This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Black Infidels: Harvard's New Humanist Magazine

Black Infidels: Harvard's New Humanist Magazine - Comments

AtheistJon's Avatar Comment 1 by AtheistJon

According to a 2008 Pew Research Forum study, African Americans are indeed the most "consistently" religious ethnic group in the U.S.

Which is why I wonder why liberals constantly refer to Republicans as the "religious right", as though only the right wing is guilty of irrational thinking.

Sat, 20 Mar 2010 13:41:00 UTC | #450569

JSB2024's Avatar Comment 2 by JSB2024

Well, to be fair AtheistJon, despite the superstition and hypocrisy over the whole church-based African-American political mobilisation, I doubt that men like Al Shaprton or Jesse Jackson are likely to openly incite genocidal violence from the pulpit or on a talk radio show. Their turf if more so the loud proclamations of faith, personal experiences, miracles, and "The Goord Lord's blessing", along with other Bible-sourced claims.

I think the big-time black Christian politicians do minorities a great disservice. By telling black people and other traditionally oppressed or downtrodden groups that there is a divine force looking out for them, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel, it may make them more tolerant of misery and injustice in this life. As in, "Well, we have a hard lot now, but we'll get our fair reward when we're in heaven."

I think if the African-American community could realise en masse that this is our only life, they'd stop letting the churches order them around and control their lives, and start fighting back against a predominantly white-controlled institution in the US, the mainstream Christian churches.

Sat, 20 Mar 2010 13:56:00 UTC | #450571

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 3 by Bonzai

JSB2024

I think the big-time black Christian politicians do minorities a great disservice. By telling black people and other traditionally oppressed or downtrodden groups that there is a divine force looking out for them, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel, it may make them more tolerant of misery and injustice in this life. As in, "Well, we have a hard lot now, but we'll get our fair reward when we're in heaven."


I wonder if you have any evidence to back up that particular claim. Martin Luther King and Malcom X, as well as many leaders of the Black civil right movements were all religious but I am not aware that they told their followers to accept their lots in this life in anticipation of heavenly rewards. In fact I think it was quite the opposite.

I find it a bit hypocritical for us to always insist on evidence and then we just make things up based on just so theories when it comes to attacking religion.

Sat, 20 Mar 2010 16:32:00 UTC | #450588

TIKI AL's Avatar Comment 4 by TIKI AL

I'll see your religious black peeps and raise you 1 million Mexican Catholics that reside here in Phoenix.

And now for something completely different:

Plan B if health care reform fails:

1.We wait for Gitmo to close and buy it.
2.Lay on the beach and drink Pina Coladas until our livers fail.
3.Smoke Havanna cigars until our lungs collapse.
4.Enjoy FREE commie Cuban health care!

...Note: Castro's eventual funeral should rival Mardi Gras.

Sat, 20 Mar 2010 17:47:00 UTC | #450593

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 5 by Carl Sai Baba

JSB2024 on March 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm
Well, to be fair AtheistJon, despite the superstition and hypocrisy over the whole church-based African-American political mobilisation, I doubt that men like Al Shaprton or Jesse Jackson are likely to openly incite genocidal violence from the pulpit or on a talk radio show.


Al Sharpton?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Sharpton#Comments_on_Jews
(this during a controversy over a jewish drivier killing a black kid, which later resulted in a racial riot)


You picked the weaker examples though. Even if I gave an unqualified "no" to both Jackson and Sharpton, would you repeat your argument with Louis Farrakhan in place of Sharpton?

Sat, 20 Mar 2010 18:43:00 UTC | #450599

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 6 by Carl Sai Baba

AtheistJon on March 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm
Which is why I wonder why liberals constantly refer to Republicans as the "religious right", as though only the right wing is guilty of irrational thinking.


85% of the country is religious, but only about 50% on average vote for republicans. That simple math ought to be enough, but anyone who needs anecdotes on top of data could come down to the South and meet a whole lot of hardcore democrats who are the most racist god-fearing bastards you could imagine.

There is definitely a tilt of religious nuttery towards the Republican side, but it isn't as severe as most atheists want to believe.

And now the health care bill they want so much might not pass because a few DEMOCRATS are mad about the fact that some of that insurance welfare will end up funding abortions. I don't know if their objections were merely underreported or if they really did bite their tongues until they had to face the fact that the Republicans wouldn't be able to stop it.

