On Becoming Humanist: A Personal Journey
by Anthony B. Pinn
I will circumscribe my thoughts to the personal, beginning with a rather obvious statement or confession. I am a humanist. Furthermore, I am a humanist in search of a home. Regarding this, I agree with Cornel West"”institutional affiliation helps ground the intellectual's role in social transformation. Yet there is a stage that comes before this recognition of a need for institutional affiliation, and it is this initial journey, an existential crisis of sorts. I propose to connect this personal journey with an historical presentation of Black humanism. While I have dealt with some of these ideas and materials elsewhere, within this essay I seek to give greater attention to the institutional concerns and dilemmas felt, I believe, by African American humanists.1
My formative years were spent within the African Methodist Episcopal church, a part of the Black church tradition. At an early age, lay activity was no longer enough; I felt a "call" to Christian ministry, a need to serve the Church through ministerial leadership. I started preaching at the age of fourteen and the AME Church ordained me a deacon after my first year in college.
While in school, I ministered as a youth pastor in various AME Churches and saw firsthand the efforts of Black Christians to make sense of their daily struggles in light of Christian theology and doctrinal structures. Such experiences raised queries for me concerning the tension between lived reality and Christian "truths." Hard questions became unavoidable: Does the Christian message say anything liberating to a suffering humanity? Does theological conversation serve to make a positive difference in the way the oppressed respond to their existential plight? Do Christian explanations of human suffering make a "material" and concrete difference? I placed these questions within the framework of theodicy or, more generally, the problem of evil. These terms"”the problem of evil and theodicy"”connote attempts to resolve the contradiction between traditional Christian understandings of God as powerful, just, and good, and the presence of suffering, without negating the essential character of the Divine.
A theological problem is inherent in African American theodical arguments because they ultimately resolve the paradox between the basic stance on God as a pro-active force in the world and the continuation of Black oppression through redemptive suffering arguments. That is to say, suffering is seen as intrinsically "bad," but with secondary benefit.
This response to the problem of evil begins with slavery, where the religious question of human suffering first emerges for Black Americans. Brought here as chattel, African-Americans have faced dehumanization through the destruction of culture, the ripping apart of family units, rape, beatings, and any other avenue that linked the control of Black bodies with the increase of plantation profits. All this, Africans Americans were told was rightly done in the name of God. Some slaves accepted their lot in life. Others questioned the religious doctrine given to them, and searched for an explanation of their plight beyond the plantation minister's rhetoric. The effort to understand God amid contradictory messages of existential hardship and the Christian gospel continued during the movement from "hush harbors," or secret meetings, to early Black churches, and into the late twentieth century. Continued oppression made this questioning inescapable.
Spirituals and church leaders, in many instances, developed a theodical approach centered on the notion of redemptive or fruitful suffering. To add clarity to the brief explanation already given, the existential hardships endured by African Americans display the presence of destructive "will to power." However, God manipulates this moral evil and fosters good consequences. Recognized benefits may entail needed pedagogical lessons such as the correction of character flaws, the obtainment of invaluable skills and talents, or some good which God will make clear in the future (benefits shrouded in divine mystery). In this way, suffering strengthens African-Americans, so to speak, for divine plans such as the betterment of American society, the reorganization of African society, or a combination of the two. One thing seems apparent: suffering, here, allows for the ultimate fulfillment of a divine and teleological design. Bishop Henry McNeal Turner of the African Methodist Episcopal Church makes such an argument. In 1875, Turner said the following concerning the slave trade:
* God, seeing the African stand in need of civilization, sanctioned for a while the slave trade-not that it was in harmony with his fundamental laws for one man to rule another, nor did God ever contemplate that the negro was to be reduced to the status of a vassal, but as a subject for moral and intellectual culture. So God winked, or lidded his eyeballs, at the institution of slavery...2
Moving forward in time, one senses this understanding of suffering, for example, in a 1959 speech to the Montgomery Improvement Association by Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.:
* As victories for civil rights mount in the federal courts, the angry passion and deep prejudices. . .will be further aroused. These persons will do all within their power to provoke us and make us angry. But we must not retaliate with external physical violence or internal violence of spirit. . . .As we continue the struggle for our freedom we will be persecuted, abused and called bad names. But we must go on with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive, and love is the most durable power in all the world.3
This understanding of human suffering troubled me. I could not accept the idea that the collective suffering of those I saw on a daily basis had any value at all. I needed to explore an alternate response that uncompromisingly affirms"”at all costs, including even the rejection of Christian concepts such as God"”the demonic nature of collective suffering because human liberation is more important than the maintenance of any religious symbol, sign, cannon, or icon.
