Review: The Black Atheist Experience

global_431427505We were very lucky to be joined at our November meeting by two of the co-founders of London Black Atheists to talk about ‘Overcoming the challenges of being black and being an atheist’

Clive Aruede and Lola Tinubu, along with the assistance of SELHuG attendee Audrey, presented a thought provoking and passionate presentation of the context and challenges of ‘coming out’ as an atheist in African and Caribbean countries.

There was a good balance of presenting the historical context – in particular the rise of the Churches within the context of Slavery and it’s aftermath – but also rooting that experience in personal stories. There was a good discussion afterwards and everyone present recognised both the unique challenges faced by atheists in certain cultures but also the fact that the Humanist community can make much greater efforts to help facilitate this and welcome a greater variety of people into our ‘movement’.
Our community gets stronger when it includes people with different life experiences, different cultures, different voices. Despite the great challenges presented during the evening, this was the hope that was also fiercely kindled and many SELHuG members were moved and determined to help see this change happen.
Many of us carried on our discussion at a local pub afterwards and we all agreed that this was a meeting that would stay long in the memory.

London Black Atheists can be found:
On Meetup here
On Facebook here
On Twitter here

The introduction to the LBA meetup page gives more information on their background and aims:

London Black Atheists, despite the name Black, is a group that welcomes all atheists. We want to free our minds and our communities from all religious pollution and corruption. Our mission is to encourage ethnic peoples of all stripes and particularly of the African Diaspora to come out as atheists to other atheists. We will not reveal your identity publicly. We provide a friendly, welcoming and supportive environment for people who want to declare themselves as atheists but are wary of receiving a hostile reaction from their family and friends, leaving them isolated with no one to turn to and nowhere to go.

We actively work with other atheist groups such as British Humanist Association, London Atheists Activists Group and Central London Humanists Group to further our cause. If you live or work in London or are just visiting, if you are questioning religion and want to meet like minded people, join our group.

For social and historical reasons Black people tend to be very religious. The default position in Black society is that religion is a good thing that should be followed without question. We disagree. At some times and in some places, religion in the past has provided social cohesion, schools, hospitals, charities and the like, but the overwhelming evidence is that nowadays religion is divisive, physically harmful, mentally destabilising and morally bankrupt. It is a brake on social and scientific progress. In those parts of the world where it is a dominant influence, it is positively lethal. For those people who say “What harm does it do?”, we have a two word reply – Northern Ireland. Two Christian communities made up of ordinary men, women and children, one Catholic the other Protestant, locked in a deadly, decades old conflict.

We meet up for serious discussions on a wide range of topics connected to atheism, science, social issues, religion, evolution, cosmology, and neuroscience amongst other things. We actively seek to improve our understanding of our stunning, incredible universe, from a natural perspective. A universe that does not need a supernatural creator to explain its existence, nor how it functions. We also meet up socially for fun, entertainment, restaurant outings, watching films, visiting theatres and museums etc.