I’m a member of a closed Facebook group called Black Atheists. It’s an interesting group because the general assumption is that black people in the US tend to be religious. This page helps to break that stereotype. Today I logged onto Facebook, and the first thing I noticed in my feed was the following introductory post in the Black Atheists group:
I’ve concealed the OP’s identity to protect them from stigma in the event that they haven’t “come out” as questioning their long-held religious beliefs. In the event that she’s a full-fledged atheist, this is even more crucial. Anyway, moving on.
OP lists Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 film Django Unchained as the cause for her shifting religious views. When I saw this I was somewhat confused, and so was another user:
Now it makes sense! I was blessed with a relatively religion-less upbringing, and I’ve been a bible critic since dating my first girlfriend, whose mother was a Jehovah’s Witness (ew). I have known for practically my entire life the problems with slavery in the bible. Here is a list of everything the bible says about slavery. Not once is slavery condemned (although to be fair, there are a few verses in the bible about freeing slaves, but even those have caveats). This is not new news to me, and it’s not new news to most people.
But I can imagine what it must be like for black people in the US who go to Christian churches. Especially if they go to a black Christian church, I’m almost certain that the preacher will omit slavery-condoning verses in his sermons. I’m even more certain that he probably won’t discuss how slavery was justified in the US based on those pro-slavery verses.
Why would this revelation threaten to shake someone’s faith? Well, I can’t speak on behalf of the black community, but I can venture a guess. Many people assume that slavery is just a thing of the past, a black eye on America’s historical record. But it’s not. Although we are no longer forcing people of African descent into bondage, the effects of the times when we did are still around. Racism in the US might not be what it was even fifty years ago, but there is no getting around the fact that it’s still here, and so are poverty, unequal distribution of jobs and opportunity, and low representation. And it all started because white Christians picked up the bible and clobbered an entire race of people over the head with it. The link between Christianity and the African American population is exactly the link between Christianity and slavery.
Anyway, the conversation went on for many more posts. Here are a few more:
Here we can see how the link between Christianity and the African American community follows the same path between Christianity and slavery. If slavery were merely “a thing of the past,” this conversation would’ve never taken place.
It took a Hollywood film to break through the illusion that the church taught this woman. She has a long road ahead of her, and, considering that she chose to join a group called Black Atheists, it might end with her leaving behind all belief in god. I wish her luck. Thankfully, it looks like she’s already making progress in her journey.
The question this brings up is how many other people questioned their faith after watching Django Unchained? People aren’t dumb. The film throws some hefty accusations at Christianity, and anyone who sees the film can do a simple google search to confirm that those accusations are true.