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Austin Cline

Discussion: Being Atheist & Black

By October 3, 2006

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A forum member writes: I have noticed that there are few black atheist, and that blacks generally are very religious. I have been having sort of a hard time dealing with this, since I live in the South and most of my family members are ministers. I know that dealing with an overly religious family to begin with is hard for atheist regardless of race, but there are other factors I am having to deal with. ... I have no one to relate to when it comes to black culture, black issues, etc., things that I could have someone to relate to if most of these things didn't have a religious spin to them. Even when we raise issues to be dealt with in the black world, i.e obtaining better education for our children, and the likes, all these causes seemed to be associated with religion.

Are there are any other atheist readers who are black or, perhaps, members of another minority who have had similar experiences? What sorts of extra problems face black, Latino, or Asian nonbelievers in their communities? Join the Forum Discussion...

Comments
November 19, 2006 at 6:36 pm
(1) Malinda says:

I agree. I am a black female atheist and I have been trying to find a black male atheist that i’m compatiable with. It’s impossible

October 11, 2010 at 1:46 am
(2) Elliot C. Myrick says:

You are not alone. You have one right here.

April 5, 2007 at 10:39 am
(3) Rabia says:

I am black atheist from Africa (Somalia) and my husband is from Sweden, he is a non believer as well. Race shouldn’t be the issue here, considering we are all born atheist. The prophet Muhammed is no exception.

April 29, 2007 at 1:31 pm
(4) anwar says:

I would have to say being black and atheist automatically sounds like an oxymoron. I found it easier coming out of the closet than telling my family im an atheist. I guess by saying your “gay” they figure jesus/god can save you. However, when you say your an atheist than there is no hope for you. So, it is definitely an issue you have to keep closeted if your black.

May 25, 2007 at 5:46 pm
(5) BPcompany says:

Yea. Being black and an athiest is hard. Most black people are very religious. Even the ones in gangs! Hahahaha. I’m sure on the internet you can find a lot of black athiests. I know I have found a lot through facebook.com.

October 18, 2007 at 3:15 pm
(6) Blackatheist says:

I’m BLACK, FEMALE, ATHEIST and Loving it! It’s all in how you present yourself. I come across as STRONG, CONFIDENT, GRATEFUL and NON-RELIGIOUS. No need for me to give praise, thanks or even a THOUGHT to invisible GODS…I live GODLESS by EXAMPLE!

November 6, 2007 at 2:27 pm
(7) BruhBrown says:

I have a very agnostic view of things and have thwarted off religion for some time now. I’m black, male and just lost a close family member. I had a “friend” say I need to confide in Jesus. As a matter of fact every time something isn’t going right for me I’m supposed to praise a myth or invisible guy. Be strong. I’m a firm believer of logical thinking instead of blind faith.

November 13, 2007 at 10:05 am
(8) DamnRight says:

I’m a white atheist married to a black christian woman… between her family & mine, I am the only atheist… I believe they’d have prefered I had come out as gay…

… it does make for some interesting family get-togethers…

… fortunately, the inter-racial thing has never been an issue… but, I constantly am bombarded with their religious mythology & questions they don’t want to hear the answers to…

… probably because I was a very active christian (church worship leader, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, bible study leader) up till my enlightenment…

… I do feel a bit sorry for my wife since I was a strong christian when we met 22 years ago & I believe it was one of the things she loved about me… oh well, can’t/won’t fake it & we still love each other (just had 20th anniversary)…

December 8, 2007 at 9:12 pm
(9) Zee Harrison says:

I would describe myself primarily as a naturalist and then atheist. I am black and raised in a family where church was not rammed down our throats – we heard all the hypocritical goings on with the pastors and the women of the church and various other scandals. I thought it was a big joke that children just had to go through every now and again.
It is difficult to ‘come out’ in the black community but I always had a don’t care attitude. I was told often that I will ‘go to hell’. It is all very sad really, it goes deep and affects many. Let’s just be glad we have removed those chains and moved into the realm of enlightment! Read my blog and tell me what you think. My aim was not to create an ‘atheist’ site but I seem to be heading that way. I’m just considering what my next blog will be about. Should be up shortly. Anyway:
http://www.blackwomanthinks.blogspot.com

December 13, 2007 at 2:50 am
(10) Bobby 'MF' Jones says:

I am Black, male and Atheist. I feel no need to try to comply to anthropomorphic theism. My lady is an Atheist also. One of the reasons Black people stay perpetually ‘behind the power curve’ in this country is primitive diety worship. It’s ignorant and unimaginative. The universe is SO much more mysterious and interesting than to fall for the fallacy of fairy tale monotheism. Teaching children messiah myths should be considered a felony offense in this so called advanced nation. For all the coons (Coons are what I consider a devolved genetic subspecies of my race); please expire and not pollute our gene pool.

January 1, 2008 at 3:47 pm
(11) blkisbeautiful says:

I am having a hard time finding any black atheist/agnostic group meetings in LA. I am about to crack!!! I need to talk to someone who feels the same as I do. Not to mention, over the past 5 years, I have met appr. 4-6 men who have refused to date me because of my views. Anyone know of a good place to meet atheist/agnostic men???

January 3, 2008 at 11:57 am
(12) Yetunde says:

I’m a Nigerian-American atheist and although my family isn’t the typical Black American family I can definately relate.
Everytime something bad happens, its the work of the devil. When something good happens, “praise God!”
I’m too much of a skeptic and a logical thinker to accept something like religion unquestionably. My family just doesn’t understand that.

January 24, 2008 at 2:40 am
(13) Gyrlwriter says:

I’m looking for African American atheists who would like to share their stories for a magazine article.

Please email me at gyrlwriter@hotmail if you are interested. Please provide a few details: when you realized you were an atheist, if your family is religious and how they took the news. Thanks.

February 13, 2008 at 7:52 pm
(14) Roger says:

I’m an Atheist as well, I really hate the religious concept. I don’t understand why African American people are so damn religious especially when we know that whites brought our ancestors here & slave them while teach them this crap! I’m AA Atheist male & yes it sucks, I’m going to fake it because I can’t take it being lonely & the majority of the atheist around here are fat white women (yuck)! I’ve done it before & its torture but hey thats the price you pay for being so different.

February 25, 2008 at 10:51 am
(15) Kiwi says:

I agree. I’d fess up to being bisexual before atheist. I’m writing about experiences of atheists/nonbelievers in intolerant societies/communities. If you would like to anonymously fill out a questionnaire, I’d be very grateful. My email address is infidel888 (at hotmail.com). I would love to hear from all countries (as all of my responses have been from americans). I know that some people’s lives would be in danger by admitting they don’t believe. I am annoyed when I hear my fellow brown humans complain how whites took everything from them with slavery and discrimination, yet they’re blind to the fact that their african religion was replaced with xtianity. Silliness. We are still emerging from the dark ages, it seems. I think that much of it is due to the fact that children are brainwashed to believe this at such a young age. Psychologically, it damages reasoning ability and is very hard to undo. It is mental slavery with fear as the motivator. If a child goes to sleep at night thinking of pits of fire and demons, he’s gonna be f**kd as it becomes more real. Children should decide religious issues on their own and when older. Just like driving, drinking, and voting! I feel like I’m in a scary sci fi movie like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, waiting to be attacked by the pod people! When I watch the Matrix, I think I’m happy I took the Red Pill and woke up! Feel free to write me no matter what color. Good places to visit are youtube (type in patcondell, kingheathen, or black atheist) and ex-christian.net. Great discussion.

March 15, 2008 at 2:20 am
(16) Ana says:

I’m black, bisexual, and an atheist. That’s three strikes against me, I suppose.

After years of being dragged off to church every Sunday, I realized (sometime after puberty) that this entity that possessed my stoic teacher mother enough to make her weep during prayer? I couldn’t feel it. And I wasn’t going to pretend I did — that way lies serious madness and cognitive dissonance.

Instead, I began studying books on comparative religion to learn what others believed. I dove headfirst into chemistry and physics. I actually read the Bible, which further cemented my decision to give the often petty, arbitrary, jealous and cruel Christian God a wide berth.

