Black Atheism?
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08-11-2013, 04:39 PM
Black Atheism?
I'm going through a bit of an existential crisis. Up until 2 years ago, I was Baptist. Now I'm an atheist, specifically a black atheist. It wasn't until I tried 'coming out' to my mother and grandmother that I realized how odd black atheism is. Apparently, people in my family think atheism is for 'crazy white satanists' and that a part of being black is being 'soulful' ( i.e.religious). It just got me thinking, what constitutes blackness? Is it hair texture, facial features, skin tone, or culture? If I'm not 'soulful' am I not black anymore? Who am I?? My mother raised me to think independently and read everything, and I did just that, and found myself not agreeing with any religion. Her turning on me actually kind of hurts. I guess the point of my post is, if there are any older black atheists out there who have dealt with this situation, how'd you manage? And what constitutes blackness to you?
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08-11-2013, 04:52 PM
RE: Black Atheism?
"Blackness" to me is anyone who doesn't have red hair and freckles. Tongue

It is a good question, I think culture has a lot to do with it, but then again I'm a pasty white pastor's kid from the bible belt so I'm not gonna pretend to know anything. Welcome to the forum, dude! Thumbsup

"It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.”
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08-11-2013, 04:55 PM
RE: Black Atheism?
Ghost is a black agnostic, unfortunately he hasn't been on TTA for quite a while.

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08-11-2013, 05:15 PM
RE: Black Atheism?
I wonder what is more important to you. Measuring up to someone else's definition of your blackness, or being able to be who you really are.

I have laughed, in bitterness and agony of heart, at the contrast between what I seem and what I am!
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08-11-2013, 05:36 PM
RE: Black Atheism?
(08-11-2013 04:39 PM)kortni_thegreat Wrote:  I'm going through a bit of an existential crisis. Up until 2 years ago, I was Baptist. Now I'm an atheist, specifically a black atheist. It wasn't until I tried 'coming out' to my mother and grandmother that I realized how odd black atheism is. Apparently, people in my family think atheism is for 'crazy white satanists' and that a part of being black is being 'soulful' ( i.e.religious). It just got me thinking, what constitutes blackness? Is it hair texture, facial features, skin tone, or culture? If I'm not 'soulful' am I not black anymore? Who am I?? My mother raised me to think independently and read everything, and I did just that, and found myself not agreeing with any religion. Her turning on me actually kind of hurts. I guess the point of my post is, if there are any older black atheists out there who have dealt with this situation, how'd you manage? And what constitutes blackness to you?

Having a degree in Biology, and studying genetics quite a bit, my reply to your question of "what constitute blackness" is-----a few genes. There are a few genes in the human genome that code for skin color. "Color" really means absolutely nothing, other than what it *may* entail culturally. Bill Nye has a great episode on this called Eyes of Nye: Race

Almost all of us here have been hurtfully questioned by loved ones. And many times it is a personal attack. For you, it was the color of your skin. For me, it was that I just didn't have enough life experiences, and would believe once I got older.

Anyways, you are always welcome here!
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09-11-2013, 02:38 AM
RE: Black Atheism?
I ain't black, nor are there many black folks on the forum. Now with that preface out of the way...

I can understand how you feel. I am a closeted non-believer for the same reasons. Specifically, I am a southerner, more specifically a hillbilly. Christianity is so tightly intertwined with my culture that publicly stating that you aren't religious opens you up to everything from harsh words to abandonment and being a general social pariah. It can be difficult to feel like you are not wanted by any group. For me, most of America doesn't want me because I'm a hillbilly, and that carries with it the negative connotations you'll find in most media. The hillbilly's wouldn't want me because I don't adhere to this chunk of my culture. It is a situation that sucks, but know that you aren't unwanted on TTA. I sincerely hope you stick around and wish you luck with your family relationships.

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09-11-2013, 05:43 AM (This post was last modified: 09-11-2013 08:37 AM by BlackMason.)
RE: Black Atheism?
(08-11-2013 04:39 PM)kortni_thegreat Wrote:  I'm going through a bit of an existential crisis. Up until 2 years ago, I was Baptist. Now I'm an atheist, specifically a black atheist. It wasn't until I tried 'coming out' to my mother and grandmother that I realized how odd black atheism is. Apparently, people in my family think atheism is for 'crazy white satanists' and that a part of being black is being 'soulful' ( i.e.religious). It just got me thinking, what constitutes blackness? Is it hair texture, facial features, skin tone, or culture? If I'm not 'soulful' am I not black anymore? Who am I?? My mother raised me to think independently and read everything, and I did just that, and found myself not agreeing with any religion. Her turning on me actually kind of hurts. I guess the point of my post is, if there are any older black atheists out there who have dealt with this situation, how'd you manage? And what constitutes blackness to you?

