Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner: An Aggravating Saying

"Hate the sin, but love the sinner."

In these days of constant wrangling regarding subjects such as Same Sex Marriage we hear that saying over and over again from people.  They talk about how they believe that being homosexual is a sin, a choice being made by the persons of that orientation, and that choice is a sinful one.  But the ones saying it insist that they don't hate the persons who are homosexual, they just hate the fact that the homosexuals have chosen to be that way and have thus, in the speaker's mind, forsaken God.

Now, there are several potential arguments that could be brought up here.  We could discuss how not everyone is a member of the religions that condemn homosexuality, and even how many of those who ARE members of those belief systems do not feel this way.  We could discuss that being homosexual is not a choice, it is genetic.  Those are topics for another day.  My thoughts today center on the phrase mentioned above.

You see, I do not personally believe that it is possible to hate the sin and love the sinner.  My thinking is that the sin is part of the person, it is part of what makes the whole, and thus cannot be separated out into some singular entity to be hated.  The mistakes that I have made in my life have contributed toward making me into the person that I am today.  If I had not made those mistakes, I would be someone else, and not only that, I would be a someone else who has less knowledge of who I am and the world that I live in.  So if you took those mistakes away, you would be taking part of me away too.

Let me say it plainly, I do NOT think that being homosexual is a mistake.  Because I know that there will be people who seize upon that word and run with it, putting words into my mouth that I never said.  There ARE people who feel it is a mistake, and it is their thinking that I am addressing with this blog entry.

So assuming that you are one of the people who thinks that being homosexual is a mistake, but who is determined to hate the sin but love the sinner, I ask you how do you do this?  How can you separate out something that is such an integral part of a person as their sexuality and hate it without hating the person?  Because sexuality IS part of the person, and by hating it you are hating them.  Again, ignoring the (very important) discussion of whether being homosexual is a choice or hard-coded into us, I understand what you are trying to say, but I'm here to tell you that this particular phrase does not offer any comfort to those who are among the hated.

Quite frankly, I am not homosexual but this phrase makes ME grind my teeth with frustration, so I cannot even imagine the levels of anger and resentment that it must create in those it is being applied to.  I find that when someone says, "I hate the sin, but I still love the sinner." that it screams condescension to me, it says to me that the person saying it is placing themselves above the ones that they are referring to and that the speaker is announcing to the world that they are on the moral high ground and that they will lower themselves to acknowledge that while they believe the person being addressed is in the wrong, they may have SOME redeeming qualities.  The speaker also implies that while there ARE some redeeming qualities in the addressed, those qualities will forever be overshadowed by this one aspect which the speaker finds unacceptable even though it is really none of their business to begin with.

I have to admit that I am always tempted to come back with, "Well, I hate the sin of pride and the sin of presuming to speak for deities, but I still love the sinners.".  I have always been curious what would happen to the speakers if they had their phrase turned around on them.  Would they still believe in hating the sin and loving the sinner?  Or would they start finding reasons why it applies to everyone else and not them?  But as I have a hard time with the entire concept of sin, I can't really do that. 

It really boils down to the fact that I believe the greater evil is to nurture hatred and discrimination.  What other people do in their bedrooms with consenting adults is their own business, not mine.  If someone loves a person of the same gender, or if they love someone of the other gender, it doesn't matter.  Everyone should have the right to visit the person they love in the hospital, to declare that love openly, and to build a life together without worrying that it will be arbitrarily taken away because someone somewhere arbitrarily names that love a sin.  These are the things that matter, and for everything else, well that is between the individual and the person(s) that they love. 

Love is never a "sin", and to hate love is part of my definition of evil.  To claim that you can hate love while loving the lover is ridiculous and aggravating because it isn't possible.  Love is part of us, part of the whole, and if you claim to hate the part while not hating the whole, I say to you that is an impossibility.  Stop and think about it, and think about if you really love that person.  If you do, how can you not love all of them?  I just can't wrap my mind around it, and I'm not sure how anyone else truly can either.

