The Right To Pursue Your Own Happiness

I'm not going to say that sometimes when I meet someone who is very different than me, that I don't have a natural and automatic internal response... sometimes it's a negative one, but I've learned as I've matured (which I'm sure I'll continue to do) that allowing a first impression to control your opinion of a person or thing is selling that person or thing short.  (I include "thing" because Sushi was a big one for me.  I love it now, but it wasn't always that way.)

My point is that people will always have a natural internal reaction to the unfamiliar, but being open-minded in my opinion is the ability to stop yourself, take a step back and look at what your dealing with.  I've also learned from my time in Los Angeles that people who dance to a different tune than you can often teach you a little bit about life, if you'll just listen.  

I try to live by a few rules, even when my natural response may not agree with them.  Firstly, everyone has the right to pursue their own happiness as long as it does no harm to others.  It's really difficult for people to do this, despite how simple it sounds.  If you can't think of an example, I'll supply you with one:  Gay Marriage.  I'm not gay, I'm a married woman with a son, but because of that I'm even further baffled at a lot of the straight community for their reaction to something that seems totally natural to me.  One person loves another + they want their union to have the same rights and respect as any male/female marriage does + not hurting ANYONE = Legal Gay Marriage... right? 

Secondly, I try to respect people beliefs and opinions whether or not they are in line with my own as long as, (again), they aren't harming anyone.  Respecting them doesn't mean I have to agree, nor does it mean that I I'll sit by while people are being hurt, but it does mean that I'm not going to spam their threads with hate-speech, I'm not going insult their opinions or mock them simply to express my disagreement.  This is hard sometimes, but people need to learn how to live and let live.

Last, but just as important:  I have drawn my lines at certain things, but they are few and far between these days and I can honestly say that I'll try almost anything once.  I've found the most wonderful things and people by just stepping outside my comfort zone.  

I guess I'm not telling anyone else how to live, but this is how I try to do it... this is how I'm open minded :)

MariposaRoja1891 MariposaRoja1891
31-35, F
4 Responses Jan 9, 2013

Funny...seems people are tolerant of everyone except Christians and our rights.

I am a Christian but I fail to see how someone else's marriage, love and romance has anything to do with YOUR rights. Christians rule the world my dear, we are in charge because our little book has the monopoly on morality and there are actually laws in place that make people exempt to certain laws based on religion so don't cry to me about how you have no rights because my best friend wants to marry the love of his life. It's not even your business who he has sex with, what does it have to do with your rights? Your RIGHT to decide what other people should do, think and feel based on your beliefs which were handed down to you? Your RIGHT to control the VERY CONCEPT OF REAL LOVE? You have no rights when it comes to the life and love of another human being just as they have no rights when it comes to yours... also, before you judge others - make sure you're perfect.

From the Bible, I Corinthians 5 -

"9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

Christians ARE to judge other Christians, holding each other accountable to keep each other "in line". We are NOT to judge those who profess no relationship with Christ. "They" are in darkness and do not understand what they are doing... just as Jesus said on the cross. "They" need a revelation of God's love for them, followed by repentance.
Professing Christians, on the other hand, those who claim to walk in the light as He is in the light (I John 1:5-7), cannot continue in a lifestyle of sin.
THAT is the Word of God!

She was talking about her RIGHTS and how gay marriage affects them. Quoting the bible from passages that have nothing to do with the matter at hand may work in some circles, but I don't and will never read it as a handbook for how to live your modern reality - so it impresses nothing on me except that a conversation about this further would be me talking to the bible and not a person who can back up their feelings an opinions with something other than an old book written by MEN. If I want to have a discussion with the bible, I can read it - otherwise I'm talking to a person and would like their actual thoughts an input. Bible quotes mean nothing in reference to her comment. Literally nothing. The bible doesn't give you any rights that would be offended, taken or violated by gay marriage. You still have all your rights and so does she, but she heard that somewhere: "what about MY rights," and regurgitated it for the purpose of sounding right. People do this a lot, much like quoting the bible instead of coming at me with reason. Spewing hate or power phrases that are meant to hurt or manipulate a point rather than proving it tend to be a favorite of Atheists, but it's AMAZING how similar Atheists and Christians can be in their methods of discussion and the amount of conviction with which they go about it.

Her rights are perfectly intact and she didn't have a word to say about it to me herself, so she must have realized it.

Your confusion is now fully exposed. The Bible IS a reference book for today and to suggest otherwise leaves us living blind today. WE are NOT the "God" of this generation... the One and Only is still just that, God of all, and He has given us His Word in print. It is the #1 worldwide best seller every year. People yearn for answers and the Bible provides them. God, like a good parent, has provided for His children. It takes effort to understand the Bible and apply its principles today. Our so-called "rights" will not rise above the commands of our Creator. He does give us choice and we can use our freedom to destroy ourselves even, against His better desire for us. In that sense, yes, we have "rights" but our choices have consequences both now AND eternally. In one of my story-entries I've provided two passages of the Bible that changed/locked in my thinking for the rest of my life: http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Believe-In-God-And-His-Holy-Word/4047182

1 More Response

I trip on the "gay" issue every time. For me it's about morality, and if America continues to sell out her morals (in my thinking) then we're approaching the end of America. Other issues have already started that process (like, taking prayer and the Bible out of our schools, abortion, promiscuity, etc.). So the "gay" issues is just one more stepping stone, but (in my thinking) it's in the wrong direction! Your writing is thought provoking; thanks.

