Wright is speaking out as a Black atheist so that others in the Black community might see another alternative to the slave master's mindset, and so that other Black atheists might feel comforted in knowing that they are not alone. He writes that most in the Black community are afraid to speak out about their atheism for being ostracized and ridiculed.
Wright is to be admired for his courage in questioning and in challenging others to do the same. Atheism is choice that should be allowed any person, no matter their skin color. An atheist shouldn't be demonized or ridiculed for questioning and coming to certain conclusions.
But for those that believe in God and Christianity, they will generally say that their beliefs have been a source of strength to them. As a counselor, I have often seen how people faced with the trauma of deep loss have found their only solace in their belief in God and their religion. I don't think we could or should seek to take that away from those that deeply suffer.
But I do believe that religion can go beyond helping people cope during difficult times. It can also be used a source of great power to fight social and economic injustice for those that believe.
It doesn't have to be, and it shouldn't be, a battleground between those that believe in God and those that don't. I think the divisions are often fueled by the power structure to keep the people fighting against themselves when they should be united for each other.
Whatever people of any race or culture believe about God and religion is not really an issue, unless those people are being harmed by those beliefs. Wright would argue that Blacks are being harmed by embracing the slave master's religion and he has some good points to make and every right to make that case. If we do see that any system of thought or belief is abusing and exploiting people then we not only have a right but a duty to speak out.
Still, I think we might be better able to move forward if we focus on how we can use our beliefs to support a better life for ourselves and each other. Religion should be promoting compassion, social and economic justice, and unity. In the same way a lack of religion is not a deterrent to opening ones mind to seeing the benefits of compassion, social and economic justice, and unity.
What is needed at present is greater understanding of people's views and of their circumstances, no matter if they believe in God or in organized religions. Then we can clearly see that no matter what our particular belief or lack of belief is we are human and have certain rights and dignities.
It is time to use both our hearts and minds to help heal ourselves and our society.
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