Having worked through this problem, I could see nothing in history pointing toward the presence of something in the world beyond visible realities. There was no sneaking suspicion, no "smoking gun," pointing beyond humans. There is no God to hold us accountable, to work with us in moving beyond our current existential dilemmas. In the words of Oscar Wilde: "The true mystery of the world is the visible not the invisible."
After taking a deep breath, I spoke a new word: God does not exist. Even with this confession made, I was still committed to doing theology, but without reliance on notions of God. I would do theology as a humanist. And as such, I was no longer talking about God (at least not in positive terms), but talking about ultimate questions of life that are not dependent on some type of "Supreme Reality," a "Prime Mover." I continued my work with this commitment: religious questions can surely be posed without the assumption of God.
Many of my colleagues raised questions"”how can a theologian speak without grounding that talk in a faith stance (understood, for my questioners, in Christian terms)? Professional life in the academy, for most of my friends, means a commitment to the Church. They, as theologians, talk to and for the traditional Christian Church. It is often difficult, therefore, to distinguish between their professional talks and sermons. I knew doing theology as I envision it required rethinking the enterprise along the following lines.
Traditionally theology amounts to what Harvard theologian Gordon Kaufman labels a first-order event. Kaufman writes:
* In this sense, it may be held, theology always presupposes a certain faith, namely the faith that God has in fact revealed [Godself]; and this faith is not itself subject to theological questioning or doubt. Theology [understood in this way] is thus a work of the church and for the church; it is an analysis and interpretation of the faith of those who already stand within the "theological circle."4
This perspective, with Christian meanings and forms as normative, limits the relevance of sustained engagement with other traditions, traditions not understood as dynamic and complex"”they merely point beyond themselves to the ultimate revelation of God in the message of Christ.
I want to suggest that the task of theology, and other constructive/liberation theologies by extension, is more in line with Kaufman's "third-order theology." That is to say, theology is a deliberate or self-conscious human construction, focused upon uncovering and exploring the meaning and structures of religious experience within the larger body of cultural production. It is, by nature, comparative in a way that does not seek to denounce or destructively handle other traditions. Conceived in this way, theology's only obligation, then, is uncovering meaning and providing responses to the questions of life that explain experience, assess existing symbols and categories, and allow for healthy existence. It may find itself engaging churches, but that does not make theology the sole possession of churches. "Theology, thus, has public, not private or parochial foundations. It is not restricted either to the language and traditions of a particular esoteric community or to the peculiar experience of unusual individuals."5 Theology must address religious experience without concentrating on a particular tradition.
Until recently, I thought I did a fairly good job of explaining my position as a theologian. I said there is no God with conviction, yet sensitivity, and thought about other ways of holding humans in moral/ethical "check:" do not hurt others because they deserve respect and proper care. I thought my professional life and academic writings made this clear, clear for both those in and outside the academy. I knew that there could never be perfect balance between all aspects of life"”physical and spiritual, work and self. Yet, I assumed I was comfortable with this, and doing my best to maintain a delicate balance. I was proud of myself for having been so straightforward"”making private life and public confessions respectfully consistent.
This was the case until Tatsha Robertson, a reporter from the Star Tribune, a Twin Cities daily, began writing a profile piece on me. She kept asking questions that I believed I had convincingly responded to: who is Tony Pinn? Why is it you do what you do? And, why do you label your work using such academic language?
Some did not understand were I stood. They read my publications, and heard me talk, but they did not get it"”it being the connections between my professional life and my private life, complete with its religious dimensions. I think this stems from a lack of knowledge, on their part as well as my own, concerning the historical roots of humanism in Black communities, as well as my lack of institutional affiliation. I would like to briefly address both of these points in turn.
