I don’t necessarily believe in organized religion. – Will Smith
I’m not into organized religion. I’m into believing in a higher source of creation, realizing we’re all just part of nature. – Neil Young
There are two things I really hate to get roped into discussions about because the conversation always goes left and people always want their opinions heard and respected while trying to convince you why you are wrong and your opinions don’t count. Those two topics are politics and religion. I’m sure you can guess what today’s rant is about via the title.
This is the second time in a month I’ve had to deal with someone trying to push religion on me. Some or just very persistent and some are just downright condescending and insulting. First let me say this; I am not an atheist. Not exactly anyway. I believe in a higher power, some Divine force that we can’t see or exactly understand. What I am not here for is organized religion. I will get into my reasons later.
So a couple of weeks ago I got a call from a family friend, “Chauncey”. We spoke a bit and then I said I needed to get back to what I was working on and how I had some things coming up that week that I was gonna need to find some help with. Chauncey offered to help, but at a price. I thought to myself I really need the help as these tasks couldn’t be put off and I didn’t mind giving him a few dollars. Was it money he wanted? Nope! He wanted me to agree to two Bible studies. This irritates me because Chauncey knows I am not religious and furthermore if I were, I was raised up in a Baptist church, not Jehovah’s Witness, which he is. I don’t know very much about JW, but what I do know I am so not on board with. It seems that since he has given up his life of partying and hanging with people his fellow JW followers have frowned down upon, he really is pushing it on me.
A little background, I met Chauncey through someone from my past and while I no longer have contact with anyone associated with that person, Chauncey is the one I still talk to occasionally. There were rumors flying around about him (many of which I later on learned were true) and because of these things he was shunned by the JWs. I could not wrap my mind around how he was still expected to attend services, but no one was allowed to communicate with him inside or outside of the Hall until they felt he was living his life as they thought he should be. I began to lessen our communication with him after him starting up a very uncomfortable situation about things I should not being doing sexually with my partner as they were sinful or the conversation he started up with how I needed to come to the Hall and repent and find the Lord before it was too late as my children would be punished also if I were punished (insert that combination resting bitch face/side-eye). Furthermore, I don’t have time for people so bold and so self-entitled as they would go knocking on stranger’s doors intruding on their lives and trying to tell them why their beliefs are wrong. The pushy religious shit isn’t all that is wrong with this friendship, but it’s definitely the icing on the cake. It may be time to cut this friendship off.
This week, my aunt called me. I love her to pieces. She is one of my favorite people in this world, but somewhere in time she went from a good church going woman to a full on holy roller, thuggin’ for the lord type. As much as I love her, our number of calls have decreased. She’s always busy with work and the church and for me well, I sort of dread the 2 hour (no exaggeration) prayer calls. No matter what we are discussing, it always turns in to a long drawn out prayer and how I need to find myself and come back to the church. This call was no different. In fact, this time she wanted to send a pastor friend of hers to my home to talk to me and to make arrangements for me to go to his church this weekend.
Why is it that church folk are always so pushy? Why do they always make the assumption that anyone who doesn’t eat, sleep, and breathe religion are lost? If I am to be honest here, I am now more comfortable and confident in myself than I have been for a long time. I think a lot of people, especially in black families are guilted into being religious. I was probably seven years old when I first started to question religion. As a thinker/observer there were just certain things that didn’t add up to me. How could all things enjoyable in life be a sin? How can the Bible teach us that God created us all, and yet, this world is filled with so much hatred and the whole superior/inferior complex? Why is it that many wars in this world were religious in nature? Why were so many atrocities committed in the name of religion?I could go on and on.
I do still pray, not in the traditional sense, but I do. These days I do more meditating. I prefer to center myself and go deep within myself. Once I am centered, then I ask the Universe/ The Divine for assistance in manifesting whatever it is I seek. I am thankful of all blessings bestowed upon me, but I am also aware that I do my own manifesting and I put in all the work to achieve my goals and dreams.
Look, I am not one to attack anyone’s beliefs or religion. I have my issues with organized religion, but I respect everyone’s right to worship, think, and feel as they wish. I just find that those same people don’t respect my views. For black families especially, I don’t understand why it is so difficult to step away from organized religion, Christianity specifically. It is this religion that was used as a means to make our ancestors comply with their captors. It is this religious that has been used time and time again to strip countless indigenous people across many lands of their culture and their identities. Remember our ancestors were not slaves. They were enslaved people (and yes, there is a huge difference between the two).
I will stop my rant here as not to make it a full on essay on what is wrong with religion. I just really wish my religious friends and family would let me be great in my own way. Outside of letting go of one thing for something that I resonate and understand better, I am not the same person I have always been. While I am still the same honest, loving, thoughtful person I have always been, I have also become someone who openly questions what does not make sense to me. I have become someone who will speak up against injustice and wrong-doing as I see fit. I have become someone who isn’t afraid to be unique.
Rant over! Do any of you struggle or experience this same type of thing?