Sat, 20 Mar 2010 19:09:00 UTC | #450602

Corylus's Avatar Comment 7 by Corylus

Clearly written and informative - new facts learnt.

Thank you, Dr Hutchinson

Sat, 20 Mar 2010 19:30:00 UTC | #450608

Stella's Avatar Comment 8 by Stella

Coming from a rural - but white - Southern background, I've experienced a lot of the same struggles Ms. Hutchinson spotlights in this excellent article and have often wondered myself why the African American community seems to be even more obsessed with enforcing Christian homogeneity than my own community.

Furthermore, it's always seemed especially sad and ironic to me that the black American community seems so spellbound by the white man's religion. As Douglass noted with unsurprising eloquence and focus, Southern Christians (and, indeed, Northern ones) were very good at racism, misogyny, slavery, and murder in the name of their Jesus.

And there are so many amazing black humanists, including many mentioned in this article.

Bravo.

Sat, 20 Mar 2010 20:35:00 UTC | #450619

LeeLeeOne's Avatar Comment 9 by LeeLeeOne

What part of being human does not humanity understand? GDMFTHWIA!

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 00:49:00 UTC | #450710

LeeLeeOne's Avatar Comment 10 by LeeLeeOne

Okay... I feel better now... maybe

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 00:54:00 UTC | #450713

craigmac59's Avatar Comment 11 by craigmac59

Calling someone or a group of people idiots is immoral.

Criticising a group of people without explaining why is immoral.


Hypocrite.

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 01:25:00 UTC | #450719

Lisa Bauer's Avatar Comment 12 by Lisa Bauer

With articles like this and more atheists who also belong to minority groups (women, African-Americans, Hispanics, etc.) becoming more outspoken and visible, I hope to see less of that "meme" popular among some religionists and liberal "faitheists" that atheism is a "well-off white male" cause and that it's "racist" or "sexist" or "classist" to criticize religion because large numbers of women or blacks or Hispanics or Arabs or the poor or whichever other disadvantaged group are believers. (What of the nonbelievers in those groups, including those that despise the religion of their birth, like those discussed in the article -- do they just not count?) Surely the claims of religion can be discussed and debated on their own terms without such lame ad populum arguments like "5 billion people, many of them poor and oppressed, believe in religion, how can you be so cruel as to dismiss them so casually?" And isn't it patronizing to suggest that they can't handle hearing opposing arguments?

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 01:32:00 UTC | #450721

Sciros's Avatar Comment 13 by Sciros

Calling someone or a group of people idiots is immoral.

Criticising a group of people without explaining why is immoral.


Hypocrite.
Idiot.

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 01:58:00 UTC | #450728

LeeLeeOne's Avatar Comment 14 by LeeLeeOne

what part of humanity do we not understand?

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 04:39:00 UTC | #450739

Michael Gray's Avatar Comment 15 by Michael Gray

This reminds me of an especial conundrum, (tangentially mentioned at the 2010 Global Atheist Conference), that has not yet been satisfactorily answered:

Why are females (in particular) voluntarily religious, at all?

Why do they seem to fervently wish to be a part of a misogynistic slavery rape-club?
(Let alone actively push it on to other females, especially relatives & in particular what should be cherished daughters).
Why does it appear that most criminal infubulations are executed by females?

I have other feminist related enquiries, but these are quite the most puzzling.

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 05:52:00 UTC | #450743

AtheistJon's Avatar Comment 16 by AtheistJon

85% of the country is religious, but only about 50% on average vote for republicans. That simple math ought to be enough, but anyone who needs anecdotes on top of data could come down to the South and meet a whole lot of hardcore democrats who are the most racist god-fearing bastards you could imagine.


That simple math combined with simplistic generalizations about politics, I guess.

For that matter, I wonder if anybody really knows the demographical statistical break down of Atheists. If I had to guess, in the US, I would say that ethnically, Atheists are made up of 95% whites. Also, 90% male. Politically, I would guess that they are 50% Republican / 50% Democrat.

Worldwide, I suppose the Chinese must make up the biggest block of Atheists. Or is that a big error on my part?

This is all just speculation on my part... not facts. It would be interesting to know the facts.

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 06:25:00 UTC | #450748

sandman67's Avatar Comment 17 by sandman67

This is another proof that Americans have no real sense of irony.

