Assessing why a Black man in America would be a Christian

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BayAreaTodd827
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Assessing why a Black man in America would be a Christian

Post #1

Post by BayAreaTodd827 »

Have I been bamboozled into believing that the Christian faith is beneficial to me? Why have I chosen to be Christian in a "Christian nation" that historically has sought to deprive my race and gender of freedom and dignity?  

I have lived some decades. I have seen people, in the name of Christianity, trample over others for their own self-serving purposes.  I have witnessed men, by persuasive oratory, fool others into believing that such oratorical skill somehow makes them an authority and proprietor of truth and righteousness. I have seen this game's inevitable result - lies exposed.

I have observed the game played out time and again. Sometimes it is played by those who enter the Christian faith minded to “play�.  At other times, it is played by those who entered the faith with a sincere passion for God, but at some point they became disillusioned by it all and decide to simply go along with the “play-book� because this is what the majority seem to be doing - feigning perfection.

With my education and exposure to all of this, isn’t it about time that I give up the “Christian� mantle?  After all, I am a pretty-well informed and educated person. I completed undergrad and graduate school, and I've traveled a bit.  Again, I also know the games people play (whether I choose to indulge in them or not).

Am I not perpetuating the fraud by endorsing a belief system that is replete with hypocrites and deceivers?

The uncomplicated response to the last question posed is, NO! I stand by Christianity based on its own merit, not based on the actions of people who claim to be followers.

The not so easy related question might be, how, with my knowledge, understanding, and experience, am I going to convince others (particularly someone who has been jaded by what they’ve seen by others), to become a Christian?  

Another related question is why even bother to try?

In terms of the "why bother" question, it is because I am duty bound as a Christian to promote the Christian faith. This is part of being "faithful".  Whether I succeed is outside my control. My love for God and His Son/my savior compels me to try. 

It is my position that the Christian faith (based on the scriptural standard contained in what is commonly called the Bible) is the most beneficial for mankind. Bar none. It is beneficial in this life as well as for it’s promise of eternal life. This applies to me as an African-American and all mankind.

I invite dialogue on the topic. I am not seeking to judge anyone. I readily admit that in my dialogue my aim will be to seek to defend the faith I hold, AND, to encourage whomever might read this to become as I am - A Christian.  Feel free to respond publicly or privately. I'll respond in kind.

I look forward to mutually respectful and non-judgmental dialogue.

A prelude to my thoughts...

The apostle Paul communicated a fundamental truth about the expectation and need for every able-bodied person to grow up and make decision in accordance with this growth.  In 1 Corinthians 13:11 (King James Version) he says – “When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things.�

 In short, while I may have grown up in and around the Christian faith (and of course was influenced by this upbringing) I am not a Christian today simply as a result of that influence.  I have lived a life where I have seen and heard many things.  The culmination of this has lead me to choosing Jesus Christ. A simple but fully excercised choice.

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Re: Assessing why a Black man in America would be a Christia

Post #2

Post by benchwarmer »

[Replying to post 1 by BayAreaTodd827]

Before I begin, let me point out that bringing up race in a discussion that should have no consideration for it is a pet peeve of mine. One's skin color should have no bearing on the truthfulness of a particular religion or should be taken into account when listening to the apologetics of any given individual.

Now after that minor rant, which is obviously purely my personal position, I do understand how culture can be responsible for which religion one chooses. Simply because most cultures have a dominant religion.

At the end of the day we are all humans. Skin color and culture should have absolutely no bearing on who God might be or what God might want us to do. The sooner humanity discards the notion that skin color or planetary location of birth has any real meaning on one's identity, the sooner we can all move to a more harmonious species.

I truly believe that only a world wide crisis of some sort will ever bring this about. Something that will force us to work together and realize that we are all the same other than cultural upbringing and the baggage that entails.

In short, if you want to even attempt to convince me that your god concept is 'true', bringing in any mention of race, culture, location of birth, etc. is a sure sign the argument is going to fail.

If you are going to rise above all that you may have a chance (though not with the Christian apologetics as their holy book is rife with the type of issues I'm talking about).

