Black Nonbelievers – What Do Atheist Believe In?

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Video Transcript

welcome to intrinsic motivation from a homies perspective podcast where we meet experts from all walks of life to learn their intrinsic motivations so that they can share it with the world what do we have in store today stay tuned to find out more good morning good evening everybody out there in podcast land this is another episode of intrinsic motivation from a homeys perspective this is Hamza and I am David and before we get started I do want to say my condolences and want to send my positive energies and thoughts to the Spade family and for anyone out there that has feels that they don’t have anyone to speak with and they feel like they need to talk to somebody or in crisis I wanted to give this National Suicide Prevention lifeline at one eight hundred two seven three eight two five five yes near and dear to my heart so I wanted to send salutations and energies and thoughts out to the Spade family so without further ado I am really excited about our guest today she is the president of the black non-believers and this is the first I’ve ever heard of this group she’s here in Atlanta and I’m really excited to speak with her because it reminds me of the attraction when I first came to Atlanta I went to Clark Atlanta and the prospect of walking on campus and meeting brothers and sisters that were Greek or meeting Christians or Muslims or five percenters or aunts ARS Egyptologists and all that we all coexisted it was fantastic I’ve met Satanists on campus you were like black save us out of that word and I never really ran into quote unquote black non-believers and we actually have the president Mandisa Thomas who’s going to tell us all about the black non-believers movement welcome to the podcast thank you for having me good evening and good morning everyone won’t you be on yes thanks for making the time to make our podcast today now I do know David and I could probably attest to this that if you live here longer than six months you are seen as being in Atlanta do you fall into that category or igloo born and raised well I actually is interesting I have been in the Atlanta area with my family now for over 20 years but I was born and raised in New York City and I moved down here when I was 21 so I was born and raised in New York but I have lived half my life here in Atlanta so I guess you could say I’m from both okay okay all right I love it you and I have a little bit in common about the tri-state and so we’ll go into that as I was looking through your website but before getting into the whole tri-state area stuff I wanted to get a little bit of your background if you could tell us you know or is this what you do full-time is this what was the origin what was the impetus of starting this and and what is the current state of the union if you will of what you guys are looking at okay well let me try to wrap this up in about two minutes or so yeah so yeah I guess we atheists do have a sense of humor chief why so I have my background is that it’s interesting that you mentioned my five centers because my background growing up I wasn’t formally raised religious I was raised in the you know with the black concha in the black conscious community what some would be would call woke now I grew up learning about you know Malcolm X and other notable you know figures in black history and so my my my background was very very militant outspoken very power to the people very much like black power and black cry and one of the things I remember learning early on was how Christianity in particular was imposed particularly during slavery in the United States of you know vacuum captives and so you know the imposing particularly of the white Jesus and the white God I really made the correlation between that and other issues of colorism within the black community and so just kind of keeping that with me carrying into my adulthood I kind of saw myself as being spiritual after a while but not really religious and so as I you know as you know my family grew and I thought about my philosophical perspective I eventually in encountering other people as well as reflecting on my perspective in my upbringing and I eventually I would say we identified as ACS and one of the things I’ve noticed was that you know there were very few of us you know like on the ground and in person I had met I had met others online but after after attending a theist meet up in person I said you know what I you know I figured that there were more of us out here but there just wasn’t enough of us that maybe knew how to find each other and so that’s when black non-believers was formed as black non-believers of Atlanta and I have to give a shout out to JP who you and I know hamza he was one of our founding members of the group and had been involved with us ever since and at the time that we started the organization I was working full-time as a CDC I just recently resigned from that job in order to take on black non-believers full-time because I have been involved with the Atheist / secular movement for the past seven years in a addition to black non-believers and so as a result of our organizations we have been able to sufficiently connect with other black atheist other blacks who are non-believers and we say non-believers because our our point of view and our perspective goes beyond religion and the God concept but we definitely strongly encourage to the atheist identity and and for other blacks to be open with the atheist identity we are now we started in Atlanta in 2007 and now we’re up to 11 affiliate groups nationwide most recently in the Cincinnati area and so I have taken on activism within the atheist and secular movement full-time particularly to help grow black non-believers full-time and I’m fortunate that my involvement has led to an increase and a demand for me to be more full-time in this movement which I’m very grateful for and so that’s pretty much it in a nutshell it it really it resonates with me in the sense that when David and I were kicking around the idea of doing a podcast and we were like well you know what do we talk about that we talk about sports or you know and and and you know not put words in your mouth David but you know he has psychic background I have a psychic background and what we were finding is that you know even though we were looking