We are fast embarking on one of the most spiritual seasons of the year, celebrated by a number of traditions. Interestingly, as time has progressed, society has increasingly become more materialistic. This can be seen in the shopping frenzy that comes earlier in the year starting at the Halloween observance through Thanksgiving and on through Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year. Actually, it starts even earlier than these special days. In fact, every holiday, including Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, Sweetest Day, and more have become monetized.
There has been a parallel development that is accompanying this descent into Materialism, and that is a descent into Apostasy, the abandonment or renunciation of a religious belief. Currently, it appears that increasing numbers of people are renouncing religion and becoming Atheists. This is happening as people see the behavior of people in power thumb their noses at principles that have guided society for years.
Black people are not immune to this situation. The Black community has suffered greatly in America and around the world. Certainly, this suffering has caused a lot of people to renounce their spiritual foundations. Black people have traditionally adopted Christianity in large numbers, but because of the hypocrisy demonstrated by white Christians, many are jumping ship. White Christians were the ones who settled America, decimated the indigenous populations and took their land, forcing the remnants onto “reservations.” They are also the ones who traveled to the African continent, captured and enslaved large segments of that population, and brought them to the West while treating them as animals, all while touting their Christian God. Millions died during the Middle Passage, and the ones who reached their destinations intact were then forced to renounce their previous religious traditions and adopt the new one that had them inadequately represented. Today, thankfully, more light is being shed on the actual darker hue of many characters in the Christian Bible. This is renewing the faith of some, but for others, it is not enough.
There is an innate need in people to believe in something larger than themselves. This belief in spirit, known by many names, is one of the fundamental underpinnings of humanity. Yet today, it is becoming obvious that there has been a lot of dishonesty and deception wielded by the priest/preacher caste and people wonder how a just God would allow the heightened crime and cruelty to escalate that is rampant today. Because of this, many are turning their backs on spirituality to embrace a very old god, Materialism.
In a multicultural society, there will be many forms of what is called worship. This is not bad in itself; it becomes challenging when people are forced to accept a particular path. This country was partially founded on the notion of freedom of religion. The powers-that-be have gone on to use that idea in devious ways. For example, the current occupants of the White House and Congress are demonizing whole groups of people whose faiths are different from the founding fathers, and are making decisions that are in direct contrast to the spiritual tenets upon which the country was founded. This is one of the things putting a bad taste in the mouths of the oppressed.
Even though it is true that many of our leaders do not “practice what they preach,” it is very important that we resist the urge to follow in their path. We must reach back and understand that everything is not material, starting with our thoughts, feelings, and more. It is important, if we are to survive, to embrace the spiritual dimensions that we know to exist, in spite of the chaos that surrounds us. And most of all, we must understand that there is a difference between religion and spirituality. No matter what religion you adopt, there are spiritual principles like brotherhood, love, hope, faith, and concern for others that will help us get through these dark times. A Luta Continua.