Black atheist group calls for ‘Day Of Solidarity’ during Black history month

Discuss

58 Responses to “Black atheist group calls for ‘Day Of Solidarity’ during Black history month”

  1. Ihavenofuckingname says:

    I’ve always believed the truth doesn’t need an advertising campaign, so whenever I see stuff like this I instinctively start to question my atheism.  I know, it’s ridiculous.  Just because some atheists can’t shut up about it doesn’t mean god has popped into existence, but I’m also pretty sure atheists don’t need branding.  Honestly they’d see more ‘converts’ with a silent 30 second spot reading “Is there a god?”

    • knijon says:

      I don’t know that these kind of spots are about converts as much as letting people know atheists actually exist (and they’re just like regular people!  gasp!) and it’s safe for others to admit it, too.
       Also, are you some kind of hipster atheist?  Your atheism is a band that you decide you don’t like anymore because people are talking about it in public?

      How is science doing these days? Does it need branding/advertising?

    • tyger11 says:

      If how other atheists behave threatens your atheism, then you have no idea what atheism is.

      Atheists need branding because we’re the last great discriminated group left in America.

      • Ihavenofuckingname says:

        Check sentences two and three.
        Also, I’m willing to bet there are quite a few minorities in this country who would beg to differ with your second, equally confusing sentence.

      • I take issue with your usage of the word ‘last’… you really think so?

        • tyger11 says:

          Yeah, I really do. Lots of minorities that are still discriminated against also discriminate against atheists. Bush 41 even said he wasn’t sure they should be considered citizens. There are a lot of people like that. All of the polls that I’ve seen on this subject show atheists are looked upon more unfavorably than any other group. We are fortunate in that you can’t tell someone is an atheist by looking at them, or things would be much worse for us.

          • Shinkuhadoken says:

             I can’t decide whether you’re shopping for someone to victimize you, or shopping for someone to hate…

      • Tetsubo Kanamono says:

        Never been a Pagan in America have you?

      • Vinnie Tesla says:

        Yeah now that discrimination against women and POC and queers and transfolk and fat people and disabled people is a thing of the past, we can move onto the forms of oppression that really matter.

    • MrEricSir says:

      Same here — I always feel the best way to convert someone to atheism is to give them a Bible and tell them to read it.

      But that said, there are parts of the US where atheism is a major taboo.  Without some basic moral support, a skeptic might feel like they’ve gone mad if everyone around them defaults to participating in a cult-like state of groupthink.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Christianity has become hugely parasitic in the African-American community, not to mention in the Christian parts of Africa.  Soul-sucking hucksters Prosperity Gospel preachers target the poor and disenfranchised for donations to fund their own excesses.

      • Mister44 says:

        That’s a big brush you’re painting with there. Many black communities are enriched by their connection to a church.  They often have programs that help with the poor and keeping kids out of trouble. The rich history of Gospel singing has been a proving ground for many a wonderful voice.

        As for preying on the poor,   I don’t agree with these evangelists like that – but they are a minority. Personally, I’ve never even directly encountered one.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Things have changed. A lot.

        • Saltine says:

          I am a professor at a major historically black university. Yes indeed the Christian church has been a major part of the community here, and it was the center for much of the civil rights action as well as other positive activities. HOWEVER, it also has its downsides. My school emphasizes, abstinence, for example, and it is tolerant of homophobia, even though there are many openly gay students (who are taunted and must constantly be defensive).

          There need to be alternatives, and it’s a good idea for students to be made aware that they are not alone, that there’s more to the church. And there really is. Too many African-American activists are “forgotten” because they were Islamic, atheist, communist, or some other persuasion that is difficult to accept. It’s relatively easy to have a holiday for Dr. King, but I doubt we’ll ever publicly acknowledge, much less have holidays for, people like A. Philip Randolph.

        • benher says:

          Good people, regardless of ethnicity, do not NEED a church to do good things, enrich communities, or keep youth out of trouble. 
          Give human beings a little more credit.

          • noen says:

             Yeah because good people just spring magically from the ground.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Yeah because good people just spring magically from the ground.

            You’re projecting your own self-loathing again.

          • Mister44 says:

            Uh… I never said that they NEED a church to do good things. I said that in many black communities churches DO good things – as opposed to the comment I replied to who called them “parasitic”.

          • travtastic says:

            I said that in many black communities churches DO good things

            The people attending the church are doing these things. And unless they’re doing them strictly out of a fear of a Jesus Spanking, they’d do them without a church.

        • travtastic says:

          Luckily, we don’t generally have to choose between all or nothing. A good deed doesn’t cancel out a bad one, and there’s no need to save the baby and the bathwater.

    • nothing wrong with letting out a message that there is a support group out there for lonely African American atheists.

    • Ipo says:

       If you have unfounded beliefs like that, maybe you’d be quite comfortable with a few gods. 

