Greetings:
I am writing this as a sort of cathartic endeavor. I'd be interested in what you men and women here on the Nexus feel about this.
Recently I signed up for Facebook and enthusiasticly went about trying to re-connect with long-lost friends/schoolmates. I found a dear friend of mine, contacted her and she accepted my friendship. We made plans via phone to meet each other once I returned to visit my hometown of Brooklyn, NY earlier this month. I guess subsequently she took a look at my profile and noted that I am a self-proclaimed Atheist, Humanist,Naturalist. From here you all can surmise what happened next. She officially unfriended me. I am hurt, but not really surprised. I thought that my stance would not be an issue as I don't really knock anyone for what they choose to believe in.
Fellow A/Ners, have you experienced similar reactions or have you stayed in the proverbial closet out of not wanting to cause distruption in your life? I'm very interested in knowing. How do we become mainstream or close to mainstream, or simply not seen as people more terrible than Freddie Kruger, Ted Bundy, and Predator combined? WWJD if he existed? Lord Krishna hear my plea! LOL, yet bruised.

Tags: agnostics, atheism, freethinkers, mental, open-mindedness, oppression, spirituality

Views: 556

Replies to This Discussion

I think as a generalization, the assertion of a difference is false, bordering on dishonest. What I do think is the case is a different in reference points, in experience, in awareness and often in seriousness about the specific situation of Black America. This difference at the bare minimum is due to the prevalence of social segregation that keeps people naive, clueless, and lacking of awareness in what is going on in society. But as far as atheism goes, I see only a few cases in which black atheists are immune to the lure of Dawkins, Harris, etc. I think the exclusive emphasis on the natural sciences to the exclusion of serious history and sociology is an ideological bias, but it's not a particularly "white" one per se.
Of course it is. If not then...I have one question and two names: 
       Q: How do you account for these two square pegs in round holes?
Names: #1. Neil deGrasse Tyson and the late #2. Howard Zinn.

I rest my case, Your Honor.
Tyson is not particularly invested in history or sociology; he's an astrophysicist. And Zinn was primarily an historian and not a scientist, and he was a Jew. So what is your point now?

@Ralph~
That was my point. Professor Tyson is a black scientist and Prof. Zinn, a white person, was an icon of the radical left and social change activism. They represent exceptions to the "generalization" by L. Hunter that you objected to and with which I agreed.
And Howard Zinn was a Jew the way I am an Episcopalian---not!

Excuse my lapse in irony appreciation. This society has become so stupid I can't tell any more whether people mean what they say or are joking. As for science, I think it's a good thing that black scientists get public exposure. Tyson thinks that's important too: he said so in his autobiography. In a way, that's a more important political gesture than some of the customary ones. But in the main, there's too much fawning over scientists who step outside the bounds of their specialties to make larger claims that show up their limitations. But this speaks to a limitation in American intellectual life in general; simply to label it "white" and leave it at that is reactionary, and an ideological gimmick that has long outlived its usefulness.
I agree. In fact, I'm going to say something that will surely draw fire. Race, as a term of classification with any presumptions of embodying meaningful information, is no longer useful. It is because when we speak of "race", we aren't really talking in terms of old paradigms. Long dead colonial assumptions about physical distinctions that are dependent upon genetic coding (and inevitably manifest in the context of culture), are passé.  When we speak about ethnic sub-groups and the traits of their enculturation, we're referring to something ephemeral that disappears for all intents and purposes, after a generation or two. In modern America, regardless of the intransigence of isolated pockets of racism, race as a marker is effectively so insignificant as to be non-existent.

Now, having said all that, I add this this caveat. In spite of the cutting edge understanding of what "race" really is and how insignificant it is to the greater human mission in life, it's still around for exploitation and will take more than science and social experiment alone to bannish it forever from the census forms.
Me? I like to remember to keep the faith and to pass the good news about the surprising cohesion of the human family along...and maybe someday my grandkids will not even understand what what I'm talking  apart from its value as a novelty of history.
That explains a lot. I always knew the 14% African DNA in my genome was dominating the other 86% of the European legacy! That's probably why I've been a vocal activist in social causes since 1965.
By the way, I began to suspect it from the first time I went to the Apollo Theater in '67 (I think it was) with my best friend Henry... the sax player in our college jazz ensemble. (LOL...wink-wink)
I don´t discuss religion with any of my facebook connections or in general.  I feel its none of their business and most of them aren´t good enough friends to do more than collect me to feel like they have a lot of people interested in their lives when their lives aren´t interesting.  I am a private person though and even as a believer I refused to recruit or discuss it, lol.  The beginning of the end for me I suppose, lol.  I respect you posting it, and I was recently outed in a professional black organization and that was the last I heard of those folks.  It was posted on a profile as my interests.  If it happened to someone else because of their beliefs they would rally the troops.  It never ceased to amaze me that so many believers hold to the role of the martyr while treating others so unjustly.  All that to say do you really want somone that shallow in your life.  The holy rollers that love me accept me inspite of our differences and I do the same.  We can argue, disagree, and still love each other.  Anyone that flighty isn´t going to make a good friend anyway.  Her loss, not yours.  You can really do so much better.  Atleast, that´s the way I see it, lol.  My brother calls them Frenemies.  They smile in your face but would ditch you in a heart beat if not that for something else just as shallow.  True friendship should surpass that.  Enjoyed the post.  Naomi
I think it is really amazing how people have misconception's about Atheism. My own mother thought that we worshiped the devil, and dabbled in black magic. I had to explain to my mother that all Atheism is just a lack of a belief in a higher deity. Usually if people ask me what religion I am I either tell them I am a humanist or non-religious. Unfortunately, the word "Atheism" has become a pejorative, which it should not be. My other thought is that in the black community being non-religious is much bigger deal than other communities. You have to remember that religion has been an integrate part of black society since slavery times. Slaves saw religion and church as a way to escape the harsh reality of slavery, and it was a way to truly express themselves without being reprimanded. Then you look at the Civil Rights and how the church played a crucial role you can understand why religion has such a powerful grip on black society. However, I think its a matter of time before black community will warm up to the idea of atheism considering how fast the group is growing in the US and how religiosity is declining in America.

Khemisi,

 

I'm sorry that you had such a negative reaction.  I too struggle with this sense of exclusion based on my non-theistic point of view.  It is especially true in terms of my relation to lifelong family and friends.  Mostly, this is directly related to growing up in the black church, my grandfather, and father being pastors, as well as my prior involvement in the ministry.  

 

My family is quite close and is intimately entwined with a christian perspective as a value system.  Thus, to reject christianity, would reject christian values, and a basis of values within the family.  In a sense rejecting part of my family.  This is incredibly troublesome, because I do not want to lose those dearest to me over a difference of opinion.  While the fear is very real, almost palpable, the reaction to my beliefs from those I love and whom love me has been positive, and respectful.  Having to agree to disagree, and setting boundaries of discussion has been quite helpful, as debate of religion often cannot separate emotion from criticism.

 

Hopefully, you can find friends that do not hold the us vs. them mentality, that see you for who you are, and can at the very least respect your positions without missing out on your friendship.

I can't comment on the core issue here but I would caution you about Facebook.  Consider setting personal issues to completely private or just remove that information.  You should be willing to share information but share it on your own terms.  You maybe could've spoken to this person about your atheism and not scared them away.  Unfortunately they read it on FB first and here you are.

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