African Americans and Religion

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Discussion by: plaidandpolkadots

So here goes…I know black atheists exist because I see them on on-line forums. However I do not know any in real life. Perhaps they are just not vocal about it. Perhaps I should take more opportunities to declare my status as a non believer when the opportunity arises.  My issue–and question to others is– I have found that it very difficult to have a mindset of "you do your thing, I'll do mine" when it comes to black folks and religion.  It baffles me to no end how blacks can practice a religion introduced to us by slave masters and used to justfiy slavery. I am so passionate about it that I cannot have any respect for black Christians. I think they are so stupid that it has caused me to not have any connection with the black community because church is such a central part of it.  How are atheists who are more open minded manage to keep the peace?

I hate to introduce race unnecessarily into the conversation. However I have always felt a special admiration for white atheists. After all, the religious racket favors you (well, white men, anyway). So it takes more balls to dump it. But blacks should be running the fastest and farthest from church and yet we can be heard thumping the bible the loudest. And I can't stand to hear the bullshit about how we've been through so much suffering that we need the comfort of religion. If we would not have bought into it in the first place, maybe we would not have put up with half the crap we did.  I dunno. I am just so fed up with my peeps when it comes to this. And I hesitate to debate the issue with a black person since I would not be able to hide my disgust for their gullibilty.

82 COMMENTS

  1. . It baffles me to no end how blacks can practice a religion introduced to us by slave masters and used to justfiy slavery.

    That’s because like a lot of atheists you have an overly simplistic view of what religion is. You are trying to analyze it purely on a rational basis and are ignoring that there are emotional and social issues as well.

    But in any case I think characterizing Christianity as being ONLY about the “slave masters” is an extremely narrow minded view. From what we know about the actual historical Jesus he was quite a fan of the poor and the oppressed. And there are plenty of passages in the new testament that support this, even though the “slave masters” tend to avoid or interpret those passages in nonsensical ways.

    I am so passionate about it that I cannot have any respect for black Christians.

    I find it hard to have respect for someone who knows so little about black history that they would say such a thing. Have you heard of the Civil Rights movement. A guy named Martin Luther King? But you can’t have any respect for black Christians? Why do you think the KKK used to burn down black churches? It was because they were the focal point for civil rights organizing in the South and everywhere in the black community. The majority of the people in the 60’s civil rights movement were people of faith, both the african americans like MLK and many of the whites who joined them from christian and Jewish communities.

    But the truly great thing about the civil rights movement is no one cared what faith you were or if you were an atheist, they were working for the same goals and they put such differences aside as people of conscience often do.

    I think they are so stupid that it has caused me to not have any connection with the black community because church is such a central part of it. How are atheists who are more open minded manage to keep the peace?

    Well to start with I see no need to view this as an automatic confrontation. What I care about are things like climate change and social justice. If someone has those same values I will work with them whether they are religious or not.

    • In reply to #1 by Red Dog:

      . It baffles me to no end how blacks can practice a religion introduced to us by slave masters and used to justfiy slavery.

      That’s because like a lot of atheists you have an overly simplistic view of what religion is. You are trying to analyze it purely on a rational basis and are ignoring that th…

      “From what we know about the actual historical Jesus he was quite a fan of the poor and the oppressed.”

      was he such a fan that he decided to keep us poor and oppressed as a solid? Yeah don’t do me any favors. I have been poor. It sucks. There are numerous passages in the bible that justify many things that are not acceptable in modern day society. and guess what? The people who justified slavery with the bible are not MIS-interpreting it. They are interpreting it exactly as it says in black and white. Any brown person or woman who believes in that book and follows it as a guide must not think very highly of themselves. But then, most people only follow the parts they agree with, correct?

  2. I approved this one because I wanted to share some links I compiled for the Out Campaign. (OP – you may already know about them, but it may be helpful for others.)

    Living After Faith podcast – Candace Gorham talks about trying to find atheist women of color, and how difficult that process is. She might be worth talking to. There’s a link to her Facebook page in the podcast info.

    Black Atheists of America

    African Americans for Humanism

    Black America Freethought Association

    Reddit forum – Black Atheism

    I don’t know much about this specific topic, but is it something that’s more regional? That would be my guess, anyway. One may be more likely to find black atheists in, say, California, as opposed to a southern state? I’d imagine a fear of ostracism would hinder many people who have doubts about their faith, and I’m sorry that you’ve lost a sense of community because of religion. I hope maybe those links can help you meet some local people in a similar situation. I imagine Latino atheists would face this problem as well, just based on how strong Catholicism seems to be in many Central and South American countries.

    • In reply to #2 by KimCox:

      I approved this one because I wanted to share some links I compiled for the Out Campaign. (OP – you may already know about them, but it may be helpful for others.)

      Living After Faith podcast – Candace Gorham talks about trying to find atheist women of color, and how difficult that process is. She m…

      KimCox,

      Thanks! Yes I have spent some time on some of these blogs as well as Godless and Black ( very prolific black atheist). In fact, since discovering that there are thousands of black atheists out there, it makes me somewhat more frustrated that there are none in MY life that I know personally. It’s like, the church people have each other and can fellowship among themselves and discuss their beliefs, but black atheists are isolated to the internet. I have thought that Latino non-believers must have the same issue.

  3. Because they appear ‘black’ to you do you propose that they actually belong to some distinct genetic or ‘cultural’ group?. Most of them would carry more caucasian genes than african, as you would have some genes of african origin. To delineate people by the colour of their skin is simplistic and idiotic. Grow up.

    • In reply to #3 by rzzz:

      Because they appear ‘black’ to you do you propose that they actually belong to some distinct genetic or ‘cultural’ group?. Most of them would carry more caucasian genes than african, as you would have some genes of african origin. To delineate people by the colour of their skin is simplistic and idi…

      The rest of the world doesn’t see this from your perspective, wake up! It really has nothing to do with the OP.

  4. I have found that it very difficult to have a mindset of “you do your thing, I’ll do mine” when it comes to black folks and religion.

    Why is it difficult? If they don’t bother you, why do you find it difficult to not bother them? Are you feeling pressured? You can fight back, but I wouldn’t be looking for a fight at every corner.

    I am so passionate about it that I cannot have any respect for black Christians.

    Nothing wrong with being passionate about it, but it’s got nothing to do with respect.

    It baffles me to no end how blacks can practice a religion introduced to us by slave masters and used to justfiy slavery.

    For sure it did, but it’s not hard to see (at least from my limited understanding) why religion holds a strong place, from the social perspective. If it is so important to many people, then there must be a reason for it. You don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water. Religion is everywhere in Europe. From arts, music, to buildings, to holidays. I’m not gonna go about burning churches and destroying paintings.

    How are atheists who are more open minded manage to keep the peace?

    That’s precisely because we are open minded. Live and let live (up to a point).

    And I hesitate to debate the issue with a black person since I would not be able to hide my disgust for their gullibilty.

    IMO, that’s the wrong stance to start with. It’s a bit more complex than just good / bad, smart / stupid. And the path to skepticism is not immediate. It takes time to change mentalities, when you’ve been educated to believe faith is a virtue, and all that jazz. Especially when religion is so embedded socially, and everything is tainted by it. Skepticism (in all things) is a completely different frame of mind. Some understand it, some reject it, for many reasons.

    I suggest you chill out a little bit, check out Peter Boghossian’s new book, and Julia Sweeney’s, and read up debating techniques, arguments, psychology, logic and philosophy if you really want to take it to the next level.

    There’s no point running around shooting ‘you’re wrong!’, unless you can articulate your position calmly, and precisely. Once you take a step back, it’s easier to understand the other’s perspective, and be a bit more level headed.

    • In reply to #4 by obzen:

      I have found that it very difficult to have a mindset of “you do your thing, I’ll do mine” when it comes to black folks and religion.

      Why is it difficult? If they don’t bother you, why do you find it difficult to not bother them? Are you feeling pressured? You can fight back, but I wouldn’t be look…

      I think it really started to bother me when I read on a Pew research website that, as a whole, Americans are becoming less religious. But in looking at the graphs, AA were the most religious group by a mile and a half. Yet, at the same time, we are the lowest income level. I used to be “live and let live” with it. I knew what I believed but felt that if others worshipped god and it made them feel good then what was the harm? But now I think there is a correlation between our lack of upward mobility and our living in the dark ages wen it comes to thinking logically. Religion encourages faith and not thinking, just believing. It pisses me off that as a race of people we OVERWHELMINGLY, more than any other group, subscribe to that notion.

      I want to thank you for asking that question and giving me the opportunity to remember why it does bother me!

  5. Red Dog,
    I’m familiar with history. I’m not sure what the KKK burning down black churches proves….yes the black church was the headquarters for civil rights strategic planning. And? I appreciate your response but there is not anything there I don’t already know. I have spent many hours thinking about MLK and his principles. I am not here to second guess what blacks suffered through and did for the struggle. Suffice it to say I wonder what would have come had other paths been taken. As a race we are far from living the dream. I wonder if that has to do with African American’s belief that the lord is just going to take care of it all someday…that suffering and languishing on the bottom rung of society somehow makes us Jesus’ favorite.

    I am not looking for confrontation. However, revealing that I don’t believe there is a magic man in the sky responsible for all my good fortune does not build many bridges where I am from. I recently told my mom I am atheist. Ever since she has been “praying” for me. To me it’s just like “ok, drop it.” It’s not a matter of outright confrontation but rather the little everyday things like constantly referring to their “blessings” and praising Jesus for everything from getting over a cold to winning the lottery. Sure I can work with a person on an issue and overlook differences. But that’s not the same as having friends and associates of like mind. People with whom you don’t have to keep overlooking major differences on matters of faith or lack of.

    • In reply to #5 by plaidandpolkadots:

      I can work with a person on an issue and overlook differences. But that’s not the same as having friends and associates of like mind. People with whom you don’t have to keep overlooking major differences on matters of faith or lack of.

      America’s weird. From where I am now, nobody cares. Churches are closing, aisles are emptying, little by little, year by year. So yeah I don’t know. If you want some advice from like-minded people from your neck of the woods, maybe check out KimCox suggestions. Maybe you need to get out of that environment, or just find an outlet.

    • In reply to #5 by plaidandpolkadots:

      Red Dog, I’m familiar with history. I’m not sure what the KKK burning down black churches proves….yes the black church was the headquarters for civil rights strategic planning. And?