for enlightenment and moving moving forward and being our best selves there weren’t a lot of people that looked like us and so I wanted to talk about the intrinsic motivation which I think is is its paramount for anyone to reach their best self but we wanted to add the homies perspective and so what I was thinking about the I was watching a recent video interview of Lord Jamar for a brand new brand new being huh so he was talking about you know his how he became a five percenter but he was mentioning that his mother was Joba witness and Newark New Rochelle was you know one area of the city and then I forget the neighboring city but let’s just say they were more well-to-do and so they kind of shared the temple the temple and they are like well those that live in New Rochelle you go in the morning we’ll go in the afternoon and one day they missed the morning one they’re like well let’s go to the afternoon because we missed the morning one well the other group was there and no one looked like them and they were looking at them like what the hell are you doing here right and they’re like we’re Jehovah Witness and they were like but you’re not our Jehovah Witness so I got a bring that story up because I was wondering in your past in your travels and you were gone atheist meetups did you find something similar in that you felt you needed to start black non-believers did you feel a demarcation line in the sand yes and you know I actually didn’t even start off wanting to put together particularly a black organization i had when i reaiiy denta fied as an atheist the first time i was i was 14 years old but then again I read I came back to that I saw a post on Facebook about a black atheist meeting and so in trying to find more information about it I came across meetup.com and came across this particular meetup that I attended now I had talked to other black atheists online who had expressed that they experienced challenges with meetups and conferences and conventions and larger events in person because often more often than not they were the only black person there or very few and then the encounters with the white atheists were awkward at you know to put it mild and so I thought well maybe that won’t be my experience hopefully with you know with the atheist identity and trying to meet more of us then that won’t be much of an issue but sure enough when I got to that Meetup I encountered almost exactly what they experienced and I wouldn’t say that all of it is intentional but the problem is that there is there is there can be a disconnect with with with what white atheist experience and between atheists of color whether they are black Latin or of Latin origin or other people of color and even other women those experiences can be quite different and there is there is often a misunderstanding and even some condescension when it comes to our experiences and there they seem to be they seem to be very oblivious to the predominantly white group and again that’s not seeing that it’s intentional but we the the thought process and the division was to help bring out more black atheists because again in trying to and trying to balance out that predominantly white represented atheist community and then very largely still largely religious black community there had to be that bridge and that was us that yes we had to say you know we had to create an organization of black non-believers because people needed to find more of us on the ground and yes and I hope I answered that question because I feel myself kind of like going off but yes there was specifically a need to create an organization so that other black ideas could find and and those who could more readily identify with what we go through and and who could more whether we understand the issues that we face particularly as it pertains to our community now with with again I’ll speak for myself and not David but what I found in my experience as far as clusters if you will like with the psychic realm are those interested in metaphysical metaphysical conversation that there are certain pockets in II in the United States where there is more of an openness like there may be Atlanta then there may be Colorado or California or New York City and in your travels and as you’ve grown to over 11 affiliate groups and you’re traveling around the country are you seeing similar pockets with regards to 80 of them you mean as far as finding more people of color or more black both yes I can say that again there’s a large contingency there’s a lot there a large number of atheist online particularly black atheists but yes I do find that when I do travel and as over the years old even within these past seven years the number of black atheists that attend larger events has increased and that is I’m proud to say that that is because of our organization’s existence and more people finding us as a result I have I have found that over the years with certain yes with certain larger events there are more of I will say for example and there are some who’ve never who hadn’t heard of us so they didn’t know that there was an organized effort particularly to bring black ACS together which is a good thing like two years ago at at the second reason rally in Washington DC there were people just came out because they knew that the Atheist community in particular has grown exponentially within the past few years and so when we were at the reason rally there were other black folks there who were like wow wait a minute you mean to tell me that there is an organization specifically to help bring out more black ABF I didn’t know that and so that is that is a really really good thing overall I think it is it is largely due to our presence as an organization but also to the the increase of you know the increasing presence of organizations period like 80s of secular organizations period is helping bring out more of us [Music] so now let me ask you okay so would you say that the majority or the number of people that that you know become a part of black non-believers or associated with it are they coming from other view you know different other religions that and they just got disillusioned with it and there’s just looking for something else or would you say that they’ve never really been associated with any kind of religion and somehow you know they end up finding you or other groups it’s an interesting mix the majority of our members come from