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The 'Invisible' Black Atheist

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"....Atheism in the Black community is synonymous with Satanism...."
Wrath James Wright, Source: Words of Wrath
Wrath James Wight, a former fighter, a trainer, a husband, a proud father of three, and a Black atheist.

Wright, admittedly, is a rare person in the Black community. A Black person that will openly admit his doubts about and even antagonism toward God and Christianity.

Wight observes in his article , "The Invisibility of the Black Atheist" from his The Words of Wrath blog, that:

....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, slave masters and oppressors....

.....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.....

....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....


Wright raises some important points. The Black atheist is seemingly almost nonexistent. Yet, Black people have for the most part enthusiastically embraced Christianity, the religion of their oppressors.

Wright's own mother was a minister, and he observes that the pressure to be a Christian is found in nearly every aspect of Black society. There is tremendous pressure on Blacks, Wright explains, to believe in God and to be Christian. For a Black person,"Telling our mothers and grandmothers that we no longer believe in god, and thus breaking their hearts, is a painful situation to even contemplate," he writes.


Yet it cannot be denied that religion and the churches have helped Black Americans cope with their oppression and survive.

But Wright sees embracing the brutal master's Christian religion as a source of shame and error for the Black community.

He writes:

....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.....

Wright and others might argue that it is not enough for the Black community to cope and survive. In fact, they might argue that their survival has not really been helped by embracing a religion and a mindset of their oppressors.

The level of poverty, racial and economic injustice, and lack of opportunity experienced by young Black men has left many of them facing a future of unemployment, violence, imprisonment, and even death.

....Joblessness for 16-to-24-year-old black men has reached Great Depression proportions -- 34.5 percent in October, more than three times the rate for the general U.S. population.....Source: Washington Post

....Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34....Source: New York Times

....The report found, among other things, that from 2002 to 2007, the number of homicides involving black male youth as victims rose by 31 percent, and when they were the perpetrators, by 43 percent. When looking specifically at gun killings, the numbers rose further: 54% for young black male victims and 47% for young black male perpetrators. By contrast, homicides among White youth increased only slightly, or decreased....Source: Burns Institute

Obviously it is not the young black men, but the whole of the Black Community that face brutal social and economic injustice.

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I work as a school counselor and mental health counselor in Gallup New Mexico.

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Christianity is not a White man's, nor was it desi... by reynaldo anderson on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 1:08:28 PM
Thanks for your insight on this. I appreciate, as ... by Grant Lawrence on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 1:44:03 PM
A thought-provoking article, if like Mr. Anderson ... by Dick Thomson on Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010 at 9:30:47 AM
The choice a person makes in choosing a god or no ... by Philip Dennany on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 8:36:56 PM
As I'm sureWrath James Wright has found and this e... by Perry Cleese on Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010 at 4:02:18 PM