Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Invisibility of The Black Atheist

It can be argued that in most African American communities it is more acceptable to be a criminal who believes in God and goes to church on Sunday while selling drugs to kids all week than to be an atheist who has a good job, a good education, who contributes to society and supports his family. In these communities you find more tolerance towards gangbangers, drug addicts, and prostitutes, who pray to God for forgiveness than for honest productive citizens who deny the existence of God. This, for me, is one of the most embarrassing elements of Black culture, our zealous embracement of the God of our kidnappers, murderers, slavemasters and oppressors.

That may seem harsh, perhaps even racist, yet I am not stating my opinion of the White race. In fact, I bear no grudge toward the descendebts of our enslavers. Few who know me would imagine otherwise. I am merely stating a fact. None of the African Americans crowding the churches today would be there had we not been dragged from our homeland in chains and forced into church pews at the end of a gun and the tip of a lash. None of us would be Christians today had we not also once been slaves.

Even now thousands of people starving in Africa find that their only relief comes from Christian Missionaries and other “faith-based” charities at the expense of being preached to and converted. Food for minds as it were. Under threat of starvation and lack of medication they flock to these charitable organizations for relief and come out with medicine, sometimes clothing, food in their bellies, and a bible in their hands. Some may see nothing wrong with this. If faith-based charities are the only ones stepping up to help these people why shouldn't they be able to push their products at the same time? The problem is that it is exploitation. They are exploiting the desperation of starving and sick men, women, and children in order to spread their faith and gain more converts.

It must be said that not all of these organizations operate in this manner. Some give without ever proselytizing. They are few however. For most their agenda is clearly set. Food, medicine, clothing, and sometimes shelter in exchange for the minds of the desperate and needy. One of the most exploited continents on earth further exploited in order to spread ignorance and intolerance, because that is what lies at the root of Christianity and most other religions.

If the Spanish Conquistadors had not invaded Mexico, murdering, raping, and pillaging in their thirst for Spanish gold, none of the unshakably devout Mexican Americans would have ever heard of Jesus Christ. Now, after having been indoctrinated into the Christian faith at the point of a sword, they are some of the most pious people on earth.

There is something so wrong in all of this. There is something unseemly about Black Americans being so thoroughly conquered right down to their very minds and spirits. I admit, I find it all rather pathetic and embarrassing. If I were being completely honest I would have to admit that I am saddened and somewhat disgusted by the very idea of a Black Christian.

It would seem to me that after having so recently escaped our slavemasters that we would have had enough of masters. I would have expected even a self-destructive relinquishment and denial of all things that had been forced upon them by their enslavers and a return to their original cultures and faiths. Or, at best, a denial of all faith and a refusal to ever bow to anyone again.

Now, I do understand that some slaves had been so thoroughly brainwashed and cut off from their former beliefs and cultures that for them this would have been nearly impossible. I understand that in a version of Stockholm Syndrome popularly known as “Tomism”, after the famous character in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, other’s had learned to love their slavemasters and coveted his life, his ways, and even his God. Others, understandably, saw how powerful their slavemasters were and sought to acquire some of his wealth and power for themselves by imitating his ways. I can understand how they would have thought that it was the White man’s God that had seemingly given him the power to enslave their entire race. This having been driven into their minds along with the idea of White superiority by the heads of the church and the bible itself, which condones making slaves of the “strangers that sojourn among you” and the “heathen races”.

What I don’t understand is how this has continued right through the Civil Rights movement and the Black power movement. How this patriarchal Master/ Slave religion could continue to be so ardently embraced by the children of slaves. What I don’t understand is how we still find ourselves praying to the great overseer in the sky even in the new millennium.

It is true that many of us did seek to leave the Christian faith in favor of more African belief systems such as Yuruba and Islam (another Abrahamic “Master /Slave” religion.) Unfortunately, too many of them returned to Christianity due to pressure from family and friends within our community, reaching out to pull them back in like crabs pulling each other back into the basket that’s heading toward the boiling pot. Others returned missing the old familiarity of the Black Church. This is the same set of circumstances now keeping those who have realized the absurdity of the God hypothesis from following their logical minds instead of their hearts. Following logic and reason often means being led away from an African American community still shackled with superstition. In my own life I have found this to be a truly frustrating and depressing situation.

My own mother is a Christian Minister. My entire family, like most American families, are very devout believers. They express their beliefs freely and unselfconsciously because they enjoy the privilege of being a member of a major majority in America. I, on the other hand, must often keep my own beliefs to myself for fear of offending anyone or alienating myself any further from the family I love. This is a mere microcosm of what the Black atheists must face in regards to his entire culture.

The prevalence of Christian ideology in Black Culture creates a very difficult dilemma for a Black Atheist. Our skepticism must often remain hidden for fear of exclusion. When religion comes up we tend to stay mum or quickly change the subject. Those who are more vocal soon find themselves ostracized and isolated. When it comes to our relationships with the opposite sex we often find our choices limited by mates who are looking for a “good Christian man” or woman. Community activism, particularly Civil rights groups, tend to be dominated by religious organizations, making it difficult for an admitted atheist to even participate in any organized way in the betterment of the race. Politics, likewise, are dominated by the religious-minded. If you expect the Black vote than you had better be a Christian.

In his own family it is even worse for the Black atheist. Black families tend to be extremely matriarchal. This is largely due to the historically high number of Black households led by a single mother going all the way back to the times of slavery when families were often broken up on the auction block and Black men were sold away from their families. This has resulted in a bond between a Black man and his mother that is unusually strong. Black women have tended to be extremely religious as even a casual glance at the average Black church would testify to. Most Black churches, though run primarily by men, are supported almost entirely by the female members of their congregation who then force their husbands and children to attend, often under duress.

For most Black men, the idea of telling our mothers and grandmothers that we no longer believe in god, and thus breaking their hearts, is a painful situation to even contemplate. This is undoubtedly true in many cultures, but it is doubly true in the Black culture. This is one of the main reasons many Black Atheists tend to stay underground and in the closet.

Still, perhaps the biggest reason for the invisibility of the Black Atheist is that there are simply so few of us. So few Black men and women even realize that Atheism is an option. We have been so thoroughly brainwashed that the idea that perhaps God does not exist is one that most could not even contemplate. Atheism in the Black community is synonymous with Satanism. Even when a Black person begins to survey his surroundings and realizes the absurdity of a belief in an all-powerful omnibenevolent deity in light of the evil of which the world is everywhere full, he is often left to question and reason in a relative vacuum due to the stigma attached to atheism in our community. His resources are limited. He is unable to find like-minded individuals with whom to discuss his increasing doubts. Inevitably he turns to his lifelong spiritual advisors, his parents, grandparents, or the church fathers themselves to discuss his disbelief only to find his fledgling arguments battered down by dogmatic theologists and zealots and his questions dismissed with the typical and oft-refuted replies of free-will, intelligent design, and finally… faith. Unsatisfied, but afraid to speak up because he has not yet learned enough powerful counter-arguments and fears being rejected by his own community, he nods his head and feigns agreement, retreating solemnly back behind the protective veil of faith.

My goal in writing this is to let my brothers and sisters know that they are not alone in their skepticism, their doubt, and their utter disbelief. There is an increasing number of African Americans who do recognize the damage done to our people physically, intellectually, and emotionally by religion in general and Christianity in particular. There are many of us asking the questions that belief in God had presupposed, precluding the possibility of ever finding real answers. There is a growing community of Black Atheists striving to someday liberate the minds of Black Americans from the great overseer in the sky just as abolitionists long ago liberated us from the overseer in the cotton and tobacco fields.


Steve said...

An excellent and insightful essay. Because of my profession, I also must remain a "closet atheist", so I'm able to empathize to an extent.

(I didn't have a way of e-mailing you, but one grammar correction: "In fact, I bare no grudge toward the ancestors of our enslavers." It should be "bear" no grudge. Also, did you mean zealot, or the urban zealout, a "far out zealot"? I offer these corrections only because your outstanding essay is getting more viewers than you think, and will probably be quoted.)

hb said...

Yes! I'm in complete agreement with your essay. I remain a closet atheist too because Christians are woefully intolerant of those who don't think like them. I would be proud to have a Darwin fish on my car if I didn't fear having my tires punctured. The faith that teaches "love thy brother" is indeed violent and mean.

John Powell said...

Have you submitted this essay to This I Believe?

It would enlighten others to hear this on the radio.

Good Luck!

¡Revulo! said...

Lovely, lovely essay. I agree with all of it. I have to stay in the closet, myself, because of those'd be maddening if there weren't an Internet!

I thought it was especially powerful when you called it an embarrassment. I think the exact same thing. Unsurprising (for a long time, the church was the only place blacks could really organize themselves and have any real sovereignty), but still an embarrassment. (And considering that they also kept African slaves in Islamic countries, converting to Islam seems weird, too!)

Wrath said...

Thanks for catching that, Steve. I have made the corrections you suggested. And I'm pleased that you enjoyed the essay.

Wrath said...

Hey, hb. Thanks for your comments. I may have to get a Darwin fish myself. Obviously, I am not quite so closeted lately. Hopefully, it will get easier for more people to "come out" as atheists. We need to keep writing and supporting books on atheism to keep the message out there.

Wrath said...