Fast-forward to today. Although I’ve told my father, and I’m ‘out’ as an atheist to my friends, my mother still doesn’t know. I don’t bring up my lack of faith with people unless I sense that they might actually be receptive — I’ve been chased down by too many people seeking to convert me.

I’ve never had a strongly insular ethnic identity to begin with, and so I haven’t found it difficult to find like-minded souls…but I’ve only met one other black atheist, and I used to date him.

April 1, 2008 at 1:22 pm
(17) Adam says:

I’m not black (but I am an atheist. But my two best friends are black and half-black respectively, and they’re agnostic and atheist, so that’s something I guess. We live in a very small town though, and we’re all the only nonbelievers (or overt ones anyway), so that may be why we’re friends. I’ve never had much problems with my atheism of course, but I am a caucasian and my parents are religious, but not exceedingly so. I’ve dated outside my race alot, and surprisingly my lack of religious faith as opposed to my skin and eye color came up more then anything.

Not sure if that’s good or bad.

April 11, 2008 at 7:56 pm
(18) Neverspeak says:

I am an African-American atheist, and I feel stereotyped by this poster. That (she?) would expect to be able to relate to me at all, let alone better than a non-black atheist, simply because of the color of my skin, strikes me as racist. I realize that she does not frame her post in terms of relating to people based on skin color, but I maintain that that is what it amounts to because there are no issues that a “black” person can inherently relate to better than others, as far as I can see.

I’m sure that there have been circumstances in which it was found that “black” people related to some issue better than others, but that ability to relate is not inherently connected to being black. There could easily have been an Asian or Hispanic person, for example, who had the experience or empathy to relate just as well.

I would challenge this person to specify what issues or cultural elements she is referring to, and to support her implication that “black” people are somehow more appropriate people to seek out to relate to these things.

AKA Absinthe

April 12, 2008 at 10:53 pm
(19) Che says:

I’m Black, female and atheist. As a child, my immediate family was atheist; two of my sisters converted to Christianity in undergrad and one sister tried a smorgasbord of religions before (I’m guessing) settling into Agnosticism. Two other siblings are still atheists (they’re still teens living at home).

It wasn’t forced on us, neither was any religion. Just as we got a bit older my father told us, “I’m atheist. You may choose to explore religions if you’d like, the choice is yours.” I read through a couple of religious texts out of curiosity growing up, but nothing moved me. Going to religious events among friends and later my husband’s family kinda freaked me out, but we’ve never pressured each other either way.

Neverspeak – you’re the narrow-minded idiot. Just like an American may be able to relate to you better than say, a German, INSIDE the US an African American atheist may be able to relate to you than say a Native American atheist because they may understand your CULTURAL background as well. By stating the racial, ethnic, nationality, gender and atheism she is trying to find those who can best empathize with her life challenges in this area. You strike me as one of those AA’s who say “Look white people! Asian people! I’m not like the rest of those Negroes” and make choices like atheism to fit outside of mainstream AA culture (see the Coon comment above). Yeah, I’ve seen your type of “Atheist” before. gag!

I do believe religion plays a much bigger role in some cultures than in others. For example, most people assume Arabs and Persians are Muslim, followed far behind by Christians and Jews. Out-of-the-closet atheism could be fatal in some countries. So don’t be so arrogantly dismissive or accusatory to the poster, after all, don’t you come to this site looking for support among fellow atheist? Almost all humans live in cultures that are religiously dominated and it varies based on BOTH your racial and ethnic background. African Americans are overwhelmingly Christian, with Islam a distant second. And there are -significant- cultural differences in how these religions institutions manifest themselves compared to ones dominated by whites, Asians, etc. So I feel YOU’RE being racist (and ignorant) by denying this historical and contemporary fact. What, are you afraid of losing brownie points your white atheist friends will view you differently if they realize there are cultural distinctions between you? That others that come from the same cultural background (which are often roughly divided along racial lines in the US) dare seek companionship and support? And as you said, yes, you can be racist against your own kind.

May 27, 2008 at 11:06 am
(20) anwar says:

I totally understand this person’s plight. I am Black,Gay and an Atheist. So culturally I pretty much committed social suicide. Its more acceptable to be gay and black as opposed to black and atheist. Ironically, speaking, I have noticed that in my family. For example: “Its okay your gay, as long as you pray to Jesus.” So, thats the reception I have gotten. Or they subliminal messaging that if I “pray hard enough I will not only find Religion but it will change my sexuality too. So, in order to find acceptance with in the black community they must first be willing to be educated. However, resistance is a force that will not change with in the black community.

June 3, 2008 at 12:10 pm
(21) Todd says:

At least you’re not a black, gay, atheist vegetarian, communist lawyer.

June 4, 2008 at 6:17 pm
(22) blasius tum says:

Finally i have something that i can relate to intensively.my mum is gong ho with jesus,my familly as well.i was born,raised in Cameroon,Africa and i am a stunch Atheist and black.am even anti all stupidity and religious beliefs come at the top.Now regarding Africans and blacks as a whole,there seam to be some unwritten law that we cannot be atheist nor gay.For the record you buffoons(i also call my entire family buffoons)Christianity was introduced to Africa with the coming of the trans-atlantic slave trade by our christian slavers who even told us to accept jesus and the fact that we are slaves so that we will go to heaven.as soon as the first white christian showed us their civilised wonders like liquor,guns we were wowed and all our own superstitious beliefs started crumbling.Now everywhere u go on this planet who are those who want to tell u about things they dont even master?blacks.blacks have kidnapped what travelled all the way from jerusalem,spent 1000years in europe,then brought to us through slavery and now you buffoons open your mouths and try to claim things you dont even know?anyway only the very miserable and less educated in the world are religious fanatics.but i have never accepted that and i was raised in the streets but i decided to be a self made man.i begged for books and read.
now to those who are black and gay dont even give a monkey about what other brothers think.it is only a fool who has a problem with two adults deciding to do what they wish to do in their private life.is it not stupid to be anti- gay?lets really take a closer look at ourselves again.no doubt there is this steriotype about africans and blacks beeing dumb asses.i work everyday to learn and know better and i will only be convinced through fact based evidence.maybe am blessed to have inherited intelligent genes.

June 5, 2008 at 5:55 pm
(23) You will know :) says:

You had to speak about slavery. You just couldn’t stop yourself :) ) Is that your bigest problem? Was a slavery a topic ??? No? So what was that for? To take it out? To make Yourself feel beter?? You are ….

August 7, 2008 at 6:52 am
(24) yahya says:

Wow… reading the comments really had me convinced that I was not crazy and actually felt as sense of relief for the believing (or not) believing what I do. Like most of you, I was raised in a very religious home and vowed to “get away” from the establishment the first chance I got. To say the least after my escape I found myself feeling empty or inadequate because I was “out of church”. I eventually found my way to a congregation that really convinced me that there was a method to the madness. After a couple years I was prophesied to repeated with none of it happening. I even went so far as to resign from a very successful position to “follow God”. After losing every physical possession that I have-and close to losing my wife, I’ve come to realize that I completely lost all reasoning and displace my life purpose on something-God or insanity. I’m now trying to find the slightest bit of hope to regain my life back. I just came to realize in the past 24 hours that I do not believe and have not believed for some time but have felt obligated to fulfill some moral code by going to church. Religion has had a vice on my mother (who I love dearly) for over 50 years. She’s been “waiting on God” for nearly as long to increase her bank account, free her from struggling and correct our family ills. I’m honestly sick and feel I’ve been bamboozled. This is a new beginning for me. I truly don’t what is what anymore… everything I believed in and for does not exist. I gave (and lost) everything I had in pursuit of faith. I can’t do it anymore. Letting go of reason and completly not thinking. This is the first time I’ll uneasily admit that my belief system has failed me and sincerely do not believe anymore-and I tried. If that makes me an atheist, I guess I some work to do until I’ve reached enlightenment. YEBH

August 11, 2008 at 8:14 pm
(25) FREEDMIND says:

You will know :) says:
You had to speak about slavery. You just couldnít stop yourself ) Is that your bigest problem? Was a slavery a topic ??? No? So what was that for? To take it out? To make Yourself feel beter?? You are Ö.

