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The Austin Atheists Meetup Group Message Board › The Invisibility of The Black Atheist

The Invisibility of The Black Atheist

A former member
Post #: 20
This is an old essay that has been debated all over the internet since I first wrote it in 2008 and it was reprinted in American Atheist Magazine in 2009. As I'm somewhat new to Austin and to this group, I thought it would be a great way to introduce myself. I'm attaching the link to the original posting because I couldn't fit the entire essay in this post and some of the discussions it inspired were rather interesting to say the least.


The Invisibility of The Black Atheist

It can be argued that in most African American communities it is more acceptable to be a criminal who believes in God and goes to church on Sunday while selling drugs to kids all week than to be an atheist who has a good job, a good education, who contributes to society and supports his family. In these communities you find more tolerance towards gangbangers, drug addicts, and prostitutes, who pray to God for forgiveness than for honest productive citizens who deny the existence of God. This, for me, is one of the most embarrassing elements of Black culture, our zealous embracement of the God of our kidnappers, murderers, slavemasters and oppressors.

That may seem harsh, perhaps even racist, yet I am not stating my opinion of the White race. In fact, I bear no grudge toward the descendants of our enslavers. Few who know me would imagine otherwise. I am merely stating a fact. None of the African Americans crowding the churches today would be there had we not been dragged from our homeland in chains and forced into church pews at the end of a gun and the tip of a lash. None of us would be Christians today had we not also once been slaves.

Even now, thousands of people starving in Africa find that their only relief comes from Christian Missionaries and other “faith-based” charities at the expense of being preached to and converted. Food for minds as it were. Under threat of starvation and lack of medication they flock to these charitable organizations for relief and come out with medicine, sometimes clothing, food in their bellies, and a bible in their hands. Some may see nothing wrong with this. If faith-based charities are the only ones stepping up to help these people why shouldn't they be able to push their products at the same time? The problem is that it is exploitation. They are exploiting the desperation of starving and sick men, women, and children in order to spread their faith and gain more converts.

It must be said that not all of these organizations operate in this manner. Some give without ever proselytizing. They are few however. For most, their agenda is clearly set. Food, medicine, clothing, and sometimes shelter in exchange for the minds of the desperate and needy. One of the most exploited continents on earth further exploited in order to spread ignorance and intolerance, because that is what lies at the root of Christianity and most other religions.

If the Spanish Conquistadors had not invaded Mexico, murdering, raping, and pillaging in their thirst for Spanish gold, none of the unshakably devout Mexican Americans would have ever heard of Jesus Christ. Now, after having been indoctrinated into the Christian faith at the point of a sword, they are some of the most pious people on earth.

There is something so wrong in all of this. There is something unseemly about Black Americans being so thoroughly conquered right down to their very minds and spirits. I admit, I find it all rather pathetic and embarrassing. If I were being completely honest I would have to admit that I am saddened and somewhat disgusted by the very idea of a Black Christian.

It would seem to me that after having so recently escaped our slavemasters that we would have had enough of masters. I would have expected even a self-destructive relinquishment and denial of all things that had been forced upon them by their enslavers and a return to their original cultures and faiths. Or, at best, a denial of all faith and a refusal to ever bow to anyone again.

Now, I do understand that some slaves had been so thoroughly brainwashed and cut off from their former beliefs and cultures that for them this would have been nearly impossible. I understand that in a version of Stockholm Syndrome popularly known as “Tomism”, after the famous character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, other’s had learned to love their slavemasters and coveted his life, his ways, and even his God. Others, understandably, saw how powerful their slavemasters were and sought to acquire some of his wealth and power for themselves by imitating his ways. I can understand how they would have thought that it was the White man’s God that had seemingly given him the power to enslave their entire race. This having been driven into their minds along with the idea of White superiority by the heads of the church and the bible itself, which condones making slaves of the “strangers that sojourn among you” and the “heathen races”.

What I don’t understand is how this has continued right through the Civil Rights movement and the Black power movement. How this patriarchal Master/ Slave religion could continue to be so ardently embraced by the children of slaves. What I don’t understand is how we still find ourselves praying to the great overseer in the sky even in the new millennium...


More... http://wordsofwrath.b...­
A former member
Post #: 12
If you haven't already read him, I've got a name for you: Norm R. Allen. He's a black atheist and humanist, & he's got a couple books under his belt.
A former member
Post #: 3
I'm glad to find out that some atheists put political critique into their opposition to Christianity. I don't care much for endless epistemological debates.

One may also note that Islam has taken over so much of Africa.
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