Thanks for the link, John. I'll have to find a way to paraphrase the essay for NPR since they only accept essays of 500 words or less. But I think I will submit something.

Wrath said...

Thanks, revulo and I agree with your assesment of Islam. Islamics also believe in the Old Testament which describes a truly horrific and immoral deity who condones slavery and genocide among other atrocities. And the Koran takes it even further. I specifically addressed Christianity but I don't understand why Black people would accept any master at all. I didn't need to study Buddhism to know that if I were to meet my master on the road I'd study him only long enough to best him, maybe not kill him but definitely overcome him. I don't understand how anyone can willfully submit themselves to the rule of another but then, I've always been a top.

BGC said...

Fascinating post. Thanks so much for writing. ( posted a link here - that's how I found it)

I wonder if what you describe might be a close parallel to what a gay man or lesbian in the black community might experience in coming out -- perhaps for may of the same reasons. I can only hope not.

igrat777 said...

Wonderful, insightful and honest essay. I myself am a proud and loud "Black Atheist" and because of this half of my family members don't speak to me anymore (they seem to believe that associating with me will send them to the same hell that my soul is surely going to! LOL). But I definitely do understand the difficulty in "coming out", especially in a black family. It took me years to do so, but it was quite liberating once i did. This is also an issue that is very rarely, if ever, discussed in a public forum. That what I like so much about your blog... you touch subjects that others are loathe to approach. And you do it with such class, intelligence and honesty. Have you considered gathering your blogs and maybe having them published all in one book?

Congratulations on your marathons and good luck on your future fights. Yes, you are definitely crazy, but that's probably what makes you so unique. :o)

RonStrelecki said...

Greydon Square is a great hip hop artist who deals with many of the issues you've brought up here. He will be performing at the Flamingo during the Amazing Meeting this year... right in Las Vegas!

Wrath said...

Thanks for checking out my blog, bgc. I'll have to thank Skepchic for the link and yes, I do think gays and lesbians face some of the same obstacles for exactly very near the same reasons. The intolerance of the Christian religion has directly transfered to the Black community.

Wrath said...

Hello, Igrat. it is always a pleasure to have you visit my blog. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Coincidentally, I was just on the infidelguy messageboard talking about how I didn't know any Black female atheists. I guess that is no longer true.

By the way, I am compiling my blof posts relating to religion into a book. I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of the summer. Oh, and do you have a website? You have me curious about you.

Wrath said...

Thanks for the heads up, Ron. I've recently become a fan of Greydon Square and I'd love to see him perform live and with Penn and The Amazing Randy there as well, it sounds like something i shouldn't miss.

Karen said...

Hi, here by way of Friendly Atheist.

Excellent thoughts and lovely job of writing - I think you touched on some points rarely contemplated in the black (or white) religious community.

Something I'm curious about: Many younger (under 30)white Americans seem to be less religious than their parents, or at least they are adopting religion that is less fundamentalist. Do you see a similar trend in the black community, or are young people just as zealous as the older generations as far as you can tell?

Wrath said...

Welcome Karen,

I can't say that I see Black youth drifting away from religion even if they are drifting away from church. And, in fact, even the churches are maintaining thier youth membership with religious rap, rock, and singles events. At my mother's church they have "Crumpin' for Christ" if you can believe that shit. Even among the criminal element there is this dependence on religion. On college campuses you see kids drinking and drugging and then going home for the holidays and going to church with their families. I'm sure there is a lot more disbelief than is ever talked about but still most Black youth continue to go through the motions.

Victor said...

Loved the essay. It both saddened me and made me happy if that makes sense. I would love to meet and speak with other black/minority atheists. Thank you for such a powerful and thoughtful essay.

beemo said...

Thank you for your very insightful and well thought out essay. Those have been my sentiments for at least 10 years now. I don't think I had even heard of atheism before college. But upon doing a little of my own research (mostly Bertrand Russell), I was convinced, deconverted. It was a little tough at first since religion is southern society and there seem to be more out gay Christians than heterosexual atheists down there. After growing up and being educated in the deep south, I moved to a more tolerant region of the country (for my own sanity and safety).

Like you, telling my mother was very difficult. And out of respect for her, I have not told anyone outside of my immediate family. I don't want to think about the questions she would have to answer in my absence (and defense).

Anonymous said...

Thoughtful and powerful...good job.

SpiN said...

I think that is about the most awesome, incredible and truthful thing I have ever read!

fiona-h said...

nice, nice piece.

Cosmic Brotha said...

I get you completely.. I on the other hand, having always been a nerd (still cant fight all that good), researched religion in detail since i was 15.. I crush fools.. family, or not. lol

iCuLurking said...

"None of the African Americans crowding the churches today would be there had we not been dragged from our homeland in chains and forced into church pews at the end of a gun and the tip of a lash. None of us would be Christians today had we not also once been slaves."

This is so ture but so many folks don't realize this.

Great blog, I loved it (Thanks Cosmic for the thread)

Dan said...

Loved the article. I suppose it's little comfort to know that you'd be more than welcome at any sort of atheist gathering.

As a young white person today, it can be uncomfortable to look around you and see so many people, so few of color. Your story can make us a little less worried about what we might be doing wrong that no black people are showing up, but still makes us wonder what we can do. Anything? Creating a wedge within your own community is scary enough. Driving one into someone else's - anyone would be reasonable to be reluctant.

Bobbie said...

Hi - here by way of Skepchick.

A thoughtful essay. It covers a lot of issues that I have puzzled over, and your assessment has helped me a great deal. But how to convince people to let go of their chains? I hope your essay is widely quoted (as mentioned by Steve) - it deserves to be read.

Carlos said...

Excellent, excellent writing. You briefly touched on the piety of Mexicans and really it's the whole of Latin America. Much of what you wrote also applies to us and when I was younger it made me angry that so many of my people where mesmerized by the religion forced on use by those who wanted only to steal.

Anonymous said...

An excellent essay. I greatly appreciate your position, having been an outspoken atheist in a traditional Christian family and society for longer than I can remember. We are so distanced by our pious brethren! The truth has made you free.
Correction, I believe: in your second paragraph should not "ancestors" be "descendants"?

Best regards,

Wrath said...

Thanks, everyone and thank you, Dave for pointing out that little error. It has now been corrected. This post is actually the first chapter of a book that I am writing on the subject of Black atheism. I appreciate all the feedback.

Keith Sader said...

Your post is enlightening on many levels. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm adding your blog to my rss feeds.

On the subject of black atheists, the only one that comes to mind is Neil deGrasse Tyson who is the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York. I believe there are also a few youtube videos of him speaking at the Beyond Belief conference a few years ago. I think he's probably the most visible black atheist that I know of.

Larro FCD said...

Excellent post Wrath.

I had never thought of the black experience in America during the slave years in regards to Christianity being used as a tool to control them until I read "Freethinkers: A History of Secularism in America" by Susan Jacoby. In that book she outlines the fact that Christians in the south justified slavery by thumping their bibles, while Christians in the North, aside from the Quakers [Religious Society of Friends] really contributed very little while secular humanists were in all actuality at the forefront of the Abolitionist Movement and that history has been rewritten to exclude contributions by the likes of Ernestine Rose, etc.

I'm fortunate enough to have grown up irreligious which helped pave the way towards my atheism (my mom is now an atheist). So in all actuality I have no insight as to the difficulties of being an atheist even in a white Christian family.

Again. Great post.

Larro FCD said...

BTW, you may be interested in submitting your blog to the Atheist Blogroll

There's close to 750 blogs listed.

Ralph Dumain said...

This is an all-too-familiar story, eloquently told. For that very reason, the book you are writing will resonate with so many other beleagured souls who have undergone the same experience. Indeed, the black atheist is invisible. I will add that black individuality in general is invisible: there is no institutional structure or niche in popular culture that will recognize it. Black people are so overburdened with categorization, by white society and by one another, that individual perspectives based on reflective, critical thought are effectively snuffed out. Duke Ellington said there are no categories, but has anyone listened?

Anonymous said...

I have thoughtbthis exact way for years. I always looked at my relatives and white people as a whole and am still trying to figure out why their desire for god and the afterlife is so strong as far as social conditioning. Black Americans though have kept me stumped since the day I realized that their was no god. After years of slowly growing to hate the idea of the Bible being true, I woke up one day and realized their was nothing to hate.

But Blacks? They were literally forced into the Christian religion. This religion kept them in bondage for centuries and destroyed countless families and individuals alike. So why do they forget something that kept them from achieving equality among men so easily and then adopt the same beliefs their 'owners' and other racist men so quickly? Why are there so many black women who are Christian? They should be disgusted by religion not only as a black American but as a woman as well.

I think they would do well to stay in school and out of church. Maybe read the writings of men like Frederick Douglas who said,

"We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel and babes sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heaten, all for the glory of god and the good of souls. The slave auctioneer's bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other and the bitter cries of the heart broken slave are drowned out in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religions and revivals in the slave trade go hand in hand."

Lois said...

I found your web page through a link at, btw, is also run by a black atheist, a rarity it seems since black atheists seem to be viewed with as much respect as cockroaches by their families and neighbors. I never thought about the strangeness of blacks worshiping what is essentially a white man's god, derived from the god of a light-skinned, desert-dwelling nomad race who lived in the deserts of the Middle East in the early Bronze Age.

