1/14/2012 | Share this article:By Black Freethought ~
I have followed the path of reason now for about eighteen months. However I have only shared my deconversion with a few close family members. I have felt, to quote an R. Kelly song, "Trapped in the Closet." I come from a strong, close knit,christian family where I have many relatives who are pastors, evangelists, and church leaders. My parents are also ministry leaders. My mom is a preacher(who says she hasn't been called yet) and my father is a deacon. My parents are well respected in the baptist church community here in the Motor City.
So out of respect for my parents' notoriety, I have kept silent. Keeping silent has proven to be most difficult. When I would visit them, they would talk about god and how he sits on the throne. I would just nod my head. However, I would really want to say, "No he isn't because he does not exist in reality outside of your thoughts!" But I don't want any trouble or be accused of disrespecting the faith of my ancestors who trusted god.
My sister(who is a non-christian deist) advised me against telling my parents. She said the devastation could potentially send them to an early grave.
Let me give a bit of context. My parents reared and trained me to be a church leader, i.e. a pastor. I was giving speeches(mini sermons) at the age of five. By the time I reached eight, I was teaching bible lessons to adults and children. I was being prepped for church greatness. In my early twenties, I was chosen to go to Zimbabwe and perform christian rap at the World Baptist Alliance Youth Conference. Until 2007, I worked in church as a ministry leader, Sunday school teacher, and director of the music ministry. My parents know that I no longer attend church, but they think it's just a phase...So for me to tell my parents, that I no longer believe would be difficult at best. What is even more difficult is sharing that I no longer believe any gods, christian or otherwise.
In my community(the African-American community) like in many other communities, folks don't attend church on a regular basis, but they believe in Jesus and pray often. At a minimum, they believe in some type of higher intelligence that designed the universe and everything in it. Christianity in the black community is tied to the legacy of slavery as well as the hope for freedom. To step away from that emotional baggage takes lots of courage. I am free from faith, but I fear; like many others who have similar stories, that I will lose the respect of my parents,, family, and loved ones. I know they will love me, but what good is love without respect?
Filed Under: Letters