WTF?
FIRST OF ALL SLAVERY HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH BLACK PEOPLE BEING SO RELIGIOUS… We as a people were stolen from our land and robbed of our own religions and culture and then brainwashed in the jesus myth (which is a remix of various eygptain and pagan myths). slavery is, has, and will always be wrong yet it is condoned in the bible. slavery is enough of a REASON alone to disbelive in god especailly a just benevolent god… In fact the first christain slaves main purpose for meeting in church was to revolt or escape and they masked there intent in the songs they sang…

Neverspeak says:
I am an African-American atheist, and I feel stereotyped by this poster. That (she?) would expect to be able to relate to me at all, let alone better than a non-black atheist, simply because of the color of my skin, strikes me as racist

WTF?

how? does anyone know what this person is talking about?

August 15, 2008 at 10:55 am
(26) Adisa says:

I agree with some that it is very hard if not impossible to find people that are black and atheist and it is frustrating at times. I am single and I hope to fine a sister that agrees with me that there is no god and religion is not as possitive as people think.

August 23, 2008 at 4:01 am
(27) A worried young African says:

I come from an extremely religious family and immigrant community. It disturbs me that Blacks and Africans are portrayed as people who jump around, hoot and holler and do back flips down the aisle of the church. I feel that I am an agnostic/atheist trying to find his place in the world. It comforting to know that there are people who hold similar views to myself.

August 31, 2008 at 9:54 pm
(28) Andre Smith Jr says:

I can honestly say I’ve been an atheist all my life. Just did not realize it till the past 2-3 years. I am a black male as well. When most other blacks I tell that I am an “Atheist” towards…I swear there is this strange look about their face. The look of “you’re a what” comes to my mind. The sad part is…almost instantly they want to pigeonhole you as simply a lost sheep. Rather when the truth is you’ve thought this out quite carefully after years of study and contemplation on the subject. Like I always tell them Atheist do not come about simply because they are pissed at GOD, but rather for not being satisfied with belief in general.

Too many times I prayed I could just believe, but as they say wasn’t in the cards for me. I just ask to many questions and want to known “why”. I could never stop asking that question. I do think alot of blacks have been far too brainwashed into Christianity and are fearful of such ideas as Atheism. With the shared history many of us have from American history..I cannot see how any black person could ever proudly call themselves a Christian.

Hubert Henry Harrison
JA Rogers…

Black Atheists of the 20th century…more blacks know about Rev.King than these two far more impressive individuals.

September 11, 2008 at 2:53 am
(29) Zyrover says:

Greetings everyone. I have read many of the previous comments and I’m glad to see that I am not alone. “Hi group. My name is Zyrover, I’m a black male and I don’t believe in god” (LOL)
During my christian years there were a lot of things in the bible that did not sit well with me. However, the concept I had the biggest problem with was, eternal punishment for unbelievers. A god that was supposed to be loving, sending people to burn in hell for eternity didn’t make sense. As a christian, I worried about going to hell alot. I never thought that I was living righteously enough to escape that horrible place. Anyway I don’t worry about that anymore because I know that the bible is a very interesting story written by mere men and is not the word of some god living in the clouds. I certainly understand the difficulty of finding a suitable companion when you are and atheist. My wife is still a christian and we sometimes have heated debates regarding our beliefs. She has never said it, but I know that she would not have married me if I had these same views while we were dating. It is what it is I guess. To my atheist brothers and sisters continue to be strong, logical, rational!

October 24, 2008 at 12:19 pm
(30) Tenikki says:

I’m a black 26 year old agnostic. My boyfriend is a black atheist.When I told my mom that I didnt want my son attending church anymore she was furious!She said I let him “pull me in.” Although, my family is a religious bunch of hipocrites, surprisingly, I didnt get one phone from anyone asking about my enlightenment! Shocking: The pastor nor any of the deacons called once they found out I didnt believe anymore. Personally, if I were a firm believer. I would have made the 1st call if the shoe was on the other foot. Ah ha, maybe they’re not firm believers!!! It is so hard being a BLACK agnostic or atheist.

November 5, 2008 at 7:40 pm
(31) JJ says:

First, ditto on Che’s comments about the previous posts from Neverspeak and that person (#9) making the stupid ‘coon’ comment. Why the need to denigrate people–no less your own people? There are plenty of people who do that without your help. Thanks, Che, for shining a spotlight on their idiocy.

I’m a Black atheist woman. I’ve always suspected that the Black community was home to many doubters. As other people have said above, there’s can be a high premium for ‘coming out of the closet’ that is especially bad for us. It reminds me of what a young ex-Mormon man said in Bill Maher’s ‘Religulous.’ In some ways, a black atheist’s coming out may be akin to social suicide. I would like to say, however, that for many it might not be as bad as you suppose. I have never regretted telling anyone so far, though I’ve heard the stupidest comments. You never know!

November 9, 2008 at 2:14 pm
(32) Geebee says:

Iím a white Caribbean atheist in his fifties from Curacao.
I think my late father believed in god, although he was highly skeptical about much of the bible, especially the parts that tell of miracles and those that deal with biology like Genesis, or history such as the story of Noah and his Ark. He liked science, and held a fascination for theories like ďThe big bangĒ and for Darwinian evolution.
My octogenarian mother is a Christian, even though sheís a logical thinking woman who manages to again and again pleasantly surprise me with her clear, analytical mind.
As a child I attended church regularly with my parents. I grew to dislike this more and more, until finally at about the age of thirteen I refused to go to church any longer. Ever since I have only been in Church for tribal obligations: weddings and funerals.
So atheism has been instinct to me as long as I can remember. I never gave it much thought. As a child growing up in Curacao, religion never was much of an issue. In my late teens I went to study in Europe, and was delighted to find myself in an ambiance where non-religiosity if not indeed atheism was the norm rather than the exception. Also, the spirit of the 70ís was one of libertinism.
Enter the third millennium, and thereís the thick oppressive smog of fundamentalism all around, coming mostly from Islamic countries, but to a large degree also from the US.
Iím convinced we atheists should counterbalance this surge in fundamentalism, and be vocal about our convictions. We neednít proselytize, but whenever possible casually make our presence known and felt. I agree with Richard Dawkins that the kid gloves should come off when discussing religion.
Being bombarded on all sides by people threatening with the tyranny of religion, all of a sudden I find myself on the defensive.
So the last couple of years I find myself more and more interested in arming my self against this onslaught of fundamentalism. Furthermore, my interest in natural history and environmental concerns has inevitably kindled an interest in these matters.
Living on an island where the people are mostly black, I have yet to meet one black atheist. Thatís what brought me to this and other similar sites. It has definitely been an eye opener, although I must say there is one line of thought that is frequently mentioned which I find disturbing. Itís the idea that Christianity, having being brought to the African by his white oppressor should be rejected for this reason.
Realizing Christianity is essentially Judaism with a messiah, European fascists used this same logic to reject Christianity and justify their anti-Semitism.
Iím convinced that in the absence of Christianity people would have adhered to some other, possible even more cripplingly backward religion.
There are countless truly valid reasons for rejecting all religions. If you want to learn about the natural world, take an interest in biology, geology, physics, and chemistry. These disciplines are far more fascinating, and can tell you infinitely more about such matters that any bible ever can. If itís our place in the cosmos you want to know about, turn to astronomy and cosmology. No religious text can tell you anything meaningful about such matters. As for about where we come from: anthropology, evolution and history will be by immeasurably more revealing and meaningful than religion.
If itís moral guidance you are looking for, avoid all religion like the plague.
As for the administration of justice, we donít want adulterers to be stoned to death.

