ThyBlackMan.com) I’m not a religious person, growing up my household wasn’t particularly religious. Sure, my younger sister and brother attended Sunday School but church wasn’t a central part of family life growing up. We had that the two pictures in our living room for years: Black Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr.
I always found the Jesus picture odd since I couldn’t remember us ever going to church for services as a family. My mother always wanted us to have the choice to decide for ourselves what belief system was right for us and to be respectful of others.
The very minimum of that was “As long as you don’t worship the Devil.” So it was religious freedom with a Super mild condition. The last time I was ever in a church was for my 8th grade graduation ceremony. That was twenty years ago.
For years afterward, I never pursued religion. I had friends who were religious, spiritual, atheists, moral but not religious, or they participated in church for the community and family aspect but didn’t relate to religion or have a relationship with God.
A Relationship with God
I didn’t consider one until my mid-20s. By then I probably should’ve been questioning my relationship with Him but since I didn’t have one to begin with I was working from an interesting place. In reading texts and the books and talking with people who had a healthy relationship with God. Let’s call it “healthy.”
I’d talked with people who were zealous with their Christianity and it made hard to relate. The ones who had that healthy relationship made it easier to understand where they were coming from and why they considered themselves Christian.
Many explained that yes, I can have a relationship with Him and not have one with the church. It was something I knew because my mother has one. I was more curious as to how people navigate that and balance what they do during the week and services on Sunday—or how ever many times they attend.
Hypocrisy and History
Ultimately, I decided not to have a relationship with God. While church folk by and large are kind people, church was something I couldn’t do personally. By this time, my younger sister was a Christian who questions and my brother just isn’t religious. As for me, I’m a history buff. I’m not an expert, I don’t have degrees but I know my stuff and I’m constantly researching and reading.
One of the things I looked into was the history of Christianity and its spread throughout the world. It’s one of my favorite things to read up on. One book, with parts taken from another book is at the middle. Over 7 billion people on Earth and close to a third are of some Christian denomination. That is impressive. Something must be great if over 2 billion people subscribe to this belief system.
Then you read the history. Not the canonical, in-Bible history but the history. It’s not the best endorsement for Christianity at all and you have centuries of that. In present time, there’s the hypocrisy of leaders. Not all of them obviously, but you have that few who really sour everything. Then you have how easy it is to twist the Bible to horrible effect.
There are leaders who won’t surrender their position or they’re moved elsewhere after sexual abuse. You have leaders who mishandle their congregation’s money by blowing it on themselves and their family and try to talk it over with them.
And keep their congregation mostly intact despite telling them what is right and doing the opposite.
This isn’t including some views I just can’t get down with. Some views aren’t in line with what’s in the book about treating others. Then again, not all churches express those views but very few hold the others accountable. The ones that eventually do, it’s like pulling teeth but nothing really changes.
All of this is just my personal look at religion. Today, I’m an apathetist. I believe there is a God but I’m indifferent towards God. As Blacks, we tend to be a very religious people, it’s in our culture and history in the States and elsewhere religion has touched for better or worse. We tend to defend it even when Sheppard’s becomes wolves.
While I wouldn’t just tell someone “Drop religion and be free” I would say don’t be afraid to question religion because your family and friends are in deep with it. Look at every facet of it, see how it enriches and destroys lives and cultures. You can’t hurt religion by simply questioning it and asking if there are actually thrones in the sky or why you all do any of this.
Religion has been around since centuries upon centuries. Before your grandfather was a twinkle in his father’s eye. It’ll be around after you leave. You can leave religion and return to it later when it might be applicable to your life because it’ll always be there.
Don’t hesitate to demand answers from your leaders or go elsewhere when those answers aren’t suitable. There will always be another parishioner or congregation member to take your place.
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.