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← More African-Americans leaving religious faiths

More African-Americans leaving religious faiths - Comments

dloubet's Avatar Comment 1 by dloubet

Good for them!

I don't know how to phrase this with sensitivity, so I'm just going to blurt it out harshly: It's good to see people finally freeing themselves from slavery. It never made sense to me why an enslaved people would adopt the religion of their slavers in the first place.

Tue, 15 May 2012 04:07:05 UTC | #941532

adiroth's Avatar Comment 2 by adiroth

Obviously, for survival. It's bad enough being slaves, I don't think the threat of getting burned as an infidel is something they want to deal with on top of that.

On another note, I find this to be a very welcome news, because it is a sign that the African American population has become more educated and has enough opportunity to become financially independent enough to question the conservative community that had traditionally provided them a safety net.

Tue, 15 May 2012 06:21:35 UTC | #941540

strangebrew's Avatar Comment 3 by strangebrew

It seems that the innate 'spirituality' of the African tribal system has left a very large hangover that was ripe for subversion from one bunch of demons spirits and ghouls that go bump in the jungle for another set that went bump on the plantations.

It remains a story beyond tragedy of how utter inhumanity towards man...supported if not actively encouraged by a Western religion...can result in a community that looks to its own for comfort if not out right survival that can desperately cling on to a identity forged from ancient times and ancestors. Spirituality was probably the only relief they had left in their minds and was debatably the only common ground b'twixt 'n' b'tween master and slave.

Xianity was only acting true to type by moving in and usurping, eradicating, remoulding the old structures finally impressing and firmly nailing their tacky version of spirituality over another belief system...as in the Borg...resistance is futile..but mastership was the key and arguably defined the only route the victims ended up being corralled down with or without their personal agreement, again a bastard form of evolution for ultimate survival seems to be the prize....they had no choice, a scenario that xianity excels in and which ensures its own survival!

Fast forward 200 years and the communities central activity is still revolving around a spirituality that was forced on them but time and generations have accepted the meme and probably few realize that the religion they now worship is not historically their own. But xianity when endemic in society in general and not confined to community is a persuasive and fierce taskmaster. It takes something beyond superstition to break that all invasive and pernicious mould.

That would be where Education and a modicum of opportunity has also evolved in a societal sense to stage that questions and the luxury of critical thinking can reassess the central tenant that has relied solely on ignorance and circumstance to flourish and prosper.

I wish these folk well...they are sensing the world for the first time without the drug of reliance and the whip of misery. It cannot be easy especially in the US of A where superstition and fear are the driving force of the society...but that death grip of religion is slipping, maybe a little early to call but society is growing up, much to the abject hysteria of the scam artists and the deluded...but maybe even their time will inevitably come to wriggle free of the yolk of oppression.

It only takes one to convince another that reality is non-negotiable...using this traditional trick of religion against the religious seems somehow ironic if not righteous!

It will become a seminal moment in history and bodes well for a future without the arrogance of superstition.

Tue, 15 May 2012 07:46:22 UTC | #941546

anderdogs's Avatar Comment 4 by anderdogs

How is no growth (11% from 2001 to 2008) interpreted as "steadily growing"? Also, the same survey shows that an increase in African Americans reported being "Christian Generic" (9% in 1990 to 15% in 2008), "Protestant" (4% in 1990 to 6% in 2008) and Pentecostal (6% in 1990 to 7% in 2008).

Tue, 15 May 2012 15:58:37 UTC | #941620

Border Collie's Avatar Comment 5 by Border Collie

Seriously, why would any black person not leave religion? Religion has been the biggest slaver of black people for thousands of years.

Tue, 15 May 2012 16:52:03 UTC | #941627

achromat666's Avatar Comment 6 by achromat666

It is a really promising statistic, but realistically it's going to take a few generations before it has a truly significant impact on the population of religious black people in the US.

As mentioned by most already, black have suffered from the slavery of religion in a very literal sense for a great number of years. It is the great source of frustration i have with most african american religious institutions: It is little more than a perpetuation of the slave/ master relationship started centuries ago, only the slaver is the Christian god.

Often the cure for this brand of slave related delusion is education on the subject, which is fought with tooth and nail in communities like these (I've seen this sort of willful ignorance in action, it is QUITE disturbing). But when people start reading about the source of the material, and start connecting how blacks in the US became Christians in the first place it generally starts the process of deconversion, however slow and painful it might be.

Here's hoping that many more come to this understanding soon

Tue, 15 May 2012 19:46:28 UTC | #941674

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 7 by Mr DArcy

The whole foundation of Christianity was based in the conditions of the slaves of the Roman Empire. It WAS the religion of the slaves. Who can blame those poor buggers for wanting a better life?

AFAIC I'm an African by origin and, I have no religion so what's holding the rest of you up?

Tue, 15 May 2012 19:53:49 UTC | #941677

gerard52's Avatar Comment 8 by gerard52

This is welcome news slowly the grip of religion is lessening in the nation and within African- American communitiy in particular however I agree that this will be a generational project.

