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  • Writer's picturePrisca Liliane Ltd. Co.

The Non-Religious Friend.

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

By: Prisca Liliane


As the weather changes, and the months turn- I begin to become anxious about the holiday season. Not to say that I don’t enjoy some good sorrel and kremas (shout out to my fellow Yardie and Zoe bredren!)- But, I am not religious… AT ALL. It took me a several years to be able to articulate why I never had that “feeling” that everyone else seemed to have when they were inside or around religious spaces. I would engage with the messages, even could blurt out scriptures- but none of it ever resonated with me. Even though I absolutely LOVE holiday socials and gatherings, I do not adhere to, nor believe in “the reason for the season”.

 

My father was raised Seventh Day Adventist in Jamaica, while my mother was raised Roman Catholic in Haiti. My brother and I were raised in my mother’s faith, while dad attended mass with us from time to time. Contrary to popular belief, two Black people who are NOT of the same exact faith system, can engage in a LOVING and fulfilling marriage. My parents were together almost 30 years- and never, ever were there any awkward shenanigans going on in our home. To be honest, my parents took the “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret?” approach- shout out to Judy Blume! Although I attended mass and communions, it was never a requirement for me to go. If I chose to go, cool, if not- no one seemed to care. All my parents worried about was if their children were well fed, clothed, good citizens and had good morals. Faith in a higher power wasn’t the center of our world.

As I entered into high school and undergrad, I thought I was Atheist. I even proclaimed it. This “belief” all came about after my mother died in a car crash while I was in middle school. I loathed all things faith based. To make matters worse, I engulfed myself in reading more about colonialism, nationalism and the trans-Atlantic slave trade. All I was consumed with was what happened BEFORE my people were brought to the islands? What did we believe in prior to? All of the books I read, documentaries watched and museums I visited- prompted me to never, ever “believe” in what I did as a child again.

By fall 2006, I was a 19 years old sophomore living off campus, and thought I was grown and knew it all. One of my required courses was “Sociology of Race and Prejudice”. In that class, was when I realized, I was NOT alone in my non- religious beliefs. Through my matriculation in undergrad, I also realized I did not act like, nor think like my friends who were religious. To me, some of them were actually extremely vile and nasty acting- but that’s another article for another day! HAHA! All I knew was, that I was fortunate enough (in my eyes), to not be raised super religious and/or spiritual. I was given the freedom to explore and research other faiths and spiritual entities unlike my own.



I “came out of the religious closet” to my father and my friends in 2008. By then I was able to articulate my non beliefs in a “matter of fact” and educated manner. I began to explore to different faith systems of my Caribbean ancestors and haven’t looked back since. Today, I prefer to be labeled Agnostic or Humanist. While I still do not adhere to anything in particular, I am sure I confuse some people. Very recently, I have been attending church and attending bible study. It’s quite different listening and being around “that crowd” as an adult. Honestly, I have no issues with hearing a good message. I think it is a wonderful experience to be able to soak up good vibes and learn from other people unlike myself. Matter of fact, my mentor growing up was Jewish and she taught me about her faith and the Holocaust. I have been blessed to have been able to learn about all different spiritual and religious spaces. I have enjoyed them all.

Without religion, I am just as loving, caring and personable. I’ve got a ton of nieces, nephews and god babies’ that I adore and care for. If anyone is ever curious, you should step out of your box and explore other spaces. It doesn’t hurt to interact with people who don’t think and feel the same way as you do. Black people, we are NOT a monolith. All of us do not like the same music, eat the same foods or believe in the same politics. We all have different experiences that make us great and unique. I am ever grateful to my father and my friends and family who accept me as I accept them. We all love each other and also RESPECT each other. That is what it is all about at the end of the day.

 
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