Black Nonbelievers, Inc. is proud to collaborate with African Americans for Humanism and their 8-city ad campaign designed to raise awareness of the presence of humanism and freethought in the Black community, as well as to show support for other Blacks who feel isolated and cannot openly express their religious nonbelief.
All of the ads display the same message: “Doubts about religion? You’re one of many.” On the ads, images of writer-anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, poet-activist Langston Hughes, and social reformer-publisher Frederick Douglass are paired with contemporary freethinkers. Representing their respective hometowns are activists leading the way for African American nonbelievers, including Mark D. Hatcher of the Secular Students at Howard University, Mandisa L. Thomas of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. (Atlanta), Kimberly Veal of Black Nonbelievers of Chicago, Jamila Bey of African Americans for Humanism–Washington, DC, Veronique Matthews of the Triangle Freethought Society, Leighann Lord of the Center for Inquiry–Harlem, Alix Jules of the Dallas–Ft. Worth Coalition of Reason, and Sikivu Hutchinson of Black Skeptics Los Angeles.
“African Americans who question religion often feel rejected by religious family and friends, and by the greater black community,” said Debbie Goddard, director of AAH. “But there is a rich heritage of religious skepticism and humanism in black history. By featuring the historical faces as well as the modern in our ad campaign, we show people that questioning religion is not new and that there are many of us here.”
For more information about the campaign, please visit http://www.aahumanism.net/we_are_aah
I was inspired to write this by seeing so many believers pray to their God for guidance and a way to change things in their lives. For me, it is disheartening to say the least – mainly because what is prayed about seems to be recurring issues. This is a problem because we as human beings should not be experiencing the same pain and going through the same issues over and over again. If one finds that a particular type of medicine isn’t working for an ailment, the most logical action would be to switch medication – right? So as someone that does NOT believe in a god, I would like to offer some solutions that have worked for me that you as a believer may not have thought of in order to solve your problems and perhaps help you to have a better outlook on life.
- Seek professional help – if you are overcoming trauma from any type of abuse (physical, mental, emotional, etc), it is best to go to a therapist or specified doctor (NOT faith based). You’ll need help from those who are not only trained to know what you are suffering from, but who can also get you any medicine or additional resource you may need.
- Seek peer assistance or counseling – there are plenty of people who have been through hard times and have overcome them through tangible means. Ask them about their experiences, and take any advice they have to give seriously. You may be surprised at how much you may be able to implement their methods in order to improve your own situation.
- Do your own research – there is a world of information out there. Read books, news articles, medical journals, and watch videos pertaining to whatever your issues are (and then some). There is nothing better than being able to draw your own conclusion based on what YOU took the time to find out.
- Be true to yourself – The beliefs you’ve been taught have coerced you to rely on an outside being as your model, and that anything in contradiction is completely wrong – including feelings that are natural to human nature (sexual in particular). If you like to travel, have fun and party DO THAT – within reason of course, depending on your responsibilities. If you like to have a drink every so often, please partake. If you are gay, embrace your sexuality with no regrets – adversely, if you are comfortable with open sexual expression, embrace that as well. One of the worst things we do as human beings is worry too much about who we’re disappointing, including whatever god you worship. Such feelings of guilt lead one right back into a cycle of despair and anguish – all because you may feel powerless to actually control situations on your own. The truth is that YOU are your most powerful ally or enemy. Look within yourself and find that strength you need to change your life.
As an atheist, I won’t pray for you. I won’t try to point you in the direction of any being that I equate to the Easter Bunny, Boogey Man, or even Superman. I will however lend an understanding ear, give any advice or solutions as applicable, and if I don’t know the answer I’ll be honest and say so while trying to find a resource that will be helpful. You owe it to yourself to not be that hamster that rides that spinning wheel to nowhere. Jump off and try something new; find another path. Do not rely on one source to get you through life. Look outside of your beliefs for NEW answers. There is never any harm in that despite what you’ve been taught – in fact, you may just discover how much your life will improve in the process.