As I look back on my adolescence, I am reminded of how much my parents taught me about values, morals, and religion. Being a gay male and struggling with who I was had a major part of how I battled my way through adolescence while trying to understand the thoughts and beliefs of my parents’ faith in God.
Through the years, I have been able to understand that my parents belief in God was, and still is, that God is a punishing father figure, who will smite you if you do something wrong. This is where I have had a hard time accepting what my parents believe. They, like many others are stuck in the mythical-literal faith like many Pentecostal Christians are. As I have changed my belief to come more to conjunctive faith, I have had a difficult time trying to relate my new values and belief system to my family. This has led my family to believe, as many “Christians” believe, that the church I attend is a cult.
The values that my parents have have not changed very much from the values my grandparents had. Interestingly, neither my brother nor I have completely abandoned what we were brought up to believe, however we both have opened our minds up to new ideas and thinking of what and who God is.
As children and adolescents, both my brother and I were forced to go to weekly religious services with our parents. I am not saying that this is a bad thing, it is my belief that this allowed my brother and I to both become the good people we are today. Unfortunately, in my opinion, my parents seem to be stuck in Kohlberg’s conventional level, where for certain, I am not sure. As for my brother and I, we are both searching out the truth as we see it in different ways.
My brother is no longer attending any sacred service gatherings but is participating in meditation and rituals that he finds serve his higher good. I on the other hand have not given up attending sacred service gatherings. Along with attending services, I try to meditate and learn through various teachers of various beliefs such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Deepak Chopra, and Mahatma Gandhi; these are teachers of new ideas of who God is and what our life purpose is.
I look back and wish that many of the “Christians” of the world were more open minded about who a person was. Although most preach against judging others, they continue to do what they preach against on a moment by moment basis. For this reason, I sought out a new way of thinking and beliefs, of higher morals and values, and of a less condemning and better accepting belief system than I had before.
I love my parents for doing what they thought was best and bringing me and my brother up in their faith. Had it not been for them, maybe neither of us would have become the creations we are today.
Looking at today’s adolescents and tomorrows leaders, I hope that many of them can be brought to an insight of a better world by being able to accept other values, beliefs and religions as possibilities for change in our world. It is my belief that if our world and religious leaders were to accept each others values and beliefs as a possibility that it could change society, we could have a more peaceful and loving world.