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September 10, 2012 / TeknoKai

A Philosophical Sunday – My Letter to Anne Rice

Dear Mrs. Rice,

     I just wanted to take a moment to write you and say that I think you are one of the most wonderful people on the planet. I have been a fan of yours for many, many, years, but the reason I wanted to write you today is not because of your books, but because of who you are.

I applaud your stance as someone who believes in God, but doesn’t subjugate themselves to religion. I feel that I am quite like you in many ways, and there are probably a lot more people who are out there that think like I do, but most people are afraid to say it. I, too, am one who considers myself what many people these days call a “spirituallist” for lack of a better name. I do believe in God. I believe that there is a higher power out there, no matter what you choose to call him or her. I believe this because I want to – I feel within myself that there is someone out there who created me for a reason. Even if I don’t know what that reason is.

What I refuse to believe in, however, is any kind of organized religion that tells me that I have to act a certain way, or do a certain thing, or else I’ll be damned for all eternity. I don’t think that as a group, anyone is going to get into either heaven or hell any faster than they will by themselves. Because when we die, we are going to face whatever comes next on our own any way. Not as a congregation, but as an individual. And I will be able to say when I stand judgement for my life that I have no regrets.

Because as I said before, I do believe in God. I believe in a higher power. But as a gay man, who just came to terms with myself and “came out”, as we put it, in the last year, I don’t think that my God hates me because of who I feel attraction for. My little brother is my best friend in this world, and he is a professed atheist. But I don’t hate him for it. I love as much as I always have. Because I know that he believes what he believes because only he can see the universe through his eyes. My God doesn’t tell me to turn away from him or not be his brother just because of what he chooses to believe. On that count, I don’t think a single man or woman on earth will be 100% correct about what happens next, because we won’t know till we get there. I do feel with all my heart that there will be something greater than this, but I’ll by no means try to make anyone else see that. The trick of faith is that you have to find it for yourself. It doesn’t matter how many churches or synagogues you go to; in the end, all that matters is how you feel about who you are, what you know you have done with your life and if you are satisfied that you did something to make this world better for your fellow man. An no matter how much you want to convince someone to believe what you do, in the end it all boils down to is that each man, woman and child must make their own mind up about what they believe.

It is because I firmly believe this that I don’t attend “Church” every Sunday. And believe me, living in Mississippi and being raised Southern Baptist, most people think I’m going to hell in a handbasket down here even if they didn’t know I was gay. But That doesn’t matter to me. I don’t fault my aunts and uncles and friends for going when they go. Sometimes I do go myself. But when I go I go for the fellowship with the other people who are present, not to supposedly uphold a tradition that everyone thinks you have to do in order to be saved and get to Heaven. There is one truth in the Bible that I hold dear, and I feel that you could discard with all of the rest of it for one thing, and still be a good person. “God is Love”. That’s all that matters. My God does not discriminate for race, or gender, or sexual preferences. My God only cares that we have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other. I give to charity, I donate time, if anyone in my town needed something, like someone to take them to the doctor, whether they were relatives, acquaintances, or if I had never met them at all, I would unhesitatingly do whatever I could for them. Because that is what is right. No matter what religion you choose to subscribe to. And because I try to help my fellow man, I don’t think I’ll ever waste a night worrying about what will happen to me after I leave this world. Because between me and my God, I’ll have done what I can. It may not have been much, it may not have been even enough, but I’ll have done it. And I don’t have call myself a Christian, or say I belong to any other kind of organization to do this. I just have to be me and do what I see fit.

So people can call me what they want. I don’t really have a label for myself. I’m certainly not a Holy man, because I’m much too human (with all humanity’s downfalls and weaknesses) for that. I believe in me. I love my fellow man. And I have faith that one day, everyone will learn to care for each other. Even though I may be long gone before that happens. And I’m proud to be this way, because of wonderful, strong, and articulate people like you who aren’t afraid to profess it. I wish that I could someday be as articulate, but I’ll settle for just being me. And I do hope that you know that people like me do exist – we do take notice – and we do thank people like you for helping us to be who we are, just by being you.

Sincerely,
Terry Woodson.

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