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Post #3

Post by Divine Insight »

I don't know what "Black Man" refers to. There are many different people of color and very few of them are actually "black". Although I have seen some people who could claim to have skin that is very close to "black".

In your subtitle you meaning being an "African-American". But that too has a wide range of meanings it could mean any of the following:

1. An African who was brought to America against his or her will as a slave.
2. The descendants of an African who was brought to American as a slave.
3. A person who is of mixed heritage where part of their heritage includes an African who was brought to America as a slave.
4. An African who came to America as a free person by choice and was never a slave.
5. The children of an African who came to America as a free person by choice and was never a slave.
6. A person who is of mixed heritage where part of their heritage includes an African who came to America as a free person by choice and was never a slave.

There are many different people who qualify as being "African Americans". There are probably other scenarios as well that I did not include on my list above.

Why any of them might be a Christian is hard to say. Most likely they were either raised into the religion, or evangelized into it. Or possibly they chose to become a Christian entirely on their own after having studied many different religions.

So assessing why a "Black Man" in America would be a Christian would be a pretty extensive study and it would no doubt produce many different reasons.

I personally feel that the African slaves and their descendants basically has Christianity shoved onto them as a matter of necessity. African Americans in the USA historically had enough problems without creating additional problems for themselves by rejecting the religion of the "White man".

By the way, notice that the same thing holds true for the term "White Man". It has no real meaning either. White men also have many different historical hesitate. Not all White Men are "Christians". Not all White Men supported slavery, or any form of racism.

However, it is TRUE, especially in the American South that the overwhelming majority of "White Men" supported both Christianity and Slavery at one point in the history of the USA.

The "Black Men and Women" (or African Americans from that specific heritage) had Christianity basically shoved down their throats. They embraced it because it became a social "lifesaver", not to mention that it allowed them to sing "Gospel Music" which ultimately gave birth to the Blues. :D

In fact, you can watch many documentaries on famous "Black" (i.e. African American) musicians in the fields of Blues, Jazz, and Rock & Roll, and you will see that almost all of them, without exception, attribute "Gospel Music" as having played a major role in their musical artistry.

In fact, "Black Gospel Music" has long since been recognized as having given birth to Blue, Rock & Roll, and much of Jazz.

So for many African Americans "Gospel Music" and "The Church Social Environment" has been a very important part of their lives.

But this would have been true no matter what religion would have been behind it. The fact that it was Christianity was nothing more than coincidence.

The African Americans would have brought their "style" of music into any "religious music" they would have had to work with.

So ironically it wasn't Christianity that brought "Gospel Music" to the African Americans but it was actually the African Americans that brought LIFE into Gospel music. :D

I realize that I've gone off on what may appear to be a bit of a tangent here. But my major point is that Christianity basically has very little to do with anything. It just happened to be the predominant religion in America. That's all.

Had the religion been say, Hinduism instead, then the African Americans would have brought their musical style into the Hindu religious music. :D

Christianity just happened to be the religion of the "Slave Owners".

Modern day African Americans who choose to be Christians most likely choose to do so because of upbringing, evangelism. or simply because it's popular in American culture. And being non-Christian is frowned up (especially in the Bible Belt).

"Black" people have enough problems with racism in America. Rejecting Christianity will only add to their problems. So embracing Christianity is surely going to look inviting. At least they can claim to be "Christian" and try to use that to renounce racism. It worked pretty well for Martin Luther King Jr. :D

If you have the "Church" on your side that certainly helps a lot when faced with so many other civil rights problems.

So that's probably a strong motivation for many African Americans to choose Christianity. At least they can knock down the religious barrier by simply choosing to be Christian. This doesn't require changing the color of skin, etc. :D
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Re: Assessing why a Black man in America would be a Christia

Post #4

Post by JP Cusick »

BayAreaTodd827 wrote: Assessing why a Black man in America would be a Christian
I am a white man and I reject virtually all of orthodox Christianity, but still I am compelled to call myself as a Christian simply because I accept Jesus Christ as the word of God.

The problem is that Christianity has lied to everyone about its doctrines, and virtually all of the orthodox Christian teachings are based on lies and deceptions.

There is no Hell, and no one goes to Heaven, and Jesus is not the Father God, and the list can go on and on of lies and deceit which most so called Christians preach and demand to be true and as truth.

