Outside The Flock

by Jamilah Lemieux

If you go to a large gathering of Black folks, say a funeral or a graduation, more often than not there will be an acknowledgment of Jesus Christ through prayer and song. Next time you’re at one of these events, sneak a peek around the room during that time. You’ll likely see a couple of folks shifting around awkwardly. Heads bowed in respect, but visibly out of their element and anxiously awaiting the return of the ceremony to a more neutral territory. Chances are those folks are non-Christians: very awkward and sometimes lonely club of those who for whatever reason don’t belong to the approximately 85% of African Americans who belong to a faith that claims Jesus as lord and savior.

As a lifetime member of this subset of Black America, I have a complicated relationship with the Black church. For starters, I think it would be incredibly unwise for any Black person to deny the debt of gratitude our community owes to the church for the work it has done for our people. From Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Movement and beyond, our Christian houses of worship and their members have done a great deal to fight for our rights and provide needed services ( childcare, homeless shelters, rehab facilities, etc.) to our people. I first visited my now alma mater on a college tour organized by Trinity Universal Church of Christ, led by Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Growing up in Chicago, I always admired him along with a handful of other preachers for being outspoken advocates of the needs of Black Chicagoans.

The impact of our churches on Black culture (or perhaps I should say, the influence of our culture on the church) is a great one and I am not immune to that either. I’ve certainly hollered out “Amen” and “Lawd!” or felt the need to “testify”. Though I’m not a subscriber to the main idea, as someone who is interested in who we are culturally and creatively, I see a lot of the beauty of Blackness in the church and I can appreciate that. The church has given many of us the opportunity to shine creatively though song and dance and though I don’t particularly like Gospel music, I am well aware that without it, a lot of my favorite singers would have never honed their craft.

I won’t get all the way into my reasons for not accepting Christianity, because I don’t think they have much relevance here. However, I will say that the proselytizing I get from Christians has been more of a deterrent than any sort of incentive to reconsider my beliefs. I don’t always feel that I’m given the same space to embrace my views that some of Christ’s followers demand for themselves. I’d never think to say to a Christian “You know, you should really consider quitting the church and trying to see the world my way…” and I’d like to be shown the same respect.

What’s worse is that people tend to assume I’m Christian for no other reason I can think of other than because most Black folks are. I’m totally okay with being asked “Are you religious?” or “What is your religious background?”, but do you know how awkward it is to explain that you aren’t a Christian when someone asks “Do you have a church home?” Oftentimes, the next question is “Are you a Muslim?” which seems to be a respectable excuse to some folks and a barely passable one for others.

There is a loneliness that sometimes accompanies being outside the religious majority. As a Black Nationalist and feminist, I’m certainly used to having feelings that are left of center. But even folks who dig my politics have been known to serve the serious side-eye when they find out that I don’t worship Jesus. In White publications, I see articles asking ‘could you date someone of a different religion’, but with us, it’s questions over dating non-Christians or Christians who don’t attend church regularly. I also deeply resent being referred to as a ‘non-believer’, as if the only ‘belief’ that counts is in the Holy Trinity.

When an old episode of Aaron McGruders’ The Boondocks lampooned Tyler Perry, I couldn’t help but to wonder about the cartoonist’s religious background. I couldn’t find any substantial information online, but between the way he fried Perry’s “relationship” with Jesus and some of the more subtle jabs he took at the Black church in his comic strip back in the day, I get the impression that he’s like me. With the way his Perry-esque “Winston Jerome” character and his followers used Jesus as an excuse for some seriously questionable behavior, McGruder managed to capture how…forgive me for not finding a gentler word…ridiculous some of our Christian folks can look to those of us outside the religion (and probably to a lot of people inside as well).

While I realize that the Black church is not monolithic nor are it’s followers, there are certain recurrent themes that have emerged from that group that I take issue with (including the lack of acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage and pushback against keeping abortion legal). It also drives me insane when people refer to the Bible during debates about things that effect the lives of people outside of Christianity. I realize that Black folks and Christians are not hardly the only groups of people to behave in this way, but they are the only ones with whom I have had this experience.

I’m grateful for many of the things Christianity has done for our community; others leave me shaking my head. And while I am glad to know that so many of my people find happiness and peace through this religion, I simply wish that other people’s faith had less bearing on my own life and that I wasn’t presumed to be a member of that faith just because a lot of other folks are. Unfortunately, the ‘separation between church and state’ mandate of the Constitution doesn’t get much run in the Black community.

  • http://gravatar.com/ravsmith78 Ravi

    “I’d never think to say to a Christian ‘You know, you should really consider quitting the church and trying to see the world my way…’ and I’d like to be shown the same respect.”

    You may not say it, but many people do so. Christians are quite often subjected to ridicule, especially when they profess unpopular beliefs — like creationism.

  • IQ

    I appreciate this article and the sentiment behind it. Thanks for speaking up about something that is rarely discussed or acknowledged.

  • VanessainATL

    I agree wholeheartedly with everything in this article. I drive to work and everyday this lady stands at an intersection on Memorial Dr in Georgia w a giant placard with scripture, waving as cars pass through a busy intersection. I often wonder what does she hope to accomplish from standing out there, waving to people- distracting them, really with HER belief system. It’s takes too much energy. People (black christian folk) love to impress upon the non-initiated why its better for us to join their movemenet, but what psychological brain misfiring causes such folk to go so hard at us? Why do they invest so much in trying to ‘save’ us heathens. Personally, I prefer my way of living better than the one that is being offered in the name of religion. I grew up religious-a black, girl growing up in Los Angeles, I never believed the crockery. Living here in the south, the black folk take this religion thing to a whole nutha’ level. But I manage. I stay under the radar, yet I have no problem telling people my stance. In fact, I have read the stories and fables in the bible and can argue with the best on scripture. After awhile, it’s gets tiring, so mostly, I smile and nod.They throw out scripture for the most illogical and mundane things-even when so much devastation is happening around us. And the praying thing is truly mind-boggling to me. I could write a book. In all, great article. The ones who need to read this, probably will, but with a different perception of how they see their ‘proselytizing’…they see it as saving our souls. Puleeze!!! I ain’t here for dat!!!

  • Dave

    One’s religion is a private matter. Unless you’ve stepped into a church or church sponsored function, one does not need to “respect” any overtly religious display of faith beyond allowing others to participate unimpeded. When asked to “please bow my head for prayer” at secular functions I simply do not. If I want to pray, I’ll do so on my own time.

  • Cocochanel31

    Not sure I get the point of the article.
    You don’t understand Christians, and they don’t understand you?

  • Sasha

    Christians are the most openly mocked, disrespected and ridculed of all religious groups and it is always open season on Catholics. People always say they want to be respected when it comes to their religious beliefs however how often is that respect reciprocated?

  • Valentina

    Thank you for writing this article. It articulates what me and some of my friends feel and experience on a daily basis. Unfortunately I feel more comfortable about acknowledging my lack of religious belief around other races and ethnicities than I do around my own people.

    Like you I acknowledge, respect and tolerate the views of others without denigrating their beliefs. I only wish the same respect would be reciprocated.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    Well-written article. When I think about the black church, one of the main things that comes to mind is how a focus on all the great things that are going to happen in the afterlife may keep people from working hard to improve lives (their own or others,) here on earth.

  • Dave

    Catholics? Yeah…because they are a shining beacon of tolerance. It’s called push back, something most Christians are uncomfortable with, I know. Or was the church just hanging out quietly in a corner like the Amish, wishing nothing more than to be left alone in the quiet observance of their faith? No? Right, then.

  • TMINT

    I can tolerate the views of others, but I am so tired of seeing ‘God’ this and that status updates on Facebook everyday.

    About two weeks ago a Black woman told a non-Bkack woman to ‘pray about it’ when the woman stated she hadn’t rode the bus in awhile and didn’t know what time it was coming.

  • The Artist

    Although I’m a Christian. I totally see your point. There’s often the misguided assumption that “all black” people are Christian, when people fail to comply they are often cast aside and given a lecture as if to say “This is the way things should be” as if all black people are monolithic and should abide by all the same standards.

    As Christians, some of us need to learn when to pull it back and realize that not everyone that looks like you is going to follow the same religion. It doesn’t make them any less of a person because they choose not to.

  • Sasha

    Okay Dave.

  • TMITS

    Praying is illogical. If our lives are already planned, then why would one pray about something that is supposed to happen? The thing is, Christians ignore when their prayers aren’t answered and think it works when it works in their favor.

  • http://gravatar.com/ravsmith78 Ravi

    Our lives aren’t already planned. We have free will, so there is no supposed to happen. nothing illogical about prayer; your criticism of prayer on the other hand…

  • Muse

    “Christians ignore when their prayers aren’t answered and think it works when it works in their favor.”

    I disagree. Praying is actually very logical. However, when we pray, sometimes the answer is NO.

    People forget that God doesn’t work for us. It’s the other way aroud.

