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Cafe Inquiry

Cafe Inquiry is our monthly casual get-together to meet people and discuss topics of science and humanism.

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This month's discussion topic: African-American Atheists/Secular Humanists

2014 has been a banner year for African-American atheists. First, Jeremiah Camara filmed his community in the documentary Contradiction, which screened at the Secular Coalition for America's Lobby Day in June. Then last month, People of Color Beyond Faith staged its first annual conference, "Moving Social Justice.” These developments amount to a tectonic shift in the American religious landscape, eroding one of Christianity's strongest bulwarks. Yet most atheists are still unaware of the loss of faith among African Americans. Indeed, author and activist Sikivu Hutchinson wrote recently that "atheism has a big race problem that no one's talking about." According to Hutchinson, black atheists confront an attitude of disinterest punctuated by occasional tokenism.

At this month’s Cafe Inquiry, we celebrate the growth of African-American atheism but also reckon with the challenges it still faces within our own movement. We do so in order to break the cycle of indifference and mistrust and to identify ways in which atheists of all colors may work, think, and socialize together more effectively. Conversation will include, but not be limited to, the following questions:

--How can we measure the growth of African-American atheism?

--Does African-American atheism have a history?

--To what extent was the civil rights movement religious?

--Should atheists spare the black church from criticism, because of its work for social justice?

--Does the black church occasionally promote social injustice?

--What is the relationship between African-American atheism and the larger movement?

--Why do African-American atheists have separate organizations of their own?

--Do black and white atheists have different priorities?

--How can we raise awareness about African-American atheism?

--How can atheists cooperate across the color line?

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Past Cafe Inquiry topics have included:

  • What makes people more or less religious?

  • Bullying

  • Free speech

  • Gun ownership

  • Social and political change

  • Prostitution

  • Reason vs. emotion

  • Democracy

  • Overpopulation

  • Inalienable rights


No outside food or drink allowed. Free and open to the public.

We are also planning to go out for food and/or drinks afterwards. Free and open to the public.

Interested in leading a discussion or have someone to recommend? Please contact us at dc[at]centerforinquiry.net.

The venue is wheelchair accessible. People with disabilities who anticipate needing accommodations or who have questions about physical access may email sdavis [at] centerforinquiry [dot] net in advance of the event.




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  • Cas

    I'm sorry to say I can't make it, tonight. I'm working late. Really disappointed.

    November 25, 2014

    • Karla M.

      Well, if you get off not too late, do come on by, even if only for the dinner afterward at the Banana Cafe!

      November 25, 2014

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