The question remains: why are there so few black atheists?
I personally feel that not unlike everything else itís a matter of nature and nurture.
As for nature, it has been shown that in humans a part of the temporal cortex plays a pivotal role in religious experience. It is possible, indeed very likely, that this trait be more developed in certain human populations.
It would not surprise me at all if scientific experiments showed these temporal neurons firing away intensely in religious rapture such as widely experienced in charismatic churches.
As for me, I do not think my DNA codes for any genes that are responsible for even the smallest bit of religiosity.
But I suspect nurture is a more important factor.
It is clear that atheism is a terrible taboo in the US, Islamic countries, and countries with largely uneducated masses.
You would be hard pressed to find any well known public figure or scientist in the US announcing their atheist convictions to the world. If they donít remain silent, they mostly hide behind the mantle of agnosticism, which to me is just a cop-out.
But then the taboo is so strong that I guess they should be rightly frightened of the repercussions such an admission will bring.
I remember a black American colleague of mine with a degree from a very prestigious American university once disparagingly commenting about European guests in the hotel she stayed at as ďall atheistsĒ. Although she would often mention her church and pastor, we had never before had an occasion to talk about religion, as I would normally feel no inclination to do so. But this time I instantly retorted that I also was an atheist.
The look on her face spoke volumes. I might as well have told her I was a child molester.

November 17, 2008 at 9:04 am
(33) sfsalsadancer says:

I felt like their weren’t any black atheist, but now I see many more on the internet. I see we just don’t talk about it at bus stops.

Also, many atheist are in the closet, and then the rest aren’t organized. This means they don’t feel the need to celebrate Darwinism at the local library.

This makes it tougher for us to meet each other. But I am glad I discovered others online at least.

December 15, 2008 at 1:05 pm
(34) Zhi Y. Zhang says:

Hi I am Zhi .
I deal with the same issue; finding other African American Atheist.
If any african american atheist would like to meet others like them; come vict me at my to my web.
http://www.freewebs.com/zhiyah/

December 19, 2008 at 7:24 pm
(35) cirkus-frk says:

i am a black woman and an atheist, my mother never pushed religon on me. she let me feel things out for myself, she didn’t object when i wanted to go to church with my friends and didn’t go off the deep end when i asked questions about the bible. i admitted i was an atheist when i was 16, and the number of friends i had dwindled down to one…and the one friend i had left kept telling me it was a shame that i was “raised that way” now im a mother and i do what my mother did…i don’t push and i answer questions as honestly as i can. my 15 year old is an atheist…my 10 year old believes (he also still believes in santa)i’ve since made new friends, and lost a few. one friend accepts that i’m an atheist, and even asks questions…another is convinced that there is no such thing as atheists (?), and thinks all i need is for something tragic to happen so that i can have a relationship with god (we talk every 6 months…for about 6 minutes) :)

December 30, 2008 at 12:49 am
(36) pat says:

I do not know what I am: I know that I find it so darn difficult to accept religion. I find it so difficult. i have fought with this difficult because like many of you, I am bombarded by religion. For me as an African,who have fresh memory of religious conquest in African recent colonization, I find it difficult that people around cannot appreciate religion, recent Western Christianity, as an historical object. This one and a recent historical example. I am just so miserably besieged by God.

February 2, 2009 at 9:19 pm
(37) dalkordigo says:

As a white swede that’s very disconnected from this topic I find the many personal comments very interesting.
Being a black atheist in US must really suck.

Oh yea and i’m ahteist. duh! :)

February 10, 2009 at 4:14 am
(38) Khemisi says:

I was brought up in a Christian home. I became an Atheist when I decided to look into myths and the power of mythology and to read the Bible objectively as taught in college. I saw the correlation of the God in the Bible resembling the also fictional Satan in deeds and actions. Only then did I realize that religion was not for me. Black folk on a whole need to be objective about our past in this country and stop being in denial. Our ancestors were brutally forced to give up and deny our heritage, our names and families where torn apart by the ancestors of the people today who are still very busy keeping us in mental slavery. How can we give up our precious energy to an unseen force that overlooked the brutality of slavery and have enriched monetarily for centuries the offspring of the slaveholders whose progeny continue to benefit from the same system even today? How can we as a people not question this God machine, this God business plan. The very religion that ensnared us, we continue to embrace and feed the beast that continues to take the attention away from us doing for self and really caring for our families and our community. Religion is truly opium. Wake up! All the praying in the world won’t head off racism, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, single parenthood, black on black crime, gang banging, chemical dependencies and the list goes on. Every other group of people know that they have only themselves to depend on for survival and to stick together but us. That is why I am a staunch Atheist. God never existed and never will. God/Jesus is Santa Claus for adults.

February 20, 2009 at 2:04 pm
(39) Sigmund says:

Hello I’m a 40 year old black atheist living in Atlanta, GA. I come from an extremely religious family. I have never been able to relate to them because there is no conversation without jesus. To quote one of my uncles (they are all preachers) “there is no family without Jesus…and if you don’t love Jesus then you can’t love family”.

Well here I am alone and single in Atlanta. I know I am not the only one but I have yet to meet a black female atheist in Atlanta. Just as others have said I get that look of disgust when I say I’m a non-theist. It’s like saying, “I rape babies”. Some of them actually believe this to be true!

I turned 40 one month ago and have given up on finding a mate here in Atlanta. I’m a handsome guy with a good job and a nice benefit package. I’ve dated many wonderful black women here in the city but they all freaked out when they learned of my atheism.

I’m leaving the south and yes it sucks to be a black atheist but I prefer to be alone and “enlightened” than ………and ignorant.

March 6, 2009 at 1:50 pm
(40) De Mush Man says:

Yes!I as a black man from the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts West Indies,realize that it’s hard to find black non-religious free thinking rational human beings here in America (All over America), and especially in the West Indies. It’s like trying to find a grain of salt in the Sahara desert. A lot of West Indians are totally brain washed into the Christian and Muslim religion, by their Colonial white slave masters. They will defend him to the death…I think that they are all blinded idiot misguided sheep.

However, having access to the World Wide Web, and actually finding out that there are a good many black people who are coming out of the closet daily, gives me much hope.

My Story: After being christened in the Moravian Church on the Island Of St.Kitts, my mother used to take us kids (six in all) to church, just about every other Sunday. However, after a few years, all of the Church going ceased when I was about seven-eight years old.
It was when I migrated from St. Kitts to the Island of Antigua, to live with my aunt, that the proverbial shit hit the fan.
All of us kids were subjected to some of the worst forms of childhood religious mental abuse, that was humanly possible.
We were forced to go to church every Sunday, come rain or shine,to worship our slave master (fantasy white man jesus christ). Then, after church,there was Sunday School. Then there was Monday night Church; and Thursday night Church; and all of the extra curricular church activity in between that drove me nuts.

I totally gravitated away from this cruel form of religious (Christian)mental slavery (when my Aunt died), at the age of fourteen-sixteen. I started to read up on alternate forms of individual world views, and came to the conclusion, that us black folks were bamboozeled and hood-winked by our parents, who were mentally decapitated and emasculated by the European white male’s wicked, grusome hegemonic domination of the black race.
I came to America as a very young man, hoping to educate myself away from the total physical and mental strangle hold that I found myself, and about 99% of my fellow Island Compatriots subjected to.
After living in America for a couple of years, It was only then, that I came to realize that my black brothers and sisters here in America, were even more severely traumatized by the slave master’s oppressive whip, than I could ever imagine.

When I looked on just every block in the black community, there were several Baptist and Christian Churches vying for the souls of the black people. And all around these places of worship (white man worship), there was mind blowing abject poverty (ghettos)…That never ceases to abate, for hundreds of miles, for hundreds of years. Yet, these misguided fools still see fit to kiss up to, or make total fools of themselves worshipping their white slave master. Or, trying to destroy each other, seeking his favor… It was such a sad experiense for me to behold.

when I try to point out to these lost souls that fictious jesus was not the answer, nor is he the solution, but was always the problem as to why we remain in this sad state of affairs in this world, in America, and especially in Africa. Suddenly, I became even more of the enemy, and was subjected to scorn and redicule, sometimes verbal and phycical attemps of abuse too. I survived because I was able to defend myself in many ways…

We as conscious black and white people of the world, have to keep speaking out about the dangers of what religion is all about. The world has to be rid of this scourge of evil once and for all.

March 7, 2009 at 9:40 pm
(41) B says:

Sigmund: My mother is in ATL and she’s not a Christian. I don’t know what she is, really. Maybe deist. She’s never been religious. She grew up in a very religious household. One of her brothers was a minister, and another tried to become a minister. Lots of drama surrounding that (adultery, divorce, family problems, etc., etc.)

