11-02-2005, 03:25 AM
I'm a fourth year college student currently studying in Nairobi. I was raised Russian Orthodox Catholic before my family converted to Baptist when I was around the age of ten. Realizing I was gay, and struggling with my place in the world and faith in God, has been a real journey for me. I currently attend services at the United Methodist Church at my school, but politics regarding that branch of Christianity of late just reminds me of the very long road we all have in front of us to equality under God -- at least as expressed through man. Growing up, my father was a fundamentalist Christian who liked to express to the family the horrors of fire and brimestone hell, how we all fell short of the glory of God, and generally tied every word that was said or deed done to some tenet of his twisted version of Christianity. For a few years I was agnostic because I refused to put my faith into something that could be so distorted and perverted by the weaknesses of man. After having studied and traveled all over the world, China, Japan, Bolivia, and now in Africa, I have come to realize the essentially neutral nature of religion, and the innately positive nature of a loving faith. While the first has been the cause of untold historical destruction and death, it is only through the second that we can hope to construct a new societial outlook that values all of us equally.