Prefatory remarks: Begins with Richard Dawkins on charitable activity & indifference of universe (re e.g. Haiti). Personal anecdote of Reggie about how religious woman kept knowledge of his child from him on religious grounds. Bias of relatives, friends against atheists. Religious child molestors in the news. Religious hypocrisy. What makes a good person? Gay couple in Malawi prison. Discussion of homosexuality.
Guest Donald Wright, author of The Only Prayer I'll Ever Pray: Let My People Go. Autobiography in book, advocacy of non-religious life for black people. Wright grew up in Fayette, Alabama, in Methodist and Baptist household. Had to choose which one. Became engineer, active in church in Houston, till 5 years ago. Active, but not a Bible student, dependent on pastor for teachings. Aware of hypocrisy of pastors. Outspoken about it. Left that church to find another.
Became Deacon in baptist church for three years. More pastor problems. Question of church and money. Free market in USA fostered home-made business religious empires. Christianity in the USA is capitalism.
Wright summarizes his journey away from religion. (Similar to Reggie's.) Angry with parents over religious deception. Started writing on subject. Black people must be freed from religion.
Discussion of effects of organized religion (esp. Xianity) on black population. Amazing how Xianity became part of Af-Am Xianity. Emerged from slavery with nothing else. Illiterate, uneducated. (Reggie: The more educated were less religious, e.g. Fred Douglass.)
I lost the feed for a few minutes. Black people need to learn to manage finances, not give money to churches. Coming up short on self-reliance. Difficulty planning ahead. Wright wonders whether religion contributes to mental illness. Taboo in black community on recognizing mental illness. Churches cover for crazy people. Questioning discouraged. Communication inhibited, don't know of others who feel same way. Fear-based orientation.
Listener query: how did you handle disconnection from community. A: Norm Allen helped. Discovered a lot of black people like me going way back, message suppressed. (E.g. civil rights movement. Hubert Harrison, WEB Du Bois. Disadvantaged by not being preachers.) I'll walk alone, without Jesus. We can allow ourselves to say, I don't know, instead of faking truth claims. Wright: Now I'm a truth-seeker.
Quote on function of truth & role in transformation.
USA is in bad shape because of religion: arrogance, etc.
Listener Q: Why black man caught in white man's rules? A: Cf. American Indians: maybe white man's God empowered him, that could be an attractive force, way to communicate with him. We don't attempt to verify knowledge claims.
Wright's current belief? Agnostic leaning toward atheism. .......
On what makes a quality person. Religion has thin veneer of goodness. . . .