  • Muse

    That was in response to this comment

    TMITS

    May 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm
    Praying is illogical. If our lives are already planned, then why would one pray about something that is supposed to happen? The thing is, Christians ignore when their prayers aren’t answered and think it works when it works in their favor.

  • free thinker

    I consider myself to be an Agnostic. I feel I am more of a spiritual person than religious one. I feel many African Americans just do not know the history of Christianity and how so many of us embrace religion. I feel many African American are Christians for generational reasons
    almost like a brainwashing. For many people are Christian simply because their parents are Christians and their parents are Christians and so on and so forth. Let me just mention that practice is not just found in the Christian religion. But I feel there is a fundamental difference with African Americans because of the history and relationship with Christianity. Christian was not our religion in Africa. Christianity was taught to the slaves to make them to obey and not steal from the slave owner.
    Christianity was also used to justify slavery (Curse of Ham). It’s a long history between African Americans and Christianity. I just feel we embrace so much of ourselves
    from a race of people who were once our oppressor. And
    it’s not just religion but many other aspectsof ourselves
    ie hair, complexion, self worth even the use of the N-word etc. I hope this doesn’t come across as bashing the religion I just want more
    people to question the status quo instead of just “blindly” going along with it.

  • Melinda

    I honestly don’t understand this new trend of not believing in God all the way or not being totally sold out for him ! Jesus Christ is my saviour not my religion ! I do not believe in these man made denominations because I believe on the day of Pentecost we were all on one accord ! I believe in the word of God as my life guide ! I don’t think this new way of half Christianity is cute or cool and it causes more division than anything ! Just give your life to God wholeheartedly and stop acting as he doesn’t exist one day he is coming back no one wants to be left behind here on this horrid earth !

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    i have never seen the logic of adopting the slave master’s religion….

  • Starla

    @TMINT…Please tell me you are lying about the “pray about it” comment. Please tell me you made this up. Why not simply direct the woman to the transit website to get a schedule? Maybe you misinterpreted her, perhaps she was saying to get a giggle. Cause that is the dumbest response to a bus query I have ever heard..lol

    I am so tired of the only answer some people can ever give to a problem is to “pray on it”. It’s better to just shut up and say nothign that to tell someone to “pray on it” just because you are too lazy to, or uninterested to give someone some real life solutions to real life problems.

  • TMITS

    People pray for their children to be safe at school and then a mass shooting happens and their kid(s) are killed. What kind if ‘God’ would allow that?

  • TMITS

    So what is that saying that Christians like to say? – “When you make plans, God laughs”

    The thing about you all is that you can’t argue about religion with spouting more religious drivel, like the ‘free will’ argument.

  • ME

    I’m not a christian but I would never ever tell my family that partly because of the reasons you mentioned in this article and also because I’m from the deep DEEP south. I feel it’s disrespectful and since I’ve been conditioned to have respect for my elders since I was a toddler that’s just something I can’t quite step back from. I just go through the motions when I go back to small town SC and sleep late on Sunday mornings when I’m not.

  • MommieDearest

    I’m a Christian, and I think that people should be free to practice whatever religion they aspire to without fear of ridicule or retribution. I feel that just because I don’t have the same belief system as a Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddist, etc…, I can still respect them as a person and as a child of the God (whom I believe in) who created them.

    I think that many people feel that “tolerance” of another’s religion is the same as “acceptance,” therefore they must try to aggressively convert everyone they meet. This comes across as being heavy-handed and can be off-putting. I believe that the best way to bring others into the fold (of whatever faith you practice) is to be a living example of your faith- such that others will observe you and think “Wow, I wonder how she/he does it? I’m interested in knowing more about it.” Beating folks over the head is not an effective way to evangelize.

    Also, I acknowledge that there are positive things I can glean from faiths other than Christianity without compromising my own faith and belief system. I just use what I can and leave the rest.

  • Jaslene

    S.C. raise up.

  • Jaslene

    It’s great that you feel that deeply but please have respect for others that don’t.

  • Muse

    The kind of God that gave us free will.

    We all know the difference between right and wrong.
    That’s why many faiths, not just Christianity, believe we will all be judged for our actions on judgment day.

  • Dave

    The author never really explained how she’s been negatively impacted by Christianity; all she did was whine about how the majority of folk don’t share her viewpoint. This article was a waste of time.

  • Humanista

    Well tolerating IS acceptance. You are accepting the fact that others may feel/live/believe-or-not differently than you and that is okay.

    “Beating folks over the head is not an effective way to evangelize.”

    Exactly! I am a Christian and this intolerance infuriates me. I’ve even had other Christians aggressively question my faith and how I was “saved”.

    There is Truth in so many places. Kudos to you for knowing it! :-)

  • TMITS

    I swear to you that I am not making that up and she was definitely serious. She also told the woman that ‘God’ doesn’t give us more than we can handle.

    I thought the same thing you did about why she didn’t just tell her to look up the schedule.

  • Melinda

    Prayer is a real solution to a problem ! But once again Christians are supposed to shut up about our beliefs and be quiet because we might offend someone who doesn’t believe… Soo tired of that .

  • Apple

    Yea no muse . My free will has nothing to do with someone else . The parents didn’t shoot up the school so how is it their free will that doesn’t protect them??

  • Quelqu’un

    In no way did she whine throughout the whole article. The first half she talked about how ingrained the church is in Black folks lives and how it has been beneficial in some ways.

  • Ms. Vee

    I was once a religious person. Now I’m not. Once i did research on the origins of Christianity (and other religions) it brought me to the realization that we have been bamboozled. With that being said, whatever deity/God ones desires to acknowledge is completely up to that person. No one has the right to tell them otherwise. All I advise to religious folks is to not allow your belief system to completely take way your ability to use rational and common sense. However, being very religious and realistic is most likely in itself an oxymoron.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    Yes, that is so logical. ‘God’ gave us the free will to shoot up schools, movie theaters, rape and murder so that ‘He’ can judge us for it on ‘judgement day’.

  • -A.

    hey neighbors!

  • MommieDearest

    @freethinker,

    You are correct that white Europeans did use Christianity to justify slavery. However, the fault was in THEM, not in Christianity. A person can pour sugar in a gas tank and mess up the car’s intake system. Does the fault lie with the sugar itself, or with the person who mis-used it?

    Slavery existed in Africa (and around the world for that matter) long before Christianity came on the scene. Speaking of which, Christianity existed in Africa as early as the first century A.D. in Egypt and Ethiopia. It was centuries later before the Europeans started coming in masse to Africa to spread Christianity, and unfortunately, colonization and the destruction that came along with it.

  • Starla

    @ Melinda..I do belive in the power of prayer, when someone knows how to pray properly it really can move mountains. My gripe is that there are times where telling someone to pray is completley useless; as in the situation TMITS
    brought up. Also telling someone who is in grave distress or fear to pray is not going to help, the person is wound too high to even think about praying.

    Nobody is bashing prayer warriors, just simply to use discretion in doling out the advise “pray on it”. We have a brain and intelligence for a reason; so we can sit, think, and come up with workable solutions to problems that we don’t have to pray on.

  • Quelqu’un

    Personally, I feel like Christians limit themselves and their thinking so much. They explain away natural phenomena by just saying “God did it.” But our world, our universe is much bigger than the Christian religion, than the Christian “god”. Really, it’s bigger than any human’s ideas of “god”, no matter what religion or denomination.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    Let’s all pray tonight that everyone in the world who has cancer is cured and see if it happens. Why would ‘God’ say no to that?

  • stef

    im not gonna debate, but i will suggest you read “God of the Oppressed and Black Theology and Black Power by James Cone. These books will open you eyes to the REAL reasons black people (especially in north , south america and caribbean) accepted Christianity and how the used the religion of the slave master for rebellions and liberation.

    Ill give a quick example almost every leader of major slave rebellions was a preacher ( versey, paul bogle, nat turner)

  • The Moon in the Sky

    “All I advise to religious folks is to not allow your belief system to completely take way your ability to use rational and common sense.”

    Because that is exactly what religion does. I mean, children have died because their parents thought that they could ‘pray’ away the illness instead of seeking medical attention.

  • AB

    Christianity is about loving others as Christ loves us. All that extra stuff the writer saying aint about ISH

  • http://gravatar.com/pocketsizednegro Courtney**

    Ravi, the irrationality is very simple to understand. You’re a smart person.. I know you can see it. Yes, according to Christians, we have free will. But prayer is not about choices per se. It’s about someone asking God for something – be it guidance, strength, or winning a game. Whether they have that conversation or not, if God is all-powerful, then whoever was going to win that game, was going to win that game – regardless of which team prays (or prays hardest). The idea of prayer is pointless to an omnipotent, omniscient being.