Although new understandings of the Black American religious landscape have developed in recent years, still the words of Charles Long hold relevance some twenty-five years after they were first published. Long suggests that "what we have in fact are two kinds of studies: those arising from the social sciences, and an explicitly theological apologetic tradition." He continues: "This limitation of methodological perspectives has led to a narrowness of understanding and the failure to perceive certain creative possibilities in the black community in America."6 The efforts of this explicitly theological apologetic tradition are limited to the Christian context and apologies for the liberative content of the Gospel message. The dilemma most relevant to my argument caused by this apologetic theology is the manner in which its hegemonic tone deadens the complexity of Black religious experience. Other less visible aspects of Black religious life are ignored or marginalized because they threatened the ideological stability of the Church and by extension the thinkers who seek its sanction.7 The words of religious studies scholar Joseph Washington point to this assumed ontological link between African Americans and Black Christian churches. He writes:
* In the beginning was the black church, and the black church was with the black community, and the black church was the black community. The black church was in the beginning with the black people; all things were made through the black church, and without the black church was not anything made that was made. In the black church was life; and the life was the light of the black people.8
Washington's comment, tied in tone and form to Christian scripture, too intimately links together African American collective life and one form of religious conduct. By extension, if one is black, one is Christian; hence embracing other forms of religious experience place one outside the recognized borders of the Black family. This is problematic and should give pause, particularly for African American humanists who are excluded by such unfounded assertions. In part, the problem is one of definitions.
In earlier discussions, I have made use of Paul Tillich's dynamic notions of ultimate orientation and ultimate concern to define religion in more useful ways. However, Tillich's work assumes a singularity that does not fully capture my sense of religious diversity. To better express my sense of religious plurality, I now make use of Gordon Kaufman's recent work. Simply put, religion is that which provides orientation or direction for human life, "for life in the world, together with motivation for living and acting in accordance with this orientation"”that is, would gain, and gradually formulate, a sense of the meaning of human existence."9 In terms of praxis or movement through the maze of life (e.g., the problem of evil), religion helps individuals and groups live in beneficial ways, in light of life-altering (hence theological) questions that are not easily addressed through skills and resources associated with the patterns of actions learnt and acted out from infancy through adulthood.10 Through the ritual structures and symbolic sources provided in various religions, humans give their thought and actions meaning. Therefore, religion at its core is a process of meaning making. As a note of clarification, I am not suggesting that this orientation moves us toward the "sacred" as it is conceived in traditional ways. Instead, this is orientation toward "reality" conceived in very broad and general ways. Because of this framework, both "theistic" and "non-theistic" forms of religious expression and experience constitute religion because religion, simply understood, spreads beyond the traditional boundaries of Christian formations. In short, religion entails "underlying resources of meaning and ritual that inform and fund the ongoing living and dying in a culture as a whole."11 With religion so conceived, there is no need for religious traditions to fight for supremacy because the needs of various human communities are complex and varied enough to allow for a plurality of religious traditions. One tradition does not "replace" others. Instead each contributes to the diversity that characterizes the religious terrain of the United States.
I do acknowledge, however, that this definition is broad in ways that allow for the inclusion of structures and activities that few are initially comfortable considering religious. In response to this, I argue that there is no real benefit in guarding the gates, so to speak. If we are the slightest bit pragmatic and liberation minded, is not the function of religious practice more important than definitions and arguments that are semantic in nature? What is the real benefit of narrowing the parameters of recognized religious practice? Is the myopic identity that narrow definitions allow "mainstream" communities to achieve worth the effort and isolation entailed? Should not the quest for liberation and healthy life options take precedence over labels and stilted definitions?
This question of liberation, which is a primary consideration, stimulated humanist responses very early in the life of African American communities. For example, suspicion concerning the Christian message was pointed out by Daniel Payne in 1839. Fearful that slaves will completely give up on the Christian faith if they are not introduced to the "true" gospel message, Payne writes:
* The slaves are sensible of the oppression exercised by their masters and they see these masters on the Lord's day worshipping in his holy Sanctuary. They hear their masters professing christianity; they see these masters preaching the gospel; they hear these masters praying in their families, and they know that oppression and slavery are inconsistent with the christian religion; therefore they scoff at religion itself"”mock their masters, and distrust both the goodness and justice of God. Yes, I have known them even to question his existence. I speak not of what others have told me, but of what I have both seen and heard from the slaves themselves....A few nights ago between 10 and 11 o'clock a runaway slave came to the house where I live for safety and succor. I asked him if he was a christian; "no sir," said he, "white men treat us so bad in Mississippi that we can't be christians." ...In a word, slavery tramples the laws of the living God under its unhollowed feet"”weakens and destroys the influence which those laws are calculated to exert over the mind of man; and constrains the oppressed to blaspheme the name of the Almighty.12
Based upon Payne's depiction, it seems fairly clear that the early presence and rationale for humanism within African American communities revolve around the inadequacy of Christianity for responding to moral evil. Humanism, in turn, gives more attention to humanity's responsibility for evil in the world, hence humanity's responsibility for re-orienting human destiny and fostering equality.