I cannot see how blacks (or anybody other than descendants of the Hebrews, for that matter) could feel any historical connection to such a deity. They call themselves "African Americans," but what connection is there to the deities and spirits of Africa, the ones their ancestors honored for thousands of years before Christianity was even invented?

Ralph Dumain said...

Unlike other subject populations, enslaved Africans in the USA were stripped of their culture, and they seized upon Christianity. Perhaps this is more excusable than other populations. The rejection of Christianity as a manifestation of the slave mentality does not always lead to atheism; as we well know, many black Americans who rejected Christianity embraced some form of Islam.

But in general, there is something peculiar about embracing a faith based on dubious historical events in a distant land and culture that has nothing to do with you. I recently saw a program on PBS about contemporary Christians on the Chinese mainland. Now this makes no sense to me at all. China produced its own indigenous philosophies, mysticisms, and relgions, and when it embraced something foreign, that was BUddhism. But Christianity, now? That's just plain insane. It shows you the propensity of human beings toward willful delusional thinking.

brklynusa said...

Yes my Brother, googled black atheist and came across your essay/blog. Thank you so much! My sentiments exactly. Hopefully more of us will start coming out. :-)

Anonymous said...

Brother, you captured my feelings about religion sooo perfectly! I am a closet black atheist. My mom's fam is from south carolina. Do you know how much HELL I would get even saying that I don't believe in god. Glad that I know that I'm not going through this alone. We definitely need an organization for people like us!

Mushman said...

Hey man,
You hit the nail right on the head. I cannot for the life of me, try to figure out why we as black people, always did, and continue to this very day, come together in large groups to heap praises on to the white man jesus/allah, who are our brutal and cruel slave masters.

To me, religion is. and always was the root of all that's evil,vile, devisive and destructive...Especially to black people,PERIOD!!!
We as black people, act like total buffoons, by stumbling all over ourselves, trying to prove to him (the white man)that we are the better ass kissing booth licking negro of all time...What madness!
You cannot find a decent black woman to connect with who do not have her head stuck up the white man jesus's ass. Then they proceed to brainwash their children to do the same. Reason why they grow up always feeling inferior. This is where most white people derive they false sense of white superiority...And we gladly give it to them. This is sheer madness.

The way things are going, we will never evolve from this sad state of exsistence...

Aquarian Conspirator said...

I am not an atheist and I still enjoyed your views. There is a lot wrong with religion and no one should have to hide what they believe, even atheist. Your right about all these people trying to push religion AND how they do it (i.e. Africa and such). I would never hold anything against anyone that has their own opinion/beliefs just as I wouldn't ever hold anything against someone for the type of music they listen to. Yeah it may not be what I wanna listen to, but I can still get along with you and be respectful. I have friends from all types of backgrounds, religion is no different. It is not anyones place to judge, not even god (yes...I do believe in God).

I would never question your beliefs even though they are not mine... your reasonable, you are your own person, and obviously respectful. I am 31 yrs old with two teenage children who have been taught the same..May the world be better to you and your fellow atheist in the future!

infokill said...

greets from Israel and your essay was very insightful.your story sheds light on a small part of the truth which in full exposure includes us all human beings as a race a society and its history since the ancient not well familiar with the
african history in all aspects- religiously,socially...etc ,but, the western world/society and actually the whole world as we know it, is an echo of the choices single man took around 1800 years ago (,as the crucial choices and actions singles take nowadays or anytime) - when the roman kaisers took Christianity upon themselves to the extent of sin in hubris,since then, when the idea of faith!!which is a subjective matter, been forced upon the people,
in the conquered lands or provinces who were mostly pagans in all its possible forms or the other monotheistic religion known as Judaism.
there are endless examples of the oppression and violence the Christian churches who were the law,the state, caused.if its towards Judaism - from the destruction of the second temple to the inquisition in Spain and the holocaust.which includes everyone who isn't from the "chosen race"(20 million casualties) ,and,i must tap on this example to the conclusion that any mix between religious/racial ideology and state ,political matters are a recepy for disaster.and what happens in Israel/Palestine is mostly part of it plus a realy corrupted visionless immoral leadership,
so as the missionary activity in south America,africa and where ever the colonialist could put their hands on.

i must say that it seems like the issue thet should be discussed here next, is the question of faith or, education .im not religious too but as there is by a fact a nature (not the "nature" behavior of human kind.thats another issue) but the dynamic system that in, we take part ,a system that work harmonically within it self' regardless of what we' as humans, as subjects think or want or do.we are part of something much bigger and divine.which makes me BELIEVE! in ORDER.which means that im not a nihilist or believing in chaos.
secondly. my moral beliefs aren't based on a religious law.but based upon REASON!
which is the key word here.since im attracted and convinced by rationalist philosophy (that includes some religious philosophers including arabs)
the only thing that really identifies and connects us all as human beings is reason and logic.and the only way to speak objectively on the matters of things, moral or metaphysical is by pure reason ,without any personal emotional as to exclude your fears ignorance and desires out of the question of how things are and should be, for real.

religion in itself is not evil or bad but the interpretation of it made by SINGLES through out history is BAD.the single people who,again, made choices and interpret the things according to their fears,desires emotional state and not through reason, (like few very wise and some religious man did through history.)are the sense that they where unable to identify "good" and "bad" and act according to it.they acted maybe according to a wish they had or other personal issues that have nothing to do with the truth.changes made through the history by man to their bible,interpretations that changed the fate of mankind and its consciousness, forever some may argue.rules and myths written in the name of god.
the key element in the spread of religion is fear.our strongest feeling.rabbis and priests and polticians manipulate us by fear.
the cheapest trick in the book.
it repeats itself in all monotheistic religions.the fanatic jews are no different from the Islamic or Christian in value!regardless who's doing more horrific stuff and where and how much/it dosnt make any difference.its measureless.when it comes down to the value of things

and explain why people go religious,
as the majority of people,the masses ,aren't independent enough in their thinking for various reasons
.social and economical and bound by history.they cant grasp truth by themselves and actually like all of us need belief in something in order to give meaning to their life .to add VALUE above all. which is something i assume you,like me,seek.and there is a value.
the only reason its Christianity and Islam and Judaism is fate.thats could be anything else and there are examples: communism.capitalist commercial market and most politicians and generally people in the position of power even in smaller scale.all use the cheapest trick in the book ,in order to manipulate the masses to their personal needs.
another reason for people to go religious is the sense of community!
most people as i said arent independent enough to know different and are born(fate,again)
to a certain reality where the religion is the main issue and everything surrounds it.even if they do have doubts.they tend to stay within the narrow frame of a specific religion and always afraid to be expelled from their your story.

(i must add that the roman empire in its enlightened kaisers days gave the control over the provinces
to a member of the same community.a senate.and were free to keep their cultural heritage and lead normal life)

Rod Ross said...

I totaly agree! "The honest fact is that the greatest hindrance to the progress of the Negro is that same dope that was shot into him during slavery... The slogan of the Negro devotee is: Take the world but give me Jesus, and the white man strikes an eager bargain with him..."
- J. A. Rogers — "From Superman to Man"

Rod Ross said...


Rod Ross said...

Do you think Humanism will ever catch on with Blacks and became a viable option?

infokill said...

i assume your question refer to my words about reason.or am i wrong?

either way.

whatever the interpretation of humanism is ,and its relation to other so called religions,as its presented in wikipedia,which is simply incorrect,there is a comparison between hummanism ,atheist and agnosticism under the headline ,religion , and the difference is vital for the understanding of all 3 ideas.these are BELIEFS AND NOT RELIGIONS so don't take anything for granted from wikipedia ,it can completely distort information.

first of all.and hopefully im wrong ,in case your question is cynical because you think rationalists see humanity,superior to other species on earth,and is mainly western,which isnt true, and therfore "catch on" with blacks,because of its prejudice, and this line of thought can easily be transformed eventually to some kind of a "race theory" similar to the natzis.your dead wrong and missed completely the meaning of reason and logic, which is a form of perception,common to
ALL MANKIND,by fact and any attempt to say differently,to say that some people have different logic , different reason IS IS racism! and a whole misconception of the word, logic.THERE IS ONLY ONE LOGIC,ONE REASON and everything we truly know about the world and the way we physically grasp it,mathematically and physically, is by reason and logic.moral matters,are grasped correctly through reason as well,based on the fact that we share a common line of thought and wishes, but, in practice it takes a really thoughtful and reasonable person
who can look at the situation objectively without letting his emotional state,desires,fears interfere with hes judgement,something that can rarely happen in precise science since the subject isn't emotionally involved.and im not canceling emotions,on the contrary,because we are such a fragile and emotional creature,it is necessary for our survival as a act morally by reason.otherwise the values change according to our convenience
and there can be no consistency in one man's decisions regarding moral issues.and then all that is value becomes merely a tool of convenience while values are realy a fixed ,whole beings. this description of inconsistancy and action driven by desire and fear and not reason fits to what i said previously about SINGLE man,all along history,who took decisions that changed mankind for good,
whether its religious or political or both usually.even scholars/intellectuals and academic people are no different when it comes to moral issues.even they, can distort the information they receive.information alone does not guaranty the right process of it and it is useless.
that is why reason is the key in the thinking of a leadership who has responsibility over a nation or a group of people.the majority of the people,the masses, dont have the tools since they are mostly busy with survival and are driven mostly by fear and its justifiable.
to grasp reality in such an independent way of thought .fate of people made it harder and harder through the rise of dictators and capitalism to think independently .
since rulers got more advenced through years and understood that they cant gain control through in low conditions for living.tortures.genocide and so on and the most effective way to slave people is slave our minds. your question.reason is not an option,but a necessity
to say the say if reason will ever catch with black,im sorry to say my friend,pure ignorance.
reason is within all of the human race and part of our essence and existence.

