Freethought Today · August 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF Students of Color Essay Contest Sixth Place (TIE): This is what I’d like Christians to know: By Sarah Espada

FFRF awarded Sarah $400.

By Sarah Espada

I'd like to tell believers, specifically Christians, to realize that Christianity isn't all there is and to expand their worldview. I personally know how hard it can be to let go of beliefs that have been ingrained in your brain. However, I found it to be rewarding.

I faced much guilt and confusion when I deconverted. I'm a nonreligious person of color, while many of my friends and most of my family are religious. I know the path I'm on is right for me. In society, people of color, specifically blacks and Latinos, are seen as very religious. I know firsthand that this can be true.

Being multiracial myself (my dad is Puerto Rican and my mom is black and white), I was raised an evangelical Pentecostal Christian. I was raised listening to gospel music, dressing up for church on Sunday mornings and going to bible study and church camp.

Christianity can be a suffocating religion. I want believers of color to know that they are under no obligation to adhere to it. As a nonreligious person of color, I want more people of color to question their religion, do research and investigate the history of their religion.

Making the choice to walk away from organized religion was terrifying and lonely and exciting and liberating. I'd like believers to know what it feels like to no longer be scared of the "devil's temptations" and "eternal hellfire" and to be able to release the guilt over their imaginary "sins."

Christians live in a bubble. Whatever doesn't line up with their beliefs is outside of that bubble. Unfortunately, this is why Christians can be narrow-minded. When Christians live in their own small limited world, with only Christian friends and only watching, reading, and listening to things that go along with their beliefs, they begin to judge and become unloving toward others.

It's scary leaving the bubble, but there so much more outside of it. The world is so much bigger than the Christian worldview. It really feels wonderful to discover that world as a nonreligious person without fear or guilt and I'd like to encourage all people who are being suppressed by religion to discover it, too.

Sarah, 17, from Windsor, Conn., plans to attend Cedar Crest College and major in social work. She was a member of her high school's Key Club and has written for the high school newspaper.

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