Christianity you know they will former Christians some of them have bounced around if you will they bounced around from Christianity to Islam – maybe Buddhism or you know like or like you mentioned like metaphysical or the spiritual mindset then they went to like agnosticism to atheism there is the difference there but most of our members we do have some form of Muslims as well who jump straight from you know Islam to atheism but the majority of our members have our former Christians who have you know who have a transition out of religion into atheism and that can be a very very isolating experience because Moe and Moshe I wouldn’t say that all atheists are introverts but there are a lot of us who tend to be and that’s difficult to navigate that that social part and for many it was you know some were looking for just way to connect with others some were just looking for ways to deal with it and most of their family members and friends were just like well this is a phase you’ll come back or you just need to pray on it or something like that and I think there were there are some others who once they came to their atheism and they started looking for other atheists that’s how they found our organization so we would you say that like you said a lot of them come from the background of Christianity are they would you say it’s a fairly common are they kind of all saying the same thing as far as why or is it kind of I’m A to Z the reasons why they were decided to leave or get disillusioned with it it’s it’s a wide variety but the majority of them and I’ve come across some members who said that they were forced to go to church but that the teachings just didn’t make any sense to them many actually started reading the Bible and they started reading it objectively as if it was a book they were actually like trying to read you know as they took their you know they took their I guess belief out of it so many of them actually start and you’ll find many atheists who say this that you know they became atheist by reading the Bible and so that was part of it many atheism there are there’s a there’s a misconception that you know many a lot of atheists are just angry at God and that’s the reason why they left religion there many of our members and many of a theists have actually they took a very comprehensive approach to their non belief they actually were trying to find more meaning in the religion that they were in and once they started doing that they came out with more questions than answers and so really it was a more it was a more edge kated approach and then they started reading other books outside of the Bible I know many people credit The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins as a book that with their transition journey many started reading other accounts of those who were formerly in religions who left and so it really enough there is there is some emotions involved in that some of the journeys are very painful because some people feel like they are lied to so but most of most atheists and most of our men really did take that pragmatic you know trying to find more of a meaning within their religion and started reading more and then they eventually transitioned mm-hmm it makes sense yeah that was a good point David because you you’re in your right mind I think the perception is anger you know there was something that happened beyond their control or there is just something that I could answer and just like you know it I don’t this is I don’t buy this anymore and so before I go into my question you did mention the God illusion by Richard Dawkins were there other literary or other books that you could point to for people listening to the podcast to check out absolutely there are a lot of atheists they they they point to God is not great by Christopher Hitchens I also I tried to recommend some other black authors as well there’s Jeremiah Kamara who’s also based in Atlanta and he was actually one of my inspirations in starting on my transition and path to openly identifying as Maisie as’ and starting the organization he he produced a documentary called contradiction and he’s also the author of the books holy lockdown does the black church limit progress and the new doubting Thomas the Bible black folks and and blind belief and also there is another book by Candice Gorham called the ebony Exodus project why some black women are walking out on religion and maybe you should too but certainly those books also by you know Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens God is not great and I think the subtitle is how religion poisons everything so there are I mean there are a number of books now that people can reference as far as if they have their doubts and questions and also if they just want to read up on others who were deeply devoutly religious but then they came out of that religion and now they’re atheist but yes those are those are four in particular hold that I would recommend anyone who is on this journey or who would just like to who would you just like those as references if they’d like to pick them up thank you for that I appreciate it my first time I have a two questions one I’m gonna hold until your intro to the first one so the first Jeremiah what’s Jeremiah’s last name last name is kumara C am a are a good thank you and so one of his books was was it locked down or the contradiction what was the name of the contradiction is the documentary the first book he wrote was called holy lockdown thank you and so he was talking about were we being held hostage premature and that’s what I wanted to address or at least ask you so I’m just thinking more so from a human nature standpoint because when I let me preface it by saying a human nature standpoint because you know we’re when we look at the black American experience we usually reference slavery and then what I’m outta slavery right and then we’re okay so we had a the polarity of the oppressor and the oppressed and then when you had the 1900s and just thinking just from a very simple example when when people were given certain powers or perceived power so let’s just say like some of your Greek organizations or some of these other organizations where they wound up carrying some of the same traits that maybe their oppressors had on their own people you know with you know physical and mental abuse and what-have-you and so I’m saying from a human standpoint because