremely) fascinated with it. I think all women at least deserve the knowledge of it as an option.

    • I agree completely that all women (and men too) should know about it as an option.

      Perhaps I was unclear, but what I was talking about in my response was the difference between fertility awareness (FAM) and NFP. The science is the same, but in FAM, a couple has the option of using barrier methods or “other forms of intimacy” during the fertile period if they want to avoid pregnancy. In NFP, these are not an option.

      This can make NFP a lot more challenging than FAM for many couples, especially if unusual cycles or extended fertile symptoms are an issue. Taking on this extra challenge doesn’t make much sense without a proper Catholic understanding of sexuality and spirituality.

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