I was raised in a Christian home / pacing through different rooms / Son of a preacher man / faith that has been assumed.
Was I brainwashed in my youth?
Did I take time to choose / spending money on Bible college and train rides to school? / Was I playing follow the leader? What am I to believe? Did I blindly believe when I got a Bible to read?
These are the questions that many of us have asked, or are asking. Even after releasing seven explicitly Christian albums, completing six years of Bible college and surrounding myself with first-rate theologians and friends, I for sure have asked these questions. And many more.
I was raised in a Christian home, where both my mother and father were very intentional about introducing me to the things of God at a young age. I can remember listening to cassette tapes with stories of Noah’s Ark, David and Goliath, the three Hebrew boys, Adam and Eve and many more.
During that time I was fascinated with Transformers, Smurfs and the ThunderCats. But after hearing the story of a little boy who killed a giant, and three teenage boys courageously defying a king before withstanding the flames of a fire, I was equally as—if not more—intrigued.
I gave my life to Jesus when I was five years old. By age 16, I was teaching Bible studies, became “vice president” of the youth department in my church. Zealous to be a mouthpiece for God, I became a voracious reader and began engaging people of other faiths, luring them into deep theological discussions. This is what made me feel alive: debates with Muslims, Jehovah Witnesses and Jews.
Until, one day, I met my match.
My Failed Intellectualism
I picked an apologetic fight with the wrong guy. To this day, I don’t know what his religious affiliation was; all I know is that he knew more Bible than I did, and he ate me alive intellectually.
By the time he was done showing me all these passages (from the Scriptures) that he said disprove the deity of Christ, I was utterly confused and no longer knew what to believe. The very foundation of everything that I had built my faith on was shaken.
I stopped reading the Bible for a while. After all, how can I know this book that I’ve put so much of my confidence in is even true? And even though I was still convinced God was real, I was unsure what I was to believe about Jesus.
For weeks I asked God to reveal the truth to me. This was honestly one of the worst times of my life.
After a lot of emotional and spiritual turmoil, God in His grace impressed on me to read the books of Leviticus and Hebrews together. Once I began immersing myself in His word, specifically those two books, the dark cloud of doubt looming over my head dissipated, and my confidence was regained. I was back and it felt really good, well, until about seven years later.
While researching Greek mythology for a test during my junior year of college, I encountered a number of stories that bear a striking resemblance to the creation story in the Bible.
I was reading mythical legends like Pandora’s box, Sargon’s birth and the deluge stories. I remember thinking, “How is it that these pagan myths are identical to the biblical accounts of Moses, Noah and Adam and Eve? Weren’t they written hundreds of years before? Is Christianity a copycat religion? If so, what are the implications?”
Yes, I had completed three years of Bible college, recorded three “Christian” hip-hop albums and been heavily involved in ministry for some years. And I struggled with these questions.
And then, again, in 2012, I found myself wrestling with the existence of God.
The ‘Why’ Behind My Journey
Today, I am thankful for journey. My faith is firmer, and my relationship with God is deeper because of it.
My struggles caused me to think a lot about the Church and her relationship with the skeptic or the Christian who goes through seasons of skepticism.
Is the church a safe place to ask questions without being made to feel stupid? With all the chaos, death, religious and socio-political tension in the world, isn’t it natural to have insecurities about faith?
This is an area where we, the Church, are deficient. We are especially challenged with this in the black church, where the sermons and songs are more sympathetic to the social plight than concerned with equipping Christians to defend the faith.
Not too long ago, I was doing a concert at a megachurch. Midway through my sound check, one of the sound guys asked about the book I was reading (which was Timothy Keller’s The Reason for God). We began talking about the book, and he said something very telling: “I love my church and my pastor, but every time I leave here, I am inspired but intellectually starved,” he told me.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing has caused many generations of Christians (leaders included) to run away from internal struggles and bury their heads in the sand. But the problem is that when you run from doubts, you can’t grow.
It’s crucial for Christians to ask hard questions and have a safe place to lay them out. It’s important to share your tough questions with Christian friends—even if it’s a question you think they’re going to think you should already know the answer to. It’s healthy to get it out. The goal, remember, is ultimately so that we can continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of God in Christ.
Da’TRUTH’s album It’s Complicated, Vol. 1 will release May 13
DA' T.R.U.T.H. is a rapper from Philadelphia. You check him out on Twitter at @truthonduty.