U FOOL!!! Y U COME OUT Laughat? Anyway on a more serious note, congratulations for not suppressing your rational faculties for nothing. Cognitive dissonance is not something to be taken lightly. It's the same as keeping emotions bottled up. You end up being a ticking time bomb. Perhaps I should've started with "Hi, I'm black so I truly understand what you're going through". I'm currently going through the same thing. Listen to me very careful. Our people aren't known for exercising mental strength. I told my mom that god don't exist and she shouted at me so hard she almost crashed her car. Look our people are simply not ready. Don't have any confrontations. Don't engage anyone in your family in debate. The slave mentality that seized our people still has a firm grip. Not on our bodies, but our minds. Any attempts will be futile and will only work towards your ultimate alienation.

With regards to what constitutes being black, I'd have to say I don't know. I don't really think there is anything like that. The different ethnicities of people don't have an intrinsic element. You end up being a product of your surroundings. Nothing more and nothing less. There isn't a standard black, white, yellow or caramel.

(08-11-2013 05:36 PM)jaguar3030 Wrote:  For me, it was that I just didn't have enough life experiences, and would believe once I got older.

This is exactly what my mom keeps saying to me. She even wants me to go to a special church program called "Walking In His footsteps". She thinks the crooked pastors will have actual answers to my questions. She has no idea how advanced my atheism is. She still thinks I'm just rebelling against god.

**EDIT**
(08-11-2013 04:39 PM)kortni_thegreat Wrote:  ...and that a part of being black is being 'soulful' ( i.e.religious).

See what I mean? That's just code for part of being black is being stupid.

8000 years before Jesus, the Egyptian god Horus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life."
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09-11-2013, 08:03 AM
RE: Black Atheism?
It's kind of an interesting question, what makes you black.

Take a bunch of people from all over the world, all colors and sizes and cultures and everything, and strip them of all memory, everyone has complete amnesia. And everyone speaks the same language, same dialect and accent, all the same.

Now what makes you black? Only actual color, not race, not culture. Same goes for every other ethnicity.

Take a black person and a white person and an oriental person. All Americans from - lets pick Chicago. Put them in a foreign country where none of them know the language. Wanna bet in no time at all they become a team and work through things together? They are the familiars now, genetics be damned. They may all be bigots and racists and all of that at home, but now they are joined together by a strong bond.

What makes the black person black now? Only color. Same for the others.

So then, other than skin color (not race or genetics) only culture actually separates races.

But then, culture has separated people for centuries. Before travel, when the world was a bunch of villages, each village was somewhat secluded from the next one and developed a culture, a slightly different accent, different ways of cooking food, a bunch of in-jokes and whatnot. And what do you get? Discrimination and feuds between villages where the people look cookie cutter to us.

So it's color on the superficial level and culture as a personality trait. Culture is just another word for indoctrination. Race or genetics have nothing to do with it.

Just my two bits.

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09-11-2013, 09:28 AM
RE: Black Atheism?
(08-11-2013 04:39 PM)kortni_thegreat Wrote:  I'm going through a bit of an existential crisis. Up until 2 years ago, I was Baptist. Now I'm an atheist, specifically a black atheist. It wasn't until I tried 'coming out' to my mother and grandmother that I realized how odd black atheism is. Apparently, people in my family think atheism is for 'crazy white satanists' and that a part of being black is being 'soulful' ( i.e.religious). It just got me thinking, what constitutes blackness? Is it hair texture, facial features, skin tone, or culture? If I'm not 'soulful' am I not black anymore? Who am I?? My mother raised me to think independently and read everything, and I did just that, and found myself not agreeing with any religion. Her turning on me actually kind of hurts. I guess the point of my post is, if there are any older black atheists out there who have dealt with this situation, how'd you manage? And what constitutes blackness to you?

As a fellow atheist who is black I know where you're coming from. My parents said the exact same thing about being around white people and them being the devil. But what is mostly funny about that is the fact that most of our slave ancestors were converted to Christianity by...white people lol. So when I presented this fact to them as well as asking them if they even knew what most Africans prior to the "voyage" believed in they didn't even know. So don't worry about other blacks thinking that because every time I run into that I go one of two ways. One I go on to say that black people who were at the time of slavery were very very submissive and going through really hard times. So in the hope of something magnificent as an afterlife in peace why not believe in God it gave us hope. And now in present day we still are one of the largest groups of sheep when it comes to Christianity. The second way is asking trivial questions just like any other Christian because most times they haven't read their bible. Either way as a black man I can't stand to see my fellow people so uninformed so the whole point is to provide the knowledge not down them. Hope this helps.
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06-12-2013, 05:43 PM
RE: Black Atheism?
Dude! I am too! You are not alone. I chose to keep it is secret though well not secret more like not mentioned. I don't talk about it. But I think my parents would be frustrated if they found out I was an atheist. But sometimes you have to do what you want. -Kyabella
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