      And I find it offensive that given that history anyone could say: ” I cannot have any respect for black Christians”. If you can’t have respect for Black Christians that means you have no respect for people like King or people like Medgar Evans or countless black leaders who are still alive who marched with them.

      I am not looking for confrontation.

      I often sound confrontational because I’m more interested in arguing. I find agreeing with people boring. I know we all agree on things like how harmful and obviously wrong religion is and I find all the endless back slapping and theist bashing boring beyond words. To me the point is to debate and for me (like Socrates) a good model for debate is a contest, but that doesn’t mean it’s personal or I’m actually offended. I just like to argue and when I argue I focus on making the best case possible not being nice.

      However, revealing that I don’t believe there is a magic man in the sky responsible for all my good fortune does not build many bridges where I am from.

      Me neither.

      I recently told my mom I am atheist. Ever since she has been “praying” for me. To me it’s just like “ok, drop it.” It’s not a matter of outright confrontation but rather the little everyday things like constantly referring to their “blessings” and praising Jesus for everything from getting over a cold to winning the lottery. Sure I can work with a person on an issue and overlook differences. But that’s not the same as having friends and associates of like mind. People with whom you don’t have to keep overlooking major differences on matters of faith or lack of.

      It is one thing to point out how idiotic religion is. If you want to do that I will agree with you absolutely. But it’s quite another to say something as divisive as ” I cannot have any respect for black Christians”. If you think about it that is a pretty extreme statement. And I absolutely disagree with you about friends and colleagues. Some of the most beautiful, brilliant, hard working, and even sexy people I’ve known have been theists. There is no way I would want to exclude such people from my life simply because we disagree about whether or not God exists.

  6. I understand some of the issues here. I think we sometimes mix up race and culture because they are so intertwined. Accepting people, and feeling like you fit in, are 2 widely different things. It is wanted and needed by a good majority of the people to find others they can truly connect with. This means having lots in common to talk about and shared/similar experiences. What happens when you have a change in belief or just a different belief that makes a chasm between your commonalities.

    You can try to connect with other cultures that have accepted your godless way of thinking but that is only 1 aspect of who you are. What you need is people with quite a bit in common. You need people who grew up on the community you grew up in or at least similar communities
    .
    I think if you can find people you can connect with, working with the people you don’t connect with is so much easier. It is draining to feel so out of place that having a place to go back to will help you recharge. Makes life easier and you more patient and understanding.

    How do you find these people. You seek them out. Maybe there is already a group somewhere near by. Check further way then you want to travel. A 4 hour commute to meet with a group may seem over the top but that once or twice a month may make all the difference in your life. Start your own local group. Work with people on the internet to see how to start this. This take patients as there will be times when no one shows up. But just get good idea from other groups and be patient.

    I think that is all I got for now. Hope it helps in some way.

    • In reply to #11 by nickj:

      I understand some of the issues here. I think we sometimes mix up race and culture because they are so intertwined. Accepting people, and feeling like you fit in, are 2 widely different things. It is wanted and needed by a good majority of the people to find others they can truly connect with. This…

      You are so right when it comes to race and culture. Church and black culture are indeed intertwined. Specifically with the women. Because of that I have tended to have white close friends my whole life. Even if a white person is Christian, it’s not as hard core. With blacks, if you do not socialize in the church community then it’s not like people won’t have anything to do with you. But there will be a distance there. All of a sudden you don’t “fit in”. Part of it is my own fault because over time I have become increasingly militant in my stance against religion especially with the harm I believe it does to our community. I have looked up local groups. Of course they are 100% white people

      I have toyed with the idea of starting my own local group and seeing who bites . I don’t want to sit around talking about how there is no god. So I suppose there needs to be a focus other than we are all atheists.

  7. As a white person I have always questioned why there needs to be a special category of Black This or Black That. But I can appreciate that this is a special situation. Strength and peace to you, my fellow human being.

    • In reply to #13 by 78rpm:_

      As a white person I have always questioned why there needs to be a special category of Black This or Black That. But I can appreciate that this is a special situation. Strength and peace to you, my fellow human being

      My husband is white and he shares your concern. I never thought I was hung up on black this or black that. But since he points out every time I paint a certain issue in terms of how it effects black people, I guess I am one of “those”.

      Yes we are overly sensitive to everything and in general we are just not over it. You name it, we are not over it. My theory is, there were so many years that we were killed for complaining. Now that we can gripe, we can’t stop._

  8. Statistics show that there are more white atheists than African-American ones. I think this has more to do with culture than race. In fact, from a scientific point of view, I would suggest that race does not even exist, we’re all one race, the human race. Those in the African-American community who have doubts about their faith may be unwilling to come out of the closest in case they are ostracised.

  9. sigh

    It never ceases to irritate me when people refuse to actually see an issue for what it is and instead choose to see things as they like.

    Yes there is only one human race, of course there is. I would highly doubt anyone here is arguing that. But regardless of the truth of the matter much like what is true or not regarding religion the issue is about ignorance. What people are willing to accept regardless of how false it is. We’re not just talking about people that happen to have darker skin, we’re talking about descendants of people brought to this country in slavery. We’re talking about the misinformation that passed as fact for many hateful people for a very long time about how primitive and ignorant people with darker skin are and how inferior a species they have to be. And most importantly we’re talking about how many ignorant people are still taking aspects of these ridiculous ideas and holding them up as true. There are still books being published to support it, there are states that still seem to embrace it and it has nothing to do with whether it is true. Any reasonable person knows it is not.

    There is a subculture that refuses to let it go, specifically in the US. One that makes it harder for American blacks on multiple levels to this day. This is not to say that things aren’t overall much better than they have been, but for those that don’t deal with this everyday in their own lives, it’s something to keep in mind.

    Name one other group of people brought to the US for the sole purpose of being sold into slavery. Just one. Remember that the next time this comes up. You don’t want to acknowledge the color of someone’s skin regarding a specific issue? Fine but understand that the subculture of African Americans are unique in this country compared to pretty much any other subculture in it. Especially where it concerns religion

    Now directing my attention to the OP, The issue is a bit more layered than whether or not all blacks should run screaming from the religion that helped justify their slavery in the first place. The ending of slavery was in many ways just as bad as being slaves for many. Jobs were far and between, prejudice and bigotry were beyond commonplace and the slaves themselves had little or no culture to call their own. By the time they were freed there was no unified culture for them to embrace beyond their predicament which was horrible even after emancipation. It was taken from them bit by bit over the course of their slavery generation after generation.

    And one bit that doesn’t come up enough in these discussions, many slave owners didn’t want blacks taking up their religion. They thought their faith was simply too good for them, and the process of former slaves taking to Christianity definitely didn’t happen overnight. When they did, they held onto to something they thought gave them hope. And with no culture to call their own were desperate in my view to cling to something, however misplaced and ironic as the choice turned out to be.

    So it’s not just about whether or not blacks cling to religion stronger than others, or even about how they treat other blacks that leave it. It’s about pushing against a culture that has for hundreds of years seen this faith as being something that lifts them out of a far more horrible plight than they started out in in this country.

    That doesn’t make the bible any less true, or the predicament any less difficult but it should shed some light on what you’re dealing with. My family comes from Greensboro, North Carolina and holds fast to the religion as much as any black family. I’m the only atheist I know in it, though their might be others I don’t think their being terribly vocal at family get-togethers. It saddens me everyday to hear the same nonsense come from them that I hear from other theists that don’t reason but contort through belief born from cultural indoctrination to make their ideas seem true.

    But I can’t demean them simply because they don’t see things the way I do. This is in many ways a generational thing. the older will not relent from their ideas and the younger have to see beyond their faith to get to what is true about the world.

    You wish to be angry about the situation? By all means do so. But don’t be ignorant about the cause, or how deep the problem really goes. You only hurt yourself by doing so.

    • In reply to #16 by achromat666:

      You wish to be angry about the situation? By all means do so. But don’t be ignorant about the cause, or how deep the problem really goes.

      I keep re reading my post to see where I give the impression that I’m not aware of history or that I don’t understand the complexities of the hold religion has on blacks. Multiple answers here seem to suggest that I must be angry about this because I don’t know my history or have never heard of MLK (???). Give me a little credit.

      How does clinging to faith in God help ease suffering? I need a real answer. My mom, when I told her I’m atheist, pleaded with me to just pray with her. She told me about all she went through: sleeping in her car, abuse, neglect, betrayals, etc. and god helped her make it. I kept thinking “it sounds to me like god hates you. You got YOURSELF through it!” Black people act like we are completely powerless without a crutch. This does not help us take accountability and move forward.

      That’s my greater point that I wish I heard of more African Americans considering. IF there was a god, what has he done for our people that is even worth acknowledgement, let alone worship and praise?? Blacks will say, “he brought us through it.” When the observation should be “if this is all you can do for us, we will take our chances without you.”

  10. Then I would say there are misunderstandings all around.

    The first portion of my post was directed at the people that overlook the issues of color and culture to begin with, as if the problems didn’t exist. Often when the words African American, black and atheists are brought up in discussions here such responses tend to come up, and I like to head that off at the pass.

    The second part was directed at the OP, but it wasn’t assuming that you know nothing of history, but to use it to bring my point home. I’m often surprised by the number of people that don’t know most of the things I mention regarding slavery and the related things from my previous post (also being aware that many of the people that post here are not from the US and may simply not have reason to know).

    I’m not suggesting that you don’t know, I’m simply shedding light on things that we need to keep in mind when discussing the subject. Now as for this question:

    How does clinging to faith in God help ease suffering? I need a real answer.

    I’m not making the claim that belief in God eases suffering. If you go back and check my responses to most things on this site you’ll find the opposite being the case. I’m pointing out what lead to the issues we have to bring balance to the discussion. That the issue of blacks and the fervor with which they cling to religion is as much about a closed, subcultural indoctrination as it is anything else and that your OP seemed to overlook that. I assume you would disagree, that’s simply how I see it.

    I’ve heard the same claims of decent and strong people completely acquiescing any responsibility to give god credit for things they did and it does frustrate me to no end. But for me its a symptom rather than the disease. The disease is the centuries built ideologies that make up the subculture in the first place.

    I share your frustrations, believe me.

  11. I have always thought blacks to be more gullible to Christianity too. Of course, church is not only doctrine, it is also community, and the church seems to give a certain cohesion to people who may not have family or class identity to rely on. The black church has always offered the same thing that ritual Judaism offers to Jews, a sense of “this is who we are”.

