Bad Religion

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I used to go hard against religion.. well Christianity anyway. I’ve evolved.. but old habits die hard. In my eyes, Christianity was the reason behind everyone’s audacity to judge me, even as a child.

Once I discovered Islam through hip-hop and 5 percenters (peace Gods!), I asked my mother why in the hell weren’t we Muslim. Her answer made sense to me. It was something along the lines of “because they are oppressive to women (just like the rest of them).. same reason I don’t consider myself a Rasta.. they believe women should only wear long skirts, never pants.. f*ck that!” Uh.. say no more Ma.

At some point I became aware that most enslaved Africans of the diaspora practiced Islam before being forcefully converted to Christians. They also practiced ancient African religions as well. This solidified my preference of Islam over Christianity. Not that I was in search of a religion to practice, I was just on a spiritual journey and trying to understand things.

“I don’t recall Islam ever being force fed down people’s throats in America.”

I learned so much of the taboo and “hidden in plain sight” stuff from Moors and people who chose Islam as their religion. I feel like Islam, practiced by Black people in particular, symbolizes rejection of 2nd class citizenship in America. First of all, it’s a choice. I don’t recall Islam ever being force fed down people’s throats in America. That’s why it makes sense that Islam is under attack and has been made our 21st century’s public enemy numero uno. Only second to the people who are practically indigenous to the Americas. But I digress.

I feel like an ulterior motive of religion is to program our subconscious and give false frames of reference, good and bad. There are obvious positive and negative aspects to every religion; it’s highly subjective and interpreted differently for each individual. It should be anyway. I just wish people would be more careful not to judge someone else’s choices based on a set of principles they either chose to believe, or were forced to.

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The Moment I Rejected #Religion

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My intellect tells me that around age 12 or 13, which I’m only assuming is the correct age because of the development and maturity of my thoughts, I started to question the validity of a “God” more precisely “Jesus Christ” and the Christian religion. My intuition has been telling me for years that I was a mere 10 years old. As a child I was certain I would remember the exact ages certain occurrences occurred, needless to say I am very grateful that I decided somewhere along the line to document these things. This blog is a testament to me feeling as though we never forget the most introspective things. However, I vividly remember having this very short and very curt conversation with my mother.

I remember the very distinct and exact moment I decided to confront my inner dialogue concerning God and religion. Growing up in a virtually religion-less household, I was pretty much on my own navigating this institution. I learned about religion, among other things, from school, other families and observation.

With that being said, religion and God first intrigued me, second, scared the fucking shit out of me and thirdly, confused me. Confused me so much that, as its ultimate purpose intends, consumed so very much of my thoughts and behavior. It altered my creativity because I was afraid to think, say and believe certain things. For a long time I neither accepted or rejected religion completely. I may have been too afraid to do either. So back to this vivid memory:

I remember riding in the passenger seat of my mother’s vehicle driving down Kemp Mill Road passing the street in which my school, Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School, was located. I remember asking my mother “Ma.. what religion are we?!” Her rebuttal, almost verbatim, was “I don’t know. Christian I guess?!” My mother is extremely intelligent; I believe the lack of thought and effort she put into answering this question further confused me.

I remember at that very moment I refused religion. I didn’t accept that answer. I said to myself “no i’m not. I don’t even know what it means or how to be a Christian.” Because I didn’t quite understand religion and it left a sour taste in my mouth and the number one person I looked to for guidance treated it so nonchalantly, I felt emboldened to discredit it. I didn’t feel the need to even respect it anymore, although the psychological affects had already done, fortunately reversible, its damage.

Most of my encounters and understandings of religion up to this point were negative. To me, it was basically saying you have to walk the straight and narrow OR ELSE. It was extremely judgmental and psychologically oppressive. And who the hell wants to submit to that? And furthermore, who is this white guy you are telling me I should worship?! The White Jesus image has never resonated with me. I have a lot of sentiment about religion, Christianity in particular, but it’s still developing. I will most certainly write more on this subject.

However, when I discovered atheism I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought I was the only person in the world who was any kind of indifferent about religion and God. Like any other belief system, I didn’t and still don’t submit to atheism. If I had to try and subscribe to a notion of God, it would probably be closest to agnostic, which is to my understanding belief of not knowing or ever knowing. To me, God is a concept and religion is the story and principle that make up that concept.

My mother did have a bible in our home and she grew up Christian. She hated it though. She replaced that kind of talk with “higher power” and “the creator”. She vowed to not raise my sister and me up in the church for a number of reasons. We would recite the Psalm 23 prayer some nights, so I knew it had some kind of significance.

My father was more into bible passages than my mother, though it appeared to be in a less traditional “European” sense. He even provided me with my own bible and bookmarked some pages and highlighted passages that appear to be more of the Old Testament/Hebrew faith? Idk. It speaks on Ham and Cush and those kinds of stories. I actually grew up in a Jewish neighborhood which also tremendously influenced my thinking about religion and ethnic/race relations general.

CC: Jamaican Mother, Jewish Neighborhood

Thanks for reading!