Religion, Family and Friends
One of the most sensitive topics of discussion among African Americans is religion. Relationships and friendships have ended, and family members have turned their backs on one another. Name calling ensues and deep feelings of hurt set in. Why can’t we have this discussion with an open mind and an open spirit? Why are we dead set on having to be right or bringing others over from the “dark side”. And which side is the “dark side”?
I’ve heard conversations, read conversations and engaged in some heated conversations about religion. This entire post could very well ruffle some feathers, cause some folks to get hot under the collar and may even cause a few eye rolls. And again I ask you why? African Americans hold fast and strong to religion more so than any other race and African American women are leading the way with holding tight to religion.
I grew up going to church regularly and even in to adulthood I attended church. But as a youngster I had my doubts about the bible and even bigger doubts about the white Jesus proudly displayed in my church. Something just didn’t sit right with me and I found myself throughout my life questioning the teachings in the bible, and I’ve come to grips with the fact that religion isn’t for me. Instead I’m learning to tap into my spirituality, my oneness with the universe and the elements of the Earth. I have started trying to research African spirituality before religion to see what our ancestors practiced. This is what has peaked my interests and what I’m more interested in learning about. I also like having open minded, healthy discussions with people who still go to church. I know there is a lot to be learned within the exchange of ideas on a mature level.
We have all ‘heard’ for the most part how African Americans were forced into Christianity and many people question how the oppressors and the oppressed both pray to the same God and expect their prayers to get answered. I’ve seen heated conversations take place, because it was done with the intent to cause anger and rage about religion. That to me is such a waste of energy. The goal should be to have a conversation where learning takes place instead of nasty name calling and the end of relation/friendships. We live in the technology and information age, so there is no reason why we shouldn’t be learning what we can about how/why religions were started, what their purpose was/is, what our ancestors believed and practiced.
Don’t let your beliefs destroy your relationships with your family and friends, you should be able to talk about this openly and gain some insight as to why a person practices or chooses not to practice religion. Let’s stop being stubborn when it comes to religion and allow people to do what they see is best for them. It doesn’t make them less of a friend or make them less family, because they have different views on this than you; nor does it make them a bad person. Do what’s best for you, but don’t be closed minded to learning facts where religion is concerned. Research things for yourself and come into your own truths…there is too much information out here to believe anything just because someone told you to believe it.