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A lifelong journey with religion

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Evan Cox has always known who God is, but it was not until his senior year of college that he started to cultivate a relationship with God. Since then, he has read the Bible from cover to cover and has started a weekly Bible study with his close friends to spread the word while continuing to learn and build his relationship with God.

Cox’s desire to research and become close to God started during his senior year of college when he noticed how his classmates spoke negatively about God and religion. These discussions confused him and made him want to understand why people felt this way.  

“I was like, ‘Why are people treating my God this way?’ You know, I felt like there’s got to be more to this. So, I kind of just started reading my Bible more, asking God what he wants me to change in my life, and he kind of met me halfway. And I got a long way to go, but it’s been a really good process just learning, and the best part about it is, you know, learning with my friends,” Cox said.

As a child, Cox grew up in the church, and because of this, he always believed God was good. However, he remembers feeling like church was too loud for him when he was younger. Now, he is able to create a church experience of his own.

“The Bible says that whenever we gather in groups of two or more, that’s the church. The church isn’t walking into a building, necessarily. It’s when you come together and learn about God together,” Cox said.

Shortly after he started building his relationship with God, he felt like it was important for him to understand why so many people were vocal and, in a lot of cases, negative about not having or wanting a relationship with God or religion.

This caused him to have conversations with people to understand their perspectives. His goal was never to make people become believers or argue with them about their beliefs, but he felt a need to speak up whenever he heard these things being said.

Through having open conversations with both friends and strangers, he found a small but consistent group of friends wanting to learn more about God. One of those friends was Delano Hicks. 

Similar to Cox, Hicks went to church as a child, but he did not have the relationship with God and religion that he has now.

“My family went there periodically, but I never felt like I was close. I was the kid in the back sleeping. You know, tapping my feet, looking at the exit door,” Hicks said.

He has always been a curious person. Wanting to know more about life and human nature, he researched psychology and sociology and talked to people who knew more about life than he did; however, he still felt there was something missing. 

Hicks remembers having long conversations about life and religion with Cox. He said these conversations started to fill that void; it was like being in a Bible study before it was ever official.

“All the answers I thought I knew, they all came from the Bible that he [Cox] was reading,” Hicks said. “So, then we got closer with that, and I saw that he was changing, slowly but surely, and when I started seeing that change, I was like, ‘Okay, there are some things that I can get from this.’”

Hicks’s relationship with God has grown, and he said the Bible and religion gave him many of the answers and keys to life he was seeking.

Cox continues leading his Bible study, remaining curious and open to conversations about why people turn away from religion. He said he wants to learn from the people he encounters, not change them.

Contact Racial Justice Reporter Garrett Simms at 317-762-7847.

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