There are numerous reasons why I left Christianity. The journey was 32 years before I finally said, “Enough.” As a black American, it’s simply not our faith. Christianity in America, by and large, was introduced to, and forced upon enslaved Africans. We were not allowed to practice our religions from our villages in Africa. It’s the slave master’s religion, and I recognize it as such. Being told I’m evil, serving Satan, and going to Hell are no longer compelling reasons for me to stay in something that I no longer want. And all Evangelicals have as a bargaining chip/blunt instrument, is Hell. They become petulant elementary school playground bullies, threatening to sick their god on me instead of the time-honored threat to ‘bash my teeth in.’ I’m done. If there is a God and an afterlife, my part in that is between me and the deity. It’s no longer anyone else’s business, and it really never was. I reject the agency of the church over my relationship with the divine.
As far back as I can remember I have believed in the existence of life on other planets. The way I view what’s ‘out there’ is heavily coloured by years of exposure to telescope images, science fiction shows, and science documentaries. Whether they have been here in body or mind is subjective. I hope they have. I hope somebody out there has figured out how to perturb the space around an object such that the perturbation can move sufficiently fast to cover the vast distances. It’s a hope I have. I don’t know. I have seen UFOs on four occasions, but I’m not going to detail those in this post.
We’re a small planet orbiting third in line around a small star close to the outer edge of a galaxy that’s composed of billions of other systems and because of certain hobbling beliefs, some people think we’re it…the only planet with life. I don’t believe that. I’ve never believed that, and I will go to my grave never believing that. I’ve never been satisfied with that idea. Even in my years as a Christian I believed there was life out there. I refused to allow doctrines to destroy my vision of a truly vast universe. I just tried to work in a savior for their ‘mankind’ and hoped that they hadn’t made as much of a mess of their history as we have of ours. I don’t do that anymore.
A few years ago I was talking with a minister friend. He said that he felt that anyone who believed in aliens didn’t know God or his word. I listened. I didn’t challenge him on what he was telling me because his opinion of my views on cosmology is none of my business. And after we got off the phone I said to myself, “Well I guess I don’t know God, then.”
Actually I do.
Some people’s gods are just too small.
Well I landed at UT Austin, surrounded it seemed by Fundies, all grimly determined to save me, and the common denominator was that if I died that night I’d go to Hell. If there were time travel and I could go back to 1981, I’d tell 18-20yo me that, “1. Relax, you’re probably not going to die tonight. 2. These people are just as clueless as you are. And 3. The afterlife is overrated.”
Here’s part 2 of my interview on the Losing Our Religion podcast.
It was a privilege a few weeks ago to be interviewed on the podcast Losing Our Religion. Host Zac Gandara talk about my time in the church and the process of deconstructing and deconverting from my faith. This is part 1 of 2.
This is home.
No matter who or what else expects, requires, or demands it. Regardless of what traditions I have or will ever follow. My first love is always the stars.
And if we continue on and beyond this life, if there is an afterlife this is where I want to spend it. This is where we all came from, and it’s where we are headed.