Sounds of tinkle bells, the smell of hot chocolate, making gingerbread cookies and setting up a Christmas tree is considered the outward appearance of the tradition of Christmas. Many people use Christmas time to spend time with family and friends. Others use the holiday season to relax and reflect on everything that happened the past year. However some people don’t celebrate Christmas or any holiday due to their own religious or personal beliefs. Hence the reason why I don’t celebrate Christmas or any holiday out there.
I am an Agnostic-Atheist. I don’t believe in Jesus Christ as the savior or any of the Biblical stories. I don’t believe in the God of the Bible or the Holy Trinity. I don’t have a belief in other organized religions either. A higher force may exist but one doesn’t know for sure if there is any proof for the existence of a higher force. Nonetheless, my beliefs didn’t automatically happen in a vacuum. My own experiences and ideals helped shape why I believe the way that I do.
Growing up, I believed in Jesus Christ, the authenticity of God’s Word and in the existence of the Holy Trinity(God the Father, Jesus the Son and Holy Spirit). I believed that anyone who didn’t believe in Jesus were hell bound and apostates. I attended church and Christian schools where the Gospel was taught and preached. My pre teens years served as a time where I was an ardent believer in Christ and read the Bible continuously. I was still very immersed in Christian beliefs and traditions throughout my high school years. I even attended a Catholic school even though I was more of a Baptist in my beliefs. However a incident happened in my life that led me to question my faith and slowly denounce it.
I was in my Black Nationalist, pseudo conscious phrase when I started to question my faith. I was a senior in high school. I always prayed and believed in God until I started to question my beliefs in Jesus Christ and the Bible. Some of these conscious Black people even showed me evidence and verses where the Biblical message contradicted each other. Some of these articles I looked up from credible sources. There were other times that I was reading the Bible and noticed the contradictions between some Biblical verses that I read. Other sources I overlooked if there were plagiarizing, lies and inconsistences in the information that was presented. Other than that, I was curious about looking for information that opened me to other belief systems and interests.
While rereading Genesis, I noticed that there were two, different creation stories. It was baffling to me that I reread it again and again. In Genesis Chapter One, the process of God creating the sky, water, air, trees, animals and then Adam and Eve, who is considered to be the first man and woman is discussed. Genesis 1:25-27:
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Then the second chapter talks about humans being created before animals and then a woman being created from Adam’s rib is discussed. Genesis 2:18-19:
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof
Other inconsistencies I noticed was how some Biblical verses doesn’t condone judging others while other Biblical verses does condone judging others. Many churches I attended taught Christians not to judge others while condoning church members to look down on those who cohabit, divorce, do drugs etc. It was an eye opening experience for me to see the contradictions between these verses.
Here are Bible verses that warn against others judging others.
”Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.”
”Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.”
Here are Bible verses condoning judging others.
1 Corinthians 5:12-13
”For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”
1 Corinthians 6:2-3
”Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?.”
There are many other contradictions that I had noticed that I hadn’t noticed before. Even the story of the Biblical food resembled the flood talked about in the Bible resembled the flood discussed in Greek mythology that I read about in high school. Biblical flood story spoke about how God wasn’t pleased with his creation because of the violence and wickedness in the world. God decided to send a flood to wipe out humanity except Noah and his family due to their righteous and following God’s commandments. Noah built an ark for himself, his family and two kinds of every species of animals to stay in the ark while the rest of humanity drowned in the flood. The Greek mythology tale did touch on the fact that God wasn’t happy with mankind’s wickedness and decided to send a flood to wipe out most of humanity except Deucalion and his wife. Like Noah in the Biblical story, Deucalion was also righteous and lived right. In the Greek tale, Deucalion and his family were spared from being killed in the flood just like Noah and his family were spared in the Bible.
However, Deucalion and his family were on top of a mountain instead of in an ark with many animals like Noah was. Another difference was that God of the Bible decided to flood the entire earth and destroy humanity except Noah and his family and some animals. In the Greek mythology tale, Zeus called on Poseidon to help him flood the earth. Poseidon used a three prolonged staff to flood the oceans above sea level. Nonetheless, the similarities and differences between the tale of the Biblical flood and flood in Greek mythology continues to stand out in my mind.
It was then I started to doubt the authenticity of the Bible. I started to see many Biblical stories as allegorical if not mythical. Even though I left Black Nationalism behind, I questioned whether or not Jesus existed. I questioned whether or not many of the events in the Bible even happened or if the Biblical characters existed. Either way, my quest for knowledge about the authenticity and relevance of Biblical sources is unfinished and continuing.
What did I do for Christmas?
I went over to my cousin’s place for Christmas. She made potato salad, turkey, salmon, salad, fish, etc. for dinner. And flannel and Black cake for dessert. As usual, my cousin is a good cook and I enjoyed my time there. I received lotion and perfume for Christmas along with a pack of rice pudding from her. I hung out with my cousin’s daughter by playing cards and building gingerbread houses. However, I didn’t observe the usual traditions and rituals of Christmas even though my cousin gave me gifts for the holiday.
I usually use the holiday season to reflect and meditate on the happenings of the year. As usual, I laid back and thought about everything that happened that year. I thought about taking placement tests to get into college, starting college for the first time, taking public transportation to and from school, living away from home for the first time and receiving attention from men for the first time in my life. My first semester in college was an eye opening if not shocking experience for me because I lived a sheltered existence beforehand.
Most of all, I am still in the process of doing my research on the authenticity and credibility of Biblical and other religious sources out there. To me, it is important to learn about the history of how these religions came to be and how it affects the function of society. However, sticking to your own judgment and morals is what gets me through things that either can or can not be proven.
Sources of reference:
King James Bible