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Growing Number of Black Atheists, Agnostics

Religion, the long-time unifier in the Black community, may no longer be such a common denominator. A survey conducted by two sociologists at Trinity College found that the number of Black people without any religious affiliation jumped from 6 to 11 percent between 1990 and 2008, mirroring a national trend amongst all Americans that saw a jump from 8 to 15 percent. The survey, entitled the American Religious Identification Survey of 2008also found that the number of individuals who self-identify with Christianity fell from 86 percent in 1990 to 76 percent in 2008.

Pastor Seth Pickens of Zion Hill Baptist Church in Los Angeles believes church politics are largely to blame. “They’re very turned off by the church. Some of the politics and some of the scandals and everything that happens in the church, it turns people off.” What was agreed on by Pickens and Black agnostics was the need for unity, regardless of religious conviction. “Whether you believe in God, whether you confess Christ or not, if you see someone hungry you should feed them and many of the Black atheists feel the same way. So, I don’t see why we can’t work together.”

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