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  1. #1
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    Default NYTimes article on black atheists

    RONNELLE ADAMS came out to his mother twice, first about his homosexuality, then about his atheism.

    “My mother is very devout,” said Mr. Adams, 30, a Washington resident who has published an atheist children’s book, “Aching and Praying,” but who in high school considered becoming a Baptist preacher. “She started telling me her issues with homosexuality, which were, of course, Biblical,” he said. “ ‘I just don’t care what the Bible says about that,’ I told her, and she asked why. ‘I don’t believe that stuff anymore.’ It got silent. She was distraught. She told me she was more bothered by that than the revelation I was gay.”

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/fa...pagewanted=all

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    Yeah, this has been making the rounds in my circle of friends. Some of us are atheists, so it strikes a chord. I went through this awhile back. I was an atheist and then an agnostic because, honestly? Being certain there was no God is just as extreme as claiming there is one and everyone who doesn't believe is going to hell. I chose agnosticism as the best place to just be. I came back to the church while abroad.

    However, I still understand how that feels. I had one holier-than-thou cousin try to throw an insult my way about needing God not knowing I'd been baptized over a two years ago. I do wonder how I would have handled it if I were still an agnostic. I'm not 100% sure.

    I don't get it and I really don't have much of an interest in discussing religion with those who've never pushed back or challenged their belief system. I'm glad folks are coming together because it is ridiculous how intolerant we can be to each other.
    "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." - Chinese Proverb

    "Fall seven times a day, stand up eight." - Japanese Proverb

    “All truth is good, but not all truth is good to say.” - African Proverb

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    ^^Makes me glad I grew up in a secular family. No one truly cares as long as nobody is offering blood sacrifices to satan.

    As far as atheists being extreme, not sure I agree. What's extreme to me is folks ostracizing those who don't think the way they do and then trying to convert them to their way of thinking. That goes for atheists and believes alike.

    I get what you say about not discussing religion with people who've never questioned or critically looked at their own beliefs.

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    I wonder if the Afro Caribbean community has similar stats be it in Europe or the Caribbean. I bet it would be close to the American experience. I suspect an American black atheist is seen by some to be rejecting an aspect of their heritage, similar to a Jewish atheist or an Arab/Asian from a Muslim background atheist. I wonder if parents feel they have failed in their duty to pass on their religious values or if folks feel threatened (can't think why) having an out of the closet atheist relative around? I suspect its the former, especially for parents, until people realise what someone else believes is no reflection on them, even when its a loved one I suspect the AA closet will remain closed which is a shame.
    Last edited by Denny; 11-28-2011 at 12:27 PM.
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    I'm not sure about Afro Caribbean but I find it interesting that many African Americans are close minded to other religions outside of Christianity or atheism, being that Christianity is not an original religion for Africans so disbelief in no way would reflect renouncing heritage. Christianity was brought to Africa as a result of colonization, so I don't agree with it being seen as the only way for many blacks.

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    I've been Black all my life. I'm not a big believer is the idea of "coming out" as a Black atheist. It's not that culturally deep. Do you. Believe (or don't believe) what you want.

    I guess it depends on the side of the street you're standing. I was raised completely secular. So I was the odd man out when I became a Christian. I was the one getting the side eye from all the secular people I knew. However, it didn't bother me much because I don't take on the mantle of others' expectations for me.

    I think this article reinforced the false belief that Black people are overwhelmingly religious. With a margin of error, there's very little difference between the 71% and 88%. Also, I don't believe that Black people are overwhelming Christians. If anything, Black people are Christian-adjacent. There are so many Muslims and believers of other faiths and spiritual paths.

    I'm not a big believer in Black people being considered a monolith in any area. If one can be a Black nerd, or can't dance, or likes science and math or sings opera, or even date white people, then yes, you can be a Black atheist.

    I think the article was a little short sighted and totally missed the emotional/relational aspects of the issue. This isn't so much about a belief system since the people profiled have already chosen to be atheists. It's more about having the mental & emotional wherewithal to be an atheist among family and friends.
    Last edited by chachadiva; 11-28-2011 at 01:30 PM.
    No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by swingbolder View Post
    ^^Makes me glad I grew up in a secular family. No one truly cares as long as nobody is offering blood sacrifices to satan.

    As far as atheists being extreme, not sure I agree
    . What's extreme to me is folks ostracizing those who don't think the way they do and then trying to convert them to their way of thinking. That goes for atheists and believes alike.

    I get what you say about not discussing religion with people who've never questioned or critically looked at their own beliefs.
    As to extreme, honestly? You don't have to agree. That was how I saw it when I stopped playing the Christian game people in my family were into. They were on the God-fearing, "you're going to hell" and "God's will" approach to life. I thought holding firm that there isn't something out there with the same level of certainty is the 180 position. I wasn't comfortable with it.
    "The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it." - Chinese Proverb

    "Fall seven times a day, stand up eight." - Japanese Proverb

    “All truth is good, but not all truth is good to say.” - African Proverb

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chocolate CurlyGirl View Post
    I'm not sure about Afro Caribbean but I find it interesting that many African Americans are close minded to other religions outside of Christianity or atheism, being that Christianity is not an original religion for Africans so disbelief in no way would reflect renouncing heritage. Christianity was brought to Africa as a result of colonization, so I don't agree with it being seen as the only way for many blacks.
    When you say African-American do you mean Africans that live in/immigrated to America or black Americans who have enslaved ancestors?
    the artist formerly known as Electra


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    Quote Originally Posted by Princess Pamplemousse

    When you say African-American do you mean Africans that live in/immigrated to America or black Americans who have enslaved ancestors?
    Blacks who have African descendants, enslaved or not. Christianity was not a religion in Africa until European colonization.

    Sent from my iPhone using Forum Runner

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chocolate CurlyGirl View Post
    Blacks who have African descendants, enslaved or not. Christianity was not a religion in Africa until European colonization.

    Sent from my iPhone using Forum Runner
    Actually, this is not accurate. The messed up/bastardized Western Christianity was introduced with colonization, but Christianity was in Africa long before Europeans went to colonize. Some of the oldest Christian churches in the world are found in East Africa

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