    Prayer also doesn’t make sense because you shouldn’t have to ASK an OMNISCIENT God for anything. If I kneel down and bow my head and recite a prayer.. God already knew I was going to ask for whatever I was going to ask for. He also already knows what is going to happen. So what is the point of me doing it in the first place? You don’t need this ritual at all for someone who already knows what is in your mind and heart, and already knows how this is going to play out.

  • Cocochanel31

    Exacty..no sense fighting with non-BELIEVERS..it is a waste of breath and key stroke. We as BELIEVERS KNOW prayer changes things, and how there were many many times had it not been for our own prayers or the prayers of others, we would have gone crazy or died or whatever else from all of the storms that life throws our way. That’s why you have to KNOW GOD fOR YOURSELF otw “other people” will have you doubt HIM. Only those that have been through something or on the brink of something can testify on how it had to BE GOD that saved their life.

    I will keep it real and say I don’t have all the answers, noone does. I have no clue why children are raped and murdered and the innocent catch so much hell everyday..but hey that is life, we will never KNOW ALL THE ANSWERS.

  • Ms. Vee

    @The Moon in the Sky

    Hence why i suggested that religious realist is an oxymoron.

  • Lisss

    @mommiedearest

    oh thank you! I was starting to get depressed with some of the comments on here.

    Christianity was a multicultural, unifying and justice-preaching religion from the get go. matter of fact, christianity was such a threat to the slavery-endorsing, sexist and classist roman society that the roman government used to crucify, burn alive and feed to the lions the early christians.
    furthermore, the Gauls, the Britons, the Germanic tribes etc., the ancestors of the group of people we now call “white”, did not fully embrace the Gospel until almost centuries later. so why is christianity is called “the white man’s religion” by post-secondary-educated and library-card-holding black folks is truly beyond me.

  • Cocochanel31

    PREACH! The Bible said that Satan knew the Word of God just as well as the best of them. I don’t give a darn that the white man took something that was good ( The Gospel) and used it for bad. That was not God, that was THEM!

  • dirtychai

    It’s not a new trend. People just have more platforms by which to express what they believe, religious or not. It’s funny how the moment people step out of their momma’s house everything that’s been happening in the world is “new”.

  • dirtychai

    “All that extra stuff” is superficial, but it’s very much a part of the evangelical culture. I’ve noticed that a lot of Christians have a hard time distinguishing between faith and the culture. It seems that it’s the behaviors within culture that people reject, more so that the tenets of the faith.

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    You are right, the extra gets in the way… its all about your personal relationship with Christ, your walk with HIm.
    The extra is the religious portion, that can rob you of relationship if you let it.

  • Dave

    @stef: except Dutty Boukman, the Voodoo priest who led the slave uprising in Haiti, the only such successful uprising against a colonial power.

  • victoria

    Actually Starla, I disagree with you. I, too, believe in the power of prayer. But unlike you, I believe prayer is useful during good, bad, fearful, and destressful times. Telling someone to pray during a time of distress is not a wrong thing to do. I believe that what people choose to do with advice is their choice.

  • Chip

    Any human’s idea of “god’ suggests God as a human construct which is the crux of the matter and totally contrary to the Christian concept of God totally extraneous to man. He being the Creator of man. But then I’m Christian, so forgive me.

  • victoria

    @Courtney
    It’s refreshing to see you express your thoughts in a mature manner. Although, you disagree with Ravi, you didn’t have to belittle him to make your point. This is very rare when people discuss religion.

  • http://gravatar.com/rastaman1967 rastaman

    “I am God Almighty, believe in me or I will sentence you to eternal damnation!”
    It is that interpretation of the religious faith that turns off so many reasonable people. My mother gave up on trying making me a Christian at age 12 when I rationally explained to her why what was in the Bible and the pastors’ interpretation of it was irrational. I think while she was disappointed she was also proud of the fact that I displayed some independence of thought. To this day we still joke about her religious faith and crack each other up. Because it is just like the priest back in Catholic school said after my probably millionth opinion as to why his stated belief was not consistent, “It’s about faith”. The religious would do themselves a huge favor if they came to the realization that religious belief is not a substitute for science, logic or facts. End the hypocrisy; explain to the faithful that it is about spirituality and communing around a philosophy not the only way of live.

    Religion use to be one of my favorite whipping post but as I have gotten older and experienced more with friends and family who are religious but enlightened, I have come to understand that while religion may not be something I need it is something needed by others. So while I may find the rituals and beliefs disconcerting, houses of worship represent provide a service for many and anything that can help people be better than they are is a good thing in my book. I came to that realization on a rare visit many years ago to a mega church and I realized how similar it was to a sporting event in atmosphere and there are few things that make you feel as euphoric as having your favorite team win in its home arena with you in attendance. It buoys your spirit for an extended period of time. It’s like adrenalin shot. When life is whupping your butt 6 days a week, that service on the 7th maybe the only thing that enables you to go back out there the coming week.

    So I no longer count myself amongst the anti-religious although I am still amongst the anti-ignorant. Because no matter which camp you fall into, the truly ignorant is the real enemy as they attempt to subjugate all discourse to dogma.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    I was agreeing with you.

  • Muse

    Look, we have the choice to choose between good and evil. Unfortunately, sometimes the bad choices made by others affects good people. That’s life and thats FREE WILL. We are impacted by the decisions we make.

    Shooting up a school(which seems to be sin the of choice to use as an example but whatever) is just as much of a result of free will as someone building a school in an impoverished area. In the end, many faiths believe we will be judged for it. That might be hard to ACCEPT but it’s not hard to understand.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    Exactly, Courtney**

  • jj

    being Godless is never a good look. hope you find what you are looking for.

  • victoria

    Humanista,
    I think when MommieDearest stated, ”I think that many people feel that “tolerance” of another’s religion is the same as “acceptance,” she meant people believe TOLERANCE means ACCEPTING (agreeing with) their believes and views. In other words, like you said, accepting that others have different beliefs and views, but not agreeing with those believes and views.

    MommieDearest, I agree with you completely. I LOVE YOUR COMMENT.

    This is my view. I love God, I’m a Christian. It’s in my heart and bones. But I’m apprehensive about getting into religious discussions with others because on a few occassions those who don’t agree with me have called my beliefs illogical and insulted me for believing in ”The masters God.” As Christians we are told, ”Please respect that I dont believe in God.” Yet, at the same time it’s acceptable to insult us. Sometimes, I think these articles are designed not only to express one’s believe, but to insult others who believe differently.

  • http://gravatar.com/noirluv45 noirluv45

    So let me get this straight. Non-Christians can condemn Christians all they want, yet when Christians express their views, and yes, maybe we express them as loudly as those who disagree with us (shame on us) such as being against THE ACT homosexuality or abortion, then the PC crews comes out in force.

    First of all, I don’t ever assume a black person is a Christians. It’s very clear, especially on black-oriented blogs and such that many aren’t. Cool, you don’t have to be. We all have our own volition, but the ones that seem to preach and scream “tolerance” from the mountaintop are the least tolerant of all. I don’t have to accept homosexuality or believe that abortion is right (“m using these two examples since the author brought them up because she seems to be a little put out about the churches views on such). I have that right, and never do I enforce that on anyone else like many Christians are accused of. What’s the difference between a Christian proclaiming that abortion is wrong vs. the ones who believe it’s right? Christians supposedly “throw their beliefs in people’s faces). Really? Oh, well, the way I see it, so the PC crowd. Yet the very ones who disagree with me and MY biblical beliefs are the first ones labeling me or those who believe the way I do. The hypocrisy is blinding.

    The Bible says in the last days men will be lovers of themselves instead of lovers of God (paraphrased). I’m not surprised people have the attitudes of the author and many of the commenters.

  • http://gravatar.com/noirluv45 noirluv45

    Absolutely Melinda! There are certain groups of people where throwing shade is open season: Christians, the overweight, blacks, and smokers. The anti-Christ flock is on the move. They are the biggest hypocrite around because they’ll be the first incensed ones screaming that Christians are too judgmental.

  • Pat

    I will not judge others or impose my religion on others. As for me – I do know prayer has been my companion and comforter in ALL situations. Had it not been for prayer or others praying for me, I may not be writing this comment at this very moment. While I think it is not right to judge non-Christians. It is not right either to judge Christians. We don’t know what situation has led a person to pray or to have the desire to plant the seed of prayer in others. I personally cannot foresee myself giving advice and not bringing up the power of prayer as well as [self]-empowerment. Now we can pray all day long, but God help those who help themselves. Life, for sure, does entail more than just praying.

    I will give advice and hoping that is still acceptable to most.

    As far as the “traditional” church, I do believe they limit themselves within certain situation. Some situations happen which are merely our fault – (God wasn’t the reason behind it). This is when the power of intellect comes into play. We have the mind to think spiritually and that same mind to think logically.

