To Be Young, Godless, and Black*

*Apologies to Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin.  Hope my African-American readers out there don’t go into apoplexy.

Back in late 2011, I wrote a post titled, “A Conversation Long Overdue” which spoke about African-American Atheists.  This was sparked by a November 27, 2011 New York Times discussing this group of people.  I wrote:

It’s interesting that at this time in history with fundagelical x-tians trying to grab power in Washington, cracks in the Black church’s facade (the Eddie Long scandal for example), the decline of organized religion in the West, the rise of “Higher Criticism” of the Bible with archaeological evidence refuting Scripture, and the advent of the Internet and social media, Black Atheists and Freethinkers are coming out into the light and making their voices heard.

However, as many Black Atheists and Freethinkers state, they’re still “a minority within a minority”.  It’s still a challenge to come out with their beliefs (or lack thereof) due to the possibility of being ostracized by the community.  Also, many have close friends and family that are Theists (churchfolk for the rest of us) they’re afraid of hurting with such news.

Another challenge is that Fundagelical X-tianity has a such a strong grip on the Black community that any irreligious thought is anathema.  I liken it to the Catholic Church’s hold on Medieval Europe (without the Inquisition). Many Blacks put the church central in their lives and have a blind devotion to it.  For many Blacks, the church is also the only place where they can find validity in a society that still has yet to fully validate them-despite the fact that early Blacks were brought to the church via slavery and were subjected to hand-picked (and misquoted) Bible verses designed to subjugate and mollify them, many Blacks still find that validity.

What caught my attention on this interesting topic was a series called “Shades of Black Atheism” over at the Friendly Atheist blog on Patheos-a site I hang out on.  From what I can see, there are a lot of young Black people who have embraced Atheism.  Interesting still are those who came out of religious households and espoused Atheism.

My take?  Atheism, Freethought, and/or Agnosticism are not going to leave the Black community no matter how hard the Black Church will try to speak against it.  As Black youth venture out into the greater world-away from the influences of the Black Church, and they study differing points of view and think for themselves, this trend will only continue.  In my opinion this is troubling for the Black Church (take it from an insider) because the mainstays of the church-our Elders-are dying and their religious baton was not picked up by their successors.  More Blacks are being less exposed to church which shows a weakening grip of the church on the community.  Also, many a Black see churches in their neighborhoods as just taking up space and not really interacting with the needs of the local community.  And like their White counterparts, many Black youth see the church as anti-Gay, anti-science, anti-culture, anti-etc….

These people will be heard in both the Black and greater community.  We should welcome them and hear their words.  Plus, those of us in the Boardinghouse of Faith need no try and “convert” or “save” them; who are we to say they’re wrong?  How many things we’ve held as “tenets of the faith” were disproved?  Plus, as I see Christianity itself evolving, these young (and brave) people may be right on time.

For any of you out there who are Atheist/Agnostic/Freethinker, you are always welcome here.  I speak what I believe, yet no converting…unless it’s currency.


About dangerouschristian

My name is Victor Reynolds. I'm a Christian who desires a more mystical approach to my spiritual life. I'm also a photographer as well who loves to create. I call myself "dangerous" because anyone-especially a Christian-who dares to be beyond the "norm" and allows to let the Christ live in them is dangerous.
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6 Responses to To Be Young, Godless, and Black*

  1. Ian Gudger says:

    I am a member of one of those churches that are taking up space in neighborhoods and not really interacting with the needs of the community. I want to change, I want my church to change. But sometimes there seems to be a divide that seems difficult to cross…a mentality that says, “your white. there is no possible way you will know what I’m going through.” I don’t believe in proselytizing. Reaching out must be completely selfless. I would love to hear your ideas about how people who would like to reach out, could jump over that illusive divide that divides people and cultures. Thoughts?

    • My best thought would be to do like Jesus did and engage my Brother. Get to know the community you’re in; I mean really know them. What are the needs, concerns, etc in the community?

      Also, serve. We churches too much want the communities we’re in to serve us by coming to us first. No. Serve the community without expectation of reciprocation-like Jesus did. There, people will hopefully open up to coming into your fellowship; and will learn to open their hearts to God.

      That’s what I can think of off my (sleepy) head. Peace and God’s blessings in your endeavors.

  2. creativelybrown says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog. Indeed you are a dangerous Christian. I think or would like to believe that change we see coming is a good thing, I think what the church does show is that African Americans can work together for a cause, the only problem is they are willing to go to great lengths not for each other, but for something supernaturally superficial(in their minds), and that is bling(riches) in an afterlife.

    I think many believe the time is now.

    • Thanks for your comment, my Sister. And thanks for your “like”. Jesus over and over spoke of life now. It’s how we treat each other here-especially the marginalized of our society-that determines our future (Matthew 25). The constant chasing of “the swee’ bye-n-bye”, keeps one’s mind off of what needs be done here. God calls us to work now, and deal with now situations in love, compassion and justice; screw the moralizing and judging-Jesus warned us that it won’t fly.

      Thanks again and Peace!

  3. Pingback: “Nones”, “Dones”, and Everything Else In Between | Dangerous Christian's Blog

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