As I've pointed out elsewhere, humanism continued to grow in Black communities; think of figures such as Frederick Douglass, Zora Neale Hurston, and W. E. B. DuBois among other notables. One can say that humanism reaches its zenith with respect to open declarations and expression during the two periods of what has been labelled the Harlem Renaissance.
Moving into the late twentieth century, the Civil Rights Movement's ideological underpinnings are further clarified through attention to humanist principles. I, for one, cannot help but believe that the movement away from the Christian-based Civil Rights Movement sparked by SNCC and the thundering call for Black Power pointed to deep theological differences. It is more than likely that the theistic motivations and explanations did not adequately address the concerns and ideas of some of the more "radical" elements of the movement. The break, I argue, also marks a move away from the theism of the Civil Rights Movement and toward materialist analysis and human-centered solutions. The late 1960s witnessed a methodological and epistemological shift within SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Gone were its integrationist goals which made it compatible with the Civil Rights Movement; gone was its reliance upon Christian doctrine and paradigms for action. SNCC decided that social transformation would only occur when African Americans took control of their destiny and worked toward change. Reliance on human potential for empowered praxis was heightened in ways that distinguished this phase of SNCC's personae from the Civil Rights Movement. Although inadequately defined in terms of social transformative thrusts and foci, black power"”for some of its advocates"”did harness rather clearly defined theological assumptions based upon humanist leanings and articulated using the language of self-determination. Take for example, the thoughts of James Forman, a member of SNCC.
In his autobiography The Making of Black Revolutionaries, Forman describes his "conversion" to humanism (as defined above) which did not hamper but rather informed his praxis. And his work toward social transformation with SNCC, for example, points to the nature and sustainability of humanist praxis. Such interactions are summed up by this comment: "God was not quite dead in me, but he was dying fast."13
After returning from military service some years later, Forman comes to a final conclusion concerning the existence of God. He writes:
* The next six years of my life were a time of ideas. A time when things were germinating and changing in me. A time of deciding what I would do with my life. It was also a time in which I rid myself, once and for all, of the greatest disorder that cluttered my mind"”the belief in God or any type of supreme being.14
For him humanism required a strong commitment on the part of people to change their present condition, a commitment belief in God did not allow. One can further trace humanism in Black thought and praxis through the Black Panther Party. The Panthers recognized that recruitment would be difficult if open hostility existed the Party and the Black churches. Therefore, the Panthers fostered a relationship of convenience and socio-political necessity, but without a firm commitment to the Church's theological underpinnings. However, Newton rationalized this involvement by arguing a different conception of God, God as the "unknown" whom, interestingly enough, science will ultimately resolve. In this sense, God does not exist in the affirmative; God is the absence of knowledge. According to Huey Newton:
* So [the Panthers] do go to church, are involved in the church, and not in any hypocritical way. Religion perhaps is a thing that man needs at this time because scientists cannot answer all of the questions....the unexplained and the unknown is God. We know nothing about God, really, and that is why as soon as the scientist develops or points out a new way of controlling a part of the universe, that aspect of the universe is no longer God.15
Humanism is also found in academic discussions of scholars such as William R. Jones of Florida State University. In 1973, Jones presented one of the first challenges to the Black church tradition through humanist philosophical opinions. Jones points out the inconsistencies in the emerging Black theology movement using the doctrine of God as his central concern. Although this critique of Black theology was timely and has resulted in much needed theological growth among African American theologians, what is more concern here is his apology for Black humanism in his 1973 text and subsequent works.
Jones points out, as I noted, the early development of African American humanist leanings. He argues that the African American humanist project emerges not as a consequence of the Enlightenment but rather as a direct response to a unique set of circumstances facing African American communities in the United States. Taking on the often myopic perspectives and narrow criteria established by Christian theologians for the doing of theology, Jones argues that a variety of approaches must be utilized if liberation of African Americans is actually the central objective. Countering claims that the Black church is the source of liberation for Black Americans, Jones asserts that the Black churches have a "checkered" past with respect to liberative praxis. Hence "Black humanism...thinks that it is unwise for the fate of black liberation to depend upon whether the black church awakens from its slumber or continues to snore, however piously and rhythmically. In this connection, the possibilty must also be entertained that the emergence of black humanism as a formidable opponent may successfully prod the black church, as other secular movement have done...."16 The Black churches, according to Jones, have harnessed the energy of their laity; yet, there are many "unchurched" African Americans who might find humanism more compatible with their outlook and orientation.17 In fact, Black humanism has deep roots in African American communities in both non-institutional and institutional forms.