    It is also almost a cliché to state that the church was central in the development of black civil rights, and it is impossible to imagine Martin Luther King without the black church behind him.

    • In reply to #19 by justinesaracen:

      I have always thought blacks to be more gullible to Christianity too. Of course, church is not only doctrine, it is also community…

      I was reading on my other favorite blog, Godless and Black, the idea that very few individuals have the constitution to risk not belonging anywhere; so much so that most people will go along with the beliefs of the group if the alternative is rejection. This is not only an issue in the black community of course.

      But I do think that fear has a particularly strong hold on us. For so long we have had so much to be afraid of. The notion of fearing God’s wrath is so familiar to what we’ve always known, that it just sounds right–like that’s the way it should be. Surely someone is up there waiting to punish us for any defiance, like being lynched for whistling at a white woman or jailed for drinking out of the wrong water fountain.

      That appears to be a big part of it.

  12. the religious racket favors you (well, white men, anyway). So it takes more balls to dump it.

    Religion is all about community and community is perhaps the the only up side to religion that I can see. It is logical that, after liberation, minority blacks needed to stick together so, no, majority whites do not have it better because they can get their community without resorting to Church.

    Remember also, since we are digging up the past, that Christianity was thrust down our throats too when our native European beliefs were replaced by invading Christian armies and that the Christian slave masters were pretty much all European. It has been my experience that if you dig up the past you can always find someone to blame for your current predicament. Here are a few words, not written about slavery but still appropriate don’t you think.

    Somewhere in history you were wronged. Teach your children to bang the drum. Tell all your family, tell all your friends.
    Teach your brothers to avenge. It carries on. Or you could love.

    By the sound of things you have chosen the latter.

  13. With movies such as “12 Years A Slave” and “The Butler” coming out recently (I know I know they’re just movies), I do think America is now more willing to face the ugly truth about it’s past. I do think the modern African American is also aware of the seismic shift in attitudes towards racism in the last decade or so rendering the colour of your skin redundant in all contexts. Which is possibly why the number of African American atheists is growing (If the argument of a lack of African American atheists was every true in the first place). OMG as a race we might actually be evolving faster than I would have ever imagined (We have managed to poke the full toe outside of the proverbial cave entrance now, Cue World War III.. Bang !) LOL.

  14. And I can’t stand to hear the bullshit about how we’ve been through so much suffering that we need the comfort of religion.

    Indeed because the vast majority of those alive today have not been through so much suffering. That does not mean that they have not suffered discrimination (obviously) as racism is a sickening fact the world over. I’d also like to mention that according to this site 5 out of the top 10 countries in the world still engaging in slavery are west African. Now firstly did the people of these countries learn nothing from the terrible ordeal of their ancestors and secondly is it purely the racist white media that are not reporting the howls of protest about this issue from the black community or is there another reason we are not hearing about this modern day attrocity.

    • In reply to #25 by rzzz:

      This is a disgusting, racist discussion. Confirmation bias reigns!

      Good grief. A racist is a person who thinks one race is superior to another. I never said that. What I suggest is that AA’s are more strident in their religious beliefs, which is of particular interest and a source of frustration to me personally because, as a black person, I believe that is a major hindrance in our overall progress.

      I realize that the danger of narrowing the discussion to one race is that someone (not naming names) will take that as an opening to make some nebulous comment about how we’re all one race or accuse someone falsely of being racist. But I guess you have to take the good with the bad on comment boards.

  15. You seem to be labouring under the most simplistic of misapprehensions.

    African Americans are in no way unique when it comes to aping the culture of their oppressors.

    When you dominate and subjugate a people for generations you dont really need to bother with actively destroying their practices traditions and religions they will naturally adopt the practices of the dominant culture at best they will keep vestigial or modified traditions that dont clash to much with their new adopted culture call it brainwashing call it survival instinct but whatever it is its exactly the opposite of what you believe.

    • In reply to #27 by AmbientMorality:

      You seem to be labouring under the most simplistic of misapprehensions.

      African Americans are in no way unique when it comes to aping the culture of their oppressors.

      When you dominate and subjugate a people for generations you dont really need to bother with actively destroying their practices tr…

      Assimilating in terms of dress, music, language etc. is one thing. Using a book that states “slaves obey your masters” as the foundation for your worldview is way beyond “adopting a tradition.”

      The oppression is over. We’ve had over 150 years to come to our senses on this matter.

      • In reply to #30 by plaidandpolkadots:

        In reply to #27 by AmbientMorality:

        You seem to be labouring under the most simplistic of misapprehensions.

        African Americans are in no way unique when it comes to aping the culture of their oppressors.

        When you dominate and subjugate a people for generations you dont really need to bother with a…

        Youve missed the point

        The point being is that you expect black people to act differently to every other culturally distinct group of humans who have been oppressed and subjugated by a technologically superior culture.

        “Black” people copy their oppressors because they are human in exactly the same way as the maori or celts or the native americans or the bingo bango tribes of bongo land it is simply natural to want to ape your superiors.

        My intuition backed up by nothing is that there is probably a very distinct relationship between how primitive a particular group is and what lengths you have to go to destroy or alter their cultural practices on the lower end simply turning up on a large ship with some costume jewellery is enough on the other end generations of total subjugation and oppression is required.

        • In reply to #60 by AmbientMorality:

          AmbientMorality, I have to say that I find your whole thesis a bit daft and not supported by evidence. I have heard Prince Harry try to talk more lower class than he is (just to fit in), I have heard white people act like gangster rappers so as to appear streetwise (this was one of plaidandpolkadots’ points), and on a more general note, culture seems to be reprimitivising today. All of this speaks against your idea that superior cultures are copied by those from inferior ones. As far as I can see, nothing can get culturally poorer than gangster rap yet lots of people copy it.

          [Last paragraph removed by moderator to bring within site rules. Please see Conditions of Use, accessible at foot of each page, on the style of interaction requested here.]

          • In reply to #61 by keith:

            All of this speaks against your idea that superior cultures are copied by those from inferior ones

            Well actually I think we all take what we like from other cultures. Personally I love to eat all sorts of world cuisine from Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and many more. I have heard it said on many an occasion that the foods we eat from other cultures are really not representative of those cultures daily foods but more a case of picking out the highlights that appeal to us. I feel no guilt at no longer eating the traditional roast beef of my parent’s generation.

            Likewise I enjoy wearing blue jeans which apparently originated in America. Actually I noticed a black guy on my train today also wearing jeans, he obviously felt comfortable in the clothing of his oppressors and in defiance of the more traditional toga or animal skin. Actually come to think of it, the fact that he was on a train and not on foot is probably also something he picked up since his ancestors moved out of Africa to come and live in the typical house as opposed to the dwelling he would have been expected to erect had he stuck with his own culture.

            The point I am trying to make is that all cultures move on and we pick the bits out of our host countries (I realise that host is probably the wrong word for America when talking about the slaves, but I think you understand the point). Sure white people have a lot of cultural influences that come from black culture, so what? But it is really not just the religion that black people have taken from the white man and from my perspective the more the cultural mingling that goes on the better.

          • In reply to #62 by naskew:

            Well actually I think we all take what we like from other cultures. Personally I love to eat all sorts of world cuisine from Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and many more. I have heard it said on many an occasion that the foods we eat from other cultures are really not representative of those cultures daily foods but more a case of picking out the highlights that appeal to us. I feel no guilt at no longer eating the traditional roast beef of my parent’s generation.

            Not sure what point you are making. It would only make sense if you thought that Chinese, Mexican and Italian food were inferior to roast beef. Since neither I, nor you think that, then I don’t know why you mentioned it.

            Likewise I enjoy wearing blue jeans which apparently originated in America. Actually I noticed a black guy on my train today also wearing jeans, he obviously felt comfortable in the clothing of his oppressors and in defiance of the more traditional toga or animal skin. Actually come to think of it, the fact that he was on a train and not on foot is probably also something he picked up since his ancestors moved out of Africa to come and live in the typical house as opposed to the dwelling he would have been expected to erect had he stuck with his own culture.

            The point AmbientMorality was making was that imitation was uni-directional, from inferior to superior. I disagreed and showed examples where this is not always the case. Again I don’t really see what point you are making. Yes, black people wear jeans and ride on trains. I never claimed that they didn’t.

            The point I am trying to make is that all cultures move on and we pick the bits out of our host countries (I realise that host is probably the wrong word for America when talking about the slaves, but I think you understand the point). Sure white people have a lot of cultural influences that come from black culture, so what?

            Really? What are they? So there are some kinds of music and…?

            But it is really not just the religion that black people have taken from the white man and from my perspective the more the cultural mingling that goes on the better.

            If you are saying that black people have not only taken religion from white people but also science and other good things, then you are arguing the point I made several comments ago and I agree. However, if you are saying that cultural mingling is good per se then I disagree. It is only good if what is taken from other cultures is good e.g. curry and pizza. I’m damned if I can see what is good about rap music and black gangster culture in general.

          • In reply to #63 by keith:

            In reply to #62 by naskew:
            If you are saying that black people have not only taken religion from white people but also science and other good things, then you are arguing the point I made several comments ago and I agree. However, if you are saying that cultural mingling is good per se then I disagree. It is only good if what is taken from other cultures is good e.g. curry and pizza. I’m damned if I can see what is good about rap music and black gangster culture in general.

            I wouldn’t even qualify black’s acceptance of Christianity nor white’s thugging out for fun as “cultural mingling”. It’s a far cry from liking Mexican food or decking your home out in Asian decor. On the religious front, the Bible was not presented as a cultural offering for blacks to sample, then take or leave. Religion as a whole is not presented objectively by it’s believers. Also, I’m pretty shocked at the idea that blacks should reject electricity, motorized vehicles, and every white invention along with the white religion. Are white atheists told to reject any modern convenience if it originated from a Christian since they are rejecting the religion?

            As for whites who adapt black culture, what makes it inequivalent to other instances of cultural mingling is that many times black folk are frowned upon or viewed as a threat or fringe elements for doing certain things and six months later it’s mainstream. It’s easy for naskew to say “big deal”. But for us it’s more like “WTF”.

          • In reply to #64 by plaidandpolkadots:

            As for whites who adapt black culture, what makes it inequivalent to other instances of cultural mingling is that many times black folk are frowned upon or viewed as a threat or fringe elements for doing certain things and six months later it’s mainstream. It’s easy for naskew to say “big deal”. But for us it’s more like “WTF”.