    Also the situations we just can’t comprehend (miracles -small or large), I think God comes into play as well. Regardless of what a person’s religion is or if they don’t have one, we all have the ability to not limit ourselves and to make our own choices.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    John 14:14

    “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” – God

    God is obviously a liar if the answer to a prayer is sometimes ‘no’ as someone here stated.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    “Exacty..no sense fighting with non-BELIEVERS..it is a waste of breath and key stroke.”

    There absolutely is no sense in trying to fight reality and logic.

  • MommieDearest

    @Victoria

    “Humanista,
    I think when MommieDearest stated, ”I think that many people feel that “tolerance” of another’s religion is the same as “acceptance,” she meant people believe TOLERANCE means ACCEPTING (agreeing with) their believes and views. In other words, like you said, accepting that others have different beliefs and views, but not agreeing with those believes and views.”

    YES!!!! That’s EXACTLY what I meant. Good looking out. Thanks! :-)

  • free thinker

    First let me state this post is so off topic for what I think the author stated in her article.

    @ MommieDearest I did not mean to convey that Christianity was the cause of slavery. One of the favorite quote by Mahatma Gandhi sums it up nicely “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” The point of my post was I wanted tell people to do their homework, on anything they follow or believein.Notjust on religion but for everything. Another quote I love is “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religiousbooks. Donot believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” Buddha

    Christianity has been around for centuries, and it also changed over the course of those years. So what you believe today is not the first version of the religion or it may not be the true version either for that matter. It has been changed because of man’s influences and interpretations. Many of the traditions so many celebrate in Christmas and Easter were take from the Pagans. Early Christians did not think of celebrating the birth of Christ. That’s why the Bible gives no reference to when he was born. December 25 is not his birth date. Also, he was not always believed to be a man or human. He was once believed to be a spirit. But to make him more relatable to us they made him be borne as a baby. There are so many other instances of man’s influence ie the protestant domination was made because King Henry VIII wanted an annulment. The influences can go on and on. I am sorry humans are too fallible for me to believe in something without doing some research. Please believe in what you want too. Just know the history behind it.

  • victoria

    Including the preceding verse, Jesus is saying that God will answer our prayers concerning anything that will glorify the name of God. God is not our personal magic genie.

  • Gina Wild

    Agree with you! I wish more people will come out of the religion closet.

    Oh you kind of sound like the guy featured on an Ebony magazine article!? AJ?

    Anyway, i like your comment.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    Not only is he not a magic genie, he isn’t even real.

  • Gina Wild

    «Unfortunately I feel more comfortable about acknowledging my lack of religious belief around other races and ethnicities than I do around my own people.»

    This is exactly the way I feel. It’s so funny cause it looks like a comment I’d write. I also feel more comfortable debating religion/God or better yet lack thereof with non-Afrikans than my people.

    Hopefully more Afrikans will have to strength to separate themselves from religion.

  • Starla

    @Victoria..It’s neither wrong nor right, just useless. Giving tangible support and love would be a greater antidote to the expression of fear and distress than telling someone to pray. Telling someone to pray is just about the laziest most unloving thing to tell someone to do in a time of distress, because it calls for nothing from the listener. Even telling the distressed person “let’s pray together” is a little better, because it calls for some visible action on the part of the listener. Telling someone to “just pray on it” is tantamount to saying I can’t be bothered to deal with your issue, but go pray and see what comes out of it. It is a brush off, plain and simple.

    If the issue is too great, then the better thing to say is “I wish I could be of some better help to you, it hurts me to see you hurting, but I cannot think of anything that I could possibly do to ease your burden, so I will just pray for you because that is all I can offer you right now.” This statement shows a level of interest, care, compassion, concern,and some action to be taken, than just sending someone off to “just pray on it”.

  • free thinker

    Thank for the book suggestion I am definitely out to more perspectives. @Dave touche’

  • Nakia

    Most tools are used differently by a revolutionary mind, but most people are not revolutionaries…certainly not revolutionary leaders. I get your point but would still argue that it was a coping mechanism for most (and still is).

  • Gina Wild

    Jamilah Lemieux, I agree with everything you said in your article 1000%. I totally relate to it.

    Keep up the great work, Jamilah!

  • Quelqu’un

    “The Bible says in the last days men will be lovers of themselves instead of lovers of God (paraphrased).”

    Do you know how long people have been saying that phrase? The disciples themselves though that Jesus was going to return in their lifetime.The Bible also says that there is nothing new under the sun; the concept of “the last days” has been around forever. Human beings have always been “lovers of themselves”, it’s not some brand new phenomenon.

  • shoSTOPPER

    maybe they are christian, but dont beleive the same way as the church they attend the furneral for -

  • shoSTOPPER

    our lives aren’t plans and all christians do not believe pray is a magic want to get what you want – thats a blanket statement

  • BlackNortherner

    Great article.

    I can relate. You did a good job of capturing how awkward the situation can be as a non-religious member of the community. It adds extra complication in the area of relationships on top of all that too.

  • http://speaksbeliefs.com Speaks Beliefs

    amen.

  • bk chick

    You can’t argue against religion because it is based on suspending your belief and continuing to believe in something despite reality. I can go on and on about why religion is a good thing, as I view it in a mostly psychological context. The human mind is extraordinary and we constantly need to create things in order to deal with the questions that we have no answers too, most importantly why we are here. Now, science has answered a lot of the how–and religious people will say that God has answered that too–but for me, I just cannot suspend reality in order to follow the bible/religion. I feel like I would literally have to shut my brain off if I continually went to church or based my fundamental philosophy on things such as eve made women suffer because she “bit the apple” metaphorically or otherwise.

    I do think there are many situations in which intellect or realism can be too damaging to the psyche, and belief in something, despite not having all the answers can be beneficial. In other words, ish just gets too real sometimes. That being said, I respect people who choose to believe, however, at my core, I think the practice of having faith is fundamentally human, and is what led to the creation of religion, and not the other way around.

  • mouse

    God wont force anyone to do anything, he wont force you to believe in him nor will he force you into heaven…

    But he is real, it makes more sense that he does…

  • Sunshine

    Im all about respect of different views/opinions but I just find it interesting that people will believe the newspaper but will question the Bible.

  • http://gravatar.com/noirluv45 noirluv45

    Yes, I do know how long people have said that, and since time keeps moving along, it stands to reason that time would be closer, does it not? No, there is nothing new under the son, but the Word of God says that if you look at the signs and you see certain things, which we see in abundance today, happening, the time is closer. I see those times as now. Yes, mankind has always been lovers of themselves, if you look at how narcissist mankind is today, it’s gotten worse.

    As far as the Word is concerned, I don’t argue it because I didn’t write it. Jesus didn’t either. Either you believe or you don’t. Another thing is the Bible must be taken in context of the language, the time it was written and to whom it was written.

  • mouse

    Good one victoria..lol

  • mouse

    It is true, the time frame is pointless in comparison to the message.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    I agree with you and MommieDearest , I have been noticing that trend lately. Furthermore, I’ am tired of the homosexuality and the abortion debate being dropped off at Christianity’s door (not saying it is NOT an important discussion and it should be discussed within the Christianity sect freely and ideologically but why do people pretend that Christianity is the only religion who opposes these things…) Not saying everyone has to be a believer but as mention a lot of people are hypocritical in this debate and look at it through limited terms and judge Christians (yes judge) with a limited scope based on the ones they had dealings with before and didn’t favor personally. No two Christians are alike just like with any other believers and non-believers. And judging whether someone is a Christian off the back is crazy; because there are many religions and beliefs in the world hell the Islam faith is rivaling Christianity in terms of members and impact worldwide. People need to open their eyes and discuss freely because religion (as a whole) is an interesting and expansive topic and people’s faiths or non-faith, spirituality, etc. are interesting and as mention you can learn a lot by listening and understanding (understanding doesn’t mean accepting) and even familiarizing with someone’s views instead of just shutting down and assuming with someone is about right off the back.

  • Lisss

    I am amazed at how most of the comments on this page can be resumed as “christians are all bigoted brainless sheeps who have never bothered to research what they believe in”. And this coming from a group of people who hate to be belittled and stereotyped. Pot calling the kettle black and all of that.

  • Malik Hemmans

    Because the bible is written by man…..

  • lol

    this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • lol

    isn’t the news written in newspapers written by man?

  • The Moon in the Sky

    It’s interesting that you would just believe what the ‘Bible’ says.

  • Malik Hemmans

    you shouldn’t believe anything written by man is what i was trying to say

  • http://clutchmagazine opiland

    La religion is the opium of the masses.
    It keeps them sedated.

  • free thinker

    A newspaper unlike the Bible can be verified by other sources whether what’s printed is true or not.

  • mouse

    you shouldn’t believe anything written by man is what i was trying to say

    why should anyone believe in what you just wrote..

  • mouse

    absence of evidence, is not evidence of absence..