Tue, 15 May 2012 22:28:43 UTC | #941706

Byrneo's Avatar Comment 9 by Byrneo

Why are skeptics in the US segregating by skin colour, like the Black Skeptics of Los Angeles?

Tue, 15 May 2012 23:55:54 UTC | #941723

adiroth's Avatar Comment 10 by adiroth

I think we've already discussed this.

Wed, 16 May 2012 02:24:36 UTC | #941750

theapex's Avatar Comment 11 by theapex

Comment 9 by Byrneo :

Why are skeptics in the US segregating by skin colour, like the Black Skeptics of Los Angeles?

Even better question. What's the significance of segregating yourself on something that is considered universal? Do these "black skeptics" have some form of cultural gathering that is only limited to "African-Americans"? Or their group specifically focuses on building skepticism through the eyes of an "African-American"?

Wed, 16 May 2012 07:32:12 UTC | #941785

mmurray's Avatar Comment 12 by mmurray

Comment Removed by Author

Wed, 16 May 2012 07:58:53 UTC | #941788

achromat666's Avatar Comment 13 by achromat666

Do these "black skeptics" have some form of cultural gathering that is only limited to "African-Americans"?

In this case, we are referring to both how the religion came upon them (slavery in America) and the subsequent highly religious culture which does in fact make the plight unique from other people in the US.

Realizing that many here are not American it is not a question whether or not being a color or nationality per se, but the culture created by the plight I just explained, and the identity that has come as a result. Of the minority population in the US slave descended blacks are among the highest in adherence to the Christian religion despite the circumstances by which they came upon it.

Wed, 16 May 2012 09:59:58 UTC | #941795

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 14 by Steven Mading

Comment 1 by dloubet :

Good for them!

I don't know how to phrase this with sensitivity, so I'm just going to blurt it out harshly: It's good to see people finally freeing themselves from slavery. It never made sense to me why an enslaved people would adopt the religion of their slavers in the first place.

As to the "religion of their slavers" comment, it's important to note that there's a lot of misconceptions about the order of events in "Westernizing" black Africans. (I hate that word in this case since Europe is NORTH of Africa, not west of it). People seem to have a misconception that things happened in this order:

Step 1: Slavers take Africans to the Americas.

Step 2: After arriving in the Americas, the African slaves convert to Christianity.

They happened in that order some of the time, but not all the time. A lot of the time it was like this:

Step 1: Missionaries appear in Africa prior to the slavers and start converting natives to Christianity. Remember that Christianity had about 1600 years to reach West Africa before the slave trade "triangle route" started going strong.

Step 2: Slavers start taking Africans to the Americas.

Step 3: The Africans arriving in the Americas are Christians already. They are new to being slaves, but not new to being Christians.

It's also important to note that it didn't take very many decades before it hit the point where the majority of African-American slaves were people who were born in the Americas to slave parents as opposed to being born in Africa and brought to the Americas in the slave trade. The law of exponential growth sort of demands that this happens, as birth rates will always eventually outpace manual relocation rates. These slaves born in the Americas would have far more exposure to Christianity than to the religions of their ancestors. To them Africa is just as foreign as it is to anyone else in the Americas.

Thu, 17 May 2012 05:04:59 UTC | #941972

Luis_Cayetano's Avatar Comment 15 by Luis_Cayetano

Why are skeptics in the US segregating by skin colour, like the Black Skeptics of Los Angeles?

Because that's the only way to reach a lot of people who feel that being atheism is 'acting white'. Many African-Americans think that an integral part of being black is to have religious faith. That's a shitty idea, no doubt, but it's fairly pervasive. Do you think that it's going to be Dawkins who breaks through this attitude? He'll help, sure, but what a lot of African-Americans need is for OTHER African-Americans to come out with their atheism, as a way of showing them that it's alright to be black AND an atheist, and to at least get a dialogue going. The level of alienation in American society is pathological, and in that context targeting a certain demographic as a prelude to a broader project is sometimes necessary. In a sense, this conversation we're having is rather academic. It won't be you or me who's going to do the work; it will be people living in the African-American community. You can get behind the people who WILL do the work or you can get out of the way, but in any case, it's going to happen. I for one support the Black Skeptics. Yes, I'm a white guy.

Do these "black skeptics" have some form of cultural gathering that is only limited to "African-Americans"?

They have a cultural experience that is limited to African-Americans, to which they can relate to in their outreach to people who have gone through similar experiences. You're not going to change people by truncating yourself from their experiences, consigning those experiences to the category of irrelevant, and effectively saying, 'Just be rational!' I'm sure that will go down a treat.

To take an analogy, there's a reason that the music of Tupac Shakur was more effective and inspiring than some white guy on Capitol Hill complaining about the incomprehensibility of crime in ghetto neighborhoods.

Thu, 17 May 2012 22:11:24 UTC | #942103