the question should be then
will the human race will ever act by pure reason when it is right to do so and come to all the right understandings about his existence and act according to it?theoretically yes.possible.not in our life time but hopefully in the time of our grand grand grand children.we are after almost 2500 years of thought oppression and dictatorship and it'll take some time and positivly i can think as we are an adaptable can be in tenths and maybe only hundred of years to take off all the shackles.all our superstitions and prejudice and traumas should be overcome(woman were unequal officially untill the 19th century for example.something that effected the way we, man ,perceive them and how they, perceive themselves.
psychosomatic disorders such as bulimia and anorexia and all sorts of paranoias regarding one's perception of himself within a society or in comparison to it,is a result of conventions and brain wash made by SINGLES.aesthetic or perception(same thing)is completly distorted in western society.
if i think it can practically happen,not in this mentality and leaderships around the world.but still it cant.and the key here is EDUCATION- about what a person really need in order to be happy,to gain the right tools for dealing with things in his single journey through time and not what conventions and interest of the state or society tells you that is right for you.see for examples history lessons in school.usually manipulated and distorted and cencor alot of errors and things that should be tought.thats the way it is at least in israel.not a single word about palastinian occupation or an at least objective
point of view
AND ENLIGHTENED LEADERSHIP.people who know for real how to recognise values and have no choice but to act according to it.these are special people and usually the people i wish would deal with these issues dont realy want to get into politics as in runnung for leadership.but people like Gandhi are a great example.and so is karl marx .i wish people like noam chomsky or yeshayhu leibowitch or plato could do the job.bassically enlighted philosophers are the right man for the task.but itll never realy happend.
hopfully obama is a man who realy understand peace and will fight for it.he sure brings hopes thoughshe

D. Eric Harmon said...

Great comments. I am a college educator and out in the open non-believer...I teach a course on African American culture, and I am especially hard on our adherence to Christianity...I made a documentary called "Bondage and the Bible" to explain how slavery and the bible were like hand and can see portions of this video at or order the film at

Brian said...

Hands down, one of the best essays I've ever read. You couldn't be more correct.

frankphoto said...

Brilliant essay! I am a white 52 yr. old atheist who's forefathers came to America from Germany in 1921 to build a new life in America after the horror's of WWI.

I have long wondered why the vast majority of Black Americans took on the religion of their enslavers. These enslavers used their "GOD" religion and holy book to justify and support their kidnapping, torture, rape, and murder of millions of individuals from another continent. It is incomprehensible to me that the descendants of the enslaved would become such zealous propenants of the same holy book and it's teachings.

You touched upon missionaries and you should read the book "Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice". The author worked with native tribes in South America who's communities had thrived successfully for 10's of thousands of years in healthy harmony and complete sustainability with nature. After the arrival of Christian Missionaries these communities invariably were destroyed and lost all their culture and history in a matter of a few years.

marzblkman said...

Wrath, form one fighter (I'm a boxer) to another, finally something that speaks to the core of the issue. I loved your comparison of "Stockholm Syndrome" to "TOMISM" and how you also mentioned this is NOT exclusive to Black people (mentions of the Spanish Conquistadors).

I could raise many objections with the current state of Christianity as it exist within the Black community such as most of the so called "teachers" aren't trained in theology, are unaware of the missing books in the very same Bible they preach from, have never heard of the First Council Of Nicea that declared Christianity a state religion, etc. But that doesn't focus on the problem at hand and thats the association that the only way someone can/could be spiritually inclined is to follow " organized religion" (read: Christianity) and if you don't. You're deemed an:infidel, heathen, etc.

As a child when I sweated on my nose I recall hearing how I was from the "debil" (smirk). Apparently there is some old wives tale that if you sweat on the brow of your nose, thats an attribute of the great "SATAN" (smirk again).

I'll end by saying this, trying not to besmirch Christianity, it's my personal feeling that the lack of progress (overall collectively) within the Black community can be attributed to religion namely in questioning it. How is it as Wrath describe there is so much blatant hypocrisy (OWB, everyone finding God in JAIL of all places, tolerance for someone that has done vile things if they express faith openly)all under the guise of "accepting Jesus?". But god (no pun) forbid you say you don't "BUY" this "fiction" or you "question" it and despite your ACTIONS of living a responsible life, it's something WRONG with you because you haven't accepted your "former" master's religion.

Your Pal Satan said...

This is a wonderful essay. I just started a new blog and added you.

With that being said, I am a black, lesbian agnostic. My mother, the evangelist, is so proud (insert sarcasm). My family accepts the homosexuality, but the agnosticism is the dirty, little secret.

The fact that I can refute all of their arguments with history, logic, reason, and rationale absolutely astounds them. They do not even broach the subject anymore. I love them dearly, but I have seen too many people hurt. Also, I am a former ordained minister. I know for a fact that most so called ministers do not understand the bible and do not follow it in its entirety. The ones who do understand theology, doctrine, anthropology, linguistics, and philosophy are closet agnostics or atheists. They will never admit it in public, but we discuss many of these things privately.

It is truly enlightening to see that more and more blacks are beginning to wake up and reject the oppression, exploitation, ignorance, intolerance, bigotry, and hypocrisy that is perpetuated by religion and those in leadership roles within the religious community. I trust that with time we will be able to purge these negative attributes out of our community and accept people for who and what they are.


Mary said...

I am a British Black female approaching middle age who has seen not a lessening of my people going to church/bible meetings etc in any spare scoial hour; but instead an increase with new 'churches' appearing in rented rooms and even in living rooms. I have friends who literally cannot have a conversation about anything without the word 'god' or a biblical quotation or reference. One friend who when I question or argue against her reasoning gets really shocked/angry and makes me feel like I am the most evil thing on earth. From other friends who I am not so close to and do not knowmy atheist position I hear them talking about any black person who doesn't believe in god as 'white-minded'.

Because of this accusation, however strong you you may be loathe to 'come out' because you feel that you are being regarded as a 'sellout'.

There are now umpteen churches some with congregations of thousands where young people go for the social role and sense of community it offers. If there were other means of us coming together in a more enlightened environment I believe there would be more opportunity for black people to uplift each other.

I read a thread on The Infidel Guys forum today where it was suggested that a new movement is necessary which as I understand it amongst other things would promote freethinking amongst black people.

I thank you Wrath for this essay which has expressed what many of us feel so eloquently. Please keep on doing what you are doing. One day critical mass will come when more than 51% of our community wake up and then it will spread like wild fire.

Warm regards.

Ralph Dumain said...

Mary, I couldn't find this thread on the Infidel Guy site on the need for black freethought. Please indicate exactly where it can be found.

Mary said...

With pleasure.

Also discussed on this thread:

Just want to add another thought while I@m here. Somebody said earlier the similiarity between a gay or lesbian and an atheist 'coming out'. The more we come out and find others like ourselves the more we will be able to make our voices heard and allow the next generation coming up to have a choice in how they lead their lives. I think I wouldn't be exagerrating in saying that freethinking is not encouraged in any form or fashion in black 'culture' in the UK. It has prevented many people from reaching their potential and I would even go as far as to say it may account to some extent for the rising levels of crime and memtal health problems. When there is no outlet for your personality and creativity within the limited boundaries of what 'a person of African heritage' is 'supposed' to be apart from killing any genius you are also killing to some degree or another peoples 'joie de vivre'.

Sorry if I ramble!

Mary said...

Ralph, Sorry wanted to make them into hyperlinks but didn't know how to. :)

frankphoto said...


I am a caucasian Athiest/humanist/naturalist in the U.S. 15 years ago I stumbled upon a non-denominational church that welcomes Athiests/Agnostics and people of all faiths. It has been great to be part of a caring community that encourages an individuals search for "their own" truth and meaning. It is called Unitarian Universalism and has representation in the U.K. There is no required adherence to a pre-defined dogma but some basic shared principles which affirm and promote:

* The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
* Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
* Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
* A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
* The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
* The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
* Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Unitarian Universalism (UU) draws from many sources:

* Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
* Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
* Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
* Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
* Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
* Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

With all the evangalism and fundementalism around and, being from a family of intolerant Archie Bunkers, it has been a comfort to be a part of this community.

You might want to check U.U. out.

Mary said...

Thanks Frank, will check it out maybe.

I am beginning to find literature which backs up what I had in my heart always felt. This is no light matter to me - people in my life are under the influence and addicted to something which I can see is having an effect on their life chances.

If you don't spend one penny on presents for loved ones this year but instead you buy these two books and load them around you will have given something life changing:

Both of these are links where you can read the first few pages of each book.

Ralph Dumain said...