            I cannot think of specific examples but perhaps that’s just me living in my ivory tower. I am certain that a lot of cultures are treated as outsiders and feared (or frowned upon) on mass. That is human nature, we are sceptical about those we perceive as different and a clear difference is skin colour. I can see why you would think WTF but perhaps it would help to see it as acceptance (naturally accepting gang culture is just stupid but apparently it is appealing to some).

            I’ve just been reading the part of ‘The God Delusion’ that explains how the child’s mind has to be willing to accept authority and that is how religion takes a foothold. We cannot condemn a child for accepting religion, we can only condemn the adult for forcing the religion on a child. The fact that black children are not routinely taught that the Bible has passages talking of slavery being legitimate is no surprise. Likewise nobody told me that I should be put to death for working on the sabbath or that various friends should be stoned for being homosexuals. Perhaps if they had then my disbelief would have appeared all the sooner.

          • In reply to #63 by keith:

            If you are saying that cultural mingling is good per se then I disagree. It is only good if what is taken from other cultures is good e.g. curry and pizza. I’m damned if I can see what is good about rap music and black gangster culture in general.

            My point, and I may be preaching to the choir, is that mingling goes in both directions. It can be argued that only good things come from other cultures because the rest is not of interest. Now you might well argue that rap music is not good or that gang culture is not good but that is your opinion (and mine too) but for sufficient numbers of (delusional) white people apparently rap music is art and gang culture is appealing so for them it is good. Neither you nor are I are the elected judges of taste otherwise I’m sure society would be very different.

            I was about to make a point about how mud huts had not yet become fashionable in the UK but actually there is a small community of people making sustainable dwellings from tyres packed with soil and then further coated in a kind of mud render. Clearly some of this technique is an adaptation of African technology. Likewise I previously worked for an airline and one of their complaints was that their containers were being stolen to be used as housing in certain parts of Africa. On the face of it simply a crime but actually a great adaptation of western technology to improve their living standards.

            As for cultural mingling being good. Well I don’t just mean white blokes standing on the street corner trying to figure out how to fit the word yo or the common word for a female dog into their latest piece of (c)rap music, sadly there will be some of that going on. There is so much we can get from other cultures. Generally technology has made the world a smaller place and while it means we can easily find people to argue with it also means we can find like minded people. I have seen people having bitter differences simply because the people on one side of the channel like roast beef while allegedly those on the other like frogs legs. As we begin to understand each other it is only the bigoted few that remain entrenched in their belief that theirs is the only legitimate culture.

            As for the black slaves of the US accepting Christianity, well obviously it is bizarre that they did that (I am sure a historian can explain) but that is not the religion of today. You might be better arguing why is anyone of any skin colour gullible enough to have a religion rather than why are black people gullible enough to choose Christianity.

          • In reply to #65 by naskew:

            In reply to #63 by keith:
            You might be better arguing why is anyone of any skin colour gullible enough to have a religion rather than why are black people gullible enough to choose Christianity.

            A more fascinating (or frustrating) question for me is why are blacks adandoning Christianity in far fewer numbers than whites? Statistically more people are viewing religion with a critical eye and are less likely than ever to affiliate themselves with any particular faith. Not so much so with blacks. We are holding fast. If you take black prominant community leaders here in the US, it’s usually some Reverand or man of the church..Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, etc. That should have gone away with MLK. We are still beating our kids like the slaves we were because the bible says “don’t spare the rod.” It’s like hey while you’re reading that book, check out all the parts that call you a piece of shit.

            but that is not the religion of today

            You’re right. The past few years I have been researching my family history, which is a nightmare for blacks because we all have European names and can only go back so far. In my research I have discovered that several Christian organizations have sorted through 30000 or so slave records, transcribed names, dates, ages, destinations, and other info into databases. One organization is actually Mormon. I lived among and known many Mormon individuals and they would do anything for you. Still, it’s another religion that does not believe in equality at its heart and is based on far fetched storylines. So despite doing some things that are deeply meaningful to me, I could not condone participating in the religion.

            I work with a lady that got me into feeding the homeless with her church. She knows I am atheist and is the perfect example of someone who just tries to do good in the world and doesn’t question the traditions she grew up with. She doesn’t have a reason to really question it. In her mind, homosexuality is wrong because the bible says it’s wrong. She wouldn’t do any less for a homosexual she encountered over a heterosexual. She simply believes he is going to hell. She may or may not be gullible. But my confusion increases when a homosexual professes to practice the religion. I just think the person can’t be in their right mind even more so than the average person who is not specifically condemned according to the word of their God. Maybe it’s the same line of reasoning that Catholics who get divorced or take birth control use to justify defying their God’s laws.

          • In reply to #67 by plaidandpolkadots:

            By the way, I know you were replying to Naskew, even though you wrote Keith.

            We are still beating our kids like the slaves we were because the bible says “don’t spare the rod.”

            Believe me, there are lots of people who would hit their children regardless of what the bible says. I hope you aren’t suggesting that no one would ever physically punish their kids for misbehaving if they hadn’t read the bible? Or are you saying black people still hit their children because their ancestors several generations back were slaves? That would be odd. By the way, many children of my generation in England were smacked and very few of our parents were religious and none of them had ancestors who had been slaves (to the best of my knowledge).

            In her mind, homosexuality is wrong because the bible says it’s wrong.

            There is this weird idea that people are only against homosexuality because of their religion. I know it’s an unfashionable thing to say but I’m an atheist and I’m really not wild about homosexuality either. A friend from my past was gay and several of my favourite writers are gay (Douglas Murray, Lee Harris, Peter Whittle), but this doesn’t stop me from finding the thought of two men having sex or even just kissing disgusting. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think it should be made illegal, just as I don’t think picking your nose in public should be made illegal. My point is merely that Christianity reflects an already existing ‘yuk response’ to homosexuality. It didn’t invent anti-gay-ness. I think the same is true about the ‘spare the rod’ bit. The bible just wrote down what all cultures throughout history have done. Ours is probably the first not to. Whether we are turning out better human beings than in the past I have yet to be convinced.

            It’s like hey while you’re reading that book, check out all the parts that call you a piece of shit.

            Where in the bible does it say that black people are ‘a piece of shit’? Or where in the bible does it say that the descendants of slaves several generations back are a pieces of shit? Is it in Leviticus? Or Genesis? Please point to it.

          • In reply to #69 by keith:

            In reply to #67 by plaidandpolkadots:
            Believe me, there are lots of people who would hit their children regardless of what the bible says. I hope you aren’t suggesting that no one would ever physically punish their kids for misbehaving if they hadn’t read the bible?

            No. I just know that I specifically hear that phrase invoked by black mothers. Perhaps it’s used frequently by white parents as well but I have not heard it. For black parents in the American south I can attest that it’s a mantra. Of course there are people who would spank their children in any case. But those people likely could more easily be convinced of other options if their style of parenting was not derived from a supreme holy book.

            I don’t think it should be made illegal, just as I don’t think picking your nose in public should be made illegal

            That’s the key. The thought of gay sex can give you the creeps all day long. Some people might find inter-racial dating or the thought of having sex with a black woman gross. I can stomach the idea that you just feel it’s yukky. But to take it farther and say certain people should have less rights because of a biliblical teaching is too far. People use the bible as a cop-out to justify their prejudices.

            It didn’t invent anti-gay-ness. I think the same is true about the ‘spare the rod’ bit. The bible just wrote down what all cultures throughout history have done.

            Don’t you think that’s a problem? It’s bad enough that the human race is predisposed towards prejudice and violence. The fact that it’s codified in a reference book gives people a lazy excuse to not even consider another way of thinking. Instead they just point to a page where it says it’s okay to feel that way and they are done.

            Where in the bible does it say that black people are ‘a piece of shit’?

            I believe the reason Mormons did not allow blacks to hold leadership positions in the church was because of the story of the curse of Ham, a biblical story that says god cursed the cannaites with dark skin as punishment. I’ve already elaborated on how women are viewed in the bible. As both a woman and a black person, “piece of shit” in my mind refers to women as well as minorities.

          • In reply to #69 by keith:

            [I find] the thought of two men having sex or even just kissing disgusting

            To be honest with you Keith I am not entirely comfortable with it either. The point is that I don’t go around proclaiming that someone should be outcast from society, killed, or will burn eternally for what is likely either (at worst) a choice that does not harm me or (at best) a genetic difference. As the cat is out of the bag it appears we both have our origins in the UK. People from that cluster of islands are famous for their standoffishness. I now work in continental Europe and public expressions of affection (both heterosexual and homosexual) are much less frowned upon. However the traditional kiss between male and female colleagues at new years or the celebration of a colleagues birthday still makes me uncomfortable (especially when I worked with a trans-gender colleague). However the fact is that these are my issues and not everyone else’s.

            What I am saying really is that there is a vast difference between feeling uncomfortable at someone else’s homosexuality and persecuting them for it. It sounds like we are both on the same side of that divide.

          • In reply to #65 by naskew:

            My point, and I may be preaching to the choir, is that mingling goes in both directions. It can be argued that only good things come from other cultures because the rest is not of interest. Now you might well argue that rap music is not good or that gang culture is not good but that is your opinion (and mine too) but for sufficient numbers of (delusional) white people apparently rap music is art and gang culture is appealing so for them it is good. Neither you nor are I are the elected judges of taste otherwise I’m sure society would be very different.

            It seems to me that the second part of this paragraph contradicts the first. In the first you talk about taking the good from other cultures. In the second part you say that neither you nor I, nor presumably any other human being, is capable of being the definitive judge on such matters. Presumably this means that there are only different tastes and nothing is ever objectively better, just different. I am willing to believe that there are only different tastes in food. No one can convince me that I am wrong not to like caviar. However, it seems to me that Mozart really might be better than Snoop Dog and that Shakespeare really might be better than Barbara Cartland. I’m just not sure where you stand on all this.

          • In reply to #68 by keith:

            However, it seems to me that Mozart really might be better than Snoop Dog and that Shakespeare really might be better than Barbara Cartland. I’m just not sure where you stand on all this.

            You and I would appear to have some similar tastes, however that does not invalidate other people’s opinions that perhaps Snoop Dog is more relevant to them than Mozart and therefore better. Even if you took a poll and found that 95% of people voted for Mozart over Snoop Dog then all you can say is that 95% of people prefer Mozart. You will still have 5% who like Snoop Dog and for them Snoop Dog is better.

