Fear: The Black Community and Our Fear of God

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“What really scares us?”

When I think about my life growing up in the Black church, I have always wanted to know why we believed so heavily. You’re taught your whole life to never question God. But how does one fully believe in something unless they are willing to challenge their belief? Whether raised under the belief or not, you believe in something because someone tells you not out of choice. Meaning my grandparents are Christian, but why my parents? When you ask the question why, some people are lost because they have no reason why they believe in something.

Well then, why as Black people are we so wrapped in Christianity? Or better yet, why are we so afraid at the idea of challenging God? And, why do we fear the idea of him not existing? We believe in God like everyone else because you were born into the religion. Which is the most obvious reason why someone has a religious belief. If your mother and father are both Christian, you’re going to lean toward Christianity because it’s what you were raised under. It’s hard to connect to Islam or Judaism because you only know Christianity.

But as a person in each of these religions, shouldn’t you know something about the other? How do you say that as a Christian my job is to show you how Christ worked for me, yet you’re not willing to understand the person’s belief you’re trying to connect with. Now this can mean the same for any other religion as well. Meaning, since when has a Christian done anything for a Jew or Muslim that is of the Christian way without a Jew or Muslim having to jeopardize their way of life.

So there you have it, follow not only what you’re born under, but don’t truly connect to others. But what’s the other reason Black people are so wrapped in Christianity? Well, look at the fear aspect of even challenging God. Where does that come from? Oh, now that’s a lot more historical. Black people as Christians and everyone else is different in the sense of our fear of challenging comes out of subjugation. There was an interesting scene in the movie, “12 Years A Slave.” When Michael Fasbender’s character says obey your master, and that is law.

The idea that challenging God is the same as challenging your master during slavery. We are one the only group of people where the biblical text was used psychologically to keep us in line. I don’t know much about biblical history, but American history if we got out of line during slavery you could be lashed or even killed. Knowing that God’s punishment is more severe because he sits atop of the slave master, their’s no secret why we could be kept in line for so long. It’s the reason why when I hear elderly Black men and women talk about their fear of God, it is nearly 100% correlated with the subjugation.

Which brings me to why we fear his non-existence. Black people’s history in America has been so grave, that we can’t possibly imagine a God not existing. How could there be no punishment for our historical relationship in America? You mean to tell me we could be treated the way we have been treated and that’s it, it is what it is? The idea that it’s just a big oh well, and man can systematically do that and get away with no one to answer to could lead to some serious problems. Can you imagine 100% proof of God’s non-existence, problems that would take place in society.

Because that would mean man not only is given free will, but after making a decision concerning others lives there is no repercussion. Meaning someone could destroy lives and go oh well move on with no recourse. So maybe religion is a good thing that even if people don’t believe, it’s what keeps chaos from taking place. Black people can’t stomach this is it. I’m not saying we would cease to exist, but their would be a lot of social issues. In the end, Black people are going to continue to stay wrapped within the Christian faith, but the division that’s causing a lot of the young Black males and females to leave the church is jeopardizing that faith base.

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