by Benjamin Burchall
There they were…30 Black nonbelievers gathered today at the Little Five Points Community Center to hear a lecture about the irrationality of religion in the Black community. Many in the secular movement have noted the disproportionate absence of Blacks in atheist, freethought and humanist groups. Some have also acknowledged the lack of Blacks in visible leadership in the organizations serving the secular movement at the national level. This appearent absence has left them wondering, “Where are all the Black atheists? Are there any?” They haven’t asked us or been to one of our meetings!
After the welcome Mario Dorsey, Lead Online Administrator, held the audience rapt with a reading of one of his original works, Mindfucked! – a perfect warm up for the lecture subject.
Continuing the celebration of art, Co-Founder/Hospitality Director, Mandisa Thomas, performed a rendition of You Gotta Be by Des’ree. Attendees clapped their hands and patted their feet as the rhythm pulsed. Church folk aren’t the only ones who enjoy meeting with like minds and having a good time!
Jeremiah Camara delivered his talk, Kindergarten Cosmology, with sincerity and laid-back humor. This was no stuffy intellectual exposition of science, but an engaging talk on how religion has damaged the ability of Blacks to spot irrational thinking. Camara pointed out that there is something gone awry when the descendants of enslaved people believe so strongly in the religion purposefully used by the enslavers of their ancestors to subdue them and justify enslavement. He continued on to also point out that teaching children to “lean not unto thine own understanding…”* is to tell them not use their brains. As one newcomer said during the audience question and answer session, to indoctrinate children with fear of hell, as so often done in Christianity, is to do violence to their minds.
Some Christians try to get nonbelievers into a discussion about the truth – with a capital T – of the Bible. What should we do when that happens? Camara’s advice is to tell them that we can’t even get past the first few verses of Genesis at the beginning of their book before illogic appears. Their book tells them an invisible being in the sky (whom we must fear) first created the earth, then the sun. Their book actually says that the god created light on the first day, but not the sun until on the fourth day. Did you know it also says the moon is a light?
Obviously, modern knowledge of the solar system demonstrates that this ancient creation myth doesn’t even come close to explaining the way things actually are. If their so-called “holy” book can get cosmology so wrong, we really have no need to discuss anything else in it. They haven’t even proven that this god they believe in exists in reality! So don’t take the bait getting into unnecessary conversation about the Christian “holy” book. In the face of complete lack of evidence on his or her side, the Christian will likely resort to trying to scare you into believing using fear of the everlasting divine punishment of roasting in the eternal flames of hell. So much for rational discourse!
*Quoted from Proverbs 3:5
BNOA is a safe haven fellowship for humanistic Black freethinkers. If you don’t believe in god nor religion and feel isolated in the Black community, pay us a visit! We understand because we are you!