First off, this is not a post about me coming out the closet. If anything, I'll have these hoes coming out of them draws once they find out how good of a writer I am. This is a religious coming out. To be more specific, this is historical documentation of me coming to terms with my lack of religious beliefs.
Let's go back-back in time. Growing up in a black household, I was pretty much indoctrinated into the Christian church. Church was a fairly big part of my childhood. We weren't super religious, though. My dad wasn't a deacon and my mom didn't go around throwing holy water on people. She was from the south, so her roots in the church were probably a lot deeper than my pops', who was from the east coast. This probably explains why he eventually stopped going to church with us.
I remember my mom waking me and my sister up early as hell every Sunday like it was a school day. I used to ask my mom why didn't my pops have to go to church. The best answer she could come up with is "Your father is grown. When you grown, you can do whatever you want to do." As a kid, that answer made a lot of sense. And I took it to heart.
I don't remember much about our first church, but I do remember it was Baptist and all black. All that means, is it was filled with a bunch of boujee old black people hooting and hollering and pretending to "catch the holy ghost." This is when I started hating church. Not only was I missing early morning cartoons, but I was always bored out of my mind. The only good thing that happened to me there was discovering Kirk Franklin. That nigga can make some good ass music. This was around kindergarten/1st grade.
Even though I hated church, I still believed in God and Jesus and all that other shit. I used to say grace before I ate and bedtime prayers before I slept. I even remember crying when I went to see House on Haunted Hill, because I thought God would be mad at me for watching it. That and it scared the shit out of me for some reason. I could watch any other scary movie just fine. That was the 1st time me and my pops left in the middle of a movie at the theaters. Looking back, I was acting like a little bitch, but I was young and didn't know any better. I'm sure my pops made fun of me after that.
In the 3rd grade, I decided to conduct an experiment to see if God was real. To be more specific, I wanted to test whether or not prayer changed anything. At this point, I was going to an all black Christian private school. I had just been put in detention for something. Probably talking in class. I was so afraid of my parents finding out. I probably was receiving an ass whooping every few weeks for something bad I did at school. This one would've been the worst one yet, though. I decided to pray as hard as I could. I asked God to protect my little ass from my pops' belt. I did my time in detention and my pops picked me up afterwards. My teacher never told my parents what happened.
It was a miracle! It was almost too good to be true. That was the 1st time I prayed for something and actually got it. I started thinking, though. Would the outcome have been the same whether I had prayed or not? I decided to test this by not praying any more. I wanted to see if my life would have any major changes if I stopped praying completely. My hypothesis checked out. I realized good things don't happen because you pray for them; they just randomly happen the same way bad things do. That's when I discovered that God was no different from Santa Claus. (Yeah, I was that kid telling all his friends Santa wasn't real.) In the 4th grade, I said fuck God and embraced atheism.
Fast forward to high school. I was really feeling myself back then. I was still apart of the parochial school system and had been attending a white Lutheran church up until freshman year. The Lutheran schools and churches had the best Christian teachings in my opinion. They were so sure that they were right that I was required to study not only Christianity, but every other major religion as if they weren't all essentially the same. The goal was to give me enough knowledge to defend my faith. All they had done for me was arm me with the knowledge to tear down any Christian theories.
My homeboys on my football team weren't big on debating religion, so they were no fun when it came to the topic. I wasn't arrogant enough to impose my lack of belief on my friends, however. They didn't even realize I was an atheist until around junior year. They were shocked initially, but by then our friendship was strong enough to overshadow what any of us believed. We would rather argue over who the best rapper was any way.
My teachers on the other hand, had a few things to say. They didn't find out I was atheist until my senior year. Ironically, I joined two gospel choirs that year. I figured it would help me get over my fear of singing in front of people. Plus I wanted to improve my singing technique. On top of that, the best singers are black church singers. On top of that, my girlfriend at the time was a choir director. I admired her pipes. She could really blow. And she had a fat booty.
Any way, back to my teachers. The 1st teacher that confronted me about my amazingly open mind was actually my religion teacher/football coach. Dude was super religious to the point where it seemed kind of creepy. Being a white guy with a thick ass pedophile mustache didn't help either. He called me into his office and we chatted for a little while. He asked why I didn't believe and I told him my 3rd grade detention story. He seemed pretty understanding. He told me prayer really does work and sent me on my way. I gained a little respect for him after that, just because he didn't try to force Jesus down my throat like I was expecting.
The 2nd teacher to confront me was my football/basketball coach. I respected him because he was black, smart, cool and he genuinely wanted to help young black men succeed in life. He confronted me in front of the class one day. I'm sure he heard about my beliefs from the 1st coach or a teammate. He asked me why I didn't believe. Instead of telling him my full story, I simply said, "The Bible is unbelievable." He then asked me, "Why don't you just believe just in case God is real?" Not only could I not believe in a god, but I couldn't believe this silly ass question he asked me. I then had to explain to him that I highly doubt his "all-knowing" God would fall for something so childish. I went on to tell him that I couldn't control my beliefs. If something seems wrong to me, I can't trick my brain into believing it's true.
(Damn, this is a long post)
Just like the 1st coach, he respected my choice and didn't bother to try and convert me. I appreciated that. However, I could tell that the teachers were talking about me at lunch whenever I walked by. I was more amused than embarrassed. I was actually proud to have my own set of ideas and beliefs. No one converted me out of my faith. I didn't turn my back on God because I was mad at him for allowing evil in the world. Every thought that made me question my faith originated from my own reasoning.
Even though I thought religion was bullshit, I actually liked studying it. I was fascinated with the amount of power it had over people and how the different religions related to each other. Plus the stories told in scriptures were pretty good. They reminded me of Greek theology, which I've always loved. Hercules and Xena were two of my favorite heroes growing up.(I don't think Xena was Greek, but she did have a relationship with Herc)
The one thing I enjoyed the most during my high school and college years, besides making music and getting butt, was arguing with people. Religion was the perfect thing to argue about, because:
1. People get emotional over the topic and emotions usually cause you to lose in a debate.
2. I knew more about other people's religions than they did, because I studied them for fun.
3. I used to be a religious person, so I can see things from a believer's perspective while predicting what arguments they'll use.
I was unbeatable. I especially had fun in college, because I went to school Mississippi. (Good old Bible belt state) They damn near hated atheists down there. While I was quite arrogant, I wasn't the type of atheist who walked around telling people their God is a figment of their imagination. As a matter of fact, I didn't even bring up my beliefs unless someone asked.
My friends in college were similar to my friends in high school. They didn't find out I was atheist until my junior year. It was a shock to them, but just like my high school homies, they looked past my beliefs because we were already good friends. I started to run into other like-minded people after my beliefs became more public.
My pops also found out about me being atheist around this time. He kind of shrugged it off like I was going through a phase. After I graduated, he realized I was serious. He kind off left hints here and there that there was a God. They weren't very good hints, though. I remember him giving me a DVD while saying "This will change your mind about God." it was basically some space documentary (paid for by some rich old white guy with an agenda) explaining how statistically improbable it was that earth was created, let alone capable of sustaining life. The documentary was actually well-made and gave some good info, but as you can see, I'm still a heathen.