  • http://gravatar.com/mimiandy1683 MimiLuvs

    In regards to religion, I was raised not belonging to any denomination. My dad is an atheist and my mother does believe in God, but her belief system is more based off of the deism foundation. So, in my household, the only holidays that were celebrated were the non-religious ones (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, etc.).
    I am an Atheist, just like my dear ole’ dad and I have experienced a few “colorful incidents” with people who were religious. Those experiences, fortunately, were few and far between.
    My advice for people who are involved in an inter-faith mingling is just accept that every individual that you will meet will have a different point of view.
    Just accept it.

  • http://gravatar.com/noirluv45 noirluv45

    What difference does it make if a newspaper can be “verified” if what is written it isn’t true? The Bible has been verified over and over again if people dare to study it. Many people choose not to because they don’t want to obey it. Again, that’s their choice. Just because someone doesn’t understand the content, doesn’t mean it’s not true.

  • noirluv45

    Hello! Exactly. Hypocrites to the 100th degree. What’s so funny is many try so hard to refute the Bible, call Christians names because WE believe in it and they don’t. Why can’t they just say, “I don’t believe,” and leave well enough alone instead of trying so hard to say it’s a fairy tale or some other ish they come up with.

  • AngelB

    “You are correct that white Europeans did use Christianity to justify slavery. However, the fault was in THEM, not in Christianity.”

    Thank you!!! I don’t know why it’s so hard for people to get that. The sugar analogy was on point!

  • AngelB

    “Telling someone to pray is just about the laziest most unloving thing to tell someone to do in a time of distress, because it calls for nothing from the listener.”

    That may be how you take it but that is not the way it is meant (as least not by everyone). To someone who truly believes in the power of prayer (as I do) telling someone to pray (esp. when you know that the person is someone who normally does pray) is not a way to brush them off, it’s telling the person to take a minute to step back from the situation and ask God for guidance b/c sometimes when ppl are too stressed out they can’t think straight. That’s why I appreciate it when my close friends tell me “pray on it” when in having a rough time. Now I do understand how someone who didn’t know us could take that the wrong way if they overheard and don’t know how we view prayer. And if I were telling someone else to pray on something I would be telling them to do what I would do if I were in their shoes. Whether they take the advice is up to them and if that is not a satisfatory answer for them they would be free to consult someone els. But u can’t expect someone to give u advice that is contrary to who th are.

    Now of course there are those who are insincere and use the “pray on it” line as a brush off but that doesn’t mean everyone does. Just thought I’d share a different perspective.

  • The Artist

    I think it’s safe to say that both sides (Christians, atheists, etc) could stand to take a few steps back. Learn to accept/respect one another regardless of your beliefs and know that not everyone is there to bombard you with their beliefs, not saying that it won’t happen but it doesn’t have to account for everyone..

  • E.M.S.

    I’m non-religious, but I don’t ever feel “left out” because of it, I’m simply different from believers and that’s fine. My family is mostly Baptist and yes we bow our heads and say grace, a lot of my family goes to church regularly, but I’m never uncomfortable. I appreciate the way religion can bring people together.

    The only issue I ever have is being questioned about it, so nine times out of ten, I avoid discussion of religion like the plague because I don’t want to deal with the drama. But the past few times I’ve been asked about it or invited to a religious gathering, people were respectful.

    I think there’s this terrible image that has been painted of devout Christians when it comes that, but I think perhaps there is a growing understanding and respect that not everyone believes the same things.

  • Pema

    Where do you live? This has not been my experience in NYC. I was raised in a moderate Catholic home (so no not the sterotypical black church although it was a black Catholic church). We went to mass every Sunday but that was about it. My daughter is enrolled in Catholic school but the last time I went to mass was Easter Sunday and before that it might have been years. I cannot remember the last time someone (black or not black) asked me if I had a church home except for those people who hand out pamphlets to everyone on the street. I am seriously starting to think that this new generation of black people is an overly-sensitive weak ass bunch. We need to tackle the real issues plaguing the community instead of this touchy-feely stuff. If you’re not Christian, you’re not Christian. If someone pesters you about it own your beliefs. I’m sick and tired of the phrase, “I’m made to feel.”. No one can MAKE you feel anything (outside of physical feelings obviously..i.e. a broken nose, etc.) you choose to be bothered by people. This isn’t the Middle East, there is no law against not being a certain religion. Different people think differently. Do you boo. Everytime I come on this website there are multiple articles about homosexuality, single motherhood, and other practices that do not fit in with MY lifestyle. Even on Mother’s Day a website that alledgedly caters to all women of color’s only article about the day detailed a young lady ‘coming out’ to her mother. So I read it, acknowledged that this woman was speaking HER truth, and went about celebrating Mother’s Day with my husband and children. Get over yourself.

  • victoria

    “I wish I could be of some better help to you, it hurts me to see you hurting, but I cannot think of anything that I could possibly do to ease your burden, so I will just pray for you because that is all I can offer you right now.”

    Starla,I see what you are saying. Thank you for this suggestion. Yes, I think this is a meatier way of offering prayer and showing compassion. I will definitely use this in the future. I may reword it, but it’s more useful in someone’s time of need.

  • shoSTOPPER

    people suspend their belief for science- why is called the theory of evolution- no has seen an ape turn into a man so that’s suspending

  • free thinker

    Studing the Bible doctrines to be able to become a better Christian or studing its teachings to be able to understand the Bible better is totally different than studying the Bible to refute all claims that Jesus Christ ever existed. I think the jury is still out on that. They why we are still able after centuries to have debates on the subject. In my opinion it hasn’t been proven conclusively on either side.

  • ivrop

    What a brilliant argument. Personally speaking, your assertion is so profound on so many levels, as it addresses the believer, non-believers and those ‘on the fence’. Bravo bk chick!

  • Josh Mishel

    I do believe people should be more thoughtful, consider this, suppose I believed that there is something that you must believe or you will experience immeasurable suffering, wouldn’t I be the greatest villain in the world if I didn’t say anything?

    People say that Christians should just be private about their faith. But if I wasn’t a Christian and I had a Christian friend that never attempted converting me or didn’t put forward significant effort, I wouldn’t be their friend, in fact, I would trust them the least of anyone else. Why? Because if they truly believed that I was in danger of experiencing endless and immeasurable suffering and they would be obnoxious about helping me.

    I mean, if you one your friends was going to a party were you knew a group of guys were planning to gang rape them, would you be really obnoxious if not extreme in preventing them from going to the party? Now I believe you shouldn’t force anything on anyone and you have to give people space to make their own decisions, but I think we should put the behavior of certain Christians in context before we start judging them. Not saying that it is right, but it is not necessarily purely hateful and closed minded either. In fact, I will argue that it is an understandable, though false, response to the belief that the people you know going down a path of immeasurable suffering.

    I would say, think carefully about the people who you call friends, people that believe that you might experience immeasurable suffering, but are utterly passive. If they really believe that they believe, they would be some really hateful people?

  • Misty_Moonsilver

    Amen

  • D.T.

    ” I am seriously starting to think that this new generation of black people is an overly-sensitive weak ass bunch. We need to tackle the real issues plaguing the community instead of this touchy-feely stuff. If you’re not Christian, you’re not Christian. If someone pesters you about it own your beliefs. I’m sick and tired of the phrase, “I’m made to feel.”. No one can MAKE you feel anything…….”

    Lawd you just said a mouthful. Overly sensitive people are a trip!!

  • shoSTOPPER

    the bible can be verified- if you check history, their are historical sources such as the moabite stone, the historian josephus that can verify what happened in the bible- people believe what they wanna believe when it suits them- plus like the old saying says” there are no athiests in foxholes

  • free thinker

    @shostopper Because science is absolute. its a definitive answer. As far as evolution is concerned please point me to the scripture or any other material you may know of that explains why chimps DNA is 98% the same as humans. If you never been to the museum of nature history maybe u should..its a nice educational visit.

  • http://gravatar.com/libpatriot GeekMommaRants

    Having lived in Texas and Oklahoma. I have been asked what church I belong to as an introductory question. This experience taught me how important religion is to the local culture in the bible belt. There were those who did not know there was such a thing as a black Buddhist and did what Christians must do, preach the gospel or invite the non-believer to become a Christain.

    This is what Christians do. They preach the gospel to folks who they see as non-Christians. They do this because, the Bible told them so.

  • noirluv45

    @free thinker, since when did science become “absolute?” If science was absolute, all scientists would agree on the same things. It’s just like any theory, it’s open to interpretation.

    If someone believes in evolution, I wish they’d explain how order can come from chaos. When last did that happen? Did it happen by chance? I mean, we the universe and its contents were all created from an explosions and all of a sudden everything just came together perfectly, in order, and in working condition? Evolution is a THEORY. It makes more sense to believe in creation than in evolution. JMO.

    Maybe the 98% DNA of chimps came because God, the Creator, made it that way. I’m more incline to believe that than some made up theory by Darwin.

