More Science and Reason Needed in the African American Community

June 16, 2010

In preparation for our July 10 conference, "Making Humanism Relevant to African Americans," I decided to set my car radio dial to WTLC-AM .  This station seems to have religious programming the majority of the day and evening which is of the highly hypnotic and emotional variety of sermons and music.  I found myself getting into a very confused state as I listened. I tried to listen to what was actually said which was hard to do since I found myself getting lost in the cadence and repetitiveness of the speech and the rhythmic pattern and emotionality of the music.  I felt I was losing control and going insane.  I just couldn't take if for a very long period of time.  Yet, I would presume that some people listen to this all day??

However, when I did concentrate on the words and try to piece them together into some kind of sentence structure with meaning, I was even more appalled by the message they were promoting.  I learned that if I just tithed and gave that part of my income to "God" that I would be "blessed" with success in whatever venture I undertook and my wishes would be fulfilled.   Several examples were given of people who had been led into great success and fortunes once they began tithing.  I learned that I should not settle for a small house.  I should set my sites on a big house.  I shouldn't settle for less than I wanted and deserved because "God would provide."  I also heard promises of medical cures for diseases being touted which were based on scientifically untested claims. 

When I have picked up the local African American newspaper, The Recorder , it is full of religious ads and news.   Going to the website today, I see several articles on local news and issues as well as national and international issues.  It is interesting and enlightening to read these from a different perspective than is portrayed in the Indianapolis Star .  There are also some excellent opinion pieces including, " Rand Paul Needs a History Lesson; Blacks a Future Lesson."    The Indianapolis Recorder began publishing in 1896.  It is the third oldest African American Newspaper in the United States.   It has received many journalistic awards.  It has and continues to represent the African American community well.  However, it too is infused with an overabundance of religion. 

Will the ad I am purchasing in The Recorder be noticed among the many ads for churches?   Will anyone from the African American community come to our program because of that ad?   Will I be able to get Jamila Bey, our featured speaker, an interview with Amos Brown on WTLC?  His "Afternoons with Amos"  is among America's top rated Black talk shows. If so, will anyone who listens be persuaded to come and check out our program?   Will CFI be able to make inroads in the African American communities throughout the United States with our message of science and reason?  

Under the leadership of Debbie Goddard , we all need to work to build on the success of the DC conference. More science and reason is needed in the African American Community to combat the religious false promises with which they are bombarded every day. 

Comments:

#1 asanta on Thursday June 17, 2010 at 10:05pm

Reba, thank you for highlighting some of the important and intransigent problems in my community. At the age of 50+, other than other family members, I am still the only AA atheist/humanist I know. I do my thinking based on reality, and a lot of people are threatened by this. I live my life like it is the only one I will have, because I believe it is. I try to do my best to help others who are unfortunate, because it is the right thing to do. I received an invitation to the conference in DC, but unfortunately, it did not give me enough lead time to try to get vacation time to attend. It would have been lovely to spend time with 60 or so, like minded people. Perhaps next year.

#2 Reba Boyd Wooden on Friday June 18, 2010 at 6:11am

I know this is short notice also but don’t know where you live.  Check out our conference in Indianapolis on July 10.  Details and registration are at http://www.centerforinquiry.net/indy Love to get to meet you.

#3 asanta on Sunday June 20, 2010 at 2:49am

I would also love to meet you someday. Unfortunately, I live in CA, and would not be able to get time off at such short notice, to fly to Indianapolis for a conference. Perhaps next year… :(

#4 Reba Boyd Wooden on Monday June 21, 2010 at 2:21pm

I will be in LA for the conference in October.  So, maybe we can meet then.  Sorry we didn’t get information on this conference out sooner but circumstances seemed to just keep coming up that delayed the announcements getting out.

#5 asanta on Tuesday June 22, 2010 at 1:31am

I’ve looked on the CFI-LA for a link to the October conference you referenced and can’t find one. Is there a link that will provide some information?

#6 Reba Boyd Wooden on Tuesday June 22, 2010 at 11:54am

http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=press&page=fi_anniversary_conference

Above is the link to the conference in LA.

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