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By Michael Lackey

This research of atheist African American writers poses a great problem to those that see atheism in despairing and nihilistic phrases. Lackey argues that whereas so much white atheists mourn the lack of religion, many black atheists--believing the “God-concept” spawns racism and oppression--consider the loss of life of God a reason for private and political hope. 

Focusing on a little-discussed element of African American literature, this full-length research of African American atheists’ therapy of God fills a major hole in experiences that always forget about their contributions. reading how a trust in God and His “chosen humans” necessitates a politics of superiority and inferiority, Lackey implicitly considers the measure to which spiritual religion is chargeable for justifying oppression, even acts of actual and mental violence.
In their secular imaginative and prescient of social and political justice, black atheists argue that basically whilst the tradition adopts and internalizes a really atheist politics--one in response to pluralism, tolerance, and freedom--will radical democracy be completed. Of basic curiosity to students of African American experiences, this quantity will also entice non secular students, philosophers, anthropologists, freethinkers, and spiritual and secular humanists.

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So for these atheists, even if they could convincingly argue that they have the epistemological capacity to access authentic knowledge, thus justifying their status as full-fledged humans, this would do nothing to dismantle the apparatus that can and will be used Frantz Fanon and J. Saunders Redding: The Necessity of Atheism / 37 to dub other people and groups sub- or nonhuman. In other words, because atheists like Fanon and Redding are concerned with human rights more generally, they seek to expose the apparatus that has been used to subjugate, marginalize, and dehumanize a variety of people within the culture.

The primary violence of colonialism is theological, the semiotic violence of constructing the colonizer (believer) as a spiritual being, who has epistemological 40 / African American Atheists and Political Liberation access to God, and the colonized (unbeliever) as a material being, who cannot appraise the world in a spiritual way. Once this system is set into motion, the rest is a foregone conclusion. According to this view of theology, God and Truth are only politically empowering for those who control the intellectual means of subject-production, in other words, for colonizers and believers, those who have epistemological access to what the colonized infidels cannot see.

Since the colonizers can know eternal verities, they can establish an objective standard that distinguishes good from evil, true from false. ” In essence, the native “is the depository of maleficent power, the unconscious and irretrievable instrument of blind forces” (41). Given their privileged position, the colonizers can ontologize the world and the other, and since the natives are merely earthly beings, they can neither question nor challenge the believers’ truth system. The last function of the animalizing discourse relates to violence.

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