Although African Americans have held humanist perspectives and operated accordingly for centuries, the phrase, Black humanism, is fairly recent. Because the Unitarian Universalist Association was already open, at least in part, to the label of humanism, it makes sense that one of the first references to Black humanism would take place within the UUA's struggles over race questions and the advancement of Black Power during the late twentieth century. Mark Morrison Reed's Empowerment: One Denomination's Quest for Racial Justice, 1967-1982 provides information concerning the use of this term, linking its use with the Black Unitarian Universalist Caucus created to respond to racial issues within the UUA. This religiosity brings into play the "unique" demands and existential context of African Americans; the value of their "blackness" was brought into human-centered thought and action. This is particularly important for me because of my initial confession: I am in search of a home, an institutional base. I have promised to address this issue of institutional affiliation; and I do so now.
Some have argued that the UUA provides an alternative that recognizes new possibilities, the value of thought and freedom. These are essential elements"”you can imagine"”for persons from a group that has been historically denied open expression of freedom and thought. In Mark Morrison-Reed's words:
* Humanism was and is an effort to challenge the identification of religion with doctrines and methods that do not address the problem of the 20th century, dogmas that would not be reconciled with a scientific view of the world.
Regardless of such potential, there are few African Americans in the UUA. Why? One thing is certain, old rationales for this gap are inappropriate and inaccurate. It is, I think, a mistake to assume that African Americans are not UU because of the this-worldly nature of humanist principles and underpinnings, nor is the location of said churches a major obstacle for car owning African Americans who might be inclined to participate. It's possible that the UUA has targeted the wrong segment of the African American community"”those with a decidedly Christian orientation. Michael Werner points to this rather misdirected appeal. He says in the immediate past issue of this journal:
* Accordingly, our denominations commitment to racial justice demands that in order to become more racially inclusive, we must reach out to those of a more Christian orientation because that what demographically, African Americans, for example, are largely oriented towards.
Those who hold Joseph Washington's understanding of the ontological connection between the Black Church and the Black Community will not find the UUA attractive. Rather it is that segment of the African American community that has broken from this orientation that searches for the type of environment the UUA offers. Perhaps the issue is deeper than misdirected efforts and target audiences.
It is possible that the issue revolves around the UUA's changing ideological framework and an ineffectual grasp of the nature and depth of America's race problem. It is worth noting, I think, that the UUA's period of decline in membership (1965-1985) overlaps with periods of strong unrest and unsettling questions of social organization and injustice: the Civil Rights Movement, Black Power Movement, Peace Movement, the reassertion of the Right through the presence of Ronald Reagan, and so on.
The UUA has had its encounters with the African American surge toward freedom"”Black power. Hard questions and perplexing moments like these are acknowledged but, it appears, glossed over. I have in mind, for example, Charles Gaines' words in a prior issue of religious humanism (summer/fall 1997). At times he mentions the problem, but always invokes an optimism that may not be warranted:
* Unitarian Universalist, as a whole, have moved beyond just tolerance to positive feelings of inclusiveness. Therefore many personal freedom issues have not had to be fought with an intensity at the denominational level.
The author points out the UUA's record with respect to gays, lesbians and white women, but he glosses over its struggle with respect to race, as well as the changing face of racism. In strong terms, William Jones, in an article "Towards a New Paradigm for Uncovering Neo-racism/Oppresion in UUism" pulls no punches. Jones:
* And when the grid is applied to UUism, a singular conclusion emerges. We too continue to perpetuate the virus of racism/oppression in our public and private lives because we act on misconceptions of what it is and how it operates. In particular we fail to recognize that racism has mutated into neo-racism and that this mutant virus, the racism/oppression of the 80s and 90s, is immune to the vaccine we developed in the 1960s.
Dr. Jones continues in an article "Power and Anti-Power" that the dilemma revolves around the failure of the UUA to recognize the "role, status, and value of power in human affairs." The UUA, he continues, does not "have a viable theology of power to undergird [its] social ethics, and this absence not only renders us ineffective, but often places us on the wrong side of ethical issues." Furthermore,
* [the UUA has] advanced glowing and commendable resolutions on the pressing social issues of the day; [it does not] lack the sensitive eye and heart to see what needs to be done; but we often flounder when we reach the question of how: the question of strategy.
