Christians Only: Is the Black Community Tolerant of Other Religions?

Don’t tell Grandma you’re an atheist.  You’ll make her pressure go up.

I would like to think that Black people are tolerant, but when it comes to homosexuality and religion I have to say that many Black folk can be very prejudiced.  Today I’m dealing with issue 2: religion.

If you say you’re a Hindu or following Buddha, you might as well say that you joined the Klan in some circles.  If you say that you don’t believe in a God or divine being at all and you prescribe to Athism…cancel Christmas (no pun).  I know people who have had to hide their faith from their families.  I know people who’ve followed time-honored faiths like Islam or dabbled in Metaphysics and have been told they are in a “cult”.  I also know people who follow traditional African religions like Yoruba and have been told they “worship the devil”.

For many Blacks there is one way…C-H-R-I-S-T.  There is no other option.  Period.

Don’t try to argue with them.  It’s a losing battle.  No point you can come up with is stronger than, “I believe in Jesus and the Bible, and that’s all I have to say.”  You can’t even bring up the fact that Christianity is the religion of our oppressors or note that the early church approved slavery of Africans and indigenous peoples.

In 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued the papal bull Dum Diversas, granting Afonso V of Portugal the right to reduce any “Saracens, pagans and any other unbelievers” to hereditary slavery. This approval of slavery was reaffirmed and extended in his Romanus Pontifex bull of 1455. These papal bulls came to serve as a justification for the subsequent era of slave trade and European colonialism.

They were giving the “savages” religion so I guess they felt it was a fair trade.  We all know it was about greed and conquest not spreading the good news. These justifications were the seeds of slavery which spawned the institutional racism that now exists around the world and of course here in the US.  Having faced discrimination here in America, you would think Black people would understand how tolerance is needed.

Let me say, I’m not anti-Christian.  I’m not pro any particular religion either.  What I am for is respect.  We can’t condemn foreign states, fringe movements, military, or other powers when they force their people to believe and worship in a particular way, if we don’t practice racial tolerance here in America.  Respect should not have limits and boundaries.  No geographic, racial, or religious boundaries.  Religion is a choice that in America we are blessed to have.

I am so glad that many of my Black, Christian brothers and sisters have found peace in their salvation and are believers.  What I find most troubling is that when those who are called “Christian” are unable to walk in love and compassion when dealing with unbelievers. However, there are many who are able to take on the “mind of Christ” and not discriminate, but engage in ways that honor the principles of their faith.

What do you think about Religious tolerance in the Black community?

15 Comments

Filed under african american, black, christian, church, community, culture, opinion, race, slavery

15 Responses to Christians Only: Is the Black Community Tolerant of Other Religions?

  1. ARNEADER

    Let me first say “If it was good enough for grandmamma it’s good enough for me!” LOL Speaking of grandma, my 97 year old grandmother just recently passed away. Her death put in alignment my perspective on heaven and hell, life and death. She was a Christian woman who taught the word of God to her children and family. She left a lineage of one hundred descendents from her husband’s seed. All five of her generations are STILL living! (That included twelve children, forty grandchildren, forty-three great grandchildren, five great great grandchildren. We have had some relatives who’ve had abortions—they killed their own seed, none died.) I think it was her belief in God and her acting upon the Word of God, why she was blessed to live a long life and that none of her descendents died while she was alive. Because I loved her so much all I can think about is seeing her again—and that’s in heaven! Now more than ever my Soul is of uttermost importance to me because I want to see my grandmamma again. A week ago she came to me in a dream. She was doing something I’d never seen her do before and that was lying on her sofa. When I walked into her house she sat up, I walked over to her and took her hand and I prayed then I sang a hymnal. (Something she would normally do when someone would come to visit her. She loved to pray and pray for people.) After the hymn she told me “Neader this is real.” I shared the dream with my mother and I told her I thought my grandmother was saying heaven was real. But now I think about it I think she was telling me the dream was real. That’s just my interpretation of the dream. I’ve heard it said “if you believe there is a God and that belief turns out to be a lie then you have nothing to lose. But if you don’t believe in God and God is true then you have EVERYTHING to lose. I prefer to believe the first. Growing up in the South, traditionally Baptists was a common religion. (A recent poll stated MS was the most religious state in the nation). My dislike like are false religious teachers, you have to be able to discern.