in recent years on the internet you know the internet kind of connected communities and so from a from an internet standpoint a lot of people a lot of groups have been talking about the book of Thomas or the Gospel of Thomas are you familiar with that not really I will say that I’m not really a Bible scholar but I do know the premise behind Thomas that he was the doubter is that correct it’s more so from what I was talking about with the human standpoint that the the Gospel of Thomas was actually edited out of the Bible and okay yeah and so you know afterwards I could send you some links no but so what happened was I want to say four hundred years after quote/unquote the Jesus’s death people were threatened with being burned at the stake or hanged like it was you were punished by death if you were caught with the book of Thomas and so from a human standpoint we I’ve always understood it as it could be a religion it could be politics or used to control people and if you give them too much of that knowledge now we’re questioning everything and we no longer control them and so it’s interesting that you know with with atheism and some of the other things with the black experience were always open to looking at all these different things and in some of it is because we haven’t gotten all the information you know some of the preachers and during slavery and after slavery were hanged themselves if they were given more of the Bible than what they were supposed to as they were told to they kind of alluded a little bit in the I want to say in the nat turner movie last year they were like well no just tell him anything as long as they’re going to keep working but when he would quote other parts of a Bible or like no you’re robbing the people up so it’s just really interesting how from a religious standpoint it is some a grand scale and it sounds like a lot of people that come into your group and some of the others they’re disillusioned but they’re disillusioned because they’re only getting half of the story I want to get your take on that well what’s interesting is that I think when you’re involved in any religion or any thought that puts Dogma over you know over evidence or or something that you’re just supposed to take at face value you’re not really supposed to look any deeper into it than what is told to you that tends to be the case and that is most forms of indoctrination certainly our parents have done it to us many in many cases our churches have done this to us and and sometimes I would even say on the the public education or even education standpoint as well I would say though that what you mentioned you know people and systems that allow certain folks to rise to power and you absolutely right that during slavery it was pretty much illegal you know the legal to teach lays to read or write the only book that was allowed to be interpreted was the Bible and the certain parts of the Bible of course and also within the black community we must remember that the church was pretty much one of the one of the few places that blacks to rise to prominence and power and so that traditionally has kind of held certain parts of the community together now I will say that there are there is a lot of yes I think many of us only get part of the information but there’s a lot of it that’s out there that we don’t think about like for example the stronger Black History Month dr. Carter G Woodson who wrote the mis-education of the negro you know founded Negro History Week which was the foundation for Black History Month he challenged religion in that very same books and mis-education of the negro he challenged the effectiveness of the church within the black community and there were other notables and like I mentioned earlier and in black history that were great contributors like to the Harlem Renaissance for example who were very very critical of the institution of the church particularly within the black community and so yes when you have these systems in place and especially it the church which has a huge influence as far as who was perceived as you know that like the I guess see who is very important within our community this information tends to be obscured which is unfortunate because it really does it diminishes the diversity of the community that has in our community that has always been there they have always been black atheist they have always been black humanists free thinkers doubters of religion etc this isn’t anything new but unfortunately with the majority of folks from our community that still hold religion in a church and a high regard this information definitely does get lost which is unfortunate but also it is up to us not even I would say atheist but it is up to the entire community to be honest about that and reshape and redefine that narrative good point I know that one statement that I really like is the more the more what is it man really what happened so it’s something like the more man the realer some things are they would some things are the way they seem and some things are not the way they seem I’m totally butchering it but with that being said it’s kind of like like when I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast about being happy of coming to Clark Atlanta and just seeing all these different walks of life it was great even just from a black American standpoint because on some levels for people that don’t travel you think okay this is my corner of the world and everybody’s the same and then you know I come to Atlanta and people were just like why you’re like DC Satanist and and everybody’s in these ciphers and circles and you know talking about how they feel what have you done been you know everybody leads it and they peacefully coexist but what I found was like especially with the Satanists they were more of I would say they were more Christian or Catholic than the actual gender the general population that were going to church because they were questioning so much it was like wow those are the real people and so on some level you got it we haven’t talked about like tenants or anything with atheism but I’m thinking on some level right that there are some similarities just because you’ve questioned and that’s what the book of Thomas Gospel of Thomas always talks about also as far as looking within instead of without for your answer I’m thinking with atheism and humanism as your mission is being around I remember