            So when it comes to cultural mingling, you cannot simply say that because only 5% of the population like rap music that white people should not listen to it, no matter how dreadful it sounds to our highly tuned Mozart ears (actually if you look back you will find where my musical preference lies and it is not with Mozart).

  16. I think your connection between Christianity and slavery is tenuous. There were various factors involved in the slave trade. After all, slavery was not an invention of Christianity. Okay, the American south was more religious than the north but the American south was a lot of things, including more racist and not as progressive. Whether you can this on Christianity rather than their love of tradition and the structure of their society I very much doubt. It has more to do with the whole culture. And to blame black people for adopting the white man’s religion is like blaming them for taking on the white man’s language and his science.

    After all, the religious racket favors you (well, white men, anyway).

    Really? How so? (I assume your talking about Christianity favouring white people over black). I’m damned if I can see what privileges I am missing out on by not subscribing to Christianity. If you can convince me that I am, then I might just convert.

    • In reply to #28 by keith:

      And to blame black people for adopting the white man’s religion is like blaming them for taking on the white man’s language and his science.

      Are you trying to say that blacks should not have the luxury of benefitting from the contributions of whites (science) without putting up with the shitty aspects (religion)? Before I go any further I hope you do not mean to say that blacks have not brought anything to the science fields. Secondly, I precisely do believe blacks should show enough discretion to realize which aspects of what is being offered is beneficial and which are not. Whites appropriate black culture all the time while inheriting none of the problems associated with being black. So yes it’s possible to have it both ways.

      • In reply to #29 by plaidandpolkadots:

        In reply to #28 by keith:

        And to blame black people for adopting the white man’s religion is like blaming them for taking on the white man’s language and his science.

        Are you trying to say that blacks should not have the luxury of benefitting from the contributions of whites (science) without putting up with the shitty aspects (religion)?

        No, I am saying that you should object to religion on its own grounds, not because it was the white man’s religion, which is what you said.

        Before I go any further I hope you do not mean to say that blacks have not brought anything to the science fields.

        No, that isn’t what I meant but since you have raised the issue, perhaps you would care to list the black scientists who have contributed to the development of science over the last century.

        Also, if you mean that Christianity was part of the slave holders’ culture and that is why black people should reject it today, then all other aspects of the slave holders’ culture should also be rejected, like science, formal education and tennis.

        I guess you must think it’s okay for black Africans to believe in Christianity but not black Americans? After all, the former were never slaves of Christians. So when you are getting angry with your fellow blacks who go to church, do you ask them if they are descended from ex-slaves and walk off in a huff if they say yes?

        Secondly, I precisely do believe blacks should show enough discretion to realize which aspects of what is being offered is beneficial and which are not.

        I agree, but they should distinguish between good and bad, not between white and non-white religions, which is what you were claiming here:

        It baffles me to no end how blacks can practice a religion introduced to us by slave masters and used to justfiy slavery. I am so passionate about it that I cannot have any respect for black Christians. I think they are so stupid that it has caused me to not have any connection with the black community because church is such a central part of it.

        Whites appropriate black culture all the time while inheriting none of the problems associated with being black.

        Please be specific. What aspects of black culture have white people inherited? What are the problems associated with these that white people can avoid but black people can’t?

        • In reply to #37 by keith:

          In reply to #29 by plaidandpolkadots:

          In reply to #28 by keith:

          Keith,

          You are bringing up too many questions that I would gladly discuss however it veers too far away from my original post. Not to leave you hanging or evade your assertions but it’s too big of a tangent to go off on right now.

          I will say that I wholeheartedly agree that religion should be rejected on it’s own (lack of) merit ideally. But there are other reasons, if one chooses not to even examine the emperical evidence, that are even closer to the surface for the black race. I never rejected religion because it’s white. The man who raped me when I was a child was black. Whites have done the LEAST to me personally. I do think that rejecting it because the bible justfies slavery is a damn good reason. There are plenty of reasons to reject it. That’s one of the many.

    • In reply to #28 by keith:

      I think your connection between Christianity and slavery is tenuous.

      Well actually there are clear quotes from the Bible that support the concept of slavery (a fact I only found out because of plaidandpolkadots post, so thanks to her for that). The link to colour does arguably come later but even at the time of writing the concept of slavery was still very clearly endorsed.

      And to blame black people for adopting the white man’s religion is like blaming them for taking on the white man’s language and his science.

      Actually, given the geographical origin of Christianity, I suspect it is fair to say that the men in question were not white, not black either, but certainly not white.

      This does bring up another of those little inconsistencies with the Bible doesn’t it. If God wrote that slavery was good, why do modern Christians so vehemently disagree with the word of God? My guess is that the religion would be dead in the water if it did not adapt, but in so adapting it proves itself to be irrelevant. Take the fact that we now permit women in the priesthood and no longer stone homosexuals. Did God not make himself clear on these points?

      • In reply to #39 by naskew:

        Well actually there are clear quotes from the Bible that support the concept of slavery

        Naskew, I think the state of affairs 2,000 years ago was that slavery was normal and the bible reflects that normality. Racism has been with us throughout history, in pre-Christian times and in places where no missionary has ever been seen. Picking out Christianity as being to blame for racism and slavery is silly. Non-Christians were just as racist and just as keen on slavery so the fact that the slave owners were Christian is neither here nor there.

        Of course Europeans just took over the African slave trade from the Muslims who had been enslaving black people for God knows how long. And don’t forget it was really a Christian movement that finally put an end to the Atlantic slave trade – with the help of the British Royal Navy.

        You’re preaching to the converted when you talk about inconsistencies in the bible. I have been with this site since it began in 2006 and am sick to the back teeth of pointing out how odd it is that in one breath Christians talk about how God inspired the bible and in the next how they claim it is a product of its time. Drawing such inconsistencies to my attention is not news.

        By the way, the bit in the bible about it being an abomination for one man to lie with another and should be punished with death comes from Leviticus i.e. from the Old Testament, not the New Testament, the latter being the one that most Christians are interested in. I think most of them just like the great stories in the OT and the way it sets everything up for the coming of the Messiah.

        I have to say that I found Plaidandpolkadots reply to my comment unsatisfying. To me it had the smell of victimhood about it; victimhood that has gone unopposed by too many and for too long for fear of appearing racist. Consequently any number of allegations from blacks are now regularly thrown at whites without any real substance to them. When I asked Plaidandpolkadots to flesh out her complains she suddenly decided they were off topic, despite having raised them herself. For example this:

        Whites appropriate black culture all the time while inheriting none of the problems associated with being black.

        I have no idea what she is talking about here but suspect it is just moaning for the sake of it. However, I would be happy to be proven wrong.

        • In reply to #40 by keith:

          Picking out Christianity as being to blame for racism and slavery is silly.

          I hope you are not thinking that I was saying that Christianity somehow spawned racism. I was merely saying that it condones it (which is clearly bad enough).

          Of course Europeans just took over the African slave trade from the Muslims who had been enslaving black people for God knows how long.

          I’m sure that if he existed God probably would know how long :-). But indeed I made a similar point regarding the fact that the top 10 places where slavery exist includes 5 west African countries. It seems positively hypocritical for one race to lay the blame for their current predicament on the activities of another race when their own race is still enslaving people to this very day.

          To me it had the smell of victimhood about it; victimhood that has gone unopposed by too many and for too long for fear of appearing racist.

          Yes I made a points to the same effect and they went entirely unanswered too. We should never forget the terrible atrocities of the past, but there comes a time when every victim has to decide to get on with their lives. The fact that none of the actual victims are alive today makes it all the worse. Another nation of people seem to be using biblical fairy tales to justify terrible oppression of another people. In their case it seems they are all too willing to forget what oppression was like until you point out what they are doing and then suddenly you risk being labelled anti Semitic.

        • In reply to #40 by keith:

          In reply to #39 by naskew:
          When I asked Plaidandpolkadots to flesh out her complains she suddenly decided they were off topic, despite having raised them herself.

          I did not flesh out any complaints because my original post was not complaining about whites. I don’t have a list of grievances to list about white people. What “allegations” did I throw at whites? What specifically did you want me to explain that hasn’t been made clear in other responses that I made? And if you were asking me to list the contributions of blacks in the field of science. Well that’s instance where I am not going to go off the topic of religion and give you information you can find on google ( as i type I am on a break at work. Good grief I would appreciate simply being able to stick to the point I was originally trying to make.)

          I don’t consider myself a victim. Have I completely “moved on” ? I guess not. But the reasons are not what you suggest. I think the a big part of the reason that blacks have held OURSELVES back (not laying it on the white man at all) is illustrated by not even showing sense enough not to use a book that supports the institution of slavery as your doctrine. It makes no sense. I would even go so far as to say that white people of the day had every right to own slaves and defend it if they wholeheartedly believed in the gospel of the bible. But for blacks to adopt it is stupid…stupid on OUR part. Take the whites out of it. I hate when people accuse whites of “misinterpreting” the bible. They didn’t mis read anything. It’s clearly there.

          I once read Richard Dawkins quote that in the face of new evidence, he would be willing to believe in God. My follow up question would be: Would you also worship this god you now believe in? Because that’s where the difference comes for me. My premise is that blacks are stupid to worship this god even if he does exist. You can call it crying victim or whatever. I call it not worshipping someone you would not even invite to your house in light of how this person, spirit or what have you has treated you over the years. I don’t know if God would be a white god or not. I am color blind on the issue. I just think he sucks.

          Yes i know that Jews, Irish, etc. have suffered tremendously as a people. Blacks do not own the market. Other races can believe as they see fit. I am giving my perspective. I never once in my original post complained about a white person. Are you sure that you did not just assume that since the topic of race is there that I must be another black person who thinks the white race owes her something for past transgressions? Well in case you’re wondering I’m not a single mom, on welfare, and I only have one child and I know who the dad is.

  17. And I can’t stand to hear the bullshit about how we’ve been through so much suffering that we need the comfort of religion.

    I read your post and you seem to be an educated and articulate individual. I assume that you are highly employable and fairly young. I think all movements that involve groups of individuals that were discriminated against hits a point in which great strides have been made, but not by all. A tipping point occurs in which the many of the most difficult hardships have been resolved, making way for a new generation to enjoy the fruits of the previous generation’s labors. Some people unfortunately have been unable to reap the benefits for a variety of reasons and many hold onto a lifetime of memories of how things were “back then.” There are many people with fifty or more decades of dealing with issues that the younger generation reads about and has no memory or deep seated emotion. Some people are still suffering and change will not happen in their lifetime.