    • ARNEADER, thank you for sharing that. Religion is a very personal thing. What I’d like to know is, what do you think about Black Christians and racial tolerance?

  2. Malcolm X

    I totally agree that getting into a debate with most of our people about the oppressors` religion, called, Christianity is definirely a losing battle. Hell, the ship that they used to transport our people was called “Jesus”. However, even this fact won`t dissuade them. It`s as though religion/faith didn`t exist until our ancestors set foot on these shores.

    Everyone is entitled to their beliefs. However, Christianity is not our natural religion as Black people. Our people need to read, study and research more to become enlightened by to the many deceptions of our oppressor. Suffer peacefully, be long-suffering, blessed is the peace-maker, we`ll receive our award only after death; these are only a few of the many deceptions to keep us passive, forgiving and loving.

    The bible is a book of science/metaphysics which most of our people make the mistake of taking literally. And you can`t tell/teach them otherwise.

    Peace, in the spirit of my “HEROES”, Brother Malcolm X and Brother Fred Hampton….long live the “WARRIORS”…

  3. ARNEADER

    Sista I’m the last person to ask about black Christians accepting other religious beliefs. For one I’m from the South and if you know anything about the South it is very “closed minded”. When it goes beyond, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, COGIC, Jehovah Witness, Seventh Day, Islam, Non Denominational (and a few other traditional religions) you are OUTCASTED! I remember meeting a fine, sharp dressing brother in college during the early 80s. He was from out of state somewhere but I remember him saying he was “Lutheran”. At that time I hadn’t really heard of Lutheran as a religion and coming from a religious family I knew my family would “question” his religion. I was frightened off from him. Years later I found out that Lutheran was a pretty much acceptable religion, nothing bad about it. And I missed out on a fine, educated black man. I also remember a family friend who’d moved away to CA and she mentioned some religion she’d join that we’d never heard of. The looks on our faces frown and she replied “it’s not bad, my mother felt the same way”. When I come across Atheists online mostly I just try not to engage in conversations with them about religion because I embrace my own. And I definitely don’t become involved with them because it’s a conflict of interest. I personally think the key is educating yourself about other religions and just having respect for other people’s belief. My plans are to relocate up North after my son graduates. I’ve talked to a friend who transitioned up there six years ago and we talked about the way we were raised in the South. Religion, race and sexual orientation are equally scrutinized in the South. A lot of it has to do with being raised in the South and you wouldn’t understand unless you were familiar with Southern upbringing. Like I mentioned before I don’t like FALSE teachers…. no matter what religion you profess. Most recent is the lesbian who wanted to wear a tux to the prom and bring her girlfriend. The school said no and CANCELLED the prom.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/24/lesbian-prom-date-ban-vio_n_510887.html

  4. Gil

    Arneader,

    My wife to be is Lutheran, and it is very closely related to the Catholic faith (which I am) They both baptize and give communion. However, Lutherans reject purgatory, praying to the saints and Mary. Additionally, Lutherans are overseen locally, as opposed to the huge Catholic Hierarchy. Additionally, Lutherans do not mandate celibacy for clergy, as the Catholic church historically and to a degree, controversially has.

    The similarities are striking, but on the same hand, both faiths have their own distinct practices, rules and guidelines.

    I’m also from South Louisiana, where it is predominately Catholic, but there is still a civil, cooperative and peaceful coexistence with other faiths. My mother is unitarian and I have many other relatives who are baptist, methodist and other faiths.

