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Are there actually any African agnostics/atheists around?
Posted: 16 June 2009 07:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 61 ]
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Well, I am African-American of Jamaican descent, and I can totally relate to your sense of isolation. I work in academic services at a local community college; in fact, the largest in the United States, and you wouldn’t believe how religious my co-workers can be. There’s one of our part-timers who would have prayer meetings before beginning her work day. Very interesting. Most of my co-workers are African-Americans, Hispanic or Afro-Caribbean.

I am black, gay and atheist (not necessarily in that order), so I have, what I like to call, three layers of “minoritiness” to contend with. LOL

Edited to comply with forum rule limiting blue to moderator comments.

[ Edited: 16 June 2009 07:17 PM by Occam ]
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Posted: 16 June 2009 08:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 62 ]
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I am an African American Atheist woman—-how many points does that give me???? I just visited my very religious relatives on a research trip. The relatives that hosted me also drove me around, I was VERY uncomfotable with the fact that they misuse a handicapped placard (she is not handicapped), but she became upset when I brought it up, so I left it alone—they save me thousands of dollars when I travel. Another very religious relative also travels alot and steals the soaps and lotion from the room (she travels with her own and takes each day’s supply and puts it in her bag to take home), she justifies it in her mind, since she is donating it to a women’s homeless shelter. As a godless heathen, I would NEVER consider doing either of these!

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Posted: 17 June 2009 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 63 ]
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asanta - 16 June 2009 08:47 PM

I am an African American Atheist woman—-how many points does that give me???? I just visited my very religious relatives on a research trip. The relatives that hosted me also drove me around, I was VERY uncomfotable with the fact that they misuse a handicapped placard (she is not handicapped), but she became upset when I brought it up, so I left it alone—they save me thousands of dollars when I travel. Another very religious relative also travels alot and steals the soaps and lotion from the room (she travels with her own and takes each day’s supply and puts it in her bag to take home), she justifies it in her mind, since she is donating it to a women’s homeless shelter. As a godless heathen, I would NEVER consider doing either of these!

I completely feel you on that one, but you and I know oh too well how hypocritical humanity can be on a whole, much more those of us who profess faith. My very religious, Pentecostalist father would damned other motorists to hell when they would cut him off or speed. But, as Richard Hawkins and Christopher Hitchens would always point out: atheist are, in many aspects, more ethical than the general population.

All of us have our reasons for and motives behind being ethical. Personally, being ethical affirms my love, and appreciation for humanity and nature. I really and truly love humanity even though sometimes we can be quite ridiculous and nonsensical. <smile>

Just by simply interacting with everyone on this forum, so many of whom are terrifically erudite, urbane and articulate, motivates me to be a better human being. Life can be wonderful as a non-believer

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Posted: 17 June 2009 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 64 ]
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Asanta, when I used to travel I always brought my own toiletries, so I didn’t bother with the supplied materials.  However, the local women’s shelter asked that everyone who used motels bring those goods home and donate them.  Since I was neat and my usage footprint was quite small, I felt my payment included a significantly large profit for them.  As such, I didn’t feel I was being unethical by taking the toiletries and donating them to the shelter.

Citizen, I agree that my atheist acquaintences seem to have a high level of ethics, however, the closest friend I’ve had in my life was a theist, and African-American, and by far the most ethical person I’ve known.  So, I’m not sure there’s much correlation between religious beliefs, race, ethnicity, etc. and ethics.

Occam

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Posted: 17 June 2009 05:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 65 ]
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Occam - 17 June 2009 03:56 PM

Asanta, when I used to travel I always brought my own toiletries, so I didn’t bother with the supplied materials.  However, the local women’s shelter asked that everyone who used motels bring those goods home and donate them.  Since I was neat and my usage footprint was quite small, I felt my payment included a significantly large profit for them.  As such, I didn’t feel I was being unethical by taking the toiletries and donating them to the shelter.

Citizen, I agree that my atheist acquaintences seem to have a high level of ethics, however, the closest friend I’ve had in my life was a theist, and African-American, and by far the most ethical person I’ve known.  So, I’m not sure there’s much correlation between religious beliefs, race, ethnicity, etc. and ethics.

Occam

You are absolutely right. What I am suggesting is that some within the faith commuities are inclined to believe misconceived notions about non-believers, i.e.: that we’re heartless, greedy, self-absored or just downright immoral. And there’s the tendency to install the usual suspects into their theories, i.e.: Hitler (even though we now know that he was a staunch supporter of the Lutheran Church), Stalin, Napoleon and so on. However, the opposite - I have found - is true. I have found that atheists are, in fact, some of the most ethical and profoundly-educated people alive.

But, with that said, I do concede to your observation that ethical people can be found in all cultures, ethnicities and belief or non-beliefs. <smile>

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Posted: 12 October 2009 05:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 66 ]
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Sorry, I’m kinda bumping this old thread—but it was just sitting there near the top and… anyway.  On the OP:

I understand your frustration.  While I’m undoubtedly a white American, I lived in Plateau State (about 40km from Jos, to be precise) for a while as a child, and am currently living with a Nigerian pastor here in the U.S. who’s working on his Doctor of Ministry degree (I haven’t told him of my un-belief yet, though he knows I attend a UU church), and I would love to return to Nigeria via a volunteer organization such as the Peace Corps in the future (the Peace Corps operates in Niger, not Nigeria—but in any event I’d go someplace where Hausa is spoken).

If I were to return to Africa, religion would be an issue.  My parents and grandparents—all professional (as opposed to merely evangelical) missionaries—at least had the advantage of being an insider when it came to religion, even if their skin color, culture, and education set them apart.  But me as an atheist in northern Nigeria?  Goodness, it’s hard enough to be a Christian in a Sharia state.

I happened to read this morning that there’s a small group of Unitarian Universalists in Nigeria.  I presume they’re in the south (where else?)—you might want to look into it.  I presume it’s a *very* small group, since even America only has ~200,000 UUs.

I attend a Christian university.  One of my professors (many of whom are quite liberal and would merit even the respect of a skeptic) once commented that “we’ve done a very good job of exporting fundamentalism to Africa.”  America hasn’t yet decided if its secular, either.  We’re going the way of Europe, but we sure are a heck of a lot more conservative than they are on the other side of the pond.

Siggy

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