    I hope I do not offend you, but my advice to you is to have some compassion. Change has come, but everyone is not on board for some reason or another. Emotions and ties run deep. The black community is still strong, but it is less “in your face” vocal; the times are pretty calm. I cannot imagine some of the hatred that the older generation has faced. You may view Christianity as oppressive; clearly others find it to be the opposite. Church is not only an act of putting on one’s Sunday best even if its a thirty year old suit while women wear a hat to top off their dress, it’s part of one’s culture, heritage, history, and “life blood” to some. It is said that families that pray together, stay together. I would say that this is applicable to forming a tight bond in a community that feels that it is still fighting the status quo of a white dominated society. Church provided a platform for civil rights, and other issues affecting the community. “God” is supposed to be the great equalizer setting right what is unjust. In the eyes of God, even a poor person with no skills, no job or even a chance for opportunity is seen as a “holy child of God.” “God” is supposed to be unconditional love and support. Why would a black person question what has supposedly been so generous?

    I wonder if you have experienced any “backlash” from anyone in the black community. Some probably view you as some sort of “Uncle Tom” by kissing up to some snooty white male view of life. (Let’s face it, as women we are in the minority as atheists.) In time, perhaps later in your life (I’m not sure how old you are…) I think things will further change, yet for the impoverished and uneducated, their minds will continue to be enslaved whether, they are black, white or Hispanic.

    it makes me somewhat more frustrated that there are none in MY life that I know personally.

    I’m sure there must be a conference somewhere.

    • In reply to #32 by QuestioningKat:

      “God” is supposed to be the great equalizer setting right what is unjust. In the eyes of God, even a poor person with no skills, no job or even a chance for opportunity is seen as a “holy child of God.” “God” is supposed to be unconditional love and support. Why would a black person question what has supposedly been so generous?

      Generous, loving and supportive in what way? That is what has my hair on fire. What has this supposed heavenly father done for us but kick us in the teeth for all of recorded history? So some jesus character hung out with the poor for a few years. And for that reason we are convinced that earthly suffering is a sign that we will be rewarded in the afterlife….In essence god will catch us on flip side. I m so sorry but I am out of patience and for sure out of compassion for this nonsense.

      For those who call my view “simplistic” (I guess that is supposed to mean I am not enough of a Hitchens-like wordsmith for everybody here), well it is simple. Besides the lack of evidence of a supernatural being, for blacks it should come down to a very simple concept: Don’t worship someone who has done nothing but shit on you.

      • In reply to #35 by plaidandpolkadots:

        What has this supposed heavenly father done for us but kick [black people] in the teeth for all of recorded history?

        What, so now everything bad that has happened has been caused by some racist god. I don’t see Jewish people on here complaining about their God and their bad experience is far fresher than any black slave, excluding those I mentioned earlier who are serving black slave masters in Africa as we speak. “Why has though forsaken me?” Does that ring any bells?

        From an atheist point of view there is no logical reason to believe that what happens is not either man made or natural, it has nothing to do with a deity and I realise that this is the reason many of us refuse to believe in such a deity. But to somehow link race to the equation is just playing the race card.

        Since my early teen years I have shunned the racist views of some other members of my family. However sometimes certain races do not help themselves. Is it white people that force guns into the hands of gang members and get them to shoot each other? Is it down to white people that so many black kids seem to be being raised by single mothers? Was it some white guy that pushed a hapless black guy onto my train this morning without a ticket? Is it really just a biased judiciary that is filling the prisons with a disproportionate number of black prisoners?

        You have something vaguely in common with me. My father remarried and I have two mixed race siblings. Both are hard working and very athletic, I’ll let you decide which traits come from which side of the family. I guess when you have kids they will also be mixed race and I trust you will not try to teach them that white people oppressed their people because their people are white too. We have come a long way since slavery (the ending of which was brought about in no small part because of campaigning by white activists who stood up and defended your ‘peeps’ despite the anger from their ‘peeps’) so dragging up the past is no longer really helping your cause.

  18. Black people act like we are completely powerless without a crutch.

    All groups of people do this especially those who are impoverished or belittled in some way. The more you’ve been beaten down, perhaps, the more you feel like a victim in need of help – even from a divine being.

  19. Hi plaidandpolkadots. I’m pretty sure I understand where you’re coming from with this post. You are annoyed and perplexed that so many of the people with whom you identify, seem to be in the ‘believers’ camp. This is how I feel as a female, and having so many representatives of my gender believe in religions of all sorts as well as myriad forms of superstitious woo. It exasperates me! I feel compelled to put them right every time the topic comes up ( and that’s quite often).

    I think you’ve received a few negative comments and I don’t see this as fair. I guess you’ll just have to take up the mantle of ‘trailblazer’ and wait for others in your circle to come to their senses. It might take quite a while!

    • In reply to #43 by Nitya:

      Hi plaidandpolkadots. I’m pretty sure I understand where you’re coming from with this post. You are annoyed and perplexed that so many of the people with whom you identify, seem to be in the ‘believers’ camp.

      Thanks for the support, Nitya. Somebody gets it exactly. I don’t mind a debate. It does get frustrating to debate someone who seems to have missed my point alltogether.

  20. Plaidandpolkadots, I have recognised that you did not make any specific grievance against whites and have tried not to claim that you did. However this

    After all, the religious racket favors you

    comes very close to the mark as if to say somehow white people still get a better deal out of religion. Now however you intended that it is still a racially motivated comment. And then this

    If we would not have bought into it in the first place, maybe we would not have put up with half the crap we did

    rather implies that you have had to put up with a lot of crap and from the context this crap can be assumed to have come from whites. Now I’m not sure what crap you personally have had to put up with, I still hear racially derogatory comments and try to put people in their place. However if you are suffering racial discrimination that is awful and wrong but nothing compared to the suffering that the slaves had to endure.

    My complaint, not specifically levelled against you, regarding modern day slavery, is that most of it is black on black and yet still we have to hear about how whites oppressed us. Well if slavery offends you (the black people) so much, and it should, then start campaigning against modern day slavery and help free your modern day brothers and sisters from their oppressors.

    Now the next point, and I hate to defend a religion that has no basis in reality, is that modern day Christians are a million miles from the slave owners of old and even further from the slave owners of Biblical times (who were NOT white). You will find that modern day Christians denounce slavery, will mostly accept female priests (although ironically not in Africa) and that they will also accept homosexuals (so long as they do not engage in sodomy and again not in Africa). So the fact that modern black people have accepted this suggests they have moved on and that you (by your own admission) have not.

    I hesitate to debate the issue with a black person since I would not be able to hide my disgust for their gullibilty.

    • In reply to #44 by naskew:

      Plaidandpolkadots, I have recognised that you did not make any specific grievance against whites and have tried not to claim that you did. However this

      After all, the religious racket favors you

      That is in reference to the bible being sexist. Wives are property, women are cursed with the pain of childbirth, women are mandated to maintain their virginty etc. The restrictions are reserved for women and slaves. Men are free to rape, sell there daughters, etc. etc. So yes you do get the better end of it. I didn’t realize that would come off as shocking or offensive since it is so self-evident.

      If we would not have bought into it in the first place, maybe we would not have put up with half the crap we did

      I cannot personally claim any descrimination or mistreatment at the hand of white people in my lifetime. I meant “we” in the collective sense and I was talking about the glacial pace at which equailty moved. If we spent less time praying and waiting for the lord to deliver us, who knows what we could have accomplished faster. On the other hand, the women’s rights movement was not church centered and it still took forever. So it’s a total “what if”.

      And yes Africans sold us into slavery and that’s bad on them. Slavery itself was really a secondary if not tertiary point within the framework of the main point, which was religion. Hat’s off to white Christians who crusade against injustice in all it’s forms as many did so even while it was legal. I’m aware that is the case but thanks for pointing it out. It’s a perfect example of following the compassionate parts of the bible. There are those who believe in ideas that most of society now finds sickening but are clearly deliniated as acceptable in the bible. it’s all in the same book so who is correct?

      The fact that churches accept female priests and homosexuals does not impress me in the least. It’s nothing more that a response to waning membership numbers. They figure they better hurry up and sound tolerant. Well, I don’t appreciate being merely tolerated.

      Black on black crime and ignorant black people irritate me more than it could possibly irritate you. Who do you think gets painted with that brush and lumped in with the stereotypes? The point of my post was not to rant against white oppression but rather to rant against the insanity of practicing a religion that was beat into you. There are wonderful Christians in every color of the rainbow. None the less, why would you practice a religion that was beat into you and follow a book that specifically sanctions slavery when, hello, our people were slaves?

      • In reply to #46 by plaidandpolkadots:

        You covered a lot of ground in this post and actually clarified a lot. But here is the full quote

        After all, the religious racket favors you (well, white men, anyway).

        That is in reference to the bible being sexist.

        OK so you were saying it favours white males, when you said white men I thought you meant white humans. That is slightly better but it is now a racist and sexist remark. It happens that, in Biblical terms, you are right. Of course I need no convincing of the fact that the Bible is a load of misogynistic drivel invented by a bunch of men to keep blacks, women and the feeble minded in their place.

        None of this changes the fact that for a great number of people, their religion is a great comfort. I suppose the idea of putting up with a lot of crap in this world is compensated for by rewards in the next life. We all hear about the gullible terrorists who seem to think they are getting a load of virgins after they have exploded their belt in the market square (as if anyone would need that many inexperienced sexual partners who suddenly turn from virgins to mothers with all that that entails, I really don’t think they have thought that one through).

        Hat’s off to white Christians who crusade against injustice in all it’s forms

        Thank you for acknowledging that. I obviously had nothing to do with their actions but if there should be a statue to anyone in the town square it should be to them. They had a lot to lose and little to gain by their actions and still they did what they did. While we are toasting heroes let’s also remember Nelson Mandela who helped topple one of the last racist regimes in this world.

        The fact that churches accept female priests and homosexuals does not impress me in the least. It’s nothing more that a response to waning membership numbers. They figure they better hurry up and sound tolerant. Well, I don’t appreciate being merely tolerated.

        Actually I’d have more admiration if they went out in a blaze of glory sticking to their guns as in “No God don’t want no blacks, puffs, or women and he made that clear in his autobiography”. I totally agree with you that women and homosexuals are really only being tolerated and not welcomed but given the top to bottom nature of black membership of the church I don’t think you can say that blacks are merely tolerated. Wasn’t there a black guy in the running for Pope?