You know, so many people believe that gay men want marriage because they want permission to be promiscuous, but they do that already. They don't need anyone's permission to exist or to be the way they are because whether Christianity likes it or not, they are here to stay. It's become a culture. They don't NEED permission or approval anymore, so gay marriage isn't about permission or rights... it's about respect. And not you respecting their decisions because you don't have to, it's about being able to show the world that you are in a relationship that IS respectable, that IS a marriage. They want the right to BE moral in their love and relationship. It may seem strange to you because the very concept of being gay is defined as immoral for most Christians but what Christian is without sin? And it says in the bible that no sin is greater than any other, that cheating on your wife is the same as killing a man, that stealing from a store is the same as telling a lie in the eyes of God. These people will have their conversation with God when they die and we can't even BEGIN to conceive what that will be because the only piece of information that we actually have about them is that they are gay. One sin, ONE to define them. Can you imagine what life would be like if we were all defined openly and with discrimination by ONE of our sins? We are all sinners, so a man laying with a man is the same in the eyes of God as you telling someone a lie, even if it's to protect them. If being gay is a sin, then it's a sin. That has nothing to do with you or I. I think that marriage is losing it's appeal to many people because it's become an unpopular lifestyle; why commit to one when you can have many? So, don't you think that giving the gay community the right and responsibility to choose between and sinful fling and a good, loyal, healthy relationship like a marriage will make the world a bit more moral, rather than the other way? I don't think they want our permission to have sex, I think they want our permission to be more than a sexual perversion, to be a respected part of society. Right now the gay lifestyle is without the dilemma of marriage or promiscuity because they only have one option. I don't have all the answers, these words pour out of me from a place of feeling. Thanks for the comment :)

"right" and "wrong" are defined by God, not you and I; the first two chapters of the Bible define marriage as one man with one woman... that's the bottom line

Right, but the bible also says many other things that people CHOOSE to ignore. It says don't eat pork, it says that when you die - your wife will become your brothers wife. The bible says a LOT of things that apply to the time it was written in because it was a way to moralize and civilize the people; I'm not criticizing, I think it's amazing. But NOW in the time that we are in, pork can be kept clean and your wife probably wont marry your brother when you die. Women's rights were frowned upon because of what the bible says and I can vote now, I can defend myself in a marriage that is violent or not good for me, I can get any job I want and I can raise my children without charity should their father die or leave. Women's rights were looked upon by the church exactly the same way gay rights are now looked upon by Christianity. The bible also says that we are to abide by man's laws. If the law says that two men can be married, does that apply? The bible can be interpreted many ways, is taken HOW people like to take it, and is full of important (however outdated) information about the foundations of our morality as a race. I do not think it is a direct how-to book on life and neither do you, unless you follow every word of it exactly; which I doubt, because you're a normal human being living in society today. The bottom line is that using one rule that the bible states as law BECAUSE the bible said it but ignoring half the archaic rules and nonsense that it contains is hypocrisy. Christianity is now defined by what people decide is important from that text, not what it actually says. I've read my bible, it's got a great moral message and the stories take me to another time but it's not a rule book for life in the 21st century... unless you have several wives and don't eat pork ever... or goat, and you sacrifice animals during worship.

Have you read the book of Romans... recently??

I haven't picked up my bible in a good minute, I'll be honest. I have taken classes in the past and did a religious studies term at Berkeley while I was there but it wasn't my major. I'm also a Christian, but my best friend on the LIVING earth is gay and hard as I try I can't see anything but unfairness and pain for a perfectly spectacular human being because of it. He goes to church more than I do and he's Catholic, but he's gay. He wants to marry his partner, he wants to have a marriage in his church before God and he can't and it makes me very, very sad. Maybe this one is too personal for me.

I am familiar with your struggle. My immediate boss is lesbian (I'm not sure she knows that I know; she hasn't ever told me herself). To me, she has been, I believe, the best friend EVER in my lifetime. She listens like few people I know. She cares about people and life and justice. All that being said, if she also confesses to being Christian, which I think she does (but I've never heard that come out of her mouth either), then based upon I Corinthians 5:9-12 I may have to find another job. Christians are to judge Christians... not the world (those who don't profess to be "in Christ"). God is holy and He requires of us a holy lifestyle, which I believe excludes being gay. God does not create people gay. A person may be born gay, however, because of demon influence at the time of birth, BUT God did not intend for anyone to be gay. A Christian author named Craig Hill explains this in his book, The Power of a Parent's Blessing. Please be patient if this is a new idea... we can table this discussion if that's best for you.

I think part of the problem is that although we are both Christians, we simply don't have the same beliefs about what that means. It's okay, because I love every single time I get to discuss things with you :) You have been a real and amazingly honest friend on EP. Thanks for the comment and I hope you figure things out with your boss, I find it hard to believe that a God who loves you would require you to abandon a friendship that has been real and beneficial to you. I suppose if I had to choose between my faith and my friend (who has saved me in a very literal way more times than I can say and whose friendship I am undeserving of) I would have pause in making that decision.

4 More Responses

Well put...

Thanks :)

I wish there was a quote I could spout off that would agree with what you say here most definitely but... nothing is coming to mind! Argh!

But I like how you think and feel. Right on. ^_^