Originally posted by kresge:
Indeed, in the work of noted African American historian of religion, Charles Long, African Americans have experienced a "second creation." We are in some respects the incarnation of Africa, indigenous America, as well as the Europe.
I beg to differ, enslavement did not "create" anyone...For who was the "god" of chattle slavery? ...The European... That is not our god is it? So how could that god create us? Were "we" not around prior to this god? We may have different "influences"...but I think it is spiritually and socially dangerous to say a temporary experience, as de-humanizing as enslavement, has "created" any human being.
Accept nothing but God - Akan expression
It seems to me that there are several options, each frought with difficulty:
1. They, as you suggest, adopt the religious practices and beliefs of someone else. This could be one of any number of African, European, Asian, or Indigenous.
How are traditional West African religions the practices of "someone else"? Are they not the religion of our ancestors? Are we not our ancestors? It is this seperateness in identity that disturbs me so... especially when dealing with spirituality... The concept itself is so un-African... and simultaneousely we identify with colonially influenced Europeanized X-tianity? Is this not THE epitomy of identifying with "someone else"?
2. They create their own religion. There are those who say that this is exactly what enslaved Africans have done and continue to do and that one of the manifestations of this is the Black Church, which although it bares resemblance to Western Christianity, is just as indebted to the West African traditions, and quite possibly indigenous communities. Thus, it cannot, or should not be assumed that master and slave are praying to the same God or share the same faith.
The West African spiritual "practices" largely influenced the "Black Church"... The form that rituals took have been influenced, but not the essense IMO. The teachings are largely those of the slave master/colonizer's re-interpretation of already heavilly hellanized X-ianity(Baylon religion to the Rastas...at least they figured that much out). IMO, this is backed up and evidenced by "our"(meaning those in the U.S.) spiritual developmental reality(or lack thereof) when speaking in terms of the masses.
The proof is in the pudding.
P.S. Not that this should be or is the objective...but...How does one derive an "African-American" humanism, spirituality, or religion ect. when a people completely leave out the "AFRICAN" component outside of form?
3. Finally, there are those such as my advisor who feels that African Americans should strive to reject theism in all its forms and embrace what he refers to as African American humanism which involves the search for complex subjectivity. In other words, all we have is us, and it is up to us to define ourselves and to make a place for ourselves in the world without appeals to some transcendent reality.
This at least is somewhat logical...but the presence of our ancestors is too strong for me to do so. Hence I'm not a Humanist/Agnostic as my parents are. Our ancestors will cry out until they are acknowledged and their memory, culture, ways, and beliefs...which is and was their very EXISTANCE...their very LIVES...are known and defended by their legacy...us.
Was there existance, which BTW is the only way that we came to be, that unimportant? What ungrateful children we have become. This saddens me to no end.