from as a hip hop head Karras was saying that he was a humanist since like the early 90s but he was never they were never the cohesion that I really saw in seeing your sight like just forming a form forming a 501c3 nonprofit and just building it up from a corporate standpoint instead of you know a faction that kind of goes away in five or ten years right and see and one of the things that it was interesting because I’m not sure if we actually set it out to be this I know I can say for myself that I knew there was a need for this organization and this group to be formed I I was kind of looking long-term but and I wasn’t because I wasn’t sure how far it was going to go but in building that in building this organization and caring from the people sharing from from those who express that relief that we were here and also talking and also having people reach out to reach out to us wanting to hear our stories wanting to see us and wanting to understand the position it became quite clear that we needed to be more long-term and I’m a more of a long-term type of person I do like to try to establish foundations because this is something that the black community in particular in the 80s a secular community does need they need to see and they need to hear the voices of the atheists and the non-believers out there and I’m not sure if there were any other black folks who actually ever thought of I mean there are there were some other organizations out there but because I’m grateful for my background in you know putting events together you know I am I do have like customer service and hospitality background and so that helps with my ability to relate to people because that’s what we are doing today we are people we are human beings we do you know we do connect you know we do talk we are normal you know there’s nothing really I mean and you know I guess in the grand scheme of what’s considered normal if you will because I shouldn’t try to think outside of that normal box but as far as individuals and just as a cofee as you know just as people you know we do exist and there’s a need for us to be more understanding and and to try to connect outside of like you said those you know those spaces of where we were in our corners of the world that we don’t exist in a vacuum and that there is they’re probably more of us again out there than we realize and that it’s okay for us to come to that understanding and if someone actually comes across us they are because I it is not my mission to try to make everyone in the world atheist what is important to me is that people do they are their authentic selves that they are able to have these questions and put these thoughts out there without being demonized without being ostracized and and and they’re able to have an objective conversation particularly with other folks in their community and so I just think that in looking back at it this is probably something that is more groundbreaking because there are there are still very few black folks that we know of in the public eye who will ever say that they are atheist and so hopefully this is something that will change in the near future and hopefully with our existence with us establishing you know this this non-profit 501c3 organization because when people think of you know when people think of organizing they you know they think only of like religion and fellowship is not a religious word the ability to get together and organize does not only it doesn’t belong to religious organizations they have always been secular organizations and they will continue to be secular organizations and so hopefully this is a good starting point for what will come in the future [Applause] David Esterbrook there good so would you say nobody said is it a misconception that the atheists are always out there trying to turn everyone into atheist I yes I would there are many atheists who I will even say that you know they kind of go a little overboard with challenging people on like the Bible and religion and such some some atheist seems to go looking for a fight which-which but however it that isn’t that isn’t any different from many of your believers who invite you to go to church with them on Sundays and I’ve actually had more people come up to me and asked me was I born again that just comes out of nowhere or you know have you taken a load into your heart you know that there is a part of that is a push back from what they’ve received from all these you know you know Oh from all these years from the religious folks trying to convert them and and bring them into you know their way of thinking there are some who will openly point out you know the inconsistencies in the Bible and such and so you know my personally my thing is hey you know what you can believe what you want even though even if I don’t agree with it even if I think a lot of it is very very flawed as long as you have a good understanding of what you believe which many believers do not but as a person I’m not going to infringe upon your right to believe in it as long as you are not infringing on my on my non beliefs or you know look at me like I have two heads because I say I don’t believe but yes it is a misconception that many atheists are just out trying to just be cumber people and just trying to turn people away from the Lord but I just you know my my thing is hey once you start thinking for yourself that should be a natural process I am again always I always encourage people not not what to think but basically how to think you know there are many believers who think that’s a bad thing but that is also that also goes into another ass the belief which is fear many people are scared to not believe or they’re scared to perhaps look at someone who is an atheist because maybe they just automatically think that they’ll be you know turned away or what-have-you I can’t say that that’s always the case but you know I mean many of us are just chill you know we have we have families you know we works you know we do what but we just don’t want our rights infringed upon and that’s something that I definitely will be taking more of a strong stance on considering I’m a huge advocate of church and state separation and right now especially with this administration there’s a lot of there’s a lot of lines being blurred there and that fight does need to continue so if that is you know I guess if that is a misconception I wouldn’t need