How The Muslim Faith Inspired My Return To Christianity

I didn't want to be a Catholic, Baptist or anything else under the umbrella of Christianity.


They say life doesn't come with an instruction manual but if you're Christian, that's not entirely true. The Bible tells you exactly how to think and behave and what happens if you don't abide by those rules. I had never met a devout Christian who wasn't a black and white thinker. A person who didn't believe that there was room for discussion or a gray area when it came to religion. For a while, I thought like that too.

I was raised Catholic, a branch of Christianity, and although my family stopped going to mass while I was still a child, I attended church regularly.

My choice to attend was not my own. It was mandatory for most students who attended religious schools. In my first elementary school, a Baptist institution, all students had to memorize a new Bible passage every day. Anyone who didn't was given detention instead of recess as punishment. The school expected students and faculty to strictly uphold traditional Christian values and beliefs. Shortly after news got out that the staff was still using outdated discipline techniques like hitting kids with behavioral problems, my parents swiftly transferred me to a Catholic elementary school followed by a Catholic high school.

I was never super religious but I prayed, participated during Mass, went to confession, and got anxiety anytime I passed a church and forgot to make the sign of the cross. That changed during my junior year of high school aka rebellious teen years. I was old enough to see the news of the sexual misconduct allegations that plagued the church and the murky history of a particular Pope. Equipped with this information, I was no longer willing to be a blind follower. Especially when I felt the leaders of the church weren't living up to the same standards they held for lay people.

I didn't want to be a Catholic, Baptist or anything else under the umbrella of Christianity. I felt liberated and soon found myself exploring other religions and schools of philosophy until I eventually declared myself an atheist.

When I became an adult that religious freedom caused me to feel utterly lost. I hated to admit it but I missed the church community, the peace reading the Bible gave me, the inspiring sermons, and the overall sense of faith. Around this period, my family had found their way back to a non-denominational church that was more liberal compared to what we had been used to. I gave it a chance but was turned off. I noticed that much like my previous sect, this group wasn't without flaws. There were disagreements between the leadership team and the churchgoers that reminded me why I left in the first place. It was and still is a lovely community with great people but my bias skewed my judgment.

It wasn't until I saw a tweet from a writer whose work I admired, that I finally realized where I went wrong:

Najma Sharif, a talented writer, is an outspoken and proud Black Muslim women. Her ability to critique things like the antiquated views on gender roles in religion while still maintaining unwavering faith inspired me to reconsider my hang ups with Catholicism and organized religion.

It may sound silly but those tweets helped me rebuild my own personal relationship with God while I worked through my issues with Catholic leaders and parishioners. Instead of equating the leaders and parishioners with the religion and even God itself, I'm reintroducing myself to my religion and examining it with an open mind.

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissions@xonecole.com.

Featured image by Shutterstock

For the leading fellas of Freeform’s college comedy-drama, grown-ish, graduation season is quickly approaching, forcing Aaron (Trevor Jackson), Doug (Diggy Simmons), Vivek (Jordan Buhat), and Luca (Luka Sabbat) to come to grips with what life after Cal-U will have in store. As the beaus find themselves crossed between self-induced drama and campus tea, the forthcoming season will bring the cohort of lads closer to the reality of the end of one chapter and the start of something new.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Lori Harvey’s foray into modeling might not be what you think. While she models sexy fits on Instagram, she isn’t what you would call an Instagram model. If you look at her resume, you will see that she has walked runways for luxury brands such as Dolce and Gabbana and has been featured in campaigns for Chanel and most recently Burberry. At 5’3'' with a curvy frame, Lori isn’t your traditional model, and she dealt with body insecurities when she first entered the fashion industry.

Keep reading... Show less

The ladies of Harlem participated in an exclusive girl chat with xoNecole in Twitter Spaces over the weekend and, while discussing their show, they also shared some deep, inspiring words with us. Meagan Good, Grace Byers, and Shoniqua Shandai each opened up about love and friendships while also revealing some personal experiences that really resonated with the audience. While you can listen to the full conversation here, we also broke down some of the most memorable gems to give you some affirmations that you can take with you wherever you go.

Keep reading... Show less

If you don’t know actress Lauren “Lolo” Spencer, it’s time to get to know her.

The breakout star of Mindy Kaling’s new HBO comedy series The Sex Lives of College Girls, Lolo plays Jocelyn, a fiery scene-stealer whose unapologetic nature and uncanny ability to make the audience laugh whenever she appears makes her one of the show’s most memorable characters in a cast of college freshman characters. The series itself is being praised by fans and critics alike for being inclusive, relatable, and real.

Keep reading... Show less

Brooke Obie is xoNecole’s new editor-in-chief, and this sister has the career receipts that prove that she’s set to take the platform to the next level. Let’s start with the proof of real skin in the media game: She is an award-winning journalist, whose work has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Essence, Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and many more.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts