Today is World AIDS Day; has your spirituality been affected/challenged by this world crisis, and in what way?
It is a day of reflection. These past 30 years of the AIDS epidemic have seen a lot of questions being asked; some have wondered if there can be a spiritual tie-in to this crisis, and such a pondering has been expressed both positively, and, sadly, very negatively. Many people have questioned their stand on issues because of AIDS, and there has been great compassion too, although this still is something there needs to be more of.
On a personal note, I can say that I have seen family members soften their hard line religious views; when your own family is affected, something that you thought of as only happening to *someone else* becomes personal, and has a human face, a familiar face. On the other hand, some family members have responded with such remarkable hatred, all in the name of their religious beliefs. This may sound strange, but those family members who have exploded(this is the only appropriate word for their actions) in hatred, I have discovered in myself some compassion for; I feel sorry for them that they are so chained to their dogma that they cannot feel, not even for their own family. When you think about it, their state really is the more pitiable, by far.
Anyway, this is a day of reflection. How has AIDS affected or challenged your spirituality? How have you personally seen people respond to this crisis, and have you seen people actually grow and embrace their better selves because of it?
Thank you for your answers.
Fireball, I would hardly expect a compassionate answer out of you; you have a disease far worse than AIDS....you have terminal ignorance.
Markyy, that is truly beautiful; thank you so much for that.
- Markyyy - P3DLv 61 decade agoFavorite Answer
I wrote a little blog on World AIDS day 2006. I think you'd enjoy the story, so I just copied it here :)
"A little memory on World Aids Day.
In april 1993 I was 13 years old. Thirteen is the age that your parents still decide when you have to sleep. Each saturday I was allowed to stay up until midnight, a lot of hour after my normal bedtime. At 11pm my favorite TV show started.
The host of the show was a guy named Paul de Leeuw, a Dutch comedian. Paul offended, insulted, said the most horrible things and 90% of the country hated him deeply. But everybody watched his show. More than once the Sunday papers were filled with comments about the horrible insult Paul de Leeuw used in his shows the night before.
Paul has the ability to translate his anger in though-provoking jokes. He made me think. His shows were rated to be seen by 16 years and older. At the age of thirteen, my dad loved that I loved this show so much. He saw it helped me in my world-vision, he saw it opened my mind more. He fought with my mom to be sure that I could watch this show. My mom hated it. Paul was in those days also very vulgar, used dirty language and on top of it all, he was very openly gay.
In the beginning of the 1990's there was a lot of misunderstanding about Aids. That same misunderstanding is still very present now, by the way. According to many, Aids is a sickness caused by those filthy homosexuals. People are funny when they don't use their brain.
April 1993, a Saturday night. My dad and me sitting on the couch, waiting for the show of Paul de Leeuw to start. Like every week my mom joined us, simply to annoy us with her comments.
The show started with a few pictures of a male model. A muscular strong gay guy with no shirt on. My mom already getting annoyed. Which always was part of the fun. The pictures stopped, and the show started.
Next to Paul was what appeared to be a kid, a very little slim guy named Rene Klijn. Rene Klijn was Paul de Leeuw's ex boyfriend, and pretty soon it became clear to us that Rene Klijn was the same guy as the big strong guy in the pictures. Rene Klijn had Aids and was gonna die soon.
The whole show was a beautiful, gentle, soft human ode to Rene Klijn. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen on TV. The friendship between these two men jumped off the screen. Two men, simply talking as if they were home, about life and more specifically about what caused his Aids. And how he lived with Aids. And how much prejudice he had to fight over the last years living with Aids. Two gay guys talking about Aids. A TV show of one hour, and in that hour both guys became humans instead of homosexuals.
Science can teach us a lot. When science argues with our own prejudice, the message only comes across when the right emotional button is pressed.
At the end of the show they sang a song together, which can be seen in the Youtube clip at the end of this blog. During that song, my dad cried. I cried. And yes, my mom cried. I'm pretty sure half of the country cried. I'm even sure that the biggest homophobes couldn't keep their eyes dry.
Even weeks after Rene Klijn had already died, the song still topped the Dutch charts. The profits were donated to the Aids Fund.
Science can teach us a lot. It took an emotional TV show with two very open-minded gay men to teach us that Aids is not a homosexual disease, but a human disease.
My dad allowed me to watch this show every week, at an age when I was far too young to watch it. A perfect parent would never do that. My dad did, which made him the perfect parent."Source(s): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTg3TxsMeU0
- sad pandaLv 41 decade ago
I can't say my spirituality has been affected, but it's certainly a cause for concern and regret.