      Religious conversion is the adoption of a new religion that differs from the convert’s previous religion. 
      As atheism is a religion in much the same way as abstinence is a sexual position (not), I doubt that anyone can convert to it. 
      “Revert” maybe an accurate term, since without the intense childhood indoctrination, that is all of the successful religions modus operandi, only schizophrenics would have invisible ever-present beings. 

      I’m thinking most atheists aren’t trying to make people dump their religious beliefs, but show those that don’t really have them to consider if they need to pretend.   Far less people are religious than think they are. 
      It’s fairly obvious sometimes. 
      Looking at all versions of the new testament, the supposed teachings of Christ, who could say that most republicans are Christians?

      • travtastic says:

        As a lifelong atheist, The only thing I’ve ever tried to instill in anyone is that their philosophy and ethics can exist outside of their mythology.

  2. BrianOman says:

    After thinking about it, and really listening through a few of the interviews, I still feel awkward about this. I understand that it’s a hands-off, come hang out if you want kind of function, but there is too much enthusiasm underneath it all. It feels as though, no matter how much they claim otherwise, the real motivation for these people is to convert as many catholics to ‘atheism’ as possible. I can understand why that might be pervasive in such an environment and I don’t feel there is anything wrong with it. What is awkward about all this is that they aren’t just openly admitting their intentions and motivations. They use a lot of side-speak to paint a fuzzy image of the situation, but never come out to honestly and clearly proclaim themselves.

    Just call yourself a sanctuary from hyper-consumptive-glamorous-guilt-filled religiosity. Be open about your distrust and fear of the mega-churches. If you think they are hurting people, be open about that in your advertising. It is so uncomfortably to see people dance around, trying to be politically correct and hyper-inclusive.

    /spine tingle

    • niten says:

      It would only be creepy if they started asking for money.

      “Just call yourself a sanctuary from hyper-consumptive-glamorous-guilt-filled religiosity. Be open about your distrust and fear of the mega-churches.”

      Err, I think you actually mean they’re not dancing hard enough around the core issue. You’re saying that what they really mean is that big organized churches are bad, and that’s what they’re dancing around? I don’t think that’s a case. I think their central message is: we don’t believe there is a God, and we think it’s okay to believe that. If that’s the case, there’s no dancing or side-speaking at all.

    • Ipo says:

      It feels as though, no matter how much they claim otherwise, the real motivation for these people is to convert as many catholics to ‘atheism’ as possible.   
      Seriously, have you met ‘catholic’ African Americans?  There can’t be that many.  Hardly a worthwhile target group. 

  3. Gabriel Morgan says:

    …thereby demonstrating the absolute worst bits of New Atheism.  The real problems of the world we live in – cycles of poverty, global warming, the rise of the new oligarchy, Imperialism, racism – have nothing to do with religion.  But not content with just ignoring the real problems, New Atheists have to try to bend religion into somehow being responsible for them, providing cover for the real assholes.  Welcome to New Atheism, same as Old Liberalism:  misguided, paternalistic,  weak-kneed, privileged.

    You’d think that a bunch of black folks might see the dangers of being paternalistic toward black culture.  Ah, well.

    • MrEricSir says:

      The real problems of the world we live in – cycles of poverty, global warming, the rise of the new oligarchy, Imperialism, racism – have nothing to do with religion.

      WTF? Are you trolling, or do you actually believe this?!

    • niten says:

      Umm…what? These guys don’t seem like militant “Religion is responsible for all problems!” types at all. How do you get from “I started to question my faith and was glad to find out I wasn’t the only one” to: Misguided, paternalistic, weak-kneed, privileged? What? Not one of those labels makes sense. In fact, they apply much more accurately to established religion, at least in North America.

      Athiests, paternalistic and privileged? What does that even mean?

    • Mujokan says:

       I’d be interested to hear how much success you are having in stopping global warming and ending poverty through your technique of insulting people on the internet.

    • Shinkuhadoken says:

      The real problems of the world we live in – cycles of poverty, global warming, the rise of the new oligarchy, Imperialism, racism – have nothing to do with religion.

      …which is exactly why we need more atheists to tackle these problems. ^_^

      (But feel free to help any time.)

    • MythicalMe says:

      I’m an atheist and I don’t blame any of that on religion, though in all fairness whenever science challenges religious doctrine it seems that atheists are to blame. Charles Darwin was not an atheist, but fundamentalist Christians say he was. Thomas Jefferson, in his time, called himself a Christian, but many religionists called him “that damn atheist”. Adolf Hitler was devoutly Catholic, but most people don’t know that.

      As long as the majority Christian population believe that atheists are immoral demon trying to corrupt them, then atheists must educate. I don’t advertise my godlessness, but I don’t deny it in conversation. Most of my friends find that I am just, moral and find purpose in life.