I certainly know what you mean, though, Sigmund. I lived in Sandy Springs with her for 6 months while my husband was deployed and boy, I felt like I was the only biracial nontheist there. I actually de-converted while I was there.

My whole mother’s side of the family, with the exception of maybe two, are Christian. Very devout, though progressive Christians. And they all have problems. LOL.

My mother knows I’m an atheist. She didn’t even flinch. No big deal to her. She didn’t raise me with any sort of religion. She didn’t want it pushed on me like it was for her and her brothers.

I used to be a big defender of Christian mythology. I loved apologetics and theology. I debated with many people and preached the gospel fervently. I was a huge “Bible-thumper.” Conditioned with Independent Fundamental Baptist dogma thanks to my father. My faith was never challenged and never wavered. I was secure in my faith. I knew it was Right and True. Overtime I started to “backslide” as the religionists call it. I started to take notice of different interpretations of the text and began looking outside my box. That later led to a lot of curiosity that didn’t involve literalism and inerrantism. The brand of belief I long accepted as Biblically sound.

It was an uncomfortable process at first. It was something I never in a million years expected would happen. Never. Not me. I was so strong in my faith, at least I thought so.

Whenever one is met with new information that conflicts with the information they accept, there’s bound to be some cognitive dissonance. The cognitive dissonance snapped and there was that moment of clarity. When I was able to really see what the nonsense and myths I had been trusting in all along was all about. That it was all folklore and legends based on mythical and fictional characters.

In any case, I do feel out of place in many ways. I’ve only met a handful of other black/biracial women that are nontheist. It’s refreshing, but at the same time, I can’t help be sad that so many other blacks are trapped. Trapped in a daze and delusion. They adopted the white man’s myths and folklore. It’s time to let them go. As the character “Paul”/Saul said, it’s time to put away childish things.

With metta,

B

March 12, 2009 at 7:16 am
(42) D says:

I’m not atheist, but i can definitely relate to this article. I’m 19 (turning 20 this month) and a sophmore in college. College has really helped me think outside the box. Before i went to college, i was a devoted Christian and raised in a highly religious family, even though deep down in my mind something was telling was telling me this wasnt right, but i just ignored it and didnt tell anyone. However, once i did attend college, thats when things became interested. My beliefs were slowly changing until before you know it, i was no longer a Christian. College so far has taught me to think outside the box and show me to be more open minded about other people’s belief. However, religion doesn’t teach neither of those things ironicly

It’s really sad because me and my family are no longer on the same wavelength as far as beliefs goes, and there aren’t very tolerant of other beliefs outside of Christianity. And its very hard for me to find somebody that’s actually on the same wavelength as i am AND at the same time still have a lot in common AND actually still be attracted to them.

March 12, 2009 at 7:24 am
(43) D says:

By the way, i am an african american woman who is not atheist, but is also not religious by any means. I would probably consider myself a deist, if anything

April 2, 2009 at 3:15 pm
(44) seanmat says:

I am an Atheist born in the south (now living in Maryland) and raised in the baptist church. As a child I always believed that religion sound too much like a fairy tale. I mean talking snake? Your telling me Eve found the fruit more interesting than the talking snake?? and really 2 of every animal on a boat built by hand??

April 9, 2009 at 1:25 pm
(45) Nicole says:

It is the hardest thing to be an atheist and Black it is like almost unheard of. If you say you do not believe they look at you like you just chopped a head off! I have to lie or play along so many times just not to cause a stir!

April 9, 2009 at 7:47 pm
(46) Blackson says:

I am Glad to see so many BlackAtheist please come and watch The Hear O’Israel show I reppin bigtime on the Show please let me b your Champion

April 15, 2009 at 8:54 am
(47) TheNotoriousBRL says:

I’m a white agnostic and I find this whole discussion very enlightening. I’ve had it easy compared to most of these stories. I grew up in a secular family where we never discussed religion. I never went to church or read a bible. When I told my Mom I was an agnostic I think her reply amounted to an ”Ok whataver” like I told her the weather or something.

Thanks for the great read and helping me learn more about this subject

April 26, 2009 at 7:02 pm
(48) SapphicOwl says:

I’ve just created a Twibe (Twitter tribe) for black atheists, so we can network, read each other’s blogs, etc.
To join visit: http://www.twibes.com/group/BlackAtheists

April 26, 2009 at 11:46 pm
(49) Law Student says:

I am in the boat. I find it hard to meet other Hispanics/Blacks (I am a member of both groups) who don’t intertwine religion with almost every aspect of life. It’s a serious issue, especially when it comes to dating. I’ve only met one black athiest (other than my father) since I became one in 99′.

May 1, 2009 at 1:57 pm
(50) Chrissy says:

Yesss! I’ve finally run into some people of color with simular intrests. I’m a 29 year old black freethinking women currently living in Baltimore where there is literally a church on every corner. I see the hypocrisy and ignorance and can’t help but to laugh. My people love some Jesus! They refuse to open their minds or a few books and free themselves from the shackles of Christianity. If you ever need a someone to talk to hit me up @ channelcoates@yahoo.com

May 4, 2009 at 10:15 pm
(51) brwneyes says:

found this website its nice kinda like myspace more social for atheist….check it out. CREATE A BLACK ATHEIST GROUP. THERE ARE NONE I SEARCHED….. http://www.thinkatheist.com/

May 10, 2009 at 12:00 am
(52) Mz. Gee Bee says:

I’m a dark brown skinned woman with visible African DNA from the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve been an atheist for many years (my family have little/nothing to do with me due to my beliefs.I hear lots of “the Lord did this for me,” and “the Lord did that for me, and so much other language littered with religious dogma from “my kind”. Enough, already!!! I’ve pretty much given up the dream of meeting local like minded women w/similar cultural background and age group (late 40s and up) for friendship. Oftentimes I feel alone and isolated and sometimes afraid to open up as an atheist for fear of verbal attacks. So, I’m kinda in the closet and I ain’t even gay! lol

May 19, 2009 at 12:02 am
(53) Kingslim9 says:

I think it is time that Black people with the ability to think, i.e. Atheist, stop worrying about what people think about their beliefs. I have spoken to many Black people who have alot of reservation about the whole Christian thing but are afraid to speak them because they think people will judge them. I don’t care about that. Everyone who know me know I am an atheist because I can’t sit around and listen to people talking about how much they love Santa Claus, i.e. Jesus, and not cut that crazy mess short. As long as Black Atheist stay silent they will continue to watch the Black community go down in flames because everyone is putting the day Santa Claus comes back then gaining the knowledge they need to get themselves together.

May 22, 2009 at 2:37 am
(54) Kelsey says:

“Itís really sad because me and my family are no longer on the same wavelength as far as beliefs goes, and there arenít very tolerant of other beliefs outside of Christianity.”

THANK YOU.
18, black Atheist female, raised by my grandparents who have extremely strong baptist faith. Luckily, my boyfriend and I have loved each other for ever and although he’s a Christian religion is something we NEVER argue about. I told my mother and a few people I know, but haven’t “come out” to my grandparents. We’re so close and they I know it would destroy our relationship. I can’t take that pain. They’re all I’ve ever really had through my life.
I just can’t accept religion. I never thought ME of all people who turn away from it, but it happened and i’m not going back. Yet sometimes I feel so alone because of it.
Glad to know there’s others out there like me. :P

May 24, 2009 at 6:46 pm
(55) junglesiren says:

It is extremely difficult to come out as an athiest in the black community. I’ve discovered that many black people equate it with being a satanist. Hey, you might as well love the devil if you don’t love god, right? As if that makes the slightest bit of sense. They feel your atheism it’s an attack on their own beliefs and that they must defend god and make you understand why she does exist. I, on the other hand, don’t need them to know that there is no god. I, on the other hand, don’t care what they think.

It’s not worth my time to debate an issue that’s impossible to confirm and makes people so ridiculously god-aggressive. I have a handful of very close friends who often talk about god in a way that assumes we all (me included) believe. I sit there an nod and do an uh ha and let them wax on but I don’t need them to know my beliefs.

