I find it challenging to understand those who call themselves a “devout” anything religious. The idea that someone could dedicate his or her life to something so abstract as a spiritual belief baffles me to the core. Being raised in conservative midwestern suburbia, I was fed what to belief from a very early age. At some point, I decided it just wasn’t for me. However, I didn’t know what was for me. I came to conclude that I am agnostic. I believe that we, as humans, need to advance ourselves by being kind and helpful to each other and the earth, regardless of religious belief, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, or upbringing. Thus, I consider myself an agnostic humanist.
I am a gay man. I am still young, young enough to be still living at home with my parents. As I stated earlier, my family is conservative. As you may have gathered, it was a very difficult concept for me to imagine coming out to my family. Not to say conservatives are anti-gay by default; I simply knew the revelation would not be well received in my home. Less than a month ago, my father confronted me about the issue. Based on my parents’ staunch opposition to homosexuality, I had always anticipated the conversation to be volatile, consisting of blaring voices and tears. However, my father was unbelievably understanding and compassionate toward my point of view, and toward me. I have never felt so much respect for him in my life; I knew that he had to rethink everything he believes so concretely.
This one small act of a father’s love toward his son left me in awe. My belief that all of mankind can and will learn to accept and support each other in the future was set even more unchangeably in stone. If someone I had once assumed was completely against my way of life was able to turn around his ideas for my sake, there really is hope for the rest of the world. While my story may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, it meant the world to me.
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