  • http://youngblackintelligent.com Danté

    Black people were Christians long before Europeans were. The Ethiopian Orodox Church and the Egyptian Coptic Church are among the world’s most ancient churches. But black people in America today do not practice this indigenous form of ancient African Christianity, they practice the religion of their slave masters. They practice a bastardized European version of Christianity that was forced upon them. Just another example of how Europeans took something we already knew about and used it against us.

  • bk chick

    @ivrop..thanks! @ shoStopper you are right..and that’s why I said science answered A LOT of the how, not all. I believe that there are many contexts in which people can be faithful. A scientist who has a hunch or theory needs faith to take him/her to the next level. Even though it’s most likely based on research, there are still no definitive answers. The scientist practices faith in the same way the person who goes to church does. People can have faith in the government, economy, their safety, etc. and, they can also believe in all these things at the same time. My argument was not that science is superior, but that for me, personally, the way in which I practice faith, or suspension of reality is NOT in the context of the bible. As I said, I think believing in something beyond what you see as concrete proof is fundamentally human. It is because we are wired to do this that we create things such as religion to keep is going.

    I respect people who choose to live their life and fully devote themselves to the teachings of the bible, because, at the core level I get what it’s about. I also understand that their notion of God is very real to them and respect their perspective.

  • shoSTOPPER

    science is not absolute- but maybe you should visit the museum or attend charm school and learn not to be condescending in your remarks

  • shoSTOPPER

    well all i see from this thread is that the christians are going to keep being christians and the non christians will keep being that

  • JS

    And who writes newspapers? Elephants? Wow sir, I’m going to need you to take continuous seats LMAO

  • Lynne

    CAUTION: This post is coming from outta left field!

    It seems to me that religiosity of any stripe can cause real-world problems.

    I volunteered as a grant researcher for a few years. It always annoyed me that so many black organizations had some form of religious angle tied to their causes.

    “God’s Kids”

    “Jesus People”

    “Street Ministry”

    What these nonprofits refused to realize was that the biggest donors rarely gave to any sort of religious organization, which is how these nonprofits were classified.

    I might get a “thumbs down” for this, but it saddens me when people insist on making such poor choices with the best of intentions.

  • Mikela123

    This may not be your experience in NYC, but it is for those down South and in the mid-west.

    Also, many of the problems plaguing our community and how we address them – stds, teen pregnancy, depression and other mental illnesses, animosity btwn the sexes, and self image issues in a white mainstream society – are directly impacted by the black community’s relationship to the church.

    I would’t dismiss this article so quickly. It makes sense to discuss these issues further.

  • Mikela123

    “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.”

    - Albert Einstein

    You’ve pretty much captured this sentiment. Very nice.

  • aziza123

    But african americans are west africans, not north or east africans. Hate to breakit to you, but before christianity and islam, people were idolizing stones.

  • aziza123

    85% christian and 70% kids born out of wedlock. What would jesus say?

  • http://gravatar.com/ubermotion Eduardo

    I’ve experienced some of those things too around religious people even though they might mean well. Thanks for this article.

  • Ramblin’ Wreck

    I have mixed emotions about prayer. I think telling someone to pray in a trivial situation kinda gives the impression that pressing your palms together is the same as doing the “I Dream of Genie” move that we all know and love. So yes, you should consider the situation before telling someone to pray about something they could easily look up on their smart phones.

    I also believe that, in very critical, high stress, or emotionally taxing situations, praying can give a person a moment of peace that would allow them to reflect calmly on their problems.

    On another note:

    I’m Agnostic, I think, but I prefer the term “spiritual”. I have a lot of different beliefs and I don’t consider it to be a bad thing that I am choosing to sort them out on my own. For instance, I believe that people have free will, and that we all have a (perhaps divine) purpose, but homosexuality is not “wrong” in my opinion. I also have very scientific beliefs, and I’ve had these since I was very young (talking about the Big Bang doesn’t cause me to clutch my pearls). Despite this, I pray because prayer calms me. I read the bible because many of the words within inspire me to be a better person, to work harder in my community, and to be more patient with people. I don’t necessarily believe every word within, but the bible gives me hope in an increasingly hopeless world, and that’s why I read it. Prayer gives me the opportunity to reflect, and that’s why I do it.

    I’ve often felt the pressure that the author describes from those in my own community to go “all in” on Christianity, especially as a young Black woman, but I simply explain that in doing that, I would not be holding true to my own personal beliefs. Usually (especially in the DEEP SOUTH) I get a condescending response, but in the end, I can not change those people, just as they cannot change me, so I let it go and move on.

    Disclaimer: I hope I haven’t offended anyone with this comment.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    Wow!

  • free thinker

    Red Pill you are definitely unplugged from the Matrix lol you articulated your post very well you brought up points to the light I didn’t consider. Although the homosexuality reference made me pump my brakes I understand where you are coming from. Kudos

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    “Where do you live? This has not been my experience in NYC”

    Okay.

    People in the North need to understand that America is made up of still separate countries. In the South, there is still little tolerance for diversity and there are real consequences for being a minority or of a different religious faith.

    People WILL try to get you fired in certain areas if they find out you are of a different faith or an atheist. People WILL shun you or exclude you. You COULD have difficulty with association and employment.

    This seems incredible to a Northerner but I swear I’ve witnessed all of these things and the participants were Black. For instance, I worked at a government office and my supervisor asked me, on my first day of work, what church I belonged to. When they realized I was Catholic, things went down hill from there. Another coworker and friend of mine was a Jew and wouldn’t hide it so they permanently alienated and shunned her.

    At an insurance office, owner was a Black pastor. He would insist that we ALL get together and pray. When I would politely try to leave, he would insist come back!

    And this was in Florida.

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    This is a perfect example of what happens when people can’t consider the implications of their beliefs. In another comment, I mentioned that I was asked, on my first day of work at government agency, what Church I belonged. I’m sure that the people that asked me couldn’t consider that what they did was discrimination and I could surely sue them.

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    I have never understand that about the Black church. It’s incomprehensible.

  • http://twitter.com/Cognorati001 Colette Marcheline (@Cognorati001)

    THANK YOU!THANK YOU!THANK YOU!

    There were so many gems that I couldn’t pick them all out to highlight.

  • http://ki kiki

    I am not an atheist I believe in God and the bible but most Christians do not follow the bible, it is very strict on morals and many people say God loves all yes he loves people but he does not approve of fornication,homesexuslity ,stealing lying murder .the problem is people twist God,s word to suit their ways and do wrong nd then says God approve of it

  • NasLoveKelis

    i believe in God and the bible- however red pill makes alot of valid points- i really believe this is why some people are atheists. if christians actually lived as the bible told them to live it would be appealling to people-
    the bible does say fornication sex out side of marriage,homosexuality, stealing,lying, ect is wrong- people do what they wanna do and then try to justify it with God is a loving God but that is another story and yes their exists men and women in religion who will praise god in one breath and curse you out in the next second

  • http://youngblackintelligent.com Danté

    No…just, no.

  • noirluv45

    “…if christians actually lived as the bible told them to live it would be appealling to people.”

    I think it’s an excuse to say, “Well Christians aren’t following the Bible, so I’m not going to be a Christian.” Just because someone else isn’t doing something, doesn’t mean you follow them. You do what you are supposed to do. We are accountable for our own actions.

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    “before christianity and islam, people were idolizing stones”

    this statement is stunning in it’s ignorance.

    self knowledge is a beautiful thing.

  • http://gravatar.com/ravsmith78 Ravi

    TMITS,

    I am Christian, was raised Christian, and have known thousands of Christians over my 35 years. I’ve never heard a Christian utter that phrase, so I can’t really speak on why they would say it.

    The thing about me personally, I can argue pretty much anything that can be argued. Calling the “free will argument” drivel isn’t much of an argument. It’s an unsubstantiated assertion. Much like your original critique. Sounds like you are guilty of what you are accusing me of. Next time you should elaborate on why the “free will argument,” as you call it, is problematic.

  • Lynne

    I think part of the issue is low-self esteem among some blacks. I know that sounds silly, but think about it. So often I have heard blacks say, when congratulated for an accomplishment, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,” or “I give Him the glory,” or some other such nonsense.

    It’s as if they don’t believe they can succeed using their own intelligence and hard work.

    At the same time, I also see this as a class and education issue. Most poor people in this country are religious. Even many poor Asians tend to be Christians.

    What many fail to realize is that you don’t need religion to succeed in life. You need a brain, discipline, a plan, and a goal. Also, you must connect with and cultivate good relationships with the RIGHT people.

    A few years ago, a religious blogger asked his readers if their religions had improved their lives in a tangible way. Forget peace and comfort. Did your religion land you a job? Better health? Loving relationships? Many responded angrily and said a better life was not the issue.

    Whatever.

    Religion is a major part of this country’s heritage. The dirty little secret is that very few of the wealthiest people in this country are actually religious.