The idea of god is a comfort to many people. I have no interest in converting believers into non believers. Hell, sometimes I wish I believed. It would be so much easier to think that there was some being out there controlling things, someone/thing who would help me if I implored upon him/her/it. I wish I could write things off to “god’s will”. I wish I knew in my heart where I would go once I “passed”. I don’t know where I’ll go. I figure I’ll just be gone….

Christianity offers an afterlife of milk and honey… can you blame anyone for wanting to believe?

May 30, 2009 at 3:11 pm
(56) Meme says:

I’m a black woman who was not raised in a religious household but whose extended family was very involved in the church. My parents have their beliefs but never pushed them on my sister and I, they left a lot up to us. My sister did eventually, of her own volition after her own explorations, become baptized into a church when she was an adult (only to be rejected when she came out as gay a few years later).

I have never been baptized (oh the scandal!) and remember lying to my friends when I was a kid less they think I was ripe for the devil. As I got older I began to understand that the church was the heart and social center of black life and felt very ostracized and isolated from the community (being a super-smart bookworm into rock music didn’t help either, but that’s a whole other discussion!) Now as an adult I feel like I have no connection to the black community except for my skin color. I swear that some black people can sense that I’m not indoctrinated… I get the “side eye” without reason, but that could be due to my other non-traditional attributes.
Anyway being black and not belonging to a church (I tried it a few times and just felt silly and disingenuous) means not having a place in the community a lot of the time, at least from my perspective, but I’m a weirdo whatever color I could have been :)

June 5, 2009 at 11:32 am
(57) Ryan says:

I would imagine that you could leave Asians out of this discussion. There are plenty of asian cultures that have a nice mix of religous types and atheist. However it seems like the latino and black communities are easily the most religious groups at least in terms of a percentage.

June 7, 2009 at 12:49 am
(58) blkthorn says:

Im a black female biker atheist who is a recovering alcholic in the ever so god fearing AA program.
Dont worry about everybody else. Just be yourself. Doesnt matter what somebody else is. If your comfortable in your own skin…you’ll be able to sit down with these fat white chicks and have a quite enjoyable atheistic conversation

June 7, 2009 at 8:37 pm
(59) Moscar says:

It is because education I guess, it is very difficult to get good education if youa re poor, the same happens with all etnich and cultural groups, if they are poor they will most probably be uneducated superstiscious people. Regardless of the color of the skin.

June 21, 2009 at 3:49 pm
(60) kifagi says:

The reason why “blacks” and “latinos” are Christians, Islam, Jews, whatever or believers in god or Jesus is because of slavery of Africans and conquering of the native Indians, etc. The collective egoism of Europeans enforced their Monotheistic culture and way of living to include their religious beliefs over the last 2500 years and over various cultures. Most of what they believe was taken from Egyptian culture and twisted to make their own religion called Christianity today.

I am considered to most either crazy or I’m just going through something, lol, because I don’t believe in god, nor Jesus and the Bible. What is even more interesting is that people tend to judge and label me.

I refuse to label myself as an Atheist, because that would be egoic content and form, I simply don’t believe in god, nor Jesus, nor the Bible.

For those who are black or African-American specifically, I say if you have come to a place in your living by seeking the truth and enlightenment, which doesn’t require religious belief; and you don’t believe in god, then just continue to live and enjoy living and don’t worry about what people think of you being a nonbeliever. You do not have to explain yourself to anyone. You don’t have to convience anyone of why you don’t believe in God either.

July 22, 2009 at 12:15 pm
(61) Dean says:

Atheist Nexus hosts a Black Freethought forum.

September 9, 2009 at 1:03 pm
(62) Darren says:

I’m black, male and an atheist.

It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. Although I still feel that way about some aspects of my life…at least now I know I’m not the only black atheist.

I hope I can finally find a nice woman that will respect my beliefs and also marry one day. I’m attracted to black women though…so it’s gonna be tough.

September 22, 2009 at 2:06 am
(63) Zahn Manuel says:

I was curious about other Black Atheist so I jumped on Google to find out if there people who perhaps thought along the same lines as myself. I have never met another Atheist at all. I am from North Carolina and I live in Texas and I often if not all the times feel alone in my thought process and the way I would like to interact with others. I am kind of a double edged sword being an atheist and a gay black male. Growing up in the Land of tolerance is a wonderful thing ah!

September 26, 2009 at 12:31 am
(64) Ronald Murphy says:

I’m a 37 year old SBM educated and living in Atlanta, I have no kids and never been married. Every time I go out on dates I have to explain my position on religion and that seals my fate. I never here from them again. At this point I’m just desperately trying to find other black Atheists or Agnostics in the Atlanta area so I don’t have to feel like such an outcast! If anyone is interested in chatting please email me at ron81172@yahoo.com

October 6, 2009 at 12:43 am
(65) Rain says:

This forum is very interesting. I am an open-minded African American female. I, like many others in this forum have battled with speaking my mind when it comes to re-ligion. I was brought up in a very religious family and it was like taboo to denounce anything associated with God or the questioning of God’s existence. I do feel that religion has damaged people almost beyond control. There is nothing absolute when it comes to religion. For example 1 plus 1 equals two. Pray plus pray equals no results or bad results. Religion is like a high risk invest. Investing your life and faith in something without finding out all of the facts. In general an individual would not invest or put money down on a house they never saw, but people do almost the identical thing everyday when they put all of their eggs in one basket in terms of religion/ salvation. I am interested in meet like minded individuals. I have not come across many black atheist and I live in Atlanta, GA.

November 22, 2009 at 1:26 pm
(66) Natasha says:

i’m a black female atheist, and i became one when i was 12, before that i was agnostic, i became an atheist, after listening to so much science, darwins theory actually makes sense to me! while the bible doesn’t, i have a friend who has always been an atheist and she says the bible was written by some guy in a tower who took drugs! i’m not sure if this is true but i’m certain of one thing…

December 22, 2009 at 10:32 am
(67) Sigmund says:

Hello everyone it’s been a little over 11 months since my last post. “Black Atheist” we have a serious problem. We are not reproducing. I have tried dating many women here in the Atlanta area. Women of intelligence and character. Women of different hues and culture. All of them were theist. Even the ones I guessed not to be. Despite my compromise none of them were able to move beyond the issue…and I can’t blame them. It does not matter how attractive or successful you are being an atheist is a huge dating turn-off. I’m sure there are atheist females out there but what are the odds? What are the odds that we will be compatible when the pool of applicants is so small. I have tried dating xtians but it just does not work. For example I just saw the film Avatar(3D) and had a post film discussion with my date. We must of watched to different films because she concluded the message was that god is real and the scientist had no faith. Well I guess it would require one fantasy to explain another. I’m leaving the country. Serious. :)
sunmaster69@gmail

January 2, 2010 at 12:52 am
(68) Jon says:

Does anyone else find it ironic that blacks and latinos are generally very religious? I mean what happened to history, shouldn’t we as minorities be the most disgusted with religion; it was beaten into us!

January 14, 2010 at 2:37 pm
(69) BAAA (Born Again Agnostic/Atheist) says:

Wow…wow….Where to start?
I am a human who happens to be black and woman from central/eastern Africa. Relieved to see so many people that feel like me… I was growing desperate to find any other black person (I know many whites and other ethnicities who are atheists or agnostic).

I grew up Catholic in its mildest form. My mom was (still is) a devout church goer-rosary-reciter-self-deprecating-hell- fearing woman. Thanks to my dad who was a bitter artist (so misunderstood), an academic, and an idealist who felt misjudged in his culture, I grew up with an inquisitive mind. From him I learn skepticism, cynicism, a sarcastic sense of humor, a love for life (good food, a good glass of wine, love, etc.) and embracing all humans. He had such a hard time observing a tightly regulated life where the Catholic church was everything. Although he never acknowledged it, I know he was atheist. He left us way too soon…. (sigh)

Then happened the Rwandan genocide. The Catholic church not only did little to save people, but often participated through hypocritical priests, nuns, and higher placed officials. First red flag for me. Fled Eat Africa to West Africa. All shaken up. Mistrust of the Catholic faith. Easily converted to an extremist evangelical offshoot weird church that believed in a prophet supposedly from the 30s who saw the end coming. Fear of hell. Baptism. (still can’t believe I actually went through this phase in my life). Restrictions in all types of pleasures, regulation of believers lives. We couldn’t wear short skirts, pants, cut our hair, or wear make up. We had to look like old hags!!! I tried so hard to get this holy spirit that my other fellow believers seemed to have. Nothing. Occasionally, the preacher (a rapist sadistic liar pedophile conman thief egotistical bastard I can’t believe I ever let enter in my life) would announce the brother or sister who had received the Holy Spirit that day… So creepy! The power we give to these people, I tell ya…He made us cut all ties to “worldy people” and “wordly affairs” to live in alienation waiting for the rapture. Second flag was that I was an innocent 17 year-old virgin who was made to feel ashamed, sinful, and fearful. I started asking: why?

