2007-04-27

Finding Home

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

I last night read a biographical account of a young sceptic returning to his old religion and what hit me was his description of it as “finding home” at long last. It hit me because those words were the same that came to my mind when I found a faith and a people sharing that faith years ago. And years later after leaving that faith and looking back I saw how that’s what I had been wanting. Home. And even after leaving the faith I still felt the ‘at home’ feeling with some of the people who remained behind.

Leaving was a hard decision — how can one ever easily decide on a course while not having any idea at the time where or how it take one? — and the process did involve some trauma. But where it did take me was to a new home. But one that I never believed could possibly serve as a home in my past life. It was humanity, the human species, us all. People were no longer divided between those in the camp of light and others in the outer camp of darkness. We were all one, and I was one with them all in a way that I never truly was in a religion that divides humanity on the basis of faiths and ways.

Christianity teaches that Jesus became a man (and not even that, not really). Pastors explain it was so God could ‘identify’ with human weaknesses. But that’s not identification. Humans have more than religiously defined “weaknesses” or suffering to make them human. So preachers also try to make up for this by telling us Jesus must also have laughed and smiled. Many even preach a social gospel which involves mixing amicably with sinners. But this is always for a purpose and with a mind-set that sets them apart from “sinners”. It is a tactic in the spread of their gospel; it is not identification. It is a “put on” identification. Paul said, after having “put on the new man”, that he became a Jew to the Jew, a Greek to the Greek, for the purpose of making them “neither Jew nor Greek but all one in Jesus Christ”. Again, that’s only role-acting identification.

Home for me now is being one with us all as we are now as a species. It means leaving divisive nationalist and ideological past homes and acknowledging that each of us is where we are at for our own reasons. It means understanding and compassion for all of us whose lives are too short, knowing we are all in the same ‘boat’ (or spaceship ‘earth’). That means outrage against anything that countenances a vote for war or for infringement of human rights or for ignoring inequality and exploitation, within and beyond their borders, and all their attendant evils. And it goes without saying that one tackles humanity’s problems with knowledge based on genuine research and not ancient gut feelings. It also means sharing the resources and experiences that I have encountered that others may find of interest in addressing questions that can hopefully liberate from answers that have held too many in anti-humanist bondage for too long. Especially at a time when serious questions of survival confront us as a species and among the leading actors accountable are those whose belief systems even see such crises as signs of something positive!

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Neil Godfrey

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