Thanks for the links, Mary. I participated in both these discussions last year, and they are dead as a doornail, and there wasn't much to them anyway. But there is an increasing amount of black atheist activity, in meetups and organizations, but especially on the web: new blogs pop up from time to time, and there are even a couple of discussion groups on the usually imbecilic There are also a few organizations, the most prominent of which is African Americans for Humanism. Ironically, discussing black affairs does not seem to be the strong suit of the Infidel Guy. To be truthful, a lot of Internet based discussion is mighty trivial, and there's really much more serious stuff to be done.

Mary said...

*Mary hangs her head in shame at the typos in her previous messages and reminds herself to use Preview!

Ralph, yes it's a pity about that thread lets hope this one elicits some action both on your side and my side of the pond.

I have to agree with your comment regarding the InfidelGuy and I picked that up too. (I was in his chat room yesterday evening during the weekly show. There were over 80 people in the room many of whom I would guess/hope were black so there is some hope).

I watched some very inspiring videos yesterday of Neil deGrasse Tyson the astrophysicist. He is a humurous, sensitive people person.
I especially like the second one which shows both his and Richard Dawkins humour.

All of this is very thought-provoking. I actually feel like I'm coming home! Not because it's the first time I have these ideas, but I have never in my life come across more than an odd person at once,now here I am figuratively in a room of (predominantly) black people who are 'on the same page!!'

PS. If somebody can tell me how to hyperlink an address I'd appreciate it?

Ralph Dumain said...

We have to stop meeting like this. First of all, this blogger now posts his atheist material on his new blog "Godless and Black". Secondly, this is not the most appropriate place to dialog. Two suggestions:

(1) Start a group on black atheism at "Atheist Nexus".

(2) For black atheism on the net, see my web page:

PS: I don't have a problem with Infidel Guy himself, but the forum is not really worth reading.

Mary said...

I agree we must stop meeting like this! Both of your suggestions look good to me.

We need to weigh up the pros/cons of each.

Which one is easier to link to/from.
Which one is most likely to be reached while surfing.

Can you embed a forum in your site?

Your site is a mine of information (especially for an autodidactic 'girl' like me!)

PS. I hear you and neither do I have a problem with the InfidelGuy himself, but his site wouldn't be appropriate for this particular issue.

Ralph Dumain said...

Mary, I haven't the knowhow to know how to embed a forum in my site, though that wouldn't be a bad suggestion. Another alternative is to start a google, yahoo, etc., group for autodidacts. (I have some other yahoo groups for philosophy and other subjects.) But it seems that black atheism deserves a group on Atheist Nexus, on which there are many black atheists. (There is a tiny group for African atheists, but there's nothing happening, there.) Note that the group should be for black atheiSM (or freethought or humanism) to include all with an investment in the subject. Maybe I should start one right now.

Mary said...

I think thats a brilliant idea :)
Sounds like a good home for it.

I am going to go the chat room there so we can continue to discuss things in there.

Hope to see you there when you are through with setting up.

Ralph Dumain said...

Final announcement: I have set up a Black Freethought Group on Atheist Nexus.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Everyone has pretty much summed up how I feel regarding your eloquent, honest and empowering essay. I am a Black/Female Atheist. I am also STILL in the "closet" and do not see myself emerging from it anytime soon. Sad, huh? My mother is a pastor, and my family proudly proclaims we are "pew babies/ (P.K.'s) preacher’s kids." I have children and I know that if I reveal my "deepest, darkest secret", which equates to Satanism, I and my children will be exiled (which is so UN-Christian). I have not met many atheists and NEVER a Black Female atheist. I know we are out here, but I think it's sad that I would rather come out as "gay" than an atheist. My son recently asked me to read him a bed-time story from the Bible. I read the first chapter of Genesis. He asked me if god can make the world in 7 days, then why can’t he fix global warming. My son is 6 - I think he’s on the right track, lol. Thank you for your words, they give me courage and answer questions I dared not ask out loud. Sorry for the rant. BTW I found this at as well. BFA do exist! (I just don’t know where to find them!?!)

Ralph Dumain said...

Well, Anonymous, you aren't as alone as you think you are. Thanks to the Internet, many many black atheists are coming out of the woodwork, including a surprisingly large number of black female atheists, especially young ones. You can find them on YouTube, in Facebook groups dedicated to black atheists, in a forum in the otherwise imbecilic, and in my group, which is the largest on the web:

Miki said...

Black female atheist here! Thank you for this blog!!!

Wrath said...

You are much welcome. Please check out my newest blog at

Anonymous said...

Excellent article. My husband and and I are African American and struggle with the way we are treated from our "super Christian" family and friends. It is sad that we can't freely say how we feel without offending someone else. We also have two sons that we want to raise to be independent critical thinkers. I do not want them believing something just because someone told them. My husbands friends have even stopped talking to him because of our disbelief. It is amazing. It would be nice to have others to talk with about our disbelief in religion and God. Thanks for making us not feel so alone.

Wrath said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Please go over to my other blog at I am writing a post about coming out as an atheist in the black community and will be looking for others to share their stories of how they announced their lack of belief to their friends and family and what the results were.

Wrath said...

My mistake, the website is

joshua said...

Very thoughtful and insightful essay.

I am a white male. Being an atheist has shown me a slice of life experienced by minorities. But as a humanist, it is important to me that I be a part of a community where equality can finally be lived and achieved. This is why I consider you a brother.

Anonymous said...

Greydon Square too!

Anonymous said...

Good essay Wraith. Check out the Freethinkers group at My buddy Mitch runs it and there are quite a few sistas and brothas who are not bound by religion.

Wrath said...

Thanks, Mike. I will make sure to check that out. Many of these posts will be finding their way into a book I am writing. Black Planet may be just the place to promote it when it is published and I do believe I have found a publisher for it. We'll have to wait and see on that however.



Anonymous said...

What you have welled explained is worst off in Africa. I am from Africa and I cry to that time when they will all return to their traditional roots spirituality. I too was dead into this grave called christianity but with always a curious mind and one day, I finallt woke up after a long period of wakenness. This phenomenon well stated above is also rife amongst africans in other places of the globe. My question is this " How do we decolonize the minds of our entire people?

As well stated, I have been labelled all soughts of names "satan", "devil" etc as I try to pass on my view to those closer to me. Isolation, rejection etc is the price I am paying.
I would like to state connecting with amny black atheist out there. male/female wellcome. cnngwa(att)yahoo(dot)com

TaylorSiluwe said...

Wow. Can you say "strummin' my pain"? That's what this essay does. It speaks out the pain I've felt for a lot of years -- growing up Jehovah's Witness, and to this day can not tell my sadly, still devout, mother that there is no God.

If I ever had that conversation, the pain in her eyes might kill me. And worse, if I saw a glimmer that she agreed with me, the pain would be worse. Because in my most rational mind I know she knows the global paradise she waits for is all baloney. *sigh*

I call having those conversations 'stealing paradise'. How do you take that from your mom? Especially when she already knows.

Son of Baldwin said...

Tell the story, Wrath!

Wafflz said...

I must say this was an interesting read, coming from a black christian. While I did not read all of it, the few paragraphs I did read made some nice points. I would imagine debating with you would be interesting to say the least, to be honest I hope I can actually debate with you one day, as my life is definitely lacking in that category.

Phillip said...

Well said bro. I too feel embarresed about the lack of critical thinking in our community. I don't bring up religion, but if asked I'm proud to say that I'm an Atheist. (personally I prefer the term "Bright".)

Anonymous said...

I was featured in the American Atheist Magazine, and listed with other publicly known Atheist at All Experts:
See: Politics & Law section-


Kaleb Forrest said...

I enjoyed your essay very much! Although I am still in the closet (both for my atheism and homosexuality), I understand how hard it can seem to come out. Also, coming from a white boy, I cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like being a black atheist. African atheism sparked my interest when my best friend, Chris (who is black), confessed to being an atheist also, and told me of his hardships in coming to terms with who he is. He explained how his family would rather see him in the streets because of him being an atheist, than to see him go to college and get an education. So, I very much loved your educational and honest views of atheism in in the mind of an African-American. You should most definitely write a book on it. Good luck!

queenlyzard said...

Thank you so much for this essay. It both echoes many things that I have thought and provides a deeper insight into questions I've had on the topic.

I am a White atheist woman, and my boyfriend is Black, and a recovering Southern Baptist.

While I am not usually an Angry Atheist, I have to say that the religious indoctrination he received would qualify as child abuse under any other circumstances. I am often at a loss to help him overcome the emotional scars. This essay helps me understand in some ways why it is so hard for him to turn his back on the Church altogether.

The human obsession with religion has always baffled me a bit, and more so since I became a skeptical thinker. I am now studying psychology, in the hopes of understanding better why people do such damaging things to themselves. It cannot be denied, for whatever reason, that the more impoverished people are, the more religious they become. Perhaps as we raise standards of living all over the world, religion will begin to fade. I can only hope.

Wrath said...

Thanks to everyone who have posted their comments so far and thanks for all of the kind and encouraging words. It is evident from the overwhelming response that there was a need to write this. My book, "Escaping The Overseer (Why Black People Should Not Worship God)" is in the hands of a publisher as we speak. It features this essay as well as many others from this blog and Godless and Black. This essay will also be reprinted in an upcoming issue of American Atheist Magazine. Hopefully, we can begin to reach more of our brothers and sisters and bring them with us into the light of reason and emancipate them from ignorance and mental slavery.