    I personally feel for me having a well-rounded spiritual life, no matter the denomination, is key. On the same token, having tolerance and respect for those who don’t believe as I do or have no belief in a higher being is crucial as well.

  5. ARNEADER

    @Gil I concur.

  6. stringbean

    “Don’t tell Grandma you’re an atheist. You’ll make her pressure go up.”

    …don’t worry, I won’t!

    I am from Mississippi and was raised Baptist but now I’m an atheist. I find sentiments like those from the commenter Arneader to be very common and tolerance for anyone who isn’t a believer to be quite low. For that reason, very few people in my life know that I’m not a Christian anymore. I remember my reactions to atheists back in my more pious days and I don’t want to be treated or thought of the same way.

    At this point, I’m able to get away with it. I’m very snarky and sarcastic so any comments I make having to do with religion can be written off as just part of my sense of humor. I only go to church when I’m at home, but how many college students attend church regularly when they’re not at home?

    I know I won’t be able to pull this off forever, though. It makes friendships a little bit harder because I have to keep it a secret. If I ask for advice or opinions, the answers are always “Trust/wait on the Lord” which no longer means anything to me. It makes relationships difficult too, because the Bible says not to be unequally yoked with your mate. I’m no longer suitable to be brought home to mama.

    So basically, I live my life with a part of myself hidden because of the black community’s intolerance. I hope that I’ll be able to build a circle of friends and a significant other who I can be “out of the closet” with, but I’m not holding my breath that it’ll happen in Mississippi.

  7. ARNEADER

    @Strinbean What happened you are able to disbelieve EVERYTHING you were taught?

  8. stringbean

    @Arneader
    Growing up I always had the impression that I wasn’t supposed to think too hard about the inconsistencies in the bible that didn’t make sense. So I didn’t. But one that always bothered me was believing that Jesus is the son of God, was crucified for our sins, and was resurrected is the only way to Heaven. I felt badly for all the people who must be burning in Hell because they never had the opportunity to hear the gospel. When you put it in perspective, out of all the billions of humans who have lived and died on this Earth, only a tiny fraction of them would have had the chance to hear about Jesus. Why would a loving God create so many people who would be damned to Hell for reasons beyond their control? Why would he trust us, fallible as we are, with the monumental task of ensuring our fellow man gets saved? But these are thoughts I never allowed myself to have because it made me uncomfortable.

    About 2 years ago, I heard a radio program where they were interviewing Carlton Pearson. He used to be head of a mega-church in Tulsa until he had the same thoughts I did. To make a long story short, God told him there is no Hell. He now believes in the Gospel of Inclusion–that when Jesus died for our sins, he died for everyone’s sins (even those who don’t accept Him as their Lord and Savior), so everyone is going to Heaven. Now he’s been labeled a heretic and has been ostracized by his former church. Believing in the Gospel of Inclusion made me feel a lot better.

    But as time went on, the idea that there is a God who watches over us and predetermined everything made less and less sense to me. So I became agnostic. And then, I became an atheist. And that, Arneader, is how I came to disbelieve everything I was taught.

    Sista, sorry for blogging in your comment section. I won’t do it again!

  9. ARNEADER

    @Stringbean I won’t preach BUT the bible is a faith book. You won’t be able to understand it unless you are saved other than that it’s just ink on paper. When you have Christ you have SPRITUAL discernment. In order to understand the Word of God you have to be saved. Check out Romans 10:9,10 this is how you become a born again Christian. God is not coming back until EVERYBODY has had a chance to hear about him and be saved. If God is God enough to create EVERYBODY, He ought to be God enough to get the Word out to everybody about Him. God doesn’t send people to Hell. Hell is a CHOICE. He has made provisions for people to go to heaven. It’s the People that reject God. God wants EVERYBODY to go to heaven, just like I’m blogging this to YOU right now. Somebody other than is reading this and they will have a chance to hear about God and get saved. I’m very familiar with Carlton Pearson I use to listen to him RELIGIOUSLY. LOL My personal opinion… every since he married that Louisiana woman he ain’t never been the same. LOL Carlton Pearson has gone CRAZY! Look at the Pope. Anything that is not real God is not going to let it last. The Pope needs to step down. He is just making a mockery of the Catholic faith.