        Black on black crime and ignorant black people irritate me more than it could possibly irritate you. Who do you think gets painted with that brush and lumped in with the stereotypes?

        I can totally understand that position. Frankly I spend very little of my time being concerned about the image of white people. You are absolutely right about the image of blacks. I work in a city with a hugely mixed population and daily I pass gangs (well OK groups) of black lads swaggering down the street like they all have problems with their hips and invariably one or more will spit up a mouth full of freshly coughed up flem onto the ground as you pass. They are really not an advertisement for their generation, race, or gender and what’s worse I think they know it. Likewise white people, the onesie is meant for home use, it does little for your image to be wearing it down the shops (an exception to my earlier remark about the image of white people).

        • In reply to #50 by naskew:

          In reply to #46 by plaidandpolkadots:
          None of this changes the fact that for a great number of people, their religion is a great comfort. I suppose the idea of putting up with a lot of crap in this world is compensated for by rewards in the next life

          Naskew, If you grew up listening to gospel music like I did in the black church, every other hymn speaks of the glorious day when we meet our lord and savior and leave this life of toil behind. It’s like we can’t wait to die. On the other hand it seemed like other people had great lives here on earth. That’s what I wanted. I thought it was stupid to sing and shout about how happy you are going to be when this life is over and just resign yourself to the armpit of society on earth.

          Actually I’d have more admiration if they went out in a blaze of glory sticking to their guns as in “No God don’t want no blacks, puffs, or women and he made that clear in his autobiography”.

          Exactly. If I swore off every race, business, or institution that mistreated or shut blacks out in the past, I would be facing a lonely existance. At some point you have to open your heart, give people the benefit of the doubt that we can start a new chapter or else go insane. It’s possible for people to evolve and change. But religion is based on the word of god which is eternal. What the bible says is clear on certain issues. It can’t change. Therefore the fundamentalists are not the radical kooks that they are painted to be. They are the ones actually staying true to the word of their god whom they claim is all knowing. Indeed I have more respect for them as well.

          …given the top to bottom nature of black membership of the church I don’t think you can say that blacks are merely tolerated

          The droves of blacks filling up churches is the very essense of my post. I would hope that we are welcome since we overwhelmingly still lap up what the church is selling. It circles back to my original post basically asking what gives.

  21. Damn, I hate when I arrive at an interesting discussion far too late to contribute anything of value.

    Nevertheless, Keith, in response to your comment no. 40, where you say:

    Whites appropriate black culture all the time while inheriting none of the problems associated with being black.

    I have no idea what she is talking about here but suspect it is just moaning for the sake of it…

    Ever hear of Elvis Presley? Jerry Lee Lewis? Rock & roll was born when white artists and producers began to appropriate black music and make it palatable for a white American audience. How about M & M? Arguably the most famous rapper in the world. He’s good, but hardly the best that particular music genre has to offer. His fame was assured though, along with Elvis’s, because they were white boys performing black music and doing it well.

    Then there’s African-American ghetto patois, which has been adopted wholesale by white, middle-class youths on both sides of the Atlantic. cf.

    …However, I would be happy to be proven wrong.

    Glad I could help with that. It’s becoming a habit. :)

    • In reply to #47 by Katy Cordeth:

      Glad I could help with that.

      Thanks for the top cover. I didn’t care to expound on an issue that was not germaine to the original post. Also my assertion is widely accepted as true and I figured if he was really curious examples could easily be found.

      • In reply to #48 by plaidandpolkadots:

        In reply to #47 by Katy Cordeth:

        Glad I could help with that.

        Thanks for the top cover. I didn’t care to expound on an issue that was not germaine to the original post.

        That’s very high-minded of you.

        Also my assertion is widely accepted as true…

        I think you mean this assertion is accepted by you and like-minded people, right? Everyone who doesn’t think like you can be disregarded. How convenient. Okay, so let’s remember which assertion we are talking about:

        Whites appropriate black culture all the time while inheriting none of the problems associated with being black.

        Anyway, it’s not the long list of black people’s contributions to civilisation that white people have benefited from that I was after. It was the problems associated with black people that we whites haven’t inherited that I was asking about. You seemed to be suggesting that we cherry-picked the good (rap music?) while leaving blacks to carry the burden of the bad. However, I’m sure this can’t possibly have been what you meant. Even so, I have to say this sounds like moaning to me, which is what I said in the first place.

        • In reply to #53 by keith:

          In reply to #48 by plaidandpolkadots:

          In reply to #47 by Katy Cordeth:
          Everyone who doesn’t think like you can be disregarded.

          I have spent ample time on this thread defending my post to people who do not think as I do. The way in which you posed your question sounded like you dare me to name a black person who brings anything to the table outside of the physical labor pool. I’m not going to entertain that kind of question because if you wanted to know you could look it up. There is no reason to pose it to me unless no matter what I said would not be a satisfactory answer. You remind me someone who once commented to me that blacks should be grateful for slavery, since we are better off here in America. Yes there are some people worth disregarding.

          You seemed to be suggesting that we cherry-picked the good (rap music?) while leaving blacks to carry the burden of the bad.

          Well yes. Although, the burden was never yours to leave us with. My suggestion is that whites capitolize on aspects of our culture that suits them, however they do not have to deal with being stereotyped as dumb, looking for a handout, you name it. Before you say it, we do bring much of it on ourselves. But it gets annoying when someone wants only the hip, edgy aspects of being black. Try the full time gig.

          • In reply to #54 by plaidandpolkadots:

            You remind me someone who once commented to me that blacks should be grateful for slavery, since we are better off here in America. Yes there are some people worth disregarding.

            I have to say that’s a disgraceful thing you have just said. I understand that you don’t like to have your unproven assertions questioned. It must be so annoying not to have all your comments taken at face value. Even so, to tar me with the same brush as someone who says you should be grateful for slavery is just a pathetic thing to have said.

            Well yes. Although, the burden was never yours to leave us with. My suggestion is that whites capitolize on aspects of our culture that suits them…

            Capitolize? You mean some young people revere black culture and want to be like blacks? How awful of them. That must be so annoying for you.

            …however they do not have to deal with being stereotyped as dumb, looking for a handout, you name it.

            But surely these are precisely the people who think blacks are anything but ‘dumb, looking for a handout’ etc. They see blacks in a very positive light. What do you have against such people? Would you prefer them to reject all aspects of black culture?

            Before you say it, we do bring much of it on ourselves. But it gets annoying when someone wants only the hip, edgy aspects of being black. Try the full time gig.

            My heart bleeds for you. It must be so hard for you living in such a racist society as ours.

          • In reply to #55 by keith:

            In reply to #54 by plaidandpolkadot
            It must be so annoying not to have all your comments taken at face value.

            If I needed to be agreed with I would not be an atheist. And if I needed support and head nodding on the subject of race, there are any number of black blogs I could go to and get that. Your heavy sarcasm is rather annoying, but I’m dealing with that pretty well.

            The fact that you extracted a comment that was not even in my original post, and had nothing to do with my overarching point concerning religion or blacks and atheism, and belaboured it at length, leads me to believe that you have an ax to grind in this area.
            The fact that you now seem to be out of anything of substance to add but still felt the need to be condescending all but cements my hunch.

          • In reply to #56 by plaidandpolkadots:

            Your heavy sarcasm is rather annoying, but I’m dealing with that pretty well.

            Well that’s a relief. Sure you wouldn’t like some councelling?

            The fact that you extracted a comment that was not even in my original post, and had nothing to do with my overarching point concerning religion or blacks and atheism, and belaboured it at length…

            I wouldn’t have needed to belabour the point if you hadn’t spent so much time avoiding answering it. However, now you have done I am happy.

            The fact that you now seem to be out of anything of substance…

            What makes you think I’m all out of substance? There’s plenty more where that came from. Just give me a topic and off I’ll go.

          • In reply to #57 by keith:

            In reply to #56 by plaidandpolkadots:

            I wouldn’t have needed to belabour the point if you hadn’t spent so much time avoiding answering it. However, now you have done I am happy.

            Yes I avoided answering it. I have already been accused of doing nothing more than moaning apparantly for my health. I believe by you. Why waste your time with my kvetching? I have nothing to gain by trying to clarify myself, since my views are perceived as wallowing in victimhood. Prolonging the thread with explainations only looks like I enjoy whining, when it’s you stoking the fire.

            Such is the pitfall when a subject is purely academic for one person, and highly personal for the other. One becomes too desperate to be understood, and plays into the hands of someone who has no stake in the issue beyond making flippant remarks.

          • In reply to #55 by keith:

            But you’re right, I do have an axe to grind, which is: you don’t like white people ‘capitolising’ on black culture without actually becoming black themselves. This includes me since I like Steel Pulse, Motown and the writing of Thomas Sowell. Yet it isn’t possible for whites to actually become black and ‘ Try the full time gig’, as you put it. The only thing left for them to do is to reject outright all things black. Is that really what you want?

            I believe the first term I used was “appropriate” and not “capitolize”. I was not referring to commercial artists. Anyway how narrow-minded do you think I am? That’s like saying I can’t learn to make sushi without becoming Japanese. Bands like The Rolling Stones and Led Zepplin acknowledge their black influences and in turn, those black artists earn a larger fan base. It can be argued that white musicians of today are doing a better job of keeping blues and jazz alive than blacks. Good for them. I probably should not have agreed wholeheartedly with Katy because she wasn’t completely on the mark I was aiming for.

            I was talking about those who adopt stereotypically black or inner city speech patterns, mannerisms, and styles of dress as if to gain some sort of street credibility. I am from a bad neighborhood. It’s nothing to brag about or claim to have access to if you really don’t. I worked hard and got an education to leave it all behind. And to see someone who knows nothing about it and would not survive a day among the rats and roaches act like they know something about the street hustle irritates me. To those people I say just enjoy being white and don’t try to adopt parts of a culture that you think are cool when you can’t handle all the other BS that comes with it.

    • In reply to #47 by Katy Cordeth:

      Whites appropriate black culture all the time while inheriting none of the problems associated with being black.

      Katy, I’m afraid you only read the first bit of this sentence and missed the second. Like you, I could also have come up with jazz and rap. I have to say that if this is the best you can do when listing black people’s contribution to civilisation then you are rather damning them with faint praise. It’s hardly an embarrassment of riches, is it?

