Religion and spirituality is a subject that I have been conflicted with since freshman year. What does it mean to be spiritual and now religious? My grandma, a devout Pentecostal, considers it “sinner doing what they like and thinking they can enter the kingdom.” For such a long time, I thought she was right. How can one ignore religion but still feel some level of spiritual connection?
As I have traveled along this college journey, I have begun to question my faith and even scrutinize it. The same things that I thought that were inherently un-debatable are now up for discussion. Many of them revolve around women and sexuality. Growing up in a Pentecostal background, the way I viewed women were more on a level of high respect and dignity according to standard principle and reflection. It was not in good taste to see a women make more than her husband or lead the household. It was looked down upon to see women wear pants or act out in a very flamboyant or bold ...view middle of the document...
I was gay in a world where such a thing was considered a disease, a cancer, a psychological disability. I grew up hearing stories of men who were either outcast or rebuked for such a sin. I even was told of God turning such men into a reprobated mind, in reference to those whom God has rejected as godless and wicked. Like many cancers, I fell into a case of denial. Even though I felt such symptoms, I tried so hard to convince myself this was not who I was. But the older I got, the more the feelings grew and for a small period of my life I began to feel a disconnection from God.
I read Richard Dawkins books, which I now consider slightly arrogant and all-knowing now. I really began to question my beliefs and the origin in which they came from. I tried in countless ways to defend the feeling I felt, hoping that one of the missing books in the bible had an explanation as to why I was born gay as opposed to another. I started to blame King James and his sexist beliefs and even tried to find hypocrisy in his leadership and correlate that to his text. In many ways, I was trying to find answers in a faith that had to explanation. So one day, I just stopped trying to reconcile. I just chose to believe in who and what I knew best, God.
If one were to ask me what religion I considered myself more close with, it would be deism. However, being a black man from the South, I still tend to recognize my Christian faith, because in many ways, I still have no choice in doing so. Even though I feel is sense of rejection in what I believe, I choose to acknowledge the virtues rather than the ritual. Does this make me spiritual rather than religious? I am not too sure; I have yet to really feel that there can be a complete disassociation. What I do know is that every day, I am beginning to think more and more for myself, and if that is an abomination, then so be it.
Last Christmas Eve, I decided to come out to my mother. Surprisingly, she was not that shocked and even though for years she had set me up in an expectation to be a father, a married heterosexual male, and a dominate figure in my household, she knew deep down inside my life would most likely not reflect that. Much has not changed since then, but I still linger the thought of what life could have been life. I even wonder if things for me would have been easier even at Penn. Who knows.