14 February, 2014

Religion is about reassurance, peace and values.

Had a debate with someone about religion and sexual orientation yesterday.

Some years back when I was still working, there was a conversation about my idol. I was told that he may be gay, and my reaction was "oh what a pity". Why did I say that? Not because it's a pity to be gay, but because, as any fan would tell you, it means that we don't stand a chance. XD

The argument yesterday was about the various degrees of acceptance of people who are not "normal" in different religions.

As a debater would say, how do you define "normal"? Normal is having two eyes, one nose, one mouth, one heart, two arms, two legs... "normal" sexual orientation? Straight, because it's the way nature made us, because it is the majority.

The thing is, all the rules, norms, official recognition and approval aside, I respect them for who they are.

Gay or straight, if you are my friend, I like you for your personality - bubbly, friendly, motivating.
Gay or straight, if you are my coworker, I respect you for your experience, talent and helpfulness.
Gay or straight, if you are my relative, I love you for our blood ties and your support.

My point is, it's your choice.

Sure, I still feel uncomfortable when two people of the same gender behave intimately together. I still feel a certain degree of weirdness. But I think it's also another issue - PDA in public. Gay or straight, keep your touching and kissing at home. Or in private. Like you're a Hollywood celebrity and paparazzi is everywhere.

I have gay friends.

But that doesn't influence me. Because sexual orientation is not smoking or drinking. You can't just get influenced. It is an instinct. I often hear people saying they try to "change" the person they like. But isn't that what straight people are trying to do to gay people too? I think it is wrong either way. Because? There's no respect either way. And what matters is mutual respect in the society.

Religion has nothing to do with it.

I was taught in a Christian kindergarten but I'm still a Buddhist. I've encountered extremists from both ends and more often than not, the spiritual leaders have the least to do with it all. I am glad and proud and reassured to have a religion when, honestly speaking, I am getting a tooth extraction procedure.

Religion is about reassurance, peace and values.

You can argue that so-and-so has said that religion is about doing what is morally right. But - what is morally right? It's similar to what the "norm" people have been talking about. Who created morals? Who created right and wrong? If right and wrong are so important, you wouldn't jaywalk. You wouldn't steal fruits from your neighbourhood garden. You wouldn't backstab your friends. Values. I'd accept values like honesty and integrity, but I don't think any leader ever specifically said,"I do not accept people who are not attracted to the opposite gender".

I am more inclined to believe that religion is about peace. Inner peace. Harmonious society.

Sexual orientation should be regarded like the color of your underwear - it shouldn't be anyone else's decision but yours. But also, keep it to yourself. You don't need to announce the color of your underwear as much as you don't need to announce you're gay to the world.

People need to learn to respect.

Respect differences. It's what they call 不同而和in the olden days. We accept that we're all different and we can still live in harmony. That's what society should be about. Just because I think that riding a bike is wrong doesn't mean that I should fight for bikes to be banned. Just because I don't think that you should wear red top with green pants,  doesn't mean I have to insult you for it. Respect.

Unless it is doing harm to yourself or others.

Like casual sex. But that applies to straight relationships too. If it doesn't hurt you or harm others physically, mentally, psychologically, I respect you. In fact, I think alcoholism and smoking are worse. Because you are shortening your lifespan, and you stink in public.

Let them be.

I do not advocate any form of conversion. You should be who you feel comfortable being. No one should be forcing you to change. And you shouldn't force anyone to change either. As much as you should respect me if I decide to use purple and blue and orange eyeshadow colors all over my eyelids. Tell me that it looks bad, but don't force me to remove it and to never do it again just to make you happy. Same for the much talked about "gayness".

I once read in a local anchor's book - news is always happening and the reason we feel that the world is getting worse is only because the situations are now more accessible to the journalists and the world.

I think it's true in sexual orientation too. People got to be kidding themselves to think that there are more gays in the world now because there's approval in some areas. They are always there. Just because they are silent doesn't mean that they don't exist.

I've had my fair share of debates about whether gay is right/morally right/acceptable/acceptable by religions.

And it should only matter in your judgment of people, on the day when I publicly let people decide the color of my underwear. (Never gonna happen.)