When I was a child I believed:
1. God dictated the Bible, word for word, and it was literal truth.
2. There was one true church, and I was a card carrying member. The rest were false.
3. Black people were not like “us.”
4. For the good of society, men should lead; women should follow men’s guidance. Strong women could only lead other women or children.
5. Sex was to be enjoyed only by married couples. Singles should remain celibate their entire lives.
6. Homosexuals were very strange and very sinful. It should be noted that I was probably a teen-ager before I even knew what a homosexual was.
7. Divorced people were weak, selfish and lacked sufficient fortitude to keep a promise.
Today I believe:
1. Humans wrote the Bible, inspired by their understanding of God at the time. Little of it is literal truth or accurate history; much of it is poetry, metaphor and mysticism.
2. There is One True Church, and we are all members of it, every one of us.
3. Our relegating any ethnic group of people as “other” is heartbreaking.
4. Are you kidding me?
5. Sex is a natural expression of the human need for connection and pleasure and should be enjoyed by responsible, respectful adults.
6. I wholeheartedly support gay marriage.
7. I fully understand divorce and society’s need for it.
I cite these examples for one purpose; to demonstrate that people can and do change. I am living proof that people can evolve, grow, question, seek and find. Because of these changes of heart and mind, and many more like them, I understand there are beliefs and attitudes I hold today that are wrong, or at best, immature. Thus, to argue vociferously for the absolute rightness of any position I now hold would be to risk having to backtrack later. Some of you knew me back when and know of what I speak.
If I know this to be true of me, I assume it is also true of you. I assume it is true of President Obama and of Mitt Romney. People can learn and change; I know this for a fact. Societies can evolve and progress. Cultures can adapt and expand.
The God I know today, though he may not have dictated the Bible, is a powerful force in the hearts and minds of people. He does not need me to argue my position in the town square. He needs me to trust what I know.