This, he suggests, surfaces with respect to the Black Caucus Movement, and, I would add, may have played a role in the failure to nurture churches in Harlem, for example, during the 1930s.
For African Americans, such as myself, who wrestle through these tangled issues, hoping to find a new vision for a troubled world, the dilemma continues because they must enter a tradition that is itself seeking renewal and rethinking its identity. Werner, in his aforementioned article, "The UUA's 1997 Commission on Appraisal Report: A Critique," says the following:
* This more procedural and political issue is important, but what really interests me is the reconstituting of our denomination religiously. Some of this evolution is still muted, implied and obscured, but enough of it is open such that we should speak freely and not pretend it doesn't exist. The central issue has to do with our denomination changing its historically oriented focus from the use of reason in religion and freedom of belief, to me, as the authors say, of the egalitarian "Universal church."
The interaction between communities of "color" and the UUA is filled with promise and pitfalls. And our discussion of the historical interaction between these two must move beyond prescriptions and platforms developed earlier this century. Yet, I cannot offer resolutions to these problems; however, I believe it's important to begin discussing this and other questions openly and honestly. Perhaps struggling with hard questions in order to gain "hard" answers is the first step.
Finally, I have spent time here going over my own religious journey, and the pros and cons of membership in the UUA, in order to begin thinking through the questions that face us. From the writing of these remarks to the time of their publication, the process has been helpful for me, and I hope you have found this exercise some what useful. If nothing else I hope it will spark an ongoing conversation.
1. Some of this presentation as been presented in other forms: "Rethinking the Nature and Tasks of African American Theology: A Pragmatic Perspective," American Journal of Theology & Philosophy, Vol. 19, No. 2 (May 1998): 191-208; "Thoughts On Being Me: A Theologian and Humanist in the Academy," an invited essay in Free Inquiry, forthcoming; and "Anybody There?: Reflections on African American Humanism," an invited essay in Religious Humanism, Volume XXXI, numbers 3-4 (Summer/Fall 1997): 61-78.
2. Henry McNeal Turner, "On the Anniversary of Emancipation," Augusta, Georgia (January 1, 1866); cited in Turner 1971, 7.
3.Untitled Montgomery Improvement Association Address, 1959, Boston University, King Collection, Box 2, I-11, Folder 2. This address mentions the type of abuse that those fighting for liberation encounter. Along these lines, King often had his person and character attacked, being accused of Communist leanings. See, for example, David Garrow, The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr (New York: W. W. Norton, 1981) for governmental resentment accounts; Billy James Hargis, "Unmasking the Deceiver," Boston University, King Collection, Box 80, X.43.
4.Gordon D. Kaufman, An Essay on Theological Method, Revised Edition (Missoula, Montana: Scholars Press, 1975, 1979, 1995), 1-2. Although this text is still useful, Kaufman has further developed his methodological approach in two recent texts: In Face of Mystery: A Constructive Theology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993) and God, Mystery, Diversity: Christian Theology in a Pluralistic World (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996). 5. Kaufman, 1979, 8.
6.Charles Long, "Perspectives for a Study of Afro-American Religion in the United States," History of Religions, Volume 11, No. 1 (August 1971): 55.
7. See Sally Cole's introduction to Ruth Landes The City of Women (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, c1947, 1994 by the University), xxiv-xxv.
8. Joseph Washington, "How Black is Black Religion," 28, in James J. Gardiner, and J. Deotis Roberts, eds., Quest for a Black Theology (Philadelphia, Pilgrim Press, 1971). 9. Gordon Kaufman, In Face of Mystery: A Constructive Theology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 225.
10. Ibid., 227.
12. Daniel Alexander Payne, "Daniel Payne's Protestation of Slavery," in Lutheran Herald and Journal of the Franckean Synod (August 1, 1839), 114-115.
13. James Forman, "Corrupt Black preachers," in The Making of Black Revolutionaries (Washington,DC: Open Hand Publishing, Inc., 1985), 58.
14. Ibid., "God Is Dead: A Question of Power," 80-81.
15. Huey Newton, To Die For The People: The Writings of Huey P. Newton, edited by Toni Morrison (New York: Writers and Readers Publishing Inc., 1995), 64.
16. William R. Jones, "The Case for Black Humanism," in William Jones and Calvin Bruce, eds., Black Theology II: Essays on the Formation and Outreach of Contemporary Black Theology (Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, c1978), 221.
17. Ibid., 222.
This essay was originally published in Religious Humanism. Copyright © 1999 by the HUUmanists, Inc.