      • noen says:

        “Adolf Hitler was devoutly Catholic” — This is a pretty obvious fallacy. “Adolf Hitler was a devout Catholic. Adolf Hitler was evil. Therefore Catholicism is evil.” This is the very *definition* of prejudice.

        There is good reason to suspect that Adolf Hitler and Nazism were inspired by atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who was anti-democracy, anti-Christianity, expressed his belief in a master race and the coming of a superman in many of his works. Hitler’s Mein Kampf borrows many of Nietzsche’s ideas and seems to have been influenced by him. Especially his “Will to Power” with it’s emphasis on purity of breeding, the need to exterminate the weak and reject the “slave morality” of the Jews. Even if Hitler misunderstood Nietzsche, it’s a pretty damn odd belief for a “devout” Catholic to hold. Add to that the fact that fascist philosophers such as Schimdt believed that the masses *need* religion it is entirely conceivable that Hitler merely used religion as a means to power. Which, since he “lacked belief” would make him an atheist. And… since according to atheists bad Christians prove that Christianity is bad, bad atheists must therefore prove that atheism is bad…. right?

    • travtastic says:

      “Dammit, we’ll solve existential crises when we’re done philosophizing!”

                    – Straw Men Atheists of America (2012)

  4. faithnomore says:

    Atheism =! Humanism. There’s a ton of overlap of course, but the perspective is different. The way I see it is, Atheists are more inwardly focused (“I define myself in this way…”) and Humanists are more outwardly focused (“we want to engage with and benefit humanity in this way…”). I’m certain that the vast majority of Humanists are a-theistic (or possibly more accurately, non-deist), but the converse is not true; the majority of Atheists are not Humanists.

    On a somewhat tangential note, I take huge exception with how Atheism is defined – by believers and many non-believers alike – as “not believing in God” with a capital G. To me, that’s akin to saying “I don’t believe in Abraham Lincoln”. It gives tacit approval to the god-people that their perspective is correct and that Atheists (and Humanists) are just some contrarians out to cause trouble. I say “I don’t believe in gods” small-g.

    • Garrett Eaton says:

      I’m not sure  you can say that the majority of atheists aren’t humanists…  On what grounds are you making that assertion?  Certainly some aren’t (*ahem* stalin), but I would wager that most are.  I think that the primary qualification for a humanist is the belief that humans are capable and reasonable creatures whose own ends are worthwhile (as opposed to serving some supernatural end).  And I’d guess that most atheists would go for that.  But that’s just my own bald assertion ;)

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism

  5. The AAH’s answer to the great question is wrong. Our science is great! We are the United Atheist Alliance!!

  6. petsounds says:

    Reminds me of the classic KRS-One track “Higher Level”. KRS isn’t an atheist to my knowledge, but he is one of the few to challenge Christianity in the black community.

    “You want to know how we screwed up from the beginning?
    We accepted our oppressor’s religion,
    So in the case of slavery it ain’t hard
    Because it’s right in the eyes of their God.
    Where is OUR God, the God that represents US?
    The God that looks like me, the God that I can trust?
    A God of peace and love, not mass hysteria.
    I don’t want a God that blesses America.
    I could never really vote for the devil,
    Let me take you to a higher level.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFXjtpCFSUc

  7. blackmanh says:

    Its tough being an atheist. Even tougher being a BLACK atheist. We’re a minority of a minority. It makes me feel good to see that there are others.

  8. SedanChair says:

    Not all religion is equal. Most black churches play important roles in the community; others (“prosperity ministry” and “prophecy seminar” types, I’m looking at you) are no better than scams.

    If people want to take comfort in a higher power, then I’ll say nothing to undermine them. But as the son of a black Apostolic deacon, I understand the frustration of seeing people devote all their time to something…factually incorrect.

    • Ipo says:

       Not all religion is equally bad. 
      All religion is equally believing in gods. 
      (With the exception of Buddhism I guess, if one considers that a religion.)

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        All religion is equally believing in gods.

        In Hinduism, ‘God’ is primal, undifferentiated consciousness.

        • Ipo says:

           Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma and all their avatars are not personified deities?  You better tell the Hindus. 

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma and all their avatars are not personified deities?

            They’re aspects of undifferentiated consciousness. Not really that different from archetypes.

    • noen says:

       “factually incorrect.” — Can you prove that? Because if you can’t then you are no different than any other religion because like them you assert claims you cannot prove true. This is known as belief.

      “Most black churches play important roles in the community” — So do white churches. Where I live every single homeless shelter and food shelf is run by or exists because of so-called “white” churches. Could you please direct me to the Atheist funded and run homeless shelters?

      As usual for the ignorant atheists who comment on blogs your strawman “prosperity ministry” is full of straw. There is not a single reputable theological seminary that believes in your strawman version of Christianity.