The civil rights years under Martin Luther King was a realization that Christianity could serve the black race in opposition to the white power and that sent chills threw my fellow white people. After that many whites turned to Darwin and Evolution as the new white power position. As such in my view the dominant whites only followed the power position and it was never about any true faith or belief in God or in Christ.

I would expect black people to be skeptical of the white man's religion(s), and I too reject the historical orthodox Christian teachings.

What I suggest is the same thing that I myself did which is to seek God and seek truth without any criteria, and as such I find God and truth in every religion throughout humanity, and we just need to separate the truth from the lies in every religion just as we must do with Christianity.

The old African religions were not totally wrong, as the African people simply had a different relationship with the Father God.
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Re: Assessing why a Black man in America would be a Christia

Post #5

Post by BayAreaTodd827 »

[Replying to post 4 by JP Cusick]
I am a white man and I reject virtually all of orthodox Christianity, but still I am compelled to call myself as a Christian simply because I accept Jesus Christ as the word of God.

I'm honestly not sure what "orthodox Christianity" means. But, ok. I'm a black man, I am a Christian because of the tenets laid out in scripture (as explained in my original post).

The problem is that Christianity has lied to everyone about its doctrines, and virtually all of the orthodox Christian teachings are based on lies and deceptions.
I assume when you say "Christianity has lied" you refer to the "orthodoxy" you mentioned previously. Although I'm not very familiar with "orthodoxy", I will continue to acknowledge that many people have done many mean and cruel things in the name of Christianity....but counter to the scriptural teachings of it.

There is no Hell, and no one goes to Heaven, and Jesus is not the Father God, and the list can go on and on of lies and deceit which most so called Christians preach and demand to be true and as truth.
I agree that Jesus is not "Father God" (or God the Father as He is referred in scripture), which I also believe is consistent with scripture. I disagree with your positions on "Hell" and "Heaven". Scripture refers to both.
The civil rights years under Martin Luther King was a realization that Christianity could serve the black race in opposition to the white power and that sent chills threw my fellow white people. After that many whites turned to Darwin and Evolution as the new white power position. As such in my view the dominant whites only followed the power position and it was never about any true faith or belief in God or in Christ.
That's very interesting. Most "white power" people I've seen seem to be quite uneducated. Many of them will still burn a cross (or shall I say "illuminate" it) on my lawn if given the chance. Darwinism, huh? Wow! I've actually never heard the position you've put forward before. Very interesting.

However, my choice to be Christian has nothing to do with MLK Jr. or the Civil Rights movement. From a Civil Rights standpoint, I personally think Malcolm X's approach helped as well. While I have met and spoken with many Muslim's, I believe the teachings of Christ.
I would expect black people to be skeptical of the white man's religion(s), and I too reject the historical orthodox Christian teachings.
Absolutley. Especially with knowledge of what people have done (and continue to do) with their "lies". I agree with you.

My study of Scripture helped me understand that Christianity is not "the white man's religion". My belief (faith) is not based on the "lies" people have told about Christianity. It is not based on how people have manipulated the belief system. I'm going to keep repeating this, because it seems necessary.
What I suggest is the same thing that I myself did which is to seek God and seek truth without any criteria, and as such I find God and truth in every religion throughout humanity, and we just need to separate the truth from the lies in every religion just as we must do with Christianity.
That's very interesting. "without any criteria" you've determined truth from lies? Ok, I'll bite. How did you do that?
The old African religions were not totally wrong, as the African people simply had a different relationship with the Father God.
Not sure what "The old African religions" refers to. There are "old" and "new" Christians in Africa. There is at least one from Ethiopia even mentioned in the Bible -- a pretty old set of books.

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Re: Assessing why a Black man in America would be a Christia

Post #6

Post by JP Cusick »

BayAreaTodd827 wrote: That's very interesting. "without any criteria" you've determined truth from lies? Ok, I'll bite. How did you do that?
I would have been more accurate to say = without any preconceived criteria.

The idea is that God gave each person our own individual brain and conscience in order for us to seek the truth and to make our own judgments and thereby to have our own personal (one-to-one) relationship with our Father God.

