The question should be now: what is the relationship between objective struggle & subjective attitudes? For the majority of humanity, life really is a struggle. As for Black Americans today, the question would be: what are my realistic options?--a question that doesn't have the same answer for everyone.
Yes, Christianity and even Islam, to some extent, have been instrumental in the Black struggle, and yes, Black Theology is a black spin on biblical theology to help black people through their struggles. Although the Bible supported black people dehumanization, they were also told that to be a human they must convert to Christianity. Thus, to prove that they were as human as the whites were, they adopted the religion. Indeed, the religion has played multiply role in the Black community, and D. Bookworm is right “religion might have been the only thing that gave them enough hope to survive.” However, today, I don’t think, religion is needed. I believe that religion both Eurocentric (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) and African traditional religions (Afro-centrism) are doing harm to black people and our community. They are now responsible for black people and their community remaining in the condition it is today. For more on this subject I will recommend the book Moral Combat, Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars by Sikivu Hutchinson.
My Blog: http://spiceislandatheist.blogspot.com/
No I don't, I think people can use anything as a tool for there own use. there are so many evangelical churches springing up that are based on the congregation making money. They are large multi-national profit making enterprises and their success depends on the wealth of the congregations so they need to inspire their members to be high earners and high achievers.
The old fashioned ideas of the suffering model served it's purpose in keeping people dependent because they need hope. The love of struggle might be a part of that but I think now I see a lot more of the types of churches I have described. People who are part of the newer kind of church see treat suffering struggling people with hostility or in need of recruitment. The only real connection seems to be the joy of having something to overcome so you can testify to the congregation that you have progressed.