Greta Christina said...

Don't have much to add... but I want to add my voice to the chorus. Great piece. Read it when Friendly Atheist linked to it; read it again when it was linked to in a comment on my blog; now have both this blog and Godless and Black in my blogroll. I can't wait to read your book.

wrekk. said...

What a GREAT ARTICLE! Thank you. I am reading this to my children when I get home. I cant thank you enough for writing this brilliant piece of writing....

tracieh said...

Holy Cow! Someone just sent me the link to this blog, and wow, what an excellent piece! I love the connection of the Spanish Conquistadors and the Enslavement of African Americans in the US. It's like mass Stockholm Syndrome or something...?

Anonymous said...

I am an out of the closet Black atheist. You can even say I am an evangelical anti theist.

I believe conversational intolerance should be practiced when someone makes statements based on theological myths. If someone were to say, "I believe Galactus is the devourer of worlds!" and actually demonstrated a true belief in this, we would openly call them mentally ill or insane. The same treatment should be given to anyone that claims the christ was resurrected. If a person claims the resurrection is a fact despite the lack of evidence, they are either willfully lying, crazy or ignorant.

I openly ridicule anyone who insists that I believe in anything theistic. I have found that this acts as a filter when meeting people. I have never met a stupid atheist but I continually run into moronic religionists.

shad said...

Hi Wrath,

Really thanks for this essay.

Most of us (blacks) remain "closet atheists" 'cause we don't want to hurts our friends or family members.

For me it's done, on my facebook profile I'm not afraid anymore to show my colors.

I even post this article with your name on it.

Go ahead dude.

Greetings from an African Black atheist, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Anonymous said...

I loved your essay and i was in complete agreement to it. As a black teenager who has been a secret atheist for many years I have been afraid to openly express my veiws. When I finally mustered up the courage to consider telling my family I transferred to a Catholic school, and I was forced to retreat into my shell of solitude once again for fear of my views actually hurting my education in some way. However I am glad to know that I am not alone and that somewhere out there someone else feels the way i do.

Anonymous said...

I am a newly converted, self enlightened Black Atheist who has been searching for a forum; whereas, I might find others who share who share our beliefs. Your blog is excellent, and I look forward to reading more in the future. Thank you..

Deborrah Cooper said...

I was referred to your blog by Darrel Ray (The God Virus). I'd explained to him the difficulty of being a Black woman in America that was not religious. I am shunned by Black men as being an anomaly - a Black woman that doesn't go to church or believe? They don't know what to do with me. But I have always, even as a child, seen religion as nothing but a social construct to control the minds and behavior of millions of people - to make them predictable, controllable, judgmental, mindless sheep. Especially Christianity.

But no one thinks for me.

My chief problem with Christianity and other man-made religions (which you did not address)is the focus on controlling women's sexuality. Using religion and God as justification, women are insulted and called horrible names, demeaned, assaulted, raped and killed. The constraints and guilt associated with sex by our largely Christian society have created a nation of porn addicts and child molesters.

I have attempted to raise the consciousness of Black men by explaining that their religious beliefs are holding them back, making them close-minded, judgmental and cruel in their treatment of women, and limiting options for the entire Black community. Now that I have found your essay, I have a little more ammunition!

Wrath said...

Welcome Deborah and thanks for your comments. I have remarked in the past about how Black female atheists are even more scarce then Black atheists on the whole. Since then I have met quite a few online. I'm very happy to hear that you have found your way free of religion.

Your point about the treatment of women in Christianity (and most religions as they are generally relics of a less enlightened age.)Please check out my blog There's a post that I think you'd be interested in.

White Power Atheist said...

Niggers and Atheism just don't Mix. The White Atheist, the best tribe ever to walk on the earth of no religion, made your religion. Niggers could not have done that. They are too primitive

Wrath said...

A white power atheist? Seriously? You gave up religion but not the dogmatic illogical thinking, the willful and deliberate ignorance, belief without evidence that accompanied it? You might as well have remained a Christian if losing religion has brought you no enlightenment. You are truly one of a weak and pititful mind.

Wrath said...

Ah, I spoke too soon. You have obviously not given up religion since you have alligned yourself with the KKK which examplifies all that is bad in the Christian religion. Either that or you are just a little bitch ass coward who has used that website to hide his identity.

David B. said...


Excellent article! I couldn’t agree with you more. For years now I have scarcely come across another secular black person. I come across blacks who are nonreligious, but secular is another thing. Most times even nonreligious Blacks are still beLIEvers in the deity they read about in the BUYBull or they are otherwise spiritual. Me? You could say I get it from all sides. I’m 1) black, 2) gay, and 3) secular. (I don’t mind ‘atheist’, as I use the word all the time. I go beyond rejecting belief in diety to also rejecting belief in anything supernatural, religious, or so-called “sacred”.)

The first Black I heard self-identify as an atheist is Reginald Finley (the Infidel Guy). Then I heard about Norm Allen when I attended a CFI meeting. Can you believe I still have not met any secular black women? Yeah, of course you can. 

Back in ’95, I left Christian ministry after having my religious beliefs unravel one-be-one over the course of years. It’s funny that now I’m “ministering” once again. I founded the Long Beach Freethought Society in August ‘08. Our membership is flirting with hitting 100 real soon! The interesting thing is we’re in the second largest city in the L.A. metropolitan area with a population that is over 13% Blacks and with the exception of me – the organizer – no blacks attend our events! Well…there were two black guys that came once on separate occasions and have never come back. We’ve got Asians, Latinos, and Whites, but where are the Blacks?!? At least I can be proud that we are not the typical atheist/freethought/humanist group that is most if not exclusively white, male, and over the age of 45 or 50. We usually get a 50/50 ratio of men and women and the ages range from very early 20’s to 80. Still, I’m disappointed that my fellow Blacks aren’t coming out. I’ve got to figure out how to attract Blacks.

If anyone reading this is in the area and is interested in fellowship without religion, please check us out at:

Right now, we’re looking to rent a place to open the very first center of its kind on the West Coast. Yeah, baby! We go beyond intellectual banter. We are creating community where secular people have a sense of belonging. You’ll never have to feel alone and want for a place where you know that others like you will be there for help and comfort during trying times without ever saying “I’m praying for you”, “everything happens for a reason” or “the Lord works in mysterious ways”. And you’ll have a community that helps commemorate your significant life events with you. A friend of mine says that I’m building a secular church. I shudder at the word ‘church’, but he gets the drift of what’s happening. The aim is to perform all the good social functions religious institutions have served, but without religion and dogma. And like you, I’m starting a Recovering from Religion group.

I’d love to meet you if you come to L.A. I’m sure we’ve got good notes to trade. Perhaps you could even come speak.

White Power Atheist said...

I never was a Christian, you stupid monkey! As many of YOUR nigger buddies have time and again, both proven and restated that JESUS CHRIST was a BLACK JEW!
So you need to shut the fuck up!
My Parents are the atheist children of atheists that have taught me about the undeniable link between religion and niggers!
Le us look at ten Facts!
1. Blacks and Those fucking chicos are the most religious.
2. It was YOUR people that invented so many religions! Nation of Islam, Obeah, Voudoun, 5 Percenters, the Rastafari Movement, oh yeah and CHRISTIANITY!
(Once again, Jesus was a black Jew, the two dumbest people on earth)
3. Jesus Christ could not have been white.
4. The most religius place on earth, Senegal, is in Africa.
5. The Black culture is immersed with religion. (eg, your films, tv shows, music,)
6. Evolution dictates that niggers are subhuman to us whites
7. Somalia, Libya and Nigeria have ties to Radical Islam
8. Ever heard of the Secular Klan nigger?
9. Most Niggers are ashamed to reveal their Atheism, since violent niggers will beat them senseless.
10. Atheism was Made by WHITES! (Nietzsche, Marx etc)
Any More questions, Jiggaboo?

White Power Atheist said...

Oh, yeah! I almost forgot.
Do you really think that atheism is peaceful? Us atheists are at war! Or, at least us REL atheists! You sit and whine about blacks, yet I do not see you taking action!

White Power Atheist said...

The Theist, Deist/Atheist Agnostic War rages on! Us atheists must take arms against religius people and exterminate them from the face of the planet! And those that created religion must be punished severly! Blacks and their Nation of Islam... Jews and Judaism... Sand Monkeys and Islam and Hinduism... Chinamen and Buddhism/shinto... The Spanish and the Catholic Church go hand and hand... But it was whites that were smart enough to be atheist! To be a nigger and an atheist cannot be possible.
Evolution and Atheism are 1...
You left Jeezus and Gawd and the Holy Guest because the Bible is racist?
Well evolution dictates my superiority over you! If I want to destroy you, I can! Because that is evolution in progress! If a baboon takes agun and kills a jellyfish, then that would be right! But if get rhinoplasty and bleach your face then you are an atheist! Because true Atheists are WHITE. Heil Hitler, the greatest ATHEIST ever! WHITE POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We cannot rely on conversion alone! We must get rid of the believing folk! AKA NEgroids
Today, we exterminate the enemy!
Blacks, Gays, Jews, Chinks, Beaners, Towelheads, Aborigines, Red Skins, Oh and worst Theists.
Oh, yeah and i am trying to build a Gawd free Klan

Anonymous said...