A personal relationship does not mean a group as like a Church is a group relationship, and Churches are okay but we are each an individual child of God so we must not hide behind any type of group relationship.

The Church or the religion might preach and teach whatever but the bottom line is what do you your self live by based on your own personal relationship with God?

In you last comment you say that you believe in Hell and Heaven because the scriptures refer to both - and that means your belief is not based on your own conscience but on the criteria of the scriptures - and that is a mistake.

Everything including the scriptures need to be translated and interpreted and scrutinized for accuracy and for truth, and doing that is what makes religion interesting and fun to do.

And it is not that we must believe our self because we must seek to learn directly from God who communicates with His children, and we have to test every thing to see if it holds up to the truth or not.
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Re: Assessing why a Black man in America would be a Christia

Post #7

Post by BayAreaTodd827 »

[Replying to post 6 by JP Cusick]
BayAreaTodd827 wrote:

That's very interesting. "without any criteria" you've determined truth from lies? Ok, I'll bite. How did you do that?

JP Cusack wrote:
I would have been more accurate to say = without any preconceived criteria.

The idea is that God gave each person our own individual brain and conscience in order for us to seek the truth and to make our own judgments and thereby to have our own personal (one-to-one) relationship with our Father God.

A personal relationship does not mean a group as like a Church is a group relationship, and Churches are okay but we are each an individual child of God so we must not hide behind any type of group relationship.

The Church or the religion might preach and teach whatever but the bottom line is what do you your self live by based on your own personal relationship with God?
I tend to agree with much of what you've said, especially as it pertains to individual judgements. However, I must respectfully say that "truth" is not determined by our individual judgments. Truth is absolute.

I believe scripture (The Bible) is true based on my study as well as on my life experiences. I believe I mentioned this in my original post, but I believe the insight that Scripture has regarding our physical world as well as human consciousness (or behavior) is astounding. I think most people who view the Bible as an antiquated set of documents are woeful in their lack of understanding and/or appreciation for what it contains. But, I'm not totally surprised. I believe it is a spiritual book that requires spiritual discernment. God is spirit.

I agree that the standard I live by is more important than the body of people (church) I am surrounded by. I would NOT say the church (referring to the body of believers, not a physical building) is unimportant. I believe it is important, because Jesus is the head of it. It is great to be around like-minded people, but that does not absolve me from keeping my focus on Jesus Christ. My experience is that people change as frequently as does the wind. God does not. I plan to stick with Him (by following His word) for the remainder of my life. Again, I agree that everyone has the right to make his/her own choice. I've made mine.

In you last comment you say that you believe in Hell and Heaven because the scriptures refer to both - and that means your belief is not based on your own conscience but on the criteria of the scriptures - and that is a mistake.
I respectfully disagree with you. In your previous post you stated that you consider yourself a Christian. Did you arrive at that decision on your own? Independent of the "criteria of the scriptures"? If so, then where did you learn about Christianity?

I'm not sure what you mean when you say I've made a "mistake" in my choice to follow scripture. Care to elaborate?
Everything including the scriptures need to be translated and interpreted and scrutinized for accuracy and for truth, and doing that is what makes religion interesting and fun to do.
I don't have a problem with what you've said. We all know there are many "versions" of scripture - translated and interpreted by many people. I agree that scrutinizing is very important. Again, I think most of the atrocities that have been committed by so-called Christians is because of their failure to accurately "interpret" scripture. Many people follow such error, because of their lack/inability to scrutinize. I still maintain that Christian teachings (as contained in The Bible - particularly the New Testament) promote love and togetherness. First, for God, then for our fellow man. We are self-destructive because we refuse to follow it, not because of what it contains.
And it is not that we must believe our self because we must seek to learn directly from God who communicates with His children, and we have to test every thing to see if it holds up to the truth or not.
I believe the standard of truth is contained in scripture. God is truth, and He has provided us with direction.

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Re: Assessing why a Black man in America would be a Christia

Post #8

Post by JP Cusick »

BayAreaTodd827 wrote: I believe the standard of truth is contained in scripture. God is truth, and He has provided us with direction.
This is enough for me.

I wish you well.
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