On Black Atheism: Eddie S. Glaude Jr.

This is a hot topic in the African American community lately. It is my belief that it is not my role to convince you to believe what I believe. It is not my role to be able to quote scripture verbatim. I believe that the life I live should mirror that of the God I serve. Since I am Christian and I follow the teachings of Christ, my lifestyle should show that. I should be concerned about the welfare of others. I should be concerned about the taking care of the children. I should be concerned about how people judge one another. If I am walking contrary to the teachings, I am fully aware of the consequences because I have studied them for myself. I do not rely on my Pastor or my mother to interpret the scriptures for me. I spend time studying myself so that in the event I come across someone who does not believe what I do; and they ask me why I believe. I will not be able to tell them if I have not spent any time studying and getting to know the God I serve. I will not be able to tell them why I believe.

A recent New York Times article profiled African Americans who don't believe in God or who have eschewed the faith that many assume is central to the black experience. What does the apparent rise in atheism and agnosticism (pdf) among blacks tell us about the utility of religion for African Americans in today's social and political climate? Interviews with academics, activists and advocates from everywhere on the religious spectrum reveal the diversity of views on this historically fraught -- and, for many, highly personal -- topic.

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