      • SedanChair says:

        My comment wasn’t intended for the likes of you; please go start an argument with someone who takes an interest in your opinions.

      • Sir Dook says:

        Are you seriously claiming that the “prosperity gospel” is a straw man invented by atheists? Because I’ve heard it preached on Christian radio and television ministries. Of course no “reputable” seminary believes in it, because it’s a scam. But there are plenty of scams that are carried out under the banner of religion – they prey on the weak and vulnerable using ‘faith’ as a cover. To deny that is to enable them. That would be bad enough if you were an atheist, but how much worse is it when you enable them to use the label of your own professed faith to prey on the poor?

        But don’t take my word for it. Follow up the sources for this heavily footnoted wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosperity_theology

        Also, since this post wasn’t about white atheists, perhaps you shouldn’t take SedanChair’s focus on black churches as intended to imply anything about white ones. Not everything is about you.

        But while we’re on the subject you might also give some thought to why there are so many unambiguously “white churches” and “black churches” given the claimed universality of the Christian faith.

        • noen says:

          “Are you seriously claiming that the “prosperity gospel” is a straw man invented by atheists?”

          Yes.

          “Because I’ve heard it preached on Christian radio and television ministries. ”

          Maybe you should look up what strawman means. It does not mean what you think it does.

          “there are plenty of scams that are carried out under the banner of religion”

          There are plenty of scams carried out under the banner of atheism, therefore atheism is a scam. Right?

          “To deny that is to enable them”

          Denying that prosperity theology represents Christianity does not enable it any more than denying Bernie Madoff’s ponzie scheme represents the stock market enables him. Medical scammers pose as doctors but this does not mean that medicine is a scam.

          “you might also give some thought to why there are so many unambiguously “white churches” and “black churches””

          I have. America is a racist nation that is socially segregated along racial and ethnic lines. Christian and Jewish activists are in fact responsible for ending slavery. Not atheists. Further, no where in any of the major religions can I find any basis for racial divisions. In fact just the opposite. All major religions promote the universal family of man (in their own ways), compassion for the other, and the importance of the individual above the needs of the state. Atheism has nothing to say on these because there is no such thing as atheism. A “lack” of something cannot be a presence of anything.

          • Sir Dook says:

            Christians were also responsible for defending slavery and for maintaining segregation after it. I guess you’re right – Christians do good things and bad things, both at the individual or church level. See what Frederick Douglass thought of moderate Christian churches here: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=162

            Perhaps the proper response to this would be to say something like:  “Not all religion is equal. Most… churches play important roles in the community; others … are no better than scams.” If only someone had introduced that sort of idea into the discussion already.

            If something exists, like the prosperity gospel does, saying it is bad and exists is not attacking a straw man. An example of attacking a strawman would be like if one person claimed “Some churches are good, but those that teach the prosperity gospel are bad,” and someone responded by pretending they’d said “The prosperity gospel is bad so all Christianity is bad.” I’m sure if we look around the internet we can find an example of something like that.

          • noen says:

            @ Sir Dook
            “I guess you’re right”

            Thanks.

            “If something exists [...] saying it is bad and exists is not attacking a straw man.”

            True but that wasn’t what was said. The implication was that prosperity theology was representative of Christianity.

            “An example of attacking a strawman would be like if one person claimed “Some churches are good, but those that teach the prosperity gospel are bad,” and someone responded by pretending they’d said “The prosperity gospel is bad so all Christianity is bad.””

            True but I didn’t pretend there was a sweeping generalization. There actually was one.

            “I’m sure if we look around the internet we can find an example of something like that.”

            As an agnostic who argues against both sides I am well aware of what one can find on the intertubes. By far and away most atheists I have met are deeply ignorant of religion, incapable of calm rational debate and highly emotional anti-religious bigots. Most tell me that the Westboro Baptist Church are the only “true” Christians. I get that quite a lot. It speaks volumes about you.

          • Sir Dook says:

            Noen, thanks for reminding me why you’re not supposed to feed the trolls.

            In exchange, I leave you with the following exercise in self-knowledge. Which of these looks more like a sweeping generalization used to support negative judgments about a large group:

             “Not all religion is equal. Most black churches play important roles in the community; others … are no better than scams.”

            “By far and away most atheists I have met are deeply ignorant of religion, incapable of calm rational debate and highly emotional anti-religious bigots. … I get that quite a lot. It speaks volumes about you. “

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Christian and Jewish activists are in fact responsible for ending slavery.

            As well as many Transcendentalists. And how many people publicly identified themselves as atheists in the 18th and 19th centuries? You keep ranting about strawmen, but you keep building them.

  9. Garrett Eaton says:

    Watching those videos made me so happy!  People just need to know that its okay to be an atheist.  Hard to believe anyone would object to that as some form of pandering or something…

Leave a Reply