to say it is but it doesn’t represent all 80s out there many of us just want to live our lives and not be bothered but there are a certain number of atheists who do will either come out the gate and just you know openly challenge but also there are a lot of organized efforts of folks that are looking to looking for like church and state separation violations rightfully so when I’m looking at this from a again truck my religion of thinking of Christmas when you’re a little kid is you get that bike and now you whatever you want to ride the bike right like so so so when I’m looking at a black American timeline where I when US oh it’s a question people are asking or you say that’s something typically that happens more so here in South and from a timeline standpoint when people were making the migration from the South in the 1900s because there wasn’t any employment here to the north you had a lot of people that were you know if I can still use this analogy riding that new bike and so because they had the new bike course you want a question and you want to test and see is this valid or what can I live with it so from the 90s I mean in the early 1900s you had Marcus Garvey ISM you had noble trolley and the Moors you had nation Islam and all that and so in 2018 you have awards now where all of these groups coexist and they you know like you said they’re kind of living amongst themselves and they’re not they’re no longer on the corner so much you still have a little bit of it I think that’s just part of the process but you don’t have it as much where people are trying to yell over each other about well why their belief is right or wrong so I do see maturation I just didn’t see it any inkling or talks from an atheist standpoint it was more of a humanist standpoint and at the beginning of a podcast it was more it was probably just me not having the awareness there was more of a a race thing I just didn’t see black atheist there it was just so this is a very enlightening to me yeah if we’re going back to that time period of you know Marcus Garvey and he said mobile jolly and even though BEB the boys who was a free thinker I would point you to Hubert Henry Harrison who was an open atheist and he openly challenged religion during the you know black the black Solomon Fox era you know he was very I think he and what and also what’s very interesting is the level of you know dissent among certain black leaders during that time period that kind of mirrored today you know that that you know that intellectual you know critiquing of each other which is I think another aspect that is lost on us you know I don’t ever like to put us in this box that we all think alike we don’t there have always been varied perspectives in the black community there is there has always been a dissent and disagreements on how to handle issues in our community in particular you know and particularly pertaining to you know to race and and you know in that injustice so I do like to kind of point to that there were some you know and I wasn’t saying you know Harrison in particular if you’d like to find more information on him also I think at that time even even today and this is something that I think it’s a bit unfortunate in our community you know even like Lorraine Hansberry you know she wrote A Raisin in the Sun which was adapted into you know a movie eventually you know there was that peace with with the daughter and I cannot remember her name but the daughter was Navy is you know she had denounced God and you know the Mambo mama slacker so you know there was this piece in let you know in literature you know and and historically where there have always been those pockets where where blacks have expressed their you know dissent particularly with religion and the God concept unfortunately as I said before it’s been obscured by other schools of thought most of them which were still you know rooted in some sort of religious belief because Marcus Garvey for example who was the father of you know black nationalism as we know it today I think he was so religious and so even though he had a very very powerful wooden platform when it came to black liberation you know that liberation theology was still often rooted in religious thought even if there was a critique of religion you know it’s still kind of there was this thing that we kind of deal with this when we talk about atheism in our community is that well that’s a white thing that’s something that white people do that somehow black folks can’t be atheist you know we can’t possibly be without God because God has led us through whether you believe in Christianity or you have to believe in something and so that’s that’s also another notion of misconception that we challenge the point well one thing that I like about 2018 and again you know from a homies perspectives though from so for hip-hop right so over the past I want to say it happens in like two or three weeks ago and prior to that everyone was at you know there’s a lot of collaborations in hip-hop now right where I can live anywhere and I’ll collaborate with someone anywhere right and it don’t at a time where I kind of came up in the late 80s early 90s people were at you know 20 18 asking man what is rock him pulled nas under his wing and they collabed and built and got together and did stuff right I mean the world would have been unstoppable and so the last couple of weeks it was beautiful to see Jay Cole reach out to little pump because you know you were having some of that old versus young energy where you know this person doesn’t know this or this person doesn’t know that and it was more of like look you know I’m not against you these are this is your belief right now and I’m just trying to steer you in the right direction I thought that was beautiful and that before those would have been fighting words somebody would have ended up transitioning and they wouldn’t be on earth anymore and so people are getting together the other beautiful thing and this is more of a question to you is July or June 1st June 1st was the anniversary of the wall street massacre in Tulsa Oklahoma and though you know Jay Morris and I got together and they built this Tulsa real estate fund where they’re going around and they’re buying properties around the country and what have you and it was just really great to see all the different groups like I mentioned before you know the the the new ovens