So I welcome those of you who say "Hate the sin, love the sinner" to explain it to me.  Seriously, I want to know the thinking behind it.  Do so in an adult, plain-spoken manner.  No personal attacks, no generalized attacks, how about no attacks at all for that matter?  Adult, rational conversation about the topic is welcome here.  Any other kind of discussion won't see the light of day because, as always, comments are screened. 

*Note:  I screen for offensiveness.  I do not only allow comments that agree with me, but I do not allow comments that are trolling or obviously picking fights.  You don't have to agree with me, but you DO have to be civil, polite, and adult in how you make your points.  Thank you.

Loving Your Body: It Isn't For Wimps

I follow another blogger, her name is Ragen Chastain and her blog is Dances with Fat.  She says a lot of things that make sense to me, some things that I strive for, and a few things that I disagree with.  In other words, she writes an excellent blog!

One of the things that she says that I strive for is that it is important to love our bodies as they are, to appreciate all of the things that our bodies do for us on a daily, or even moment by moment, basis.  Our bodies breathe, they blink, they digest food, they move, our hearts beat and our brain sends and receives messages.  Whether we are fat or thin, whether we are at peak physical condition or have dozens of medical issues, our bodies are there for us every moment of every day, doing the jobs that they have to do to keep us going.

I'll admit, this is a hard one for me.  I have spent most of my life hating my body.  I have spent many hours cataloging the things that are wrong with it and having others point out the things that are wrong with it, and have neglected to appreciate everything that it does for me.  I am trying to change that, but the habits of so many years are so difficult to break.  So my current project is to counteract every negative thought that I find myself thinking with at least two positive ones.  "I hate that my knees hurt so much." is followed by, "But I'm glad that my hands are nimble enough to do all of the crafting projects that I do, and I am happy that my brain is alert enough for me to enjoy reading the many kinds of books that I love."  It isn't easy, and really feels downright fake sometimes, but this is the only way that I can think of to counteract the negativity that I'm feeding myself.

Of course, sometimes things catch us off guard.

For instance, there I was, doing something good for myself when *wham* I was caught right between the eyes by my own negativity.  You see, I was dancing.  We got a Kinect for our Xbox 360 and I was trying out a new torture device game called "Just Dance 2".  It is one of those games where the figures on the screen do dance moves and you're supposed to imitate them.  The Kinect tracks your movements and you get points for how well you do what is being done on the screen.  It is a surprisingly good workout for someone like myself, who is relatively sedentary, and is actually fun which beats going nowhere on a treadmill for hours.

However, the makers of this game were apparently cruel, evil-minded Class-A Torturers.   You see, they decided to just randomly have the game take pictures of you as you're busting a move.  So there you are, happily dancing away, when suddenly it starts clicking.  The next thing you know, there you are!  Sweaty, red-faced, and looking totally ridiculously NOTHING like any of the toons on the screen.  Wow...what a de-motivator!  This is very much not a moment for wimps!

Thus the challenge to myself for now:  I am going to continue dancing to my game, working on moving better and enjoying the movement that I'm doing.  I am NOT going to disable the photo option.  I AM going to remind myself when those photos come onto my screen that they are photos of a woman who is working on being healthier, who is enjoying herself, and who is dancing to her own tune!  I will fight That Little Voice when it says that the woman on the screen looks ridiculous and should just hide from the world.  TLV doesn't know what it's talking about, and the woman on the screen is kicking butt and taking names!

So, Dear Readers, I challenge you to find a way to love your body for the next month.  Whether you decide to start washing your face and moisturizing before bed every night, or to rebut the negative remarks that your TLV makes with positive ones, or to walk for ten minutes every day, it doesn't matter.  Find a way to love your body that you haven't tried before (or that you've tried and just stopped doing), and let it know that it is appreciated.  Let yourself know that YOU are appreciated just the way that you are.

Don't say you'll love your body when (insert condition here).  Love it now.  Love yourself now.  You're the only You that you've got!