The saddest thing is with the AIDS epidemic came an epidemic of ignorance. I recently heard a religious radio show host claim AIDS was a result of sin, and condoms should be banned. Just this morning a co-worker voiced her opinion that homosexuality was the only reason AIDS exists. Honestly, it's terrifying that so many deaths have occurred and yet the majority of people capable of helping refuse to do anything but throw around blame.
This is not a time for accusations, it's a time for sincere effort and compassion.
- liddabetLv 61 decade ago
As a theatre chick - I lost a lot of friends to the AIDs crisis.
One HUGE loss was my friend Gregg who died back in 1993. His family was ashamed of his illness - and told everyone that he had "an odd form of cancer." He had not told them he was gay - because he knew they would not accept him or the lifestyle. They learned about his homosexuality when they were informed that he was dying of AIDs.
He didn't tell anybody he was sick. His Mom had died a few month before he did - so he blamed his thin body and unhealthy looks on his stress over the loss of his Mom. Until his partner took him off to the hospital one night - nobody knew he had AIDS. At that point he was in such pain that they knocked him out and he withered away over the next few weeks - and finally left us. I never got to say bye.
I am constantly torn regarding belief in an afterlife or another side. Not because I am concerned about what happens after this - but because it would be a chance to hook back up with Gregg again.
15 years and I still miss him horribly. Sometimes I think his spirit is here with me. Other times - that seems ridiculous.
- RubymLv 71 decade ago
I think of when I was a kid in Catholic Schools. We learned about how Jesus helped the lepers, but the official line of the Jewish religion of the time was they were outcasts. I remember thinking at 10 or so, I'm so glad we don't live when people who are sick are treated like that (I knew very little about the 3rd world countries where lepers and others were still outcasts)
Then I was grown. AIDS came along. I knew no one, to my knowledge with it. But there was talk of putting people in camps with AIDS, Solariums like TB patients used to be in (I think this was before they isolated the HIV virus.) Some, not all, but some of the people who were the most outspoken against people with AIDS were religious. Many others in churches helped them as much as they could. I realized the Biblical thinking about lepers might still be around, in some cases, without the compassion of Christ.
I hope that is what is evident in today's world. I don't care what lifestyle somebody has, whether I approve of it on a personal basis or not; if somebody is sick, somebody is sick. Jesus taught love and compassion, not hate.
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- genaddtLv 71 decade ago
My ex-sister-in-laws brother died of AIDS a few years back. I also went to school with him as well as her. He was a great individual and it was hard to see a lot of people, though educated, treat him like a pariah. People were shocked that I'd actually give him a hug like I'd be able to catch it. Just seeing Eddie go through it changed me a lot, for the better I hope, and opened my eyes to the fact that even though it's the 21st century, more education in compassion is needed.
- joe the manLv 71 decade ago
i lost some friends and realized we are finite.
i learned to overcome my fear and work with people who are poz
i lost some more friends who cried of loneliness because they were rejected and when i reached to take their hand it wasnt there.
i had to deal with people who thought each sneeze and every dying plant meant someone was sick.
i've lost another friend... or he withdrew from life, wallowing in self blame.
he would have been 32 last week.
and last thursday my partner and i went to a turkey night dinner cooked by some friends who are poz and their family was there and friends and i realized that even if you're not american or christian or whatever... there's stuff to be thankful for.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Aids have affected the globe. Most of us have come a long way in the way that we treat those affected by HIV. HIV cannot be spread by hugging and caring.
It should have made sex education all the more inportant. Not something to be ignored hoping that it will go away. Children need information to make the right choices.
Don't you just love how the fundies focus on who to blame? So typical of them. Don't you just love how they represent their religion in something other than a flattering light?
- elaine 30705Lv 71 decade ago
Yes i have,the neighbor hood where we lived,there was a little boy
who grew up at our house and his home,he came around a lot
to play,,we knew them well,,when he got in his teen,s he started
messing with drugs and shooting up,,ay age 19 he contracted aids
and slept with girl,s and did not tell them he had aids,,so now'
he is in prison dying alone because of being stupid,
- Plus Size AngelLv 51 decade ago
We need good sex education and effective treatment to AIDS patients around the globe. Abstinence only spreads STD!Source(s): Good unpolluted Heaven on Earth, no SM fantasies of Hell allowed.
- Chicken LittleLv 61 decade ago
I lost a dear friend to AIDS; he contracted it in the early 80s, before very much was known about it, and before the "drug cocktail" to control HIV existed. He was an amazing musician, as was his partner, and the world lost both of them. His "good Christian" parents refused to give him a funeral, or even hold a memorial service, they were so narrow-minded; it made me utterly ill. They can't touch you now, Tommy.