and and just everybody Under the Sun it didn’t matter what your belief was they kind of got together pulled their resources and they’re trying to raise 50 million dollars in today’s only six and I think they’ve already reached the 10 million dollar mark and so before it was just oh this is our little cluster and this is what we’re going to build and I think people are putting aside their differences and I was wondering if black non-believers have a stake in the claim did you know anything about the Tulsa Oklahoma fund and how are you dealing with the political and the economic climate that were currently in what was interesting is that I knew about you know of course I know about the you know the Tulsa you know Massacre back then I didn’t know that there was a new initiative to help rebuild it many of our members are involved in other movements many of our members are members of like the black lives matter initiatives and other economic initiatives the problem that they face though is that if they openly identify as atheist they risk disassociation immediately and many of them are in the closet so to speak and as much as we would love to be part of I mean we encourage our members to to and in myself I am you know I encourage the voting process because I do vote I also encourage empowerment especially within the black community I do find it a turn-off though when the go-to is well let’s pray about it or when people start when aids when people start putting their religion into it it does become a turn-off you know it becomes less about the you know the the movement building and more of about your ideology which can be which can be challenging to deal with and because um at this time because many people are still you know looking for that space you know to be comfortable with their non belief without being attacked or accosted that is where the majority of our you know that is what a majority of our focus is trying to help our fellow black a theist and atheist in general find that space to be personal you know and their personalized and so that hopefully we can continue to build collectively and also be out because again I I will not hide my atheism for anyone I mean there’s always a comment a place that but if I have to hide it or if I have to obscure it for fear of being just turned off or turned away immediately it does prevent and it prohibits you know the collective the collective focus because now you have to worry about that if you know you have to worry about whether the know wha beings are gonna you know I become at you or Christians are going to come at you in some way and that you feel like they feel like you can’t work together because we’re a theist so we don’t believe and that is a very bit that is that is a harsh reality for many of us so I encourage you know the and let me just say too that it’s important for us to realize and and again as I mentioned before about you know black you know disagreements amongst our leaders I think it’s okay for us to not agree on everything if when those disagreements get to the point where it stops initiative that it becomes you know that it becomes an issue now hopefully in the near future I mean we can we’ve contributed to a number of initiatives I know last year we well we contribute to the black women’s March that was in PC and we did so openly as an organization but we still we still deal with that you know with that whole well you know what we talk about black it goes very quickly you know when the name black I believe it comes up and so once we once we’re able to get past that hurdle where people can understand hey you know this is a legitimate and important part of our community then we’ll be able to contribute more and more openly to you know to other initiatives such as this now if there is someone that you know that that we know of that can that will that is willing to work with us and collaborate with us who will not have an issue with us being atheists and non-believers then on for it but until then our primary focus really is to help build that support and continue to increase the visibility of black atheists as a collective because again we all are involved in other initiatives and probably the ones you’ve mentioned I need to I need to ask our members about that too but as long as they’re still in the closet if you will and will have to you know deal with other black folks who are highly religious and whoever problem with their atheism then that’s where our focus lies is in helping people deal with that and in having that space just sometimes vent and cry about that because that is a reality for many of us yeah I think it was it was beautiful just to see you know it’s only six days then I’m sure they’ll reach their their 50 million mark you know it was more of we don’t care what your what your race religion is right that separated us for so many over the past hundred years because of these differences you know and the bigger the bigger picture is more of building an economic base so I think what’s going to happen is you know people are going to see just like anything it’s you know when it’s when a football team wins the Super Bowl you know it’s it’s harder for them to get back the next year because everybody looks at what they did that was successful and then builds on that so hopefully in the future we’ll have multiple ones I’m just more so excited because I remember you know god bless the dead that made me think of Prince and it was well known or you know in hushed voices in Atlanta University Center that he and others were donating money to the school and they weren’t publicly like hey you know what I just gave them a couple of million dollars just you know what we’re looking at the bigger picture the bride needs of kids and and so I think you know as I would use the football analogy it makes me think of the Koch brothers you know everybody looks at them as being evil but one thing that they do is they they do have detached or vest but they and they also put money in a lot of different camps so it’s kind of like yeah this is what we believe but this is what’s going on over there and we’re going to leverage that to so you know it’s really interesting how the 2018 conversations morphing and it’ll be fun to watch that the you know where the black non-believers what their stake is and everything in all walks of life now five years from now ten years from now just to