  • http://gravatar.com/ravsmith78 Ravi

    Courtney,

    You misunderstand. I’m not saying that it isn’t simple to understand. I understand why you think it is irrational. The argument isn’t hard to understand. I’m saying that you are incorrect in asserting that it is irrational and that your argument is flawed. The fact that it is simple to understand enables me to know that you are incorrect.

    The first problem with your argument is the idea that the purpose of prayer is simply to ask for stuff. While prayer can be used to that end, that is certainly not the purpose of prayer. You can do your own research into the purpose of prayer, but a simple google search will reveal the multiple uses of prayer. Wikipedia has a good summary also:

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

    The only way you would have any sort of argument would have been had the ONLY purpose of prayer been to ask for stuff.

    But even in your assertion that asking for stuff is irrational, you have failed to present an argument of any validity.

    “Whether they have that conversation or not, if God is all-powerful, then whoever was going to win that game, was going to win that game – regardless of which team prays (or prays hardest). The idea of prayer is pointless to an omnipotent, omniscient being.”

    You fail to make any sort of connection between your example of a game to why prayer would be pointless to an omnipotent, omniscient being in general. In such a game, it is quite likely that an omnipotent, omniscient being, would just choose not to be involved. There is nothing to suggest that just because you ask for something that you have to get what you ask for. You might pray to win a football game, win the lottery, or win a girls heart, but asking for something isn’t any sort of guarantee that you will get it. Regardless, you still haven’t shown why it is pointless in to pray. Just because you likely won’t get what you are asking for, it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask. And it doesn’t make it irrational or illogical to ask for something you probably won’t get. It’s not like you have anything to lose by asking so you might as well. If it costs nothing to ask God for a million dollars and even the remotest possibility exists that he might actually come through, then why would it be irrational to just go ahead and ask?

    Moreover, you can’t appeal to one specific example of a situation, where you likely won’t get what you are asking for, to say it is irrational to pray for anything under any circumstances. How does the potential futility of praying to win a football game connect to praying that you have the strength to endure a marathon, or the wisdom to make the correct decision in a random situation? You would need to actually make some sort of argument as to why praying for stuff in any circumstance is irrational, not just a couple situations you can dream up where you won’t be getting what you pray for. The only thing that would be arguable is whether it is irrational to pray for things that you most likely won’t get. Even that argument would be weak at best.

    “Prayer also doesn’t make sense because you shouldn’t have to ASK an OMNISCIENT God for anything.”

    Just because someone knows what you want doesn’t mean it is irrational to ask for it. Especially if the one doing the giving explicitly states to ask for the things you want. And even if he didn’t explicitly state that you should ask, who would do that anyway? “you know what I want, now hook it up.”

    When you want something, you ask for it as a normal course of action. It doesn’t matter if the person already knows that you want what you are asking for. And even if you are the type of person that goes around expecting people to give you stuff as long as they know you want it, it wouldn’t make it irrational for another person to have the decency to ask for the things that they want instead of things being handed to them without even asking.

    And who said anything about needing “this ritual”? Praying for stuff is something people do because they want to. My prayers very rarely involve me asking for stuff, but when they do, it isn’t out of necessity. It’s because I want to ask for whatever it is I’m requesting.

    But all of this is tangential given the fact that the purpose of prayer is not even slightly limited to asking for stuff. If it were, then you MIGHT have somewhat of an argument. As it is, you don’t have any argument.

  • Lynne

    Oh, Colette. I can so relate.

    When I volunteered for those nonprofits, religion was definitely a hiring factor. One director actually said, “I will only work with people who love God.”

    That was the last straw. I told her I did not love God, and I was not religious. All hell broke loose.

    I’m sure she didn’t see her stance as a discriminatory act, but it certainly was.

    Fortunately, in my real work life, I’ve never had to deal with that type of weirdness. My clients don’t seem to care. They just want capable and talented people for the job.

    BTW, the reason my nonreligious self volunteered for these nonprofits was that I admired their causes, and volunteering was a great way to get some experience in my chosen career field.

  • NasLoveKelis

    i heard some wealthy people say after all its said it done they are unhappy and feel empty even with all the money. there- there are plenty of millionaries who gain sucess and then commit suicide=wealth may buy lots of stuff but it does not buy happiness-

  • ROCKS!

    She’s out there trying to do the last thing Jesus command – Go out and make disciples. Teach them to follow His commands. And love them…yes. A difficult thing to do in this day and age.

    But HEY – people think that they are just flesh and bones and that they don’t actually have a soul or spirit…interesting.

    ACTUALLY. I find it awesome when non-christians comment on Christianity as though they know the scriptures, studied it, and actually had “attempted” to have a relationship with God. To me, its hilarious because it seems as though people tend to get pissed off at God and blame Him for things that are “self-imposed”.

    But whats really disheartening is the fact that people ignore God on a daily basis…the world doesn’t revolve around ya’ll..it doesn’t. Thats the sad part.

  • Pseudonym

    hahaha! That’s what turned me off about black churches. I went to one during high school and the..I have no idea what to call it…was just too much! Even now, most of the people I know from “Youth Service” have babies out of wedlock.

  • Gina Wild

    Dayummmm, @Red Pill. At first I found your comment too long, and didn’t wanna read it. Then I changed my mind and read the whole damn thing. Great stuff, Red Pill. Great stuff.

    I think you should write a book or at least a 15-page manifest/e-book. As a matter of fact, you should copywrite your comment and go from there.

  • Just a Question…

    Red Pill, I was just wondering. Are you in prison? I’m an atheist, too, but it seems like you just unleashed a lot, so I was just curious.

  • mouse

    its more like what did he say?
    religion isnt poison, its people who poison religion..

  • noodle

    Red Pill
    Talk about sensory overload, where do I begin, I really dont want to reply, my comments tend to get deleted.

    So ill keep it short..

    1st paragraph,
    say that in Iran or Afganastan, and you will find out how fast one religion differs from another, including Atheism. But I’m sure you believe/ have faith in what you just wrote.

    2nd paragraph
    I agree, people switch faith all the time all over the world, no matter what you teach your child it is forced, more than likely based on your world view, your child will follow in your footsteps, will you give the child the same option regarding following MONEY, if you child says I want to be Amish considering your views about money.

    4th paragraph
    You’re right, at the end of the day they are going to put the person who has everything in the same hole as the fool who did nothing with his whole life. And both will be forgotten about in 2 generations.

    6th paragraph
    Evil in the face of God argument

    But in the view of an atheist what’s wrong with it, What does atheism offer those people after 500 years of injustice, Don’t complain about it based on “feelings” , tell us what does atheism offer those who are suffering, currently and those from the past, if there is no divine if there is no divine judgment.

    I think your the 1st person Ive encountered to be an economic atheist…

    –more to come–

  • http://gravatar.com/designdiva40 paintgurl40

    @Red Pill
    I personally believe in God and the Bible, but you raised some good points, that I always thought about but never voiced.

    There have been instances in my life that God has spoken to me and has comforted me in the darkest times in my life. When I learned to have faith in Him, I still had troubles but I was able to endure them in a better manner. IMO people use parts of the Bible to condone their actions or to control others.

  • SaintsFan

    Very well said.It is so refreshing to see that there is another Southern black woman with these thoughts. Sometimes I feel like I am in crazy land.

  • Wong Chia Chi

    Thank you, lol. One thing that annoyed me about Christians I knew was that even though they acted like they were better than non Christians, they did the SAME things as them, sometimes even more so. I definitely couldn’t tell them apart by the way they acted, I only knew they were Christian when they felt the need to tell me that they were.

    For example, I went out with a group of these “christian” friends on the weekend. I got the STRANGEST stares when I told them that I didn’t drink. They proceeded to clown me, and call me a sober sally, and get sloppy drunk and make out with guys. This SAME group of people though, gave me grief for missing church one Sunday, because I had to work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelley.johnson.75436 Kelley Johnson

    Stop telling the truth because you’re gonna hurt people’s feelings up in here.

  • noodle

    The “Cleansing of the Temple” refers to the narrative of Jesus and the money changers and occurs in all four canonical gospels of the New Testament.

    In this Gospel episode Jesus and his disciples travel to Jerusalem for Passover, where he expels the money changers from the Temple, accusing them of turning the Temple into a den of thieves through their commercial activities.[1][2] In the Gospel of John Jesus refers to the Temple as “my Father’s house” thus in some views making a claim to being the Son of God[3] although it is common in the Abrahamic religions to refer to God as God the Father.

    “you left this cherry in the basket didnt you”

  • Ms. Vee

    “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful.”

    -Seneca the Younger

  • Lan

    This has nothing to do with this article per se, but it amazes me how your short 1 sentence replies always get so many thumbs up.

  • NasLoveKelis

    okay i got a question- how does being an atheist help solve the problems of man

  • Heloise

    I’m a black european and in europe it is very unusual (and not really acceptable) to lecture people about religion and even to mention your faith. School teachers, college professors, civil servants in general are expected to be neutral. Most people are atheists anyway and black europeans are no different. My experience is that african-americans tend to assume that if you are black you have to be Christian and give you the side-eye if you admit to be an atheist. To this respect, black America is very similar to every african country i know. I find it extremely difficult to be honest and i’m always trying to avoid talking about religion here. I feel that people are not very accepting of my difference.