  10. E-Sharp

    If GOD is ALL that there is… Then, there is no need to BELIEVE in anything…

    You must come into KNOWING… that GOD is in YOU!… And everyone else too…!? The scriptures say, “Be still and KNOW that I AM GOD!”

    (I AM THAT I AM)

    ALL religion is bull!@#$, just a way to keep us ALL divided and subservient! Got us bowing down to an un-seen, un-heard, image of a “person, place, or thing…! It ALL sounds like “IDOLATRY” to me…?! “Wake u people!? “GOD is not mocked!”… You cannot EVER break GOD’s LAW… GOD’s laws are the laws of the Universe, the laws of Nature… If anyone should ever attempt to break GOD’s laws, they would cease to exist! Don’t believe me?? Try jumping off a bridge, and see if GOD’s Law of “gravity” can be broken?! “What goes up, must come down.” UNBREAKABLE!!! It is only “man’s laws” that can be broken! And, as long as you keep hearing from GOD, through any “man”, other than YOURSELF, then I will profess to say… YOU DO NOT KNOW GOD!

    So, I must ask… WHOM DO YOU REALLY SERVE?? How can “Negros, Blacks, & Coloreds” even rationalize worshiping ANYTHING that doesn’t even resemble THEMSELVES, or their TRUE nature of BEING??

    But I come to bring Truth & Light… “For ye shall KNOW THE TRUTH, and the TRUTH will set you FREE!”

    “Did not your scriptures say… YE ARE GODS?!?!” Know THYSELF… and you will KNOW GOD!

    Peace & Blessings

  11. BlackAtheist

    Putting “Black Christian” and “religious tolerance” in the same sentence is like putting “Tea Party” and “Racial tolerance” in the same sentence. Theoretically you can do it, but realistically, would you? No. Black Christians don’t want to hear anything but Christ and literally Lord Help You if you don’t agree. They say come back to church, or you should read the bible, or I’ll pray for you, not ever considering you may be beyond that. Apparently I’m in some sort of great danger and I need to be “saved.” The Black community doesn’t know what religious tolerance looks like.

  12. unenlightened

    listening to religious types talk about their “god” is akin to wandering around an asylum before the meds have been passed out. Religion is the cause of all wars, confusion and guilt amongst the world. I cringe when I hear people saying things like “i’ll pray for you” etc..Black people (my people) are the most gullable people on the face of the earth. Christianity was forced upon us by the most evil, corrupt people and we carry on today like it’s the only way to live! Christ died 2010 years ago, man has walked the earth for thousands of years prior. It boggles the mind how people just accept whatever they are told. It pisses me off that religion will undoubtedly be the end of mankind, while I have nothing to do with any of it. Its ridiculous that black people refuse to open their minds, and take control of their own destinies, yet will fight you tooth and nail over the fairytale known as Christianity aka the slavemasters tool of control. How pathetic!

  13. Deirdre

    Hmmm . . . seems to me that the one person who states that she will not preach began to once she encountered someone with views that are in opposition to hers. I am not a Christian anymore and a part of the reason is based on the uncritical examination of my people to their faith. Most Christians I know, only know what their families and ministers have told them. If you were to put them in a theology course, they would fail because for them too much knowledge (which requires asking critical questions) would be seen as counterproductive and sinful. I will continue to be a secular humanist where I am free to love people and be as rational as I can.

  14. BlackFreeThought

    If not for racial identity and the desire for liberal social programs, many African Americans today would be entirely indistinguishable from the predominantly white(and racist) Tea Party. Another case of the oppressed becoming the oppressor. Sends chills down my spine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>