How strange it seems that the black population of America are the most slavish devotees of a book that for so long was used to justify their own ancestors lack of freedom and basic human rights.

Freed in body and still enslaved in mind

Ah well.....

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 07:47:00 UTC | #450757

SnowyDoc's Avatar Comment 18 by SnowyDoc

It is rather ironic that the infallible word of god writ large in their holy book quite happily advocates slavery. Perhaps another case of denial-based cherry-picking from the "good" book, eh?

Would it be true to say that even today, Americans of African descent are, on average, socioeconomically disadvantaged in the US compared to the average caucasian person? If that were the case (and I have no idea if it is?) then one could argue the relationship between being of African descent and increased religiosity is the "usual" one seen in a less educated demographic?

Alternatively, did the insular nature of early African American populations simply result in a hereditary cluster of memes even more strongly coherent and persistent than the religious viruses of the mind seen in the broader American populace?

Perhaps both?

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 09:26:00 UTC | #450768

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 19 by Carl Sai Baba

SnowyDoc:

That all basically makes sense. Even after they were legally "free", they had both social separation and a weak education system for about 100 years. I don't know how long it took them to get higher than 50% literacy, but they started out at nearly zero. That gave the preachers plenty of time to do anything they wanted, passing over gems of divine wisdom such as Ephesians 6:5:
"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ."

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 16:55:00 UTC | #450836

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 20 by Mr DArcy

And the scientific definition of the "black" race is....?

AFAIK we're all the same race. Either you believe in God/gods, or you don't. Colour is not a prerequisite for non-belief. Christianity itself started, grew and thrived as the religion of the slaves of the Roman Empire. Perhaps that's why there is a resonance with Afro-Americans?

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 21:09:00 UTC | #450932

Stella's Avatar Comment 21 by Stella

Atheist Jon, I think your estimate that 90% of American atheists are male is probably off the mark. In my experience (and this is in Texas, at that!), it would be more like 60/40.

However, I, too, have often wondered about the fervent religiosity of a large majority of women, seeing as how their religion almost always is one of the blatantly misogynist variety. It makes me sad, like T.D. Jakes.

:)

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 22:52:00 UTC | #450953

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 22 by Carl Sai Baba

Mr DArcy on March 21, 2010 at 9:09 pm
And the scientific definition of the "black" race is....?

AFAIK we're all the same race.


Maybe you should provide your own definition of "race".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(biology)

Sun, 21 Mar 2010 23:48:00 UTC | #450970

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 23 by Mr DArcy

Comment #471061 by RightWingAtheist

From the page quoted:


In biology, a race is any inbreeding group, including taxonomic subgroups such as subspecies, taxonomically subordinate to a species and superordinate to a subrace and marked by a pre-determined profile of latent factors of hereditary traits.



That was my point: that we're all of the same race. The human race, we can all interbreed with all the other varieties of humans. There is no biological definition of "black" or "white". Time for a common humanity rather than looking for differences, imo.

Mon, 22 Mar 2010 19:45:00 UTC | #451199

Carl Sai Baba's Avatar Comment 24 by Carl Sai Baba

I don't think you are reading that correctly, and you gratuitously used the word "race" in place of "species" in your earlier post. The purpose of the concept "race" is to refer to subsets within a species ("subordinate to a species"), not an entire species. Scientifically, "human" is not a race, it is a common name for the species Homo sapiens.

We CAN all breed with each other, but historically we generally have not for cultural and geographic reasons. If we all actually had been INTERbreeding among races, then we would not be able to identify separate races. The individual races have been INbreeding, which is why we still have unique features within different races.

I hope you understand that when Stephen Colbert claims he can't see color, that is a joke meant to mock excessive self-imposed political correctness. Your position is literally a joke, and it's no help in addressing issues like sickle cell anemia or the recent news that 1/4 of Asians don't respond to Plavix.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 03:01:00 UTC | #451309

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 25 by Mr DArcy

Point taken RWA, so is there a scientific definition of "black" as relating to race, sub-species, varieties, etc. of homo sapiens?

I don't think there is, but you can maybe point me in the right direction?

Wed, 24 Mar 2010 21:38:00 UTC | #451937

Anna-Be's Avatar Comment 26 by Anna-Be

Thank's a lot for this article.

Thu, 23 Dec 2010 11:57:23 UTC | #567835