Freethought Today · August 2017

Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc.

FFRF Students of Color Essay Contest Sixth Place (TIE): A moral and ethical rejection of religion: By Evann Bailey

FFRF awarded Evann $400.

By Evann Bailey

My father and grandmother are extremely conservative Christians who do not understand why I have chosen to become agnostic. Generally speaking, most African-Americans are Christian and, if they are not, they tend to be spiritual. It has been very difficult for me to go against what has been ingrained in me since birth. I was a Christian until 2012, when I started to question Christianity, its teachings and religion as a whole.

My path to becoming an agnostic began when I tried to understand the bible for myself and not rely on a preacher. Many passages and ideas in the bible contradict themselves, and when I started asking questions, no one gave me logical and definitive answers.

Soon after, I began to examine the relationship between Christianity and African-Americans from a historical standpoint. Before being kidnapped and brought to the Americas, my ancestors did not worship Jesus and God. They worshipped their own African deities and spirits. Christianity has been forced upon my people and many other minority ethnic groups. We have been brainwashed into believing a human who lived thousands of years ago is the son of an invisible man in the sky. It did not make sense for me to continue to follow and believe in a fairytale my ancestors were forced to believe. I wanted to break this chain of illusion.

My decision to denounce Christianity has also resulted in my decision to denounce religion as a whole. There are many similarities among the religions of the world. For example, Mithraism and Christianity are remarkably similar. Both Mithras and Jesus were born on Dec. 25, died on a cross, had 12 disciples, and practiced celibacy. The list goes on and on. Many religions also share a general consensus on the idea of heaven, hell, and good vs. evil, as shown in Greek and Roman mythology. Historically, new religions take similar elements from religions of their surrounding location to create their own.

I believe religion is used to comfort people. Because of this, many people have taken it upon themselves to twist doctrines for personal gain. These select few have corrupted something that could have resulted in positivity. Historically, the Christian church takes millions from its followers every day. Catholic priests have a history of abusing people. Islamic radicals kill many people in the name of their god. Overall, religion has been a toxic part in human history and has caused unnecessary hardship for many.

I have not rejected the possibility of there being a God or multiple gods. Who is to say that there is no way for a higher force to be controlling everything on Earth? As the cliché goes, the world works in mysterious ways. We may never truly understand why or how things happen the way they do, but I know for certain that I cannot morally and ethically take part in religion.

Evann, 18, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., was born in Louisiana and has moved several times because her father was a college football coach. She has always wanted to be a doctor and hopes to become an Ob-Gyn and work in lower-income communities. In high school, she created a capstone project that focused on the strained relationship between the mentally disadvantaged and the police.

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