To the white power creep - You are disgusting. I am a white man and I cannot accept that anyone should vilify any group of people in the way that you just have. Freedom entails respecting others and allowing them to express their views but not to try to incite violence and bigotry. Wrath is totally right in his essay. May his type of reasoning triumph over white supremacist's garbage.

White Power Atheist said...

There will be time for enlightenment later. But for now, we must kill anyone that believes in Jeezus and his army of octogods, Towelheads ad aliens that bombed the earth with hydrogen bombs on spaceplanes.
Exterminate Theists.
Kill Them ALL!

Meretrics said...

I strongly suggest deleting the comments of White Power Atheist. Such filth should not be allowed to be published!

I very much enjoyed this post and think it is an excellent consciousness raiser for those of us who know little about atheists in situations other than our own.
As a feminist, I did find it rather disheartening to see the constant use of the generic masculine when talking about "the black atheist". Must it always be "he"?

Dean M said...

While i agree with 99% of your post and found it to be a very good read i do not agree that Jesus and the Bible are European creations or European in origin. You must remember that Europeans were converted to Christianity much the same way as your ancestors were and we experienced a similar culture rape that you refer to. I find it extremely sad that it has taken this long for people to wake up and realize that this parasite we commonly refer to as Christianity is nothing but a sick mind control device that does nothing but destroy and poison everything.

Valhar2000 said...

Actually, guys, Ebonmuse, from Daylight Atheism, has made a very interesting discovery about our idiotic friend the White Power Atheist:

It seems that at a certain point his blog began to be inundated by comments from a christian of the less intelligent variety, and Ebonmuse chose to delete his comments since it was clear that the guy had not bothered to read the posts he was commenting on.

However, once the comments from WPA started showing up, Ebonmuse noticed that the IP addresses, and the time stamps on the comments, made by the christian troll and the racist troll match up pretty well.

Therefore, we have a christian troll who decided to pose as an atheist writing racist comments in order to make us look bad.

So, WPA is a racist sociopath, or a Christian sociopath who thinks that writing that sort of disgusting drivel is worth it if it will score a point for Jesus. I can't decide which one is the sadder option, honestly.

Valhar2000 said...

In answer to Meretrics:

Although I appreciate your point of view (few people hate having interesting threads derailed by pointless idiocy more than I do), I think Wrath should leave WPA's comments here (at least a representative sample) so that other people that come to this comment thread can see the sort of thing some of the members of the not-so-loyal opposition get up to.

Anonymous said...

AOL has a really shitty job of managing proxies. Like REAL shitty.
I want to believe the best about people so I'm biased I guess. But, AOL is the only internet (that i know of) that uses still dial up. So, you gotta put in dozens of different reasons to why the IP is the same. My friend says that it could be that they live in the same area, time similarites, OR it could be that they used the same website at atround the same time.
My friend made a comment and was called an "atheist warmonger" because he went to a site were some retard said they were building an army to exterminate retards, cripples, and theists. And he is one of the most devout Catholics I know. He could become Pope! LOL!
We did a search and some crackhead hater from his area who left the comments at the same time on a different topic area of the website was responsible.
AOL has one of the WORST IP and proxy control systems on earth. And that Is a fact. Steve Leone may not even be from the same side of the nation. It is so pathetic, AOL is

Nero jr said...

The Atheist Jew's article on the town hall had a few comments from the REAL white Power Atheist (it ain't leone) should answer some people's questions about his id.
He ain't bad, his ideas were good, trying to expose racism amongst atheists. He/she/it/they(?) just went about it the wrong way

Ebonmuse said...

Please see this comment for the latest developments in the "White Power Atheist" debacle:

charlie h. said...

I have the answer. Thank u. U have expressed everything I believe but somehow subdued in myself when I went to work at a so-called christian school. I have been wondering what is wrong with this place of work for 7 years and kept saying about it that 'here, the devil is alive and well'...U have reminded me that really it's the not the devil or god but the intellect or rather lack of intellectual thought that makes the managers and others the cretins that they are. They are corrupt bureaucrats hiding behind religion. And u nailed it when u spoke of criminals of all kinds including sexual abusers, wife bashers etc who religiously attend church on sundays. Thanks for the wake up call.
I will be following your blogs etc.

White Power Atheist said...

Well, I guess I'm out! Last comments on your blog will be entirely different since I'm a black believer. Their is a very good reason why there are so little Black atheists. Social Darwinistic, Eugenic bastards like Richard Lynn who use the theory of evolution as a weapon to spread hate. If you actually looked, you would find many atheists that are just as bad as KKK and Xtian Nazis. The ideals of Darwinism & Eugenics combined were employed by Hitler, "the architects of apartheid" and everyone that colonized Africa.
I"M OUT!!!

WPA said...

However, your essay was brilliant!

Vitamin R said...

Hell of an essay. I wish there were more black atheists being vocal and fearless. That the atheist movement did more community outreach in the first place, but especially in among people of color.

And it sickens me, too, that the same religion that put us in chains is keeping us in chains hundreds of years later.

Rob said...

I very much enjoyed and related to your essay! Though I am no longer in the closet about my rejection of superstition and commitment to the the truth (aka Atheism)! That being said, your reference to how our ancestors where introduced to Christianity is one that I frequently refer to and its refreshing to know there are others who feel the same way.
I would, however, like to add that the history of African Slavery is that NO European Man ever tore Africans from the Continent. African Slavery was the invention of Africans and "whites" bear no responsibility for the capture of Blacks from Africa. The Europeans (Portuguese mainly), simply purchased a quality, cheap and plentiful product for import (to American-Europeans).
It's simply untruthful and unfairly empowering to continue the myth that Europeans waltzed into Western Africa and carted off thousands of people in to chattel. I do not wish to to "rain" on an extremely interesting and poignant essay. Rather I just wanted to add even a little more support to a brilliant essay!

Anonymous said...

Why can't embrace reason and logic as truths, because it would lead us to revolt. We are simply afraid of the truth of or position in the world

Shepsu said...

We, Black Atheists are not invisible. I speak for myself and my husband who's an atheist also; "equally yoked" ha, ha, ha Steve Harvey!!! Anyway, we try to reason with family, friends but to no avail. We feel alienated and I can't stand to go to mass gathering because large gatherings always turn into a hallelujah festival.
As for my profession, I am a nurse and I know for a fact that my colleagues and supervisors (very religious folk, not necessarily moral folk; would scrutinize me and knit pick me and make it hard for me. When asked which church I go to I say I don't go to church. Then the next question is what religion am I dealing with. I say I have no religion. That's when the conversation ends with a perplexed look, and the subject is awkwardly changed. It is truly a sad world when people of all walks of life are waiting on a version of imaginary Santa and imaginary Satan combined to save them and this planet. We, humanity can live in harmony with Nature and with each other without the constraints of religious dogmas; without these capitalistic tools of deceit and religion to bog us down.

heidijo said...

I LOVED this! Great job!

heidijo said...

Also, I'll be looking forward to your book on black atheism!

heidijo said...

I was reading through all the insightful, lovely comments and I came to some IDIOT white supremacist jerk off! What a loser who obviously doesn't "get" what atheism actually is. If he did, it would be crystal clear to him that no race is any better or worse than any other. I mean, he was a dick! It made me mad!

Emperor Grovsel said...

Dammit, The WPA is a hoax? Fuck! I thought I had found an atheist that supports pure white brotherhood too! What the Fuck, man?
Well, It is of no wonder why nigger atheists are so little. They are not smart enough. Atheists are smarter, so people with high IQ's have little faith in the supernatural. BUT NIGGERS HAVE IQ's of what, 65 (richard lynn taught me that, the same man that said atheists are smarter) Whites and asians have the highest IQ's on earth. Niggers are 3rd to last.

Son of Baldwin said...

My IQ is 141. And I'm black as tar.

Arthur said...

Well said. I am Atheist and Black. I am vocal and unapologetic. See my blog @ More of us need to be vocal. I get respect and fear from those I refute. We are stuck in Jesus' ass crack, waiting for him to fart - we then praise him when he does so. This has got to stop.

Anonymous said...

You have a very interesting essay here that seems to encourage and justify the black atheist, but what of the white one. Your argument does not leave space for him/her to deny the Christsian faith based on it being a "slave-master" religion because he/she is the master and so such indoctrination on the basis of the universal phenomenon that is faith is more justified for our white brethren.
Secondly I have studied the Bible in great depth and detail and I can assure you that it does not encourage the "enslavery of the alien who sojourns among you"

Wrath said...

I assure you it does encourage slavery. You should perhaps brush up on your Leviticus.

"Both thy male slaves, and thy female slaves, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigor (Leviticus 25:44-46)

And as for white atheists there are plenty of logical reasons to reject the bible. The contradictions and out and out fallacies, the misogyny, homophobia, capricious cruelty and stupidity of the Christian God figure. I have gone into all of that in previous and subsequent blogs. This essay was meant specifically to address the ridiculousness of Blacks and Latinos embracing this barbaric and bigoted faith.

