Black Atheists Speak Out About Their Godlessness

Yesterday, I posted about a new ad campaign sponsored by African Americans for Humanism.

Now, some of the extended interviews with prominent black atheists have been posted online. Check them out — not just because they’re black, but because it’s sincerely heartwarming to listen to people talk so openly and comfortably about leaving their childhood faith and becoming a freethinker despite the cultural and social difficulties.

They’re all compelling, but I think Mark Hatcher‘s really hit home since I also started an atheist group at college for similar reasons.

Leighann Lord:

Mark Hatcher:

Kimberly Veal:

Alix Jules

(via African Americans for Humanism)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Mlawliet

    why does it matter that they´re black?

    i mean.. would you publish an article saying ¨white atheists speak on about their godlessness¨? or would you just rather have an article called Atheists (yes, all colours) speak about their godlessness

    • Edmond

      Of course, ideally, you would rather have an article with atheists of all colors.  But, that isn’t generally the reality.  It’s ok to celebrate a little when the status quo gets shaken up.

      The black community is often highly religious, despite the fact that religion played a large part in perpetuating the slave trade, as well as impeding the civil rights movement.  It’s very frustrating for the atheist community to see educated, passionate black people align their principles with the same white, privileged bigots who repressed them in the first place.

      • Anonymous

        Amen, brother! (I kid.)

        In all seriousness, I totally agree, both as an atheist and a gay man.

    • http://www.bblss.org/ Miki

      If you had listened to the interviews you would know the answer to that question. 

  • Anonymous

    I think it is racist for you to single out blacks and their opinions on faith. We all have a story to tell…..do you really have to differentiate between black and white?

    • Dan

      So are you calling the African-Americans who are putting on the ad campaign racist too? They do have African-American in their name, so they are the ones drawing attention to their race. You know right? You need to calm down. (Or are you just Poe-ing us?)

    • http://www.bblss.org/ Miki

      What is it with people like you?  Insecure about any group’s experience other than yours being highlighted.  Personally, I wouldn’t give a damn if the Korean transsexuals of Idaho were singled out for their “opinions on faith.”  Hell, I’d like to hear them, actually.

      “Do you really have to differentiate between black and white?”  Puhleeze.  The atheist experience doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  It’s influenced by our culture, gender, geographic location, and yes, race.  So, yeah, sometimes you do have to target a particular demographic to encourage its participation. 

      If you “have a story to tell” quit whining and tell it, already.  Who’s stopping you?  And while you’re at it, go ahead and petition for a White History Month so you can shut up about that shit, too.

  • Inferno

    Because sometimes ideology has to take a back seat to practicality. While it would be nice if we didn’t have to make it an issue to include race, I think that there is enough insularity within the black community and enough built-up resentment of “white culture”, something I certainly see to some extent in the Indian community, that a targeted approach will probably yield better results until those blocks can be overcome.

    We aren’t a united country as much as we’re a nation of communities that tend to interact superficially, and I think that we need to overcome that through action instead of complaining that we’re not there already. 

  • AllAtheist

    The interviews were great.  Thanks for sharing these.

    For those of you complaining that this focuses on African-Americans:  It’s great to see members of any particular group being more vocal about their atheism.  And if African-Americans are less represented or visible than other races in the atheist world, it’s great to have some focus on their experiences.  Believe it or not, there are some things that people have in common based on race, gender, atheism, etc.  It does not exclude you as a white person for them to exist.  Do you feel that postings about the “Alabama Atheists” is anti the rest of the states?  This is a group that put out these interviews, and it is good for everyone to hear their experiences.

    I feel like all the “fundamentalist” thinking of some of those who comment here comes out any time there is a focus on a particular race or gender.       

  • http://sucktackular.com sucktackular

    Black atheists are truly a suppressed minority within a suppressed minority. It’s refreshing to hear what they have to say.


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