watch you guys grow it’s been a pleasure speaking with you thank you and thank you once again for having me on the show to have this conversation it’s I hope to have more of them in the future yeah you have been requested David oh well one question I was real quick Alton I was going to ask have you ever had anyone that you know has left whether it was Christianity Islam whatever have come to your group and then have been a part of your the black non-believers and then for whatever reason went back decided that wasn’t working and decided to go back to what is in our uh what’s very interesting I’ve seen a number of people not necessarily within our organization they may have been in our online forums who have there was one woman in particular who she went by the name Minister freethinker which I’m always interestingly curious about people who you know put moniker so themselves I remember seeing her around she used to do videos but then she contacted us one day saying that you know she found the Lord and we need to get back to the Lord and I was like wait wait a minute that was pretty interesting well it tends to happen is that there are a lot of people who become emotionally jaded by religion and then they’re expecting that the atheists and secular community is going to be vastly different in some ways it is in some way it isn’t where people just like everyone else and unfortunately people tend to take a lot of baggage with them from their indoctrination and I just say in documen not necessarily religious indoctrination because it goes further than that there are some who you know they take whatever you know whatever an unresolved baggage that they have and they think that things are going to be drastically different in this other community and so when they find that it doesn’t like magically happen if you will if it doesn’t seem like it’s divine intervention then they may go back you know they may think well I may go back you know to the Lord or you know what have you because there were other aspects that they didn’t may not have sufficiently dealt with you know as a result and you know it happens most of our members have come out of religion to non belief in atheism and they they’ve never gone back does that mean that their minds are solely you know set on that no because we encourage people to be open to changing their minds to no matter what it is but it should be on an evidence and bear you know verification base that when new information comes along that you take things into consideration and you have to and be objective many of us are still as a community we are still overcoming from those you know the ratio institutionalized racism institutionalized injustice so there’s a lot of baggage there and and also that religious baggage is still there too so it’s been very rare it’s happened I’ve seen it but most of our members are here to say and Mandisa before you give your social social media sites and websites so they can contact you one cool thing take away from your site is that religion or you know when we get together it doesn’t have to always be serious so please take the time in the moment this present moment to talk about and plug your dr event in November oh yes we are going again for the second year in a row one of black non-believers as an organization we do encourage that fellowship and that social aspect we are we are hosting our second annual convention at sea which is a five nine six day cruise out of Miami will be going to Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic and part of this is that many of our members and have have devoted their lives to their churches and/or their religious institutions and they’ve never sufficiently traveled many people have never been on a cruise before there’s something about traveling and seeing different parts of the world and with a group of like-minded individuals that is life-changing and so we encourage people to enjoy their lives as well not every part of our lives has to be devoted to a struggle or to a cause even though this is cause based or even if you just want to come and have a good time on a cruise where we’ll be aboard the Carnival sensation and November right after Thanksgiving the prices are still very reasonable you can still sign up you can go it’s on the front is on the homepage of our website you’ll want to join us for this one that’s the black non-believers convention at sea and we’ll be cruising well we’re going to be having a good time Jeremiah Kumar is one of our speakers and so you’ll definitely want to join us for that it was what’s the website where they can find out more information about that and get in touch with you with any other questions our website is black non-believers dot org it reroutes – or black non-believer SOT wordpress.com you can also find us on twitter our handle is being non believers the be and the end are capitalized we are also on meet up at meetup.com / black non-believers we’re on facebook at black non vedo facebook.com slash black non-believers and so pretty much almost anywhere on the internet is where you can find us but definitely on the website for our organization awesome awesome well you have just been tuned to another episode of intrinsic motivation from a homies perspective this is Hamza and I am David and Mandisa it was a pleasure speaking with you learning more about the black non believers let’s stay in touch yes absolutely and thank you guys once again for having me it’s been a pleasure thank you listen to intrinsic motivation from a homeys perspective on radio public it’s a free easy-to-use app that helps listeners like you find and support shows like ours when you listen to our show on radio public we receive direct financial support every time you hear an episode experience our show and radio public today by listening to the show link in our episode notes and thank you for listening thanks again for checking out another episode of intrinsic motivation from a homeless perspective podcast please check us out on our website at intrinsic motivation dot life where you can click on the speak pipe button and leave any suggestions for a future podcast that you’d like us to cover also check us out on our social media sites we have a YouTube channel Facebook page iTunes podcast in addition to stitcher and Google Play all under intrinsic motivation from a homeys perspective check you out next time have a great day you