African American Religious Cultures (2 Vol. Set) by Anthony B. Pinn

By Anthony B. Pinn

Like no prior reference, African American spiritual Cultures captures the total scope of African American non secular id, tracing the lengthy historical past of African American engagement with non secular perform whereas exploring the origins and complexities of present non secular traditions.This leap forward encyclopedia deals alphabetically prepared entries on each significant non secular trust procedure because it has advanced between African American groups, protecting its beginnings, improvement, significant doctrinal issues, rituals, vital figures, and defining moments. moreover, the paintings illustrates how the social and fiscal realities of existence for African american citizens have formed ideals around the spectrum of spiritual cultures.

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More certain is the impact artists associated with this movement, such as Paul Laurence Dunbar, James Weldon Johnson, and Zora Neale Hurston, had on the cultural selfunderstanding of African Americans in particular and Americans in general during the early twentieth century (Pinn 1998). These artists provided rich and thick depictions of African American life, including its religious dimensions. Of note is the manner in which standouts such as Johnson expressed as part of their work and personal orientation an undercurrent of humanism in African American communities.

16 | African Americans and Religious Humanism recounts Hudson, ‘‘other Party people talking. Some of them had never been members of no church, talking about there wont no such thing as God: ‘Where is he at? You say it’s a God, where is he at? You can’t prove where he’s at’ ’’ (Painter 1979, 133). This humanism (in the form of atheism) noted in the statement above is further evidenced in literature extending beyond the Harlem Renaissance and the 1930s flirtation with Communism. Richard Wright, at one point a member of the Community Party and a writer, comes into prominence on the heels of the Harlem Renaissance during a phase of literary production at times referred to as Black Realism during the 1940s and 1950s.

Many reduce this mode of humanism to atheism—a rejection of God; religious humanism tends to give less attention to disproving the existence of God than does secular humanism, although critiques of traditional forms of theism are not uncommon. Instead, its primary concern is with providing moral and ethical principles that promote healthy life options for humans and a proper relationship to the larger, natural environment. Religious humanism, as the phrase suggests, is a humancentered religious orientation.

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