  • Helly

    There is a great variety of religions in Africa, not just monotheisms. Some amazing and complex systems of thought existed before the christianization and islamization of Africa. No need to call those religions “idolatry”. This is disrespecting our ancestors.

  • SaintsFan

    I think that everyone has the right to believe what they want to believe. I just dont understand how anyone can hold such strong beliefs on something they have very litle understanding of. When an atheist knows more about your religion then you do that is a major problem. I took a long journey to get to atheism and when someone is just “born” christian with no questions it boggles my mind that they dont want to learn and explore their beliefs more.

  • free thinker

    @Red Pill Can I ask you why do you indentify with being an Atheist or as oppose to an Agnostic? I feel you have an incredible mind and make me curious. I have this natural impulse to want to pick people’s brain in order to find out what make them tick. Can you please indulge me? Lol

  • http://twitter.com/BGulledge_PR Britney Gulledge (@BGulledge_PR)

    If nothing more, I hope this article opens the minds to acceptance as a whole.

  • Gina Wild

    No offence but how does being christian help solve the problems of man?

    One thing for sure is that many atrocities in the history of mankind have/are being commited in the name of God/Allah/Christianity/Islam and other religions.

    There is a study that demonstrates that atheist countries are more peaceful that religious one. You can check it on YouTube.

  • noodle

    Atheist offers nothing, to the lady with cancer and 3 kids what does atheism offer her. How can one expect to get hope out of the belief in nothing. There is no God, no immortality, which means life has no real meaningful or ultimate significance. The Quakers and Amish life peaceful lives.

    Stalin and Po Pot killed millions in the name of atheism, Hilter followed the beliefs of Darwin. So are all atheist like those three men?

  • Apple

    RedPill you wouldn’t happen to be UHeardMeTheFirstTime from YouTube?

  • noodle

    You are a contradiction.

    you said-The theist says God exists, and the atheist says, I don’t believe you. The atheist does NOT say that God doesn’t exist….

    your premise dosent support your claim…

    If you want to group all religions into one pot and say they are the same, then my point is.

    Saying god is a fake, in the middle east will get you beheaded, vs saying the same thing in front of a group of Amish that wont behead you, so your basis is wrong, commonality and sameness are not equals

    Also atheist such as Stalin and Poe Pot had atheistic views about religion, and both killed a significant amount of people. So by your own logic atheism is as hateful, bigoted, homophobic, divisive, racist, misogynistic, and barbaric, compounded by the atheist dogma of, there is no God, nor afterlife, no punishment for evil, atheist can do what they wish.

    2nd paragraph

    Now your splitting hairs, and bringing race into to it, if she wants to be amish, she can be im sure. You said they dont reject money, ok, they dont reject God either. Again, my point is all religions are not the same, as you like to put it.

    Looking at atheism from a 3rd person is easy to do, but from a 1st person view, it is a bleak way of life. I AM GOING TO DIE…This atheist views goes for all life and the universe, no light, no heat, no life, there is no escape and no hope in the atheist world view.

    Its like watching a play were the curtains open, showing a stage full of junk, we look for 30sec, then the curtain closes. Thats all, that is it, the atheist point of view.

  • http://gravatar.com/addassamari addassamari

    Very interesting article. I often wondered, pondered, as to why religion was such a hot button issue. I thought I had the answer but I think that after reading so many of the comments and rebuttals I am sure I have the answer. Religion – beliefs or lack of beliefs is such a hot issue because whether one is a believer or not those things are deeply held convictions. They are the core around which we build who we are, they are in reality deeply personal even among those who evangelize.

    I am a Christian. I try to live my life in accordance with the tenets of my faith and my faith is rooted in the teachings of the Holy Scriptures. One of those is my favourite and it says that “God is not partial but in every nation, the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” The same Scriptures says that we should love our neighbours as ourselves and that no man can say he loves God, whom he has not seen, but hates his brother, whom he has seen. I read my Bible and I find no contradictions in it. I have a simple view of my personal relationship with God (and it is personal). He speaks to me through the holy writings and I speak to Him through prayer. He tells me how He should be worshipped and I choose to worship Him in that manner.

    One commenter mentioned free will and another mentioned the evil that men do (men: representing not the gender but mankind in general). I find answers to those things and many more in my Bible. I cannot condemn God for the acts of man because I am neither a judge of God nor of man. Still another mentioned that Christianity is the religion of slaveholders. Strange, because the founder of The Way, as it was called before the Romans got a hold of it, owned nothing but the garments on his back and the slippers on his feet.

    Christianity is a simple faith. It requires obedience to a single God based on knowledge of that God as He has revealed Himself in the scriptures. It is man who has undertaken it upon himself to add his own interpretations and his own twist to the writings. As one ancient clergyman said, ‘It does not matter if what we teach is the truth as long as it terrifies the people.’

    I used to be offended by peoples assumptions about me: I am Jamaican hence I must smoke weed, love reggae, and how come I don’t wear dreadlocks. (They needed schooling in Rastafarianism). Then because I don’t swear or curse, etc and I pray before I eat I must be a Christian and belong to a particular denomination. As if my demeanor reflects positively on them because they too are Christians. (So condensing) Now I quite tell them, succinctly and sweetly, that I do not belong to any of Christendom’s Religions or any of its houses of worship. That usually shuts them up.

    Jamilah Lemieux, I do not know or understand the journey you undertook that eventually led you to this place but I do know this it takes great courage to speak of one’s belief or lack thereof in any space. I do not know Christianity and all her many manifestations but I know what I believe and more important why I believe. Perhaps, those whom you encounter should be questioning not why you do not believe but why they believe.

  • livelifedontjustbealive

    Glad to see the ole divide n rule is still at work then! Liberate yourselves people.

  • free thinker

    @Red Pill why do u identify as an atheist and not an agnostic?

  • talaktochoba

    while it is true at least in America Christianity infected the slave population by dent of the lash, it remained the only institution of political, economic and social value left open to them, so it was natural for it to be incorporated into the slave culture as traditional African religions were forgotten in the heat of generations of repression and degradation–think of the beginnings of AME, for example;

    for those of us who find it disconcerting to be walking in the footsteps of slavemasters following a set of scripts known to have been almost completely re-interpreted beginning scant centuries after the death of their prophet up to those scripts completely excised by an international slavetrading, bisexual, sister-screwing British king (James), there are options many may find more comfortable;

  • Z

    @ Apple

    no he is not but I can tell you where he gets all his talking points, Sargnt Willie Pete.

    Red Pill regurgitates everything Willie Pete says, even when it doesn’t apply .

  • talaktochoba

    one thing must be said–NO religion of any stripe has ever advocated misogyny, elitism (ours is the only way), torture, human sacrifice, slavery, imperialism, totalitarianism, war, genocide, infanticide–in short, ANYTHING that unduly disturbs or destroys the creations of the higher power;

    it is only INTERPRETATIONS of these religions that curse us with these sins–thus, the Inquisition, the Niocene Conference, the Nation of Islam, Pol Pot, Daddy Grace, Father Divine, the Greater Eastern Co-Prosperity Sphere, Manifest Destiny, Tan Tan Macout, ethnic cleansing, and now the Taliban and the Tea Party, among others;

    religions are a lot like computers–by themselves, they’re fairly pure..it’s only when human interaction is introduced that they don’t seem to work as originally intended;

  • Z

    what is the name of your channel?

  • talaktochoba

    which scriptures, oh knowledgeable Red Pill–the ones purportedly delivered to the prophet Moses and subsequently secretly buried in the lost Ark of the Covenant, the scriptures approved by Constantine, the ones approved by the Niocene Council at the behest of the ever-so-pious King James…or the scriptures that were conveniently left out to be forgotten by all parties concerned?

    belief is one thing, and i can respect and commend you for it–but please don’t try cram your beliefs down my throat as immutable fact simply because you believe them…that reduces them to mere fantasy;

  • http://gravatar.com/thevirtualnationofafricanamericans Ken Kojei

    @RedPill: What Jesus did that you call condoning morally reprehensible things is demand that we not use our judgments as the basis for how we treat people. He was very much aware of human history, a history which, in one age finds nothing wrong about a marriage between brother and sister, in another nothing wrong with multiple wives and in others nothing reprehensible about same sex relationships. In other words morality is a matter of collective acceptance. Well, what did collective acceptance do when the Romans nailed an innocent man to a crucifix? Sold tickets and popcorn. Slunk away to avoid his fate instead of fighting to help him be free. Even his apostles and the thousands he fed, healed and otherwise consoled. So what does that say about the collective sense of morality? That it is usually BS. Not to be engaged in meaningful dialogue nor practical application.

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