07 December 2007

'You're Black, ain't Ya?'

I have a question. Well, several actually.

In order to be considered 'black' do you have to be a theist? Does being categorised as a black person mean you are automatically assessed as being a believer of the supernatural?
The rhetorical question 'You're black, ain't ya?' was put to me in response to me saying to a black woman that I did not believe in any form of the supernatural. She was astounded that I do not profess any allegiance with any organised religion, do not believe in any spirits from the 'other side', ancestor worship, ancient texts, the power of prayer, etc.What she concluded was that there was something wrong with me. Everyone needs to believe in something. It was better to believe in a god, any god than not. She went on to talk about what happens after we are dead and how she had felt the energies from the ancestors, etc.
[Now I need to say here that everyone is entitled to their views. It is only through sharing and respecting our differences that we can hope to form human bonds which enable us to tear down barriers and recognise the global family we are all part of.]
But even further she cast doubt on my membership of the 'black' community. The inference was 'all black people are theists'. Period.

I have been pondering on this for a while. My conclusions are that I felt a moment of sadness that so many black people are indoctrinated into belief systems which are based on old written texts, inaccurate reports, political expedience and motives aimed at political and economic control of the masses - and yet at this point in human history, we not only believe it but partake in the further indoctrination of our children and adults. I'm not just talking about black people - all peoples. We somehow don't want to take responsibility for what happens in our lives. We leave it to a god or the gods. We praise and worship and when natural disaster occur (as they do and have done for millions of years) and thousands of bodies are washed away along with homes and livelihoods, we say it was god's will. Those who survive say they praise god for saving them, not realising the irony of such a cruel god to spare them yet kill hundreds of children.

I understand that for some people religion is a way of coping with the difficulties that life throws their way. I understand that life, most times, doesn't make sense.How did we get here? What does it all mean? Of course we must have come here for a purpose. There must be something, some entity bigger than us...isn't there?I don't believe so. I do believe we are a fantastic example of evolution. Just like crocodiles and cats and species that are yet to be discovered and given a name. We are animals. Our history is fascinating but not to be clouded by stories fashioned at a time when we as humans had little scientific advances available for us to understand the world around us.We don't need stories, we need facts, evidence, creative and rational thinking. We need experiments to understand the brain and how it works. We know very little of what there is to know so why cling onto old stories when we have evidence that they were wrong and are still wrong?
I am aware that some people who have suffered the loss of children have the hardest time thinking that they may never see them again, but that is what I believe.
When you are dead you are dead. Until we have information to the contrary, hard unshakeable evidence then I will not fill the gaps with ideas based on myths and legends and adulterated stories.Knowledge takes time and humans are by nature impatient.
Let's spend our time concentrating on not discriminating, not berating someone for their choices, not harming each other and allowing ourselves to just be. Let's foster and respect individuality and give children a good education based on what they want to know about the realities of the world and their place in it. Let's look forward and not backwards.

'You're black, ain't ya?' spoke volumes for me.


Zaki said...


It's always refreshing to know there are like-minded people out there! Keep up the great work!

Zee Harrison said...

Thank you for your kind words.
It will take time but things will change. Hopefully!

The pale observer said...

Being a westerner living in Africa, I find it so frustrating that EVERYONE here is a strong believer. I am shocked that they have shaken off the chains of colonialism, yet embraced and been completely brainwashed by the religions that the colonizers brought. Today in Ghana churches are the biggest money makers, taking tither from the poor and getting rich. They have people living in fear, ignoring science for ferar of not believing,,, it is just frustrating. I have debates with Ghanaian colleagues all the time. I realise as well that religion is a way of helping people to deal with the suffering on this earth. And here, people suffer. The average life expectancy is 52 years old. Everyone I work with has lost a family member before they turned 50. How do people cope with this? They turn to religion. And the missionaries must have done quite a thorough job back in the 1700s scaring people into foregoing their traditional belief systems for Christianity. Now they have a nation, and most of a continent, going around talking about the power of the blood of Jesus and fully believing that those who do not accept Jesus as their personal saviour are doomed to burn in holy damnation!!!!

Oli said...

Just echoing a previous comment; nice to know there are like-minded people. Its so rare and quite saddening

Angelika said...

This is the first time I've seen your blog. I am loving what I am reading.

I believe that there is a god, but I also believe that my life will end when I'm dead (at least, I hope so, LOL.)

Interesting thoughts in this post. :-)

Anonymous said...

ofcourse you have to believe in God or a supernatural being i mean.... "you're black aint ya?!?"
Just because someone believes in a God doesn't mean they haven't move forward, its so dumb to think of them a being stuck in the past. Staying true to your core beliefs and values like your religion doesn't mean that you haven't moved forward.....It's actually very sad to see comments from non-believers saying that its sad to have believers :(..... I believe in God and it makes me sad that a lot of people dont.