Eventually immigrated to the states in the middle of nowhere. My family was one of the few black families there. Kept going to church but had more questions than answers. The only answer was: it’s god’s will. My gut reaction was: Bullshit!!! I started going out, meeting wonderful people not my own skin-color and looking for my own truths. I have not looked back since. I currently oscillate between agnocism and atheism. My entire family is either hypocritically Catholic (they only follow their rules selectively) or zealous born-again Christians. Except for my little sister, my lovely partner in crime and two brother who don’t give a flying rat’s ass about religion. I am now married with a wonderful white person (also agnostic) whom I adore dearly and who adores me, I think… I have never obsessively searched for a mate my own color. But it would be nice to have friends who resemble me and think a little like me to discuss with and debate with. I am pessimistic about the situation in Africa, Haiti, Aboriginal communities, etc. Although a little light in me tells me I must help in some way. Destroying religion in Africa and elsewhere is my chosen activism area. Also, there is a wonderful facebook black atheists group that people of all colors can join to support this minority of minorities. Thanks for being intelligent, critical, rational people. It gives me hope in life that I am not only surrounded by idiots and freaks. Other things that keep me sane other than my husband and sibblings: great food, great cheap wine, art, literature, independent films, graphic novels, the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, etc. In the comedy section, please watch the Jack Van Impie show (freakishly evangelical preacher and his automated robot-looking wife Roxella that tries to tie current news to prophecies in the bible). Hilarious!! I sometimes have to pinch myself when I remember I am in the same universe as these creeps… I love you all.

March 9, 2010 at 12:54 am
(70) Ericka says:

I am a black, 24 yr old female atheist from a religious family. I became atheist over a period of time. My husband is muslim from n. africa, and out of curiousity I decided to explore islam. After a few months, I saw many things did not sit right for me. I decided to go back to christianity, but with open eyes. After reading more of the bible I saw also more absurdities in this religion. I first rejected religion but still believed in god (more of a deist). Finally I woke up one morning and asked myself just beacuse I do not know how the world started, why should I assume it was a god?I became atheist and never looked back.

April 11, 2010 at 6:02 am
(71) Hugh says:

I am a young white male and an atheist but I spent most of my life in east africa where almost everyone is very religious, even in school it was hard being an atheist as there were very few who shared the same views as me.

April 22, 2010 at 7:55 am
(72) mwana mashariki says:

I am from east africa as you can see my name literally means a child(mwana) of the east(mashariki).When i look back since my childhood i see i was always an atheist,though i was brought up in a christian set up and i participated in all the meaningless ritual that accompany this religion.From teenage years i moved from accepting out of fear to doubting.I envyed jesus and other prophets of bible and i asked myself why did God create them good and me i hard to struggle to be good.
I used to question an older boy who claimed that there was nothing impossible with God,so i could ask him something like “can he build a wall that has one side and not the other?or can he make a cup with outside but not inside?and he said he could,i would ask him how,he’d answer he the boy doesnt know but he knows God can.This made me abit confused sometimes i thought this boy did not know what he was saying.I continued asking him such questions and at the same time i was growing physically , mentally and developing self confidence.
Then one day i asked him since God knows everything does He know wheather i will end up in heaven or hell?The boy felt he was trapped if he answers He God knows then we dont have a choise or if he answers the choice is ours then He God doesnt know everything.
From that time on i left christianity and i decided to explore all forms of ideologies.After exploring many religions and they all appeared to me as the same only represantation was different i finally came to atheism and thats where i settled.Looking back what i have understood i think i have been an atheist throughout my life.
I read the bible my wife is very religious,i go to church with her,i sometimes lead in prayers both at home and in the church.My wife our daughters we have two,some of my friends they know my view in regards to religion but we never have conflict,because before i allow any one to know my thoughts i have to weigh his/her system of thinking.
I also read the bible BUT what i dont do is to allow anyone to do is to try to interpret it for me,i dont also try to teach anyone my belief.But if one is open minded sometimes we discuss/argue and i give my opinion as an atheist.
The way i see it is that the people who wrote the bible and other holybooks were atheists,the people who created gods literally are the priests because they are parasites who like eating from the sweat of others.
Am greatfull to have come to this forum and am looking to hear more from like minded.

May 3, 2010 at 7:34 pm
(73) Eterro Vega says:

I am a Black Latino Man who stumbled across this site, and I don’t know how, but here I am. I have read most of the postings and I find it surprising that many blacks find it offensive if someone says they are atheist or agnostic and that person happens to be black.

I am a believer in Christ and am most definitely a member of an organized religious movement. Many of you think that only AA’s are raised up in this religious movement, but that is totally untrue. Many of us are decendants of West Africans and the West Africans were largely Animist and worshippers of inanimate objects.

This religion was brought along with the enslaved people to the “New World” and especially in Latin America where I grew up you will find it prevelant and mixed with the Christian faith (Primarily Catholic).

I don’t stand in judgement of anyone because I believe in the word and it tells me not to judge, but I do have the right to rebuff some of the comments against believers. A statement made that alor of believers (AA) are not successful because they believe in a non existant God, when in fact that can’t be further from the truth. I am successful and have an Bachelor Degree in Business and an MBA in Public Relations. I come from an educated and very successful family and know many successful Black people who by the worlds standards have arrived and they are believers in God.

I attribute totally to the favor of God, and regardless if I beleive or not my success or failure is in his will.

A very close friend of mine (highly educated and financially successful blackman) was agnostic. He was raised in an agnostic home and atmosphere. As I have read some people have stated that religion wasn’t forced down their throats and his family was the same way. I didn’t judge him for being agnostic. Somewhere along the way this highly successful, freethinking (as we all are) man decided that there were things in life that science and logic just couldn’t explain. The answers he recieved didn’t satisfy him, and his search for something bigger than himself led him to believe that there is a God

Religion wasn’t forced down my throat as a child, and i loved my faith and fellowship growing up. Rebellion plays a part in all our lives, but eventually we will all have to reckon with the fact that God exists.

May 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm
(74) Leila says:

Thanks to the author of this article and thanks to all who’ve commented, I feel like I’ve finally found a home!

I’ve struggled with my Christian faith for the last couple of years, and after much research (as well as Bible studying) I have recently concluded two things about “god”: Either he/she/it doesn’t exist at all, or he/she/it does exist, but is cruel, plays favorites, and struggles from chronic low-self esteem resulting in extreme insecurity, jealously, and a pathetic need to be validated. I’ve decided that “god doesn’t exist” is the option that makes most sense to me (although I know the latter could very well be true!).

My mother is an evangelical minister, so of course I can’t talk about this with her– our relationship has been strained all my life and I don’t wanna screw up what little peace we’ve established. Add to that the fact that I’m bisexual (but admittedly more lesbian, as I do prefer women) and I live in Mississippi, and you have all the makings for a life of alienation, rejection, and conflict.

July 6, 2010 at 11:59 pm
(75) Karen S. says:

I’m a very proud 57 y.o. black atheist woman in Washington State. I feel I am definately in the minority. I would love to meet like-minded friends, but it’s hard.

Peace to all!!