      No, the problem is with the next part. White people inherited jazz and rap (actually I hate rap so find it hard to be grateful for this) but apparently managed not to inherit…what, exactly? That was what I was after.

  22. In reply to #26 by plaidandpolkadots:

    In reply to #25 by rzzz:

    This is a disgusting, racist discussion. Confirmation bias reigns!

    Good grief. A racist is a person who thinks one race is superior to another. I never said that. What I suggest is that AA’s are more strident in their religious beliefs, which is of particular interest and a source of frustration to me personally because, as a black person, I believe that is a major hindrance in our overall progress.

    I realize that the danger of narrowing the discussion to one race is that someone (not naming names) will take that as an opening to make some nebulous comment about how we’re all one race or accuse someone falsely of being racist. But I guess you have to take the good with the bad on comment boards.

    You don’t have to take the bad with the good on comment boards, at least not on this one. rzzz’s statement was idiotic, that’s all you need to say.

  23. What on earth is wrong with you folks? plaidandpolkadots sent out a request for clarity on a subject that she obviously is very emotional about, and what most of you decide to do is pillory her about absolute nonsense? Shame on you for being so narrow minded! It’s no surprise that Atheists are accused of being cold and without compassion when this sort of thing comes up. Her post was not an invitation for you to air out all of your guilt or anger about whatever you think you are responsible or not responsible for. She was asking a question from her COMMUNITY, while baring her feelings. And she got bile as a result. Shameful.

    plaidandpolkadots, I share your view in some respects. I find that I have great difficulty relating to anyone who is significantly religious, and I too have ‘cut and run’. The particular problem of Christianity being a strong part of Black Culture is historical, and is touched upon by a few here.. suffice to say, it is definitely not as simple as the religion being foisted upon slaves wholesale. But regardless.. we are where we are.. what to do about it?

    The first thing I would suggest is to remember that these folks who are steeped in religion… it’s mostly a matter of bad luck for them. Yes, we do have all the tools to understand how silly it all is now, but inertia is very hard to stop.. for many, it is not entirely their fault, and even otherwise intelligent people can be conditioned so strongly they succumb. Remembering that, and having compassion towards everyone who may be afflicted with religion might give you some openings to begin a conversation with someone about giving up religion. If you can think of it as a sickness, and not a choice, it really does help! Well, it helps me.. I hope it can help you. :-)

    Good luck!!!

    • In reply to #73 by Zyg:

      What on earth is wrong with you folks? plaidandpolkadots sent out a request for clarity on a subject that she obviously is very emotional about, and what most of you decide to do is pillory her about absolute nonsense? Shame on you for being so narrow minded! It’s no surprise that Atheists are accus…

      You know.. remembering who is here.. let me say that I do not literally think that religion is a sickness. I think that Viewing it as a sickness is a useful perspective when dealing with emotionally loaded situations like this, and that greater compassion can be found when you decide to forgo blame and focus on helping the best you can. In our minds, the idea of ‘sickness’ is one of no fault, generally, and so.. hence.. my suggestion.

    • In reply to #73 by Zyg:

      Her post was not an invitation for you to air out all of your guilt or anger about whatever you think you are responsible or not responsible for.

      Zyg, I read a book in which a panel of black Ivy league educated men and women gave advice on corporate success. Their number one rule was never bring up race to a white person. It will backfire. I think white people are pretty much over trying to sympathize with any of black people’s problems. My post was probably a mistake to begin with. I should have expected what I got. Overall it was a healthy conversation, though. You never learn anything if we all agree.

      I find that I have great difficulty relating to anyone who is significantly religious, and I too have ‘cut and run’.

      The majority of folks today are thankfully more cautious about bringing up their faith. That being the case, there are far fewer situations where atheists must grit their teeth or correct other’s assumptions. Among blacks we still seem to feel free to ask “are you saved?” or “do you have a church home?” For years I have felt like I relate more to white people and I think religion is a huge part of it.

      The first thing I would suggest is to remember that these folks who are steeped in religion… it’s mostly a matter of bad luck for them.

      Some of it may be bad luck. Alot of it has to do with how much you want to risk not belonging in the black community. I think my generation, in general, was taught that even though things are easier for blacks, we still need to stick together. And part of sticking together means worshipping together.

      • In reply to #75 by plaidandpolkadots:

        I read a book in which a panel of black Ivy league educated men and women gave advice on corporate success. Their number one rule was never bring up race to a white person. It will backfire.

        Those Ivy league men and women got it right. I can only imagine how it must be to live in black skin and feel persecuted for it day in day out. However you stated yourself (#46) that you have not suffered significant discrimination and yet the tone of some of your remarks clearly came over as discriminatory. For example “the religious racket favors you (well, white men, anyway)” or in #35 you said god has done nothing but kick us (black people) in the teeth. Now you went on to explain yourself but on first reading it sure sounded like you were trying to look for sympathy as the down trodden black person. I’m sorry to say but trying to get white folk to feel guilty about the mistreatment of black folk in our ancestors lifetimes won’t wash. Actually worse, it will alienate and that is clearly what happened on this thread.

        However the fundamental question of why the freed slaves adopt the religion of their oppressors is difficult to answer. As I said previously I can now see no good reason to have a religion but in those times everyone had a religion so the only one they knew would have been the religion of their captors and so they used it. After all if you have had a miserable life then clinging to the hope that someday you will die and enter a heaven of eternal bliss. Modern day black people still cling to the same religion I suppose for the same reason most religious people use the religion of their parents, indoctrination. Besides that, as mentioned often enough, Christianity now is not the same as then and both slavery is denounced and women and mostly considered first class citizens.

    • In reply to #73 by Zyg:

      Her post was not an invitation for you to air out all of your guilt or anger about whatever you think you are responsible or not responsible for.

      It is a discussion board so you should expect discussion about all the content of the original question and, as I just replied, some of those comments could (and by many were) taken to be racially motivation beyond the simple question of why do black people take to religion so readily. If I made racially motivated generalisations would you not expect people of other races to address those remarks or should those other races simply be thick skinned and keep quiet?

      I believe many people have offered reasons for the situation that the original question raised, namely how can black people follow a religion that is apparently supporting of slavery. From these issues we were sidelined into other discussions. For example is homophobia a natural knee-jerk reaction or one motivated from religion? Is cultural mingling good and is it a two way street? Are black people fostering a good image in modern times? All of these are perfectly legitimate avenues of discussion don’t you think?

      I have also noticed that plaidandpolkadots has posted a few telling comments regarding her past. I am not going to enumerate these here but if I were able to send her a private message she would have my sympathy and understanding on several issues. I cannot and do not claim to be in a similar position but I have seen the harm done to others who were.

      • In reply to #77 by naskew:

        It is a discussion board so you should expect discussion about all the content of the original question and, as I just replied,…

        You’re right. When you throw a ton of stuff up against the wall, you don’t get to decide what sticks. I found about eighty percent of what wound up being addressed in my post to be incredibely exasperating, but not unfair. I probably am no better off having addressed it, since like you said the initial post was alienating and overshadowed the question I asked. But it would not have been right to simply respond to people who talked about the issues that played into my favor and ignore everyone else. It wasn’t an ego trip that’s for sure. I didn’t like the particular comments that got extracted from my post and examined with a fine tooth comb. But the fact is they were there and it was not up to me what people considered worthy of discussion.

        Of course, It’s a relief to have Zyg and others who seem to have taken my post the way I wanted it to be taken, or at least overlooked the inflammatory portion. But to expect whites to acquiesse to the black perspecitve wholesale for whatever reason is an insult to my ability to defend what I have to say.

        If I made racially motivated generalisations would you not expect people of other races to address those remarks or should those other races simply be thick skinned and keep quiet?

        …So no, no one of either race should quietly seethe.

        Concerning your point about making white people feel guilty: I think a pattern has emerged whereby any mention of past injustice is painted as an attempt to throw some sort of guilt trip on whites, followed by some rendition of “get over it already.” How is it that we never tire of the aspects of history that glorify our white forefathers’ accomplishments? I never hear “again with George Washington and the revolutionary war?! Get over it!” However any mention of slavery is soon dismissed with an “oh we freed you people, can we move on?” It’s not always as simple as every frustrated black person who brings up the past is fishing for sympathy. I think blacks do have to tread carefully on the subject. And rarely is it worth bringing up as a topic of discussion (or even as a secondary point in a topic of discussion), as was clearly the case here.

        I have also noticed that plaidandpolkadots has posted a few telling comments regarding her past.

        I just felt attacked, and threw a little too much out there in trying to defend where I was coming from…more than people on a message board deserve to know. But sense you read it, thanks.

    • In reply to #73 by Zyg:

      What on earth is wrong with you folks? plaidandpolkadots sent out a request for clarity on a subject that she obviously is very emotional about, and what most of you decide to do is pillory her about absolute nonsense? Shame on you for being so narrow minded!

      Zyg, I feel properly rebuked and hang my head. What to me looked like moaning was in reality a search for ‘clarity’. Thanks for putting me straight. You must be a truly wonderful person.

  24. I have tons of black fiends who are atheists. Yes they are musicians but the point is there are . They just don’t hang out with only black people. I really dislike segregating people by their color. From my experience it is a poor way to judge anyone.

    The problem may be peer pressure to fit in somewhere. The people I know who are not atheists generally play on sundays with the band at the baptist church of their area. That sounds like a stereotype but it is true.

    But blacks should be running the fastest and farthest from church

    Yes I say the same thing for all the indigenous people who were christianized by the Spanish. I have asked a few of them why they still believe this stuff even after knowing how they were decimated by the conquistadores . That they were raped and pillaged and their customs erased. Enough to want to never be involved with this religion, so why ? There is no clear answer …

    I think in many cases it is about poverty and ignorance. It does not matter the color of the person. Indoctrination does not discriminate .

    I do know that many black people on Facebook tend to continuously profess how much jesus loves them. And that he came here to safe us. Died for us etc.

    Told this person that it was disrespectful to force their ideas on people. That not everyone thinks jesus is their lord and to many it is insulting to be included in someone’s delusion of pretending to know something they don’t. That they should not be so general and say jesus loves us, they should say jesus love me or my family. But to include the whole world in that statement is simply wrong. Muslims would disagree and feel insulted, as well as jews not to mention atheists or Buddhists.

    If they want to say things like that maybe they should find a xtian fanatics social network.

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