There’s nothing more awkward than to be the one southern black man in the room who says that he’s not quite sure about Christianity. No one attacks you for asking questions, they just “pray” for you. Some will talk to you like a mentally-disabled two year old who has never been taught to see the light. You might even get the crooked brow and pursed lips of concern, like they feel sorry for you or that your parents somehow didn’t raise you right. If only you could understand the consequences that come with thinking for yourself and questioning the ideas that have been accepted by everyone else around you, you might be better off.
It’s not a matter of being criticized for how you actually live. Rather, the penalty comes from your unwillingness to play the game, sort of like the teenage girl who actually admits that she likes having sex, instead of pretending that she’s a virgin to make her daddy feel better. While most of my devout church-going friends don’t openly attack me for having a unique perspective, they certainly feel that I’ve somehow been led astray.
When someone asked me how I feel about Christianity, I said, “I respect it. My father is a Baptist minister. When I do go to church, I choose a Christian church. But one concern I’ve always had is that Christianity has become a ‘get out of jail free’ card for those who are choosing to live an unethical existence. It doesn’t appear (to me) to be a true, untainted quest for spiritual clarity, but instead appears to be a club that you join if you want to get into heaven.”