I don't keep my disaffection with the church a secret on this blog, my disaffection was integral to accepting my homosexuality. However, I am interested in trying to salvage some of my spirituality, and I have been reading a fascinating book by Karen Armstrong, titled "The Case for God." Due to my scientific background, I reject a literal Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, but Armstrong presents a metaphorical view of the Garden of Eden story that I find highly appealing. In her book (pages 27-30), she states:
It is a typical lost paradise myth . . . . Like any myth, its purpose is to help us to contemplate the human predicament. Why is human life filled with suffering, back-breaking agricultural labor, agonizing childbirth, and death? Why do men and women feel so estranged from the divine?The story of Adam and Eve has become an integral part of the culture of Christianity because of its transcendent ability to connect with our experiences. Adam becomes a symbol for Everyman. I find my life to be an almost disturbing parallel to the Adam and Eve story.
Some Western Christians read the story as a factual account of the Original Sin that condemned the human race to everlasting perdition. But this is a peculiarly Western Christian interpretation and was introduced controversially by Saint Augustine of Hippo only in the early fifth century. The Eden story has never been understood in this way in either Jewish or the Orthodox Christian traditions. . . . The Eden story is certainly not a morality tale; like any paradise myth, it is an imaginary account of the infancy of the human race. . . .To know pain and to be conscious of desire and mortality are inescapable components of human experience, but they are also symptoms of that sense of estrangement from the fullness of being that inspires the nostalgia for paradise lost. We can see Adam, Eve, and the serpent as representing different facets of our humanity. In the snake is the rebelliousness and incessant compulsion to question everything that is crucial to human progress; in Eve we see our hunger for knowledge, our desire to experiment, and our longing for a life free of inhibition. Adam, a rather passive figure, displays our reluctance to take responsibility for our actions. The story shows that good and evil are inextricably intertwined in human life. Our prodigious knowledge can at one and the same time be a source of benefit and the cause of immense harm.
Start with my disaffection, it was my wife who first "took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat" (Genesis 3:6). This was the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Our eyes were opened to the inconsistencies and contradictions in church history. We could not shut our eyes again and felt driven from the paradise of being believing members of the church. But as with Adam and Eve, we would rather have true knowledge of things, rather than belief in things that are false.
The same pattern followed our acceptance of homosexuality. My wife accepted that she was lesbian first. She also recognized and accepted that I was gay first. She then encouraged me to discover my homosexuality for myself. Sometimes I think she regrets feeding me the "fruit".
But my eyes have been opened, and MAN! how they've opened. I never knew there were so many cute guys out there! It seems I've spent years of my life trying to be attracted to the wrong demographic. I didn't realize that the men were always there. My wife says the mechanics of how I check out guys hasn't changed, but now the connections are being made in the brain.