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A Materialist Analysis of African American Conceptions of God

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Abstract:

In the preface of his seminal work The Negro’s God Benjamin Mays articulates the socio-economic context behind the Negro conception of God. This illustrates how Mays’ belief in the material foundation of African American religion. Using Mays and his contemporaries as examples, this paper will analyze African American conceptions of God and theodicy. Implicit in my argument will be a materialist framework from which, I argue, African American religious (Christian) beliefs are grounded. I will base my argument chronologically beginning with Benjamin Mays’ The Negro God then continuing with William R. Jones’ Is God a White Racist and ending with an article by Steven Ferguson entitled, Teaching Hurricane Katrina: Understanding Divine Racism and Theodicy. I contend that Black Theology generally, and these works particularly not only claim, that African American religious beliefs are grounded on materialist suppositions but more importantly, these premises serve also as a ground to a more materialist end. Within the context of African American studies, the purpose of this paper is twofold. Firstly, as an area of inquiry, African American studies has oft times faltered at the question of philosophy of (not and) religion. Independently, they are tackled with as much academic fervor as any other discipline. Their mutual dependence of one another, however, has been taken up by only a handful of scholars and therefore deserves more attention. The second motivation for this paper lies in one of the less popular paradigms of African American Studies. This defense of materialism attempts to show its relevance and diversity within African American studies.
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Association:
Name: 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies
URL:
http://www.ncbsonline.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p302458_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Munro, Robert. "A Materialist Analysis of African American Conceptions of God" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies, Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown, Atlanta, GA, Mar 19, 2009 <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p302458_index.html>

APA Citation:

Munro, R. W. , 2009-03-19 "A Materialist Analysis of African American Conceptions of God" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies, Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown, Atlanta, GA <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p302458_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Presentation
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In the preface of his seminal work The Negro’s God Benjamin Mays articulates the socio-economic context behind the Negro conception of God. This illustrates how Mays’ belief in the material foundation of African American religion. Using Mays and his contemporaries as examples, this paper will analyze African American conceptions of God and theodicy. Implicit in my argument will be a materialist framework from which, I argue, African American religious (Christian) beliefs are grounded. I will base my argument chronologically beginning with Benjamin Mays’ The Negro God then continuing with William R. Jones’ Is God a White Racist and ending with an article by Steven Ferguson entitled, Teaching Hurricane Katrina: Understanding Divine Racism and Theodicy. I contend that Black Theology generally, and these works particularly not only claim, that African American religious beliefs are grounded on materialist suppositions but more importantly, these premises serve also as a ground to a more materialist end. Within the context of African American studies, the purpose of this paper is twofold. Firstly, as an area of inquiry, African American studies has oft times faltered at the question of philosophy of (not and) religion. Independently, they are tackled with as much academic fervor as any other discipline. Their mutual dependence of one another, however, has been taken up by only a handful of scholars and therefore deserves more attention. The second motivation for this paper lies in one of the less popular paradigms of African American Studies. This defense of materialism attempts to show its relevance and diversity within African American studies.


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