Emperor Grovsel said...

atleast their are some niggers on earth that have the intelligence to break away from jeezus. good thing too. I always wanted a monkey smart enough to do my chores for me.

Anonymous said...

I am not a christian but I can still forgive the poster that preceded me with the monkey comments because I understand that emotional maturity and intelligence is not a gift that everyone is lucky enough to have been endowed with.

Thanks for this excellent essay.

Casey9477 said...

Outstanding!!! This was a very well written and cogent essay. Bravo! As a black Atheist, I full identify with it..."I feel you" as some would say.

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Anonymous said...

The writer of has written a superior article. I got your point and there is nothing to argue about. It is like the following universal truth that you can not disagree with: The only exception to the rule that everything has its exception is the rule itself I will be back.

Me said...

Very interesting read. Something to ponder on. I am not an Atheist, I am classified as a Christian ... with questions. But that's because I haven't studied enough outside of what I've been taught in order to completing define my spirituality. That's my question to you .. As an Atheist .. what do you believe? Do you have what is called a "spiritual life?" What do you believe about the human race, spirits, souls, etc ... Im curious ...

DocDoyle said...

This was an excellent essay and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I am currently doing work on youth violence and through research have found some interesting questions. Your article hits it right on the head. Basically what I have found is that most people of color are very religious, but have no sense of morals. Yes, they will sell drugs and then go to Church. I've met several great Baptists who I sincerely admire. But have to question why they believe in God. I've been studying Dr. Martin Luther King - Kingian NonViolence recently and this is based on Buddhist teachings. But with a strong Christian background. To be a Christian with a respect of MLK is accepted, but to be a Buddhist is not. Most people do not take the time to see exactly what religion or belief they actually have, they only do what is taught to them. Now, people of color, and underprivileged youth in the cities do need something to hold onto. They have no hope at times and having a God to believe in gives them hope. My question is how to show that hope and a connection to something bigger can be understood by today's average youth? Thanks

Len Wheeler said...

I am a female white atheist. It was hard enough for the white, I can't imagine what it must be for my friends of all colors here in the States. I must say that this article is timely and just to all parties. I whole-heartedly support it. From the Bible Belt, Texas.

Perry said...

You've opened up a topic that is enormously important as the many responses show.

I left this comment on the OpEd article about your blog.


As I'm sure Wrath James Wright has found and this excrutiating article illustrates, persons of faith have raised self-delusion to the level of an Olympic sport.

The Guardian has regular articles and exchanges on "Faith" in its "Comment is free" section. Some of them are worth reading.

This one is a good sample, because it relates morality to evolution and non-belief, though again the author can't resist an ad hominem insult to new atheists, whatever they are.
There's also an article in the same section about an over-flowing Australian seminar for 2500 atheists.

That said, Mr.Wright is on the button, of course. Christianity has always had a major role in psychologically stunting and economically oppressing those who might otherwise start asking tricky questions like why they're not getting their fair share of the pie today rather than waiting for it in some mythical cabin in the sky as one of God's sinful 'chillun"

Oh the pity and the shame of it all.

Perry said...

Do you have what is called a "spiritual life?"

as if this is an important, indeed central, question.

In fact it is a meaningless question once you free yourself of religion's intellectual and psychological shackles.

Ask yourself rather:
Am I making the most of my talents? How can i help to make our society more just and sustainable?
Is there someone who needs my help but is too proud or shy to ask? Which books should I read this month?
Which of the works of the great authors and composers are missing from my shelves?
What should I do to be a good 21st Century citizen?

Those kinds of questions help you to grow and learn and mature and become a kind, generous, useful member of society.

That's all there is to it.

Faculty said...

Having been raised in a (very) reform Judaic tradition I was lucky to be encouraged to think and respond to everything I was told. Though I'm sure this wasn't their intention, this eased my transition into atheism at a relatively early age, a state of existence which I (and my wife) continue to this day and plan to pass onto out son and daughter.

That being said, I teach at a small junior college in downtown Chicago that caters mostly to African American students. To them I am, among other things (including, I hope, a good teacher and trusted mentor)"The Atheist.? I can't help but chuckle when they respond to my denial of God by saying that I must worship Satan. (They've been so indoctrinated into this good/evil dichotomy that they don't understand how I don't believe in the God AND I don't believe in Satan.)

Their blind faith, in many ways, actually blinds them. They have trouble understanding many aspects of science, even (often especially) the most remedial concepts.

Until something is done (what that something is I can't say) about this segment of society's adherence to an oppressive (at least) system of thought, all attempts at a thorough education will suffer.

Thanks for your insights.

Wrath said...

Thanks for all of the comments. I'm happy to se that this article has reached so many. Please check out my blog "Godless and Black"

Someone asked if I have a "spiritual life". Since the spirit or soul is a myth that would be difficult. Do I have experiences that trascend the mundane like listening to good music, reading a good book, viewing amazing art, being awed by nature, having amazing sex, being overwhelmed by love? Yup. All of the above. I get the endorphins and the dopamine flowing in all sorts of ways and to the less-educated or willfully delusioned a good dose of endorphins or a dump of dopamine into the blood stream might seem "spiritual". I'm just a tad smarter than that.

thewildnubian said...

This might be ironic coming from a Christian, but you might find this interesting. People with albinism are being killed in Tanzania and Burundi for religious reasons. I have told many atheists this, and they were completely ignorant that all this was happening.

Perry said...

I have just discovered the work of anthropologist SCOTT ATRAN on "sacred values". They relate in some ways to religious beliefs but have profound implications for atheists who are trying to understand how notionally irrational quasi-religious motives influence our behaviours and the way our societies work.
First Atran contributes to this fascinating little progamme on BBC radio 4 at

Then I found other articles and discussions that demonstrated as nothing else ever has, that simply blaming religious beliefs for the apparent craziness of religious persecution, terrorism, suicide bombers and Tea Partiers is a fundamental error.

Here are links to material I've found fascinating and invaluable in my thinking not only about religion but also about Gaian Democracies and 21st Century Leadership.

its a few hours work but well worth it.

cosmiclola said...

I very much appreciate your essay, and find myself in a similar position of being a closet atheist. Oddly enough, it is more of an issue at my place of employment, where I work as a scientist.

Anonymous said...

Your essay is insightful & moving. I've been an atheist since October of 2006 or so. I've face some of the same issues you raised in your essay--and I'm as white as you can get without being albino. I hadn't thought about how much harder it must be for black atheists in the United States.

Have you checked out any of Norm L. Allen's writings? He's a black atheist and humanist. He has published two books, one of which is an anthology (I've read it). It's great stuff.


Anonymous said...

Its 2011 and I love this post.

Black Atheist in GA

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner said...

Hey, dude, let's git past alla the hypocritical BS on religion and focus on how long our Finite Existence is. 88ish years?? Q: What the #@!! happens after if our souls are indelible? A: First, we riseabove to face our General Judgment by our kick-some-ass Jesus; furthermore, if we’re going down, don’t you think it’s time to wake-us-up? --- I was called by God to make NINE, sardonic satire, avant-garde, efficacious blogs BECAUSE of the experiences I've had in my sinFULL life. All I want you to do is read'm and ‘make thy choice’ -SAW (wonderful, wonderful films). God blessa youse -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL

Ben said...

Very, very well written essay. I guess all of us to a certain extent must remain "closet atheists" until our community grows enough to become more accepted. Christopher Hitchens said that the Atheist community in general is one of the fastest growing. I hope the day comes soon where it will be more comfortable to be "Out of the closet" Atheists.

Geoff Thorne said...

Well, I've never been in the closet (though atheism is equally extreme in this context. there's just as little proof that there is NO "supreme deity" as there is that there is one, but, whatever. We can agree that none of the world's faiths have anything to do with whatever is really going on in Reality and leave it at that.).

I guess I was lucky. My parents told me to make up my own mind and I did. I too have always been baffled by the crazed adherence to a faith that was forced upon us in particularly brutal fashion but more so because it's entirely hypocritical. None, and I mean ZERO, of the vocal adherents of Christianity that have tried over the years to berate and brow beat me into conformity have actually come near to walking the actual walk. They live in the grey zone between hypocrite and liar.

I don't believe in magic of any sort, however, so my "skepticism" isn't limited to Christians. None of the world's faiths are worth the parchment they're printed on. Usually considerably less.

Like I said: I have good parents who believe in people making up their own minds about everything in their lives and taking both the benefits and the lumps that go with that.

Loved the essay.

Anonymous said...

Oh Wow, I feel enlightened. I would venture that the reason black Christians were behind the Civil rights movement though is bc its easy to organize people who go to the same place same time same day of the week, a strong part logistics.

You have to admit, Christian folk can be easy to organize, ha, and can be easy to control.

But, now, I got some stuff to think about. Atheism and non-Christian are two different things though.

Dewaine said...

I really enjoyed the essay. As a fellow black atheist, I found myself nodding and smiling throughout the whole thing… I’m really looking forward to reading more of your writing. Keep up the good work!

Very respectfully,


JQ said...

I am Black myself, & after many years of observing my race & most of their sense of logic, I really wouldnt expect us 2 Think our way out of Christian Bullshit

Jill said...

Thanks for the essay...great!! I am a proud atheist and no longer hide it from anyone. If they don't like it they know what they can do, and that goes for family as well! Keep it up! Jill