Not Every Black Person Believes in God…

Hello World,

It’s funny (funny peculiar, not funny haha) that Christ often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas, but it’s true…And it’s also true that black people are known in this country for having an unshakeable belief in God that brought us through slavery and other historical hardships and continues to sustain us today…But more and more black people are admitting that they frankly do not believe in Jesus Christ or God, which is especially poignant at this time of the year…

Tommie Shelby

Tommie Shelby, professor of African and African-American studies and of philosophy at Harvard University, recently shared why he is a black atheist on in his essay “I Didn’t Lose Faith. I Just Don’t Have It.”

Below are a few excerpts from his essay…

And so one day, after much study, I joined a church and was baptized. Soon I was earnestly sharing the gospel with family and friends. I lived at home during the summer after my freshman year, and my mother and I studied together. As a result, her faith was renewed. Indeed, she held tightly to her faith until the day she died.

I can’t say the same for myself. By the time I graduated, I no longer believed in God. I didn’t get to this place easily. It was a painful and trying process that involved hours of study, reflection, self-examination, fasting and prayer.


I worried that my belief in God was ultimately rooted in things like fear of death, desire for community or longing for the loving father figure I didn’t have. Was my attraction to Christian doctrines driven by the fact that I was a lonely, alienated, scared kid looking for something firm to hold on to? After all, faith made me feel powerful and protected.


I’m an intellectual, by natural disposition and vocation. I have chosen to live a life of the mind in a community of scholars where my nonbelief is unremarkable. My path is not for everyone. And I don’t expect most black folk to leave the Lord. What I would like to see, though, is greater respect for and understanding toward the nonbelievers among us. If my mother could muster it, surely we all can.

Another black atheist, Jamila Bey,  shares how she celebrates the Christmas holidays without Christ in her essay “Heathen Holidays: An Atheist Celebrates”also on the

Jamila Bey

So what do I think of the views of the Shelby and Bey as an unabashed believer in Jesus Christ? Well, first of all,  I very much value the freedoms on which this country was based – one of which is the freedom of religion….We are free to believe in whatever God we choose to believe in, and we are also free to choose to not believe in any God at all…So I say – have at it Shelby and Bey…

But I will also say this…the freedoms (religious and otherwise) that Shelby and Bey enjoy today in this country are the result of courageous black Christians down through the years that sacrified – many with their lives – so that we can be as free as we want to be today…it is a real luxury for Shelby and Bey to say they don’t believe in Jesus Christ in today’s times…

Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are just few black people whose lives and Christian faith enabled us to enjoy the freedoms we so cavalierly enjoy today…I’m not sure that Shelby and Bey would be of the same opinion years ago…not hatin’ just sayin’…

What say you?

Any thoughts?




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6 Responses to Not Every Black Person Believes in God…

  1. Malika says:

    Interesting that ppl think this way. But to each is own and I will pray for them too. folks like this seem to always have a bitterness about them bc of sumthn in the past. really they blame God for not meeting or agreeing with their timetable. Sad…

  2. jackieholness says:

    I think that is true in some cases…I also believe that some people are atheists because they just find it just find it too hard to believe in a God they cannot see…I say take a look at the world around you…How can the sun be explained….the wind…the human body and how doctors can provide the environment for healing but the not healing itself…I say I can’t see God as I can another human being but His works are within my view each and every day…

  3. Malika says:

    True and it often goes back to some experience where they believe God failed them. I know a few myself and this was the case. I guess no matter what just pray for them all.

  4. jackieholness says:

    I agree Malika…prayer is in order…

  5. I’m sorry, maybe it was the way I was raised, but I don’t see how you can NOT believe in God. You wake up every morning, the skin, the sun, the clouds…there are so many examples of Him everywhere. These people need prayer. NOW.

  6. jackieholness says:

    To me, it’s obvious….but for some…I wonder how they feel they got their sense of right and wrong…Who did that?

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