I started attending church around the age of five, and made a commitment to Jesus when I made my first Holy Communion. Afterwards, I did not attend Sunday school or follow the Christian religion any further. A lot of my friends had stopped attending as well, and I did not want to be the only one going. I did feel pressured when I made my Communion, because the religious leaders of our church were very stern and strict. As a result, the majority of us who made our Communion were more focused on good behaviour than the actual ceremony.
My parents left it up to me as to whether or not I wanted to continue attending church and practise Christianity, which I did not. Since then, I have attended church many times; some visits were for family celebrations such as the christening of a child or a marriage, and other visits were made with the parents of friends in an effort to push their religious beliefs onto me.
I’d be taken to different churches to try and open my eyes to how great it could be. I remember one of the churches was not the traditional church I’d been used to, and I recall they conducted their Sunday service with only a band and songs praising Jesus Christ and God.
The parents’ attempts to open my eyes did not bother me or anger me in any way because I knew they were coming from a place of good.
My reason for ending my relationship with the Church mainly lies in the fact that I disagree with the majority of the Christian beliefs. Take abortion, for example. I do not believe that if a female is raped that she should be shunned by the Christian Church because she chooses not to pursue that pregnancy. Another example is the majority, not all, of Christians condemn homosexuality as a sin and even go as far as to try and ‘cure’ it. I am a gay man and it’s outrageous to me.
"IF WE ARE ALL SINNERS, HOW CAN CHRISTIANS PICK ON CERTAIN ‘SINS’"
One of the more well-known organisations who are trying to ‘pray the gay away’ is Exodus International, a group that I think is a disgrace to the Christian religion. It is groups and ministries like them that give me a negative view of Christianity.
I have definitely been put off by the Christian faith more and more as I have got older. I feel I have learned enough and have come to the conclusion that some things Christians believe in are morally wrong and just don’t make sense. As far as I’m aware in the Christian religion all human beings are born to sin, so how could those who practise Christianity condemn certain individuals for their actions and beliefs? If we are all sinners, how can Christians pick on certain ‘sins’
Although I may have a strong opinion on Christianity, I would never distance myself from anyone who practiced that religion or not be a friend to someone in need because of that. My beliefs now are a mixture of things; I’m not quite sure if there is even a name for it.
I don’t need to be labelled under any religion to have faith and practice the act of just being a decent, kind and loving human being. That is what I believe will lead me to receive salvation and forgiveness of sin.
I would not say that I am the traditional praying individual. I do have conversations and thank God for having a loving family that accepts me, a roof over my head and food on the table, but it could happen at any time. I usually pray while I’m relaxing during the day and enjoying what I have been granted in this life.
I can’t, however, say I’ve had a solid experience where something unexplainable occurred. But there are times in my life when I feel a higher sense of being; more in tune with my body and with a higher power.
When I think of Jesus Christ, I think of all the pain and suffering he went through for our sins and how displeased he must be seeing how some of the world is today. I sometimes wonder, if he knew what was going to happen, would he still have done what he did?
Brian Kearney is a college student studying public relations and advertising, and is also president of a boutique public relations agency. He lives in New Jersey, on the east coast of the USA. Brian was talking to Sarah Lothian.