July 16, 2010 at 4:24 am
(76) Naomi says:

I grew up in a very, very religious home. I attended a church and a church school where my two brothers and I were the only black children. This automatically implied sinfulness in the minds of Southern Christians. I resolved to proof myself, my worthiness by attaining an inhuman level of godliness. However, the more godly I was the more hatred I dealt with. Ministers tried to persuade me to sleep with them, women started rumors about me. I was accused of being a whore, a drug addict and a criminal. When I tried to defend myself…I was labeled again. In spite of the fact that I was a virgin, a full time college student, and caretaker of an ill parent it was not enough to spare me from god’s judgment. I was one of the those people who actually tried to live by all of the principles, backwards and conflicting as they were. I know now they were simply weapons for those who needed another way to divide themselves and rise above others. My parents allowed us to endure physical and emotional abuse at the hands of Christians, feeling that god was testing our faith. We were always a prayer away from a better life. Many people felt, I was not a good Christian because I lacked the capacity to condemn another person for not sharing my views. I could not tell the difference between others religious “insanity” and our perceived “righteousness”. I remember what my grandmother said when she found out I was planning to enter a Ph.d. program, “Don’t get to much education, you won’t find a man.” My younger brother forced me to examine what I really believed. He said, “If you cannot reach godliness then the rest of us are damned. How can an educated, intelligent, logical woman sit and be told she should be less?” I was always standing up for the rights of others, reaching out, volunteering. I had simply turned the other cheek to what had and was being done to me. I tried many churches and denominations. Black churches, white churches, an Asian church that only spoke mandarin. Still refusing to admit what I knew. Last year, I walked into a church and simply joined I thought if I could just do the motions, I would be OK. My brother came along. We watched them humiliate a woman for introducing her family when her husband was there. She was told that it was not her place, it was a man’s. It brings tears to my eyes to think of the look on her face, on her children’s faces.
I tried to forget it, but my brother wouldn’t let it go. He demanded I wake up and stop this nonsense. I did. The next day I woke up in a cold sweat and knew my days of religion were done.
I am a whole person now. Words are simply not enough, they just aren’t. For the first time I have found peace. Stockholm Syndrome is how I describe my experience. I had created within myself two people (the intellectual and the godly woman). That is how I survived. I know for a fact that so many other blacks survive that way. I am so glad I have a chance to define the rest of my life for myself free from shame and condemnations of sins that seem to adapt to people’s personal agendas. My brother and I have spent the last six months talking and working through the psychological trauma of being held hostage. I am excited to live my life instead of tolerating misery in hopes of a better after life. I haven’t shared my beliefs with anyone other than my brother. Since I have never publicly proclaimed any religious beliefs, it is not important to me to do so. My mom knew before I did, but we NEVER discuss it. I know it is painful for her. It is the loss of the ideal daughter, but I feel for the first time the right to be more than someone’s idea of perfect.

September 4, 2010 at 4:09 pm
(77) Joan says:

Hello,

I’m black, female and I live in Nigeria which arguably is the most religious country in the world (have seen several documentaries which hold this view as well). I’ve been atheist/agnostic for 2 years.

My mother’s Christian and my father a Muslim. To be totally honest neither of them was extremely religious when I was growing up. But as they’d agreed to raise their children in the Islamic faith they made an effort to bring us up that way- we all had to attend an Islamic school most evenings.

There I learnt “Don’t leave your hair open or the devil will piss on it” “Don’t walk around your room naked or else the angels will curse you” ” Don’t shape your eyebrows because the Prophet curses those who do” amongst other nonsensical orders/fatwas. Naturally I asked questions because at 9 years old I was still thinking critically. Already I was tormenting my mother with questions “why does God hide from us” “why did he let your baby twins die” ” why are there so many religions in the world if God wanted us to worship him a certain way” why? why? why?

I slept in the same bed with my Christian grandmother whenever she came to visit but a lot of the teachings in Islam had me confused..should I be this close to her? If Christians were supposedly bad why then was my granny so loving? and my dad’s mum (a Muslim) so distant? Why did I have to label people based on religion?

I tried to stifle the doubt but after struggling I finally admitted to myself I had stopped believing when I was 26. To be honest I think I had already stopped long before that. It took my entire teens and a good chunk of my twenties to get here…first I became curious about other faiths including eastern faiths, then I stopped believing in the devil (over here everything is his fault – although a little less so for Muslims)…then I questioned Muhammad’s life and deeds (a little too convenient these revelations) and finally in Ramadan 2008 I studied the Quran in it’s entirety in a bid to “find my way back”. More questions! I went online to do some more research and I studied the Hadiths in greater detail ….can of worms I tell you. Ultimately the internet led me to Richard Dawkins and the like. And You tube! And I lost my “innocence”

I was so angry at this evil man for inventing this religion and stealing a huge portion of my life I’d never get back. I felt so betrayed and stupid.

Family wise; well my mother’s quite religious now but she accepts me, my father died a Muslim but I think he was still struggling to believe and my sibblings know how I feel about Muhammad. Mostly they ignore it so we get along quite well. A few of my Christian extended family know I believe Muhammad invented Islam. But that’s it. I haven’t actually told anyone I don’t believe in God…

Romantically… I met an atheist online and after a while he moved back to Africa from Spain and before you could say holy Moses he was going to church and praising Jesus all over the place… This environment can pressure people like that. Everything suddenly seems supernatural. Then I tried to date a “liberal” Muslim. After he told me he struggled with his faith after taking a philosophy class at Uni I thought I’d share my religious views with him…I started slow… “Hadiths are quite contradictory aren’t they? I think it’s much easier to follow the Quran alone”… That was the beginning of the end. I did not get further than that. He actually became more devout. Maybe it’s me ;-) … I drive men to the seek refuge in higher beings. I have already concluded I can’t date a theist and I don’t know how I’m ever going to meet a non-theist around here.

So here I am, essentially still in the closet because I’m afraid of what will happen if I do say I do not believe. Even though Nigeria is a multi-religious society and there’s a lot of tension between various religions-everyone is expected to follow one or another. I’m supposed to be a Muslim so I cover my hair, I pray when people can see me and wear a straight face when there’s religious talk around me. It’s quite painful to think I have to live my life lying. I hope one day I’ll be strong enough to “come out”.

On the bright side; I found an online forum for Nigerian atheists a few weeks ago! Religious zealots have taken over the discussion but at least I know I’m not alone. With better education and the internet there’s hope!

September 8, 2010 at 5:32 pm
(78) Tim uk says:

Joan,

I’ve just come across your story after I searched for “black atheists” – I’m a white, middle-aged, ex-Catholic atheist in the UK, and I’d noticed that most black people in the UK and the US appeared to be Christian (I’m basing this on TV/radio/newspapers – I don’t actually know any black people personally).

Just a thought: you are clearly a very intelligent woman – I know that these are tough times, economically, but have you considered trying to get a job in a less religiously oppressive country? Would it be hard for you to move from Nigeria? Is it important to you that your future partner is black/Nigerian?

All the best,

Tim from UK

September 19, 2010 at 11:18 pm
(79) Lainie says:

I think it’s interesting though that most children believe in God. My family did not go to church and was not religious, but I remember when I was younger I always believed God was real.

November 17, 2010 at 11:56 am
(80) RealityCheck says:

Latino is not a RACE its a ethnic group, a Latino can be of any race and there are two hundred million white people in Latin America and a large black population to among many other races and admixture of them as well.

December 14, 2010 at 7:05 am
(81) gt1085 says:

Well im not following to hell,being another Evil coming from Europeans,thats there thing,you follow Demon?Never heard of black atheist,you may as well join the vaticans in,or Roman catholic they don`t believe in the Creation of God either.

February 1, 2011 at 10:06 am
(82) Eots says:

Like most black people i was born into a religion (islam). As children you grow up learning the religion as i got older my believe in allah faded out. I still haven’t told any one in my family, i love my mother and brothers and sisters. Just learning about the history of africa and its interactions with outsiders religion pains me.

December 22, 2013 at 10:10 pm
(83) TheWarAngel says:

I’m just happy to know I am not alone from reading all of these. I have no real atheist to relate to who are like me. I got agnostic black friends and that’s cool but that doesn’t make me not feel like the odd man out at times for having the courage to say I don’t think there are any Gods -at all -because the whole concept makes absolutely no literal sense.

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