I watched Brokeback Mountain recently. It inspired many thoughts regarding homosexuality and about living life honestly. The two male characters in the movie fall in love, and the whole story revolves around their attempts to keep their love for each other hidden over a period of twenty years. They opt for living heterosexual lives: they each get married and have children; but they still can’t rid themselves of what they really are, and the love that they share for each other. The movie shows how easy it is to live a lie rather than dealing with the truth, especially if what you really are – in this case, being gay – is something that can attract hatred from others in society.
I've thought about homosexuality a lot over the years, and I often wonder if human sexual orientation is less rigid than we think. Is it possible that no one is 100% heterosexual or 100% homosexual, that each human being has a mixture of both? Maybe a number of factors – such as genes, upbringing, social context, etc – determine if a person becomes dominantly (but not entirely) heterosexual or homosexual. I've often thought that extreme homophobes who brandish those "God hates fags" signs actually realise the homosexual part within themselves, but instead of accepting it they lash out at those who are comfortable with their sexual orientation. In other words, extreme homophobes don't hate 'fags'; they hate themselves.
I think that, if I had a slightly different life consisting of a slightly different set of life experiences, it is possible that I would have turned out gay. And I would have been totally comfortable with it, because I've learnt that one of the pillars of good psychological health is to be honest with who you are, and to be yourself despite what society may think.
And this last point applies to my lack of belief in God. My atheism is a part of who I am, and one thing that I decided long ago is that I won't pretend to be something I'm not. I think it is far more honest to live out what I really am, rather than trying to force myself to believe in virgin births, parting seas, talking donkeys, and people rising from the dead – things that are so alien to my natural way of thinking that I find them extremely difficult to accept. If the God Christianity really exists, and if I one day stand before his throne, would he not accept the fact that I lived honesty, over and above the fact that I did not believe in him? If he decides to send me to hell because of his bruised ego, is he truly worthy of worship at all? I find more value in honesty than in belief or in conformity, and for this short life I choose honesty.