I'm an Aussie so I find this stuff difficult to understand. This is what I found in the section on "Race distribution" here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_atheism
" Overall, U.S. Americans who profess no religion or self-identify as Atheist or Agnostic are more likely to be white non-Hispanic or Asian and less likely to be African American, as compared to the general adult population in U.S."
I can't understand how a race of people who's ancestors are forcibly taken from their native countries, enslaved, beaten and killed adopt their oppressors' religion more fervently than their oppressors! And when some do rebel, they choose a religion which is much, much worse - Islam.
Any African Americans care to explain? Or are there any Americans that would like to explain this phenomenon to a simple Aussie?
Its because when they were slaves, they were forced to accept christianity~ but as they started to earn their freedom, they took the few traditions they had, such as religion, to identify with~ almost like stockholm syndrome. Its essentially taking what little you have, and shaping an identity around it. Being one of the few things that they "had to themselves" they've held on to it when shaping their new, "free" identity. This also pertains to "black" culture in the US, event the detrimental parts such as poverty, gun violence, sexism, and lyrical poetry that glorifies all of these things.
~ as far as converting to islam, it could be several factors. It could be the "exoticism" of a foreign, monotheistic religion... But I see that as unlikely. Its probably more the powerful rhetoric found in the koran, but I'll have to look into that further.
"almost like stockholm syndrome" - yes, i think that can explain much.
as for Islam, it is a knee-jerk reaction to adopt a different religion and I guess you're right in that it would seem attractive because of its more powerful, even violent approach.
I see a rather ironic corollary to this demographic.
The African Americans have managed to endow the world with such a diverse range of musical styles stemming from their misfortune (too mild or lame?). They have given us hollers, work songs, gospel, blues, jazz, rock 'n' roll, R&B, soul, hip hop and, of course, funk. Fill in the missing and sub-genres yourself.
This music, which has influenced all the cultures of the planet (North Korea, maybe not), has been born from an unbroken timeline of supression and suffering for hundreds of years.
Speaking as an African American, I think it's because most of us have grown up in homes that are predominantly Christian and find solace in those beliefs. Very few of us tend to look deeper into the flaws that are ever so present in religion. I broke from this mold and couldn't be any happier.
Huh. My post seems to have been truncated. Damn!
I think what I was going to say was that most coming out stories I have read on these forums have resulted in friendships ending over this issue. I think it's silly and that religious adherence should not be a factor for selection of friends.
I have close friends that are Hindus, atheists, Buddhist, Christian and Muslim. I base my friendships on the person, not on the religion as true friends should. Sounds like your friends are the same too.