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Secret Lives and the Pursuit of Liberty

By Carl S. ~

The subject of secret lives has engaged my mind for years. Perhaps it all began with a revelation. An acquaintance, a veteran of WW II, now deceased, found among his deceased wife's belongings, a birth certificate of a child he never knew she had. No doubt, this experience or other revelations of a partner's untold life are commonplace. Indeed, even within the lifetimes of couples and friends, we take their private lives as just that, private, and go no further. And we also note the growing concern we feel at the possibility of government overreach, in prying into our lives.

Novels, murder mysteries, actual criminal cases, tell-all books and media reports are saturating societies with revealing secrets. (My older brother had to meet his future wife secretly. He was German, she Sicilian. This stuff goes on all the time.) Celebrities "come out" or are caught off-guard in their actions or words. There are wives and husbands of famous authors, scientists, etc., who are dis-interested in the passions which drive their spouses. They love them and accept them without also accepting their spouse's expressions of their most intimate feelings. When the other is caught in an affair, or found out to be a thief, murderer, con artist, or otherwise harboring a secret nasty self, the spouse or friend is incredulous, bewildered, devastated, and usually, in denial. But how could intimacy be so deceived we wonder? Maybe because the spouses or friends were only willing to accept certain parts of the person's personality agreeable to what the person wanted to accept, and no other?

We do need secret lives. One author commented that a deity capable of watching us everywhere we are, deprives us of the privacy we naturally need for mental health. At the same time, we need the freedom from pressure that insists we have the right to just be ourselves as long as we don't harm others in being so. It is this right that religions are opposed to. The religious prefer LGBT, atheists, agnostics, secularists, and many others who are harmless to be and stay "in the closet," because in their well-meaning but perverted moral sensibility, the aforementioned are NOT harmless to them, their children, their society, or their nation.

There are atheist pastors "in the closet," and among congregations, who don't make waves, and instead express their true feelings through Facebook, twitter, and the internet. Clearly, when it comes to religions everywhere, doctrines dictate the individual does not have the right to even THINK about secretly loving another, which harms no one. Witness also the punishments that await anyone who thinks in secret, alone, of seriously questioning or leaving the dogmas concluded as being ridiculous and "self"-suppressing. (Don't you wonder what mind-bending stockpiles of dirty secrets clergy cover up?)

The right to express oneself openly is frowned upon by true believers, when it isn't mocked or damned. There is a double standard involved here, for the believers feel it's their god-given right to freely express their faith, over-riding the faiths and non-faith of others, in a "tyranny of the majority." Needless to say, when this is pointed out, the righteous cry "war on religion," or "This is a Christian nation," or other such nonsense. Strange isn't it, that those who claim to hold the moral high ground don't recognize the everlasting moral precept, "Do unto others?" No, those "others" who differ should keep their objections to themselves, in secret.

The right to express oneself openly is frowned upon by true believers... There is a double standard involved here, for the believers feel it's their god-given right to freely express their faith.There is something that has bothered me for some time: People are struggling with their religions, and if they voice their secret doubts, are told they have issues and need to talk them over with a clerical member. Often, failing to get answers, the clergy will set up an "intervention" situation, like one the AA would use to confront an alcoholic whose substance abuse is harming his family and job. The "intervention" consists of clergy (Rabbi, elders, imams, etc.) or true believers who try to talk the faith and deter the doubter from asking or pursuing serious questions. In short, they gang up on the individual, or even couples who want to marry.

I will propose an alternative to this “issues" interrogation court. (We're talking about you individually, your rights.) If you are having doubts and they become so intense that you must discuss them, then give yourself the freedom from being forced to hear only one side of beliefs. Just don't allow yourself to be corralled into going it alone. Take one or more atheists, agnostics, or secular humanists with you, so that you will be represented as a free individual, and don’t allow yourself to be railroaded into submission. Let the believers find out what it's like being in your shoes, facing the issues they refuse to face. Be aware in those circumstances of those who foster an automatic and non-thinking response of denigrating you who dares to go where they fear to.

But, first see if they would be willing to have such a discussion in the first place. (As a Jewish fighter in Nazi Germany then said, " We see how brave they are when we have weapons, too.") Should you/they have a problem with this? Is truth threatened by hearing all sides?

Let the secret life of inquiry roam free.