Part of this journey out of christianity has been to redefine my definition of good and bad. Moral and Immoral. Right and Wrong. For 30 years an imaginary being, a book of myths, and a make-believe, eternal destination defined those values for me. I lived in a sinful mind and body and was in need of seeking forgiveness daily. I lived in fear of hell not only for myself but for those other “sinful” people I judged around me.
Today I’m finally starting to get it. I’m starting to see that I’m without sin. I am with responsibility and am capable of suffering consequences but a bad decision is not sin and it may not even be bad. It’s simply a decision that I must accept as wise or unwise and enjoy or suffer the outcome of that decision. I can no longer rely on a god to absolve me of that wrong decision or shower blessings on me for that good decision. It’s all on me. I am responsible. I will pay the price or reap the rewards.
So I’m learning. I’m learning that I am definitely good without god. I can let go of any guilt I’ve had over ways I have failed god and earned hell. I can decide what I ultimately think is good for my life and bad for my life. I don’t have to live by a list of do and do nots. I can evaluate each situation for what it is and make rational, logical decisions.
As a christian I sometimes felt guilty for drinking, dancing, going to a sex shop with my husband, gossiping, trying a cigarette, kissing too many boys in high school, going to second base with a boy who was a leader in our chapels (he eventually broke up with me for this reason), saying swear words, not submitting to my husband, being annoyed with my kids when they were god’s gift to me, missing church, falling asleep during prayer, eating too much, wearing too short of skirt or too revealing of a top, tattoos, telling a white lie, empathizing with homosexuals, voting for Obama, etc etc etc.
I was constantly seeking forgiveness for these infractions. A sadistic cycle of sin, feel guilt, seek forgiveness. Sin, guilt, forgiveness. Sin, guilt, forgiveness.
Today I can judge for myself.
Do I drink? Yes, in moderation. If I drink too much I suffer the consequences. It’s not a moral decision.
Do I go to sex shops with Mark? Yes. And I no longer feel guilty about it. Instead I can see that we have a deep physical connection and that is a gift.
Do I swear? Hell to the fuck yeah I do! I always have. I’m just no longer going to spend eternity in hell for these great sentence enhancers.
Do I have tattoos? Yes and they are extremely liberating for me.
Do I think smoking, dancing, sex before marriage, white lies, bikinis, overeating are worth feeling guilt over. No, absolutely not. Do I think there may be consequences to some of these choices? Yes, of course. But I’m not going to label someone as bad or immoral for choosing to do them. As far as the larger morality issues such as affairs, murder, theft, drunk
driving, rape, child molestation and so on, I think the societal and personal consequences for those choices make them bad. Those decisions that intentionally and maliciously hurt other people. Decisions that I would not want to suffer consequences for. Hey unless you are the catholic church…in that case go ahead and molest kids, lie, abandon orphans,steal babies, crusade. You can just ask for forgiveness and it’s all absolved and you are given a new, clean slate to dirty up. No worries. No consequences. Heaven is still yours. I couldn’t resist a knock against the catholic church…it’s just too easy.
I still have a long way to go until I completely understand how to define my morality. I think it’s always changing as each situation is unique and can’t be boxed in to easy right and wrong categories. And each individual may have a slightly different interpretation of their own morality which doesn’t make that individual bad or immoral. Just different from me. I’m learning that just because someone or some law says something is wrong does not make it wrong. It’s up to me to reason and logically decide if it’s good or bad for me. And this makes my goodness more genuine. Goodness is my choice not a set of rules dictated to me.
And so the moral defining journey continues. I’m still trying to figure out my take on strip clubs, pornography, topless pools, anger, gender roles, foreclosures, marijuana, abortions, fighting religion, and white lies.
But for now it’s good to know that I’m sinless. I’m not bad. In fact I am good. And I’m not in need of salvation or forgiveness.
I’m free to live, to fail, to succeed, to learn, to define. I am free of the fear of eternal consequences.