Why Aren’t There Any Black Atheists?

Why Aren’t There Any Black Atheists? January 29, 2020

If you’re white and spend any time online interacting with atheists, more than likely you will come across a discussion thread regarding Why aren’t there any Black atheists?

It happened to me the other day. I was on Facebook and saw a few people tackling the topic.

And to be honest, the question was worded Why aren’t there more Black atheists? There is an acknowledgment Black atheists do exist (take a gander at Black Nonbelievers). However, there is also a realization white people dominate the greater godless community.

Many white people find all of this quite vexing.

It’s vexing because the Bible is inconsistent with a lot of things (minor stuff like is Jesus God?). The Good Book is consistent on are two things: 1, Homosexuality is sinful; 2, Slavery is accepted and endorsed by the Almighty.

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking in the Old Testament — where there are regulations on how severely you can beat your slave — to the New Testament with Slaves obey your masters, the Bible gives the societal institution of one person owning another person two big thumbs up.

So why are so many African-Americans religious?

Well, the answers  you will probably find in online chats go along this line of reasoning:

Smart people are more likely to be atheists. That’s why so many whites are atheists.

Let that statement sink in for a second or two.

The person making that assertion may not even realize they’re implying they believe Black people are stupid. They’re probably just focused on Hey, white people are super awesome, aren’t we? 

That sort of thing is said when a person (possibly a well-intentioned person) hasn’t done any research on the topic and is just shooting from the hip, so to speak. It’s an argument from ignorance.

How did I respond?

I took a stab at answering the question. And it went something like this:

The Black Church is the only institution in American society that Black people can rely on. It’s been like that for a long time. This creates a strong economic and social incentive to belong to the Black Church.

Let that statement sink in for a second or two.

Does that mean being an out of the closet atheist is an exercise of privilege?

Um, yes.

A lot of the time (terms and conditions apply).

That was my best crack at answering the question.

What are your thoughts?


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