By Michael Lackey
This learn of atheist African American writers poses a great problem to people who see atheism in despairing and nihilistic phrases. Lackey argues that whereas such a lot white atheists mourn the lack of religion, many black atheists--believing the “God-concept” spawns racism and oppression--consider the dying of God a reason for private and political hope.
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Additional resources for African American Atheists and Political Liberation: A Study of the Sociocultural Dynamics of Faith
To know a spiritual being like God, one must be a spiritual being. It might seem that all people are composed of matter and spirit, which would imply that all “people” would have the inborn potential to know a spiritual reality. But actually Paul indicates that some people are composed merely of earth (natural man), while others are composed of spirit and earth (spiritual man): “Earthly men are like the man of earth, heavenly men are like the man of heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:48). From this perspective, those who know a spiritual reality like God would be considered fully human, while those who do not 28 / African American Atheists and Political Liberation would not be considered fully human.
But it is important to note that Redding does not just claim that the God concept is used to justify dubbing black people inferior. He leaves open the possibility that it can be used to justify calling a wide range of people inferior, and a casual glance at the writings of prominent figures of the early twentieth century indicates that Redding’s claim was not idiosyncratic. For instance, as a homosexual, E. M. Forster uses his novel Maurice to examine how the God concept was used to justify the animalization of all Oscar Wilde types.
But if we consider Ducie’s remarks in relation to the philosophy of the clergyman of the novel, Mr. Borenius, then Ducie’s comments would be much more pernicious than they might seem at first. For Borenius, human “conduct is dependent on faith,” and consequently, “if a man is a ‘bit of a swine’ the cause is to be found in some misapprehension of God” (236). When he says “a bit of a swine,” what Borenius really means is sexual perversion, for “when the nations went a whoring they invariably ended by denying God” (237).