Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Anthony B. Pinn: from the Black church to atheism

The more I see Anthony B. Pinn, the more I like him. Also, he turns out to be a fellow Buffalonian. Sunday March 9 he gave a talk in Washington DC under the auspices of the Center for Free Inquiry and its affiliate African Americans for Humanism, in conjunction with the publication of his memoir Writing God's Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist.

Because the arguments concerning religious beliefs, religions, God, etc., are all old hat to me, I'm not interested in them, and I find storytelling much more valuable, as seeing how people develop and react to their social and ideological environment in context is more revealing to me. In Dr. Pinn's case, we see his total immersion in family and church in childhood, his growing pains and doubts in adolescence, his experience of a diversity in New York city he had not known, and the conclusions he drew from the discrepancies between Bible belief and coping with real world issues. He also gave his reasons for continuing to intervene in Religious Studies rather than to wash his hands of the whole subject as many of his fellow atheists would prefer. One of those reasons is to seek to minimize the harm caused by religion.

There were a few audience members so convinced of the power of reason they could not fully appreciate how it could be resisted to the last atom of one's being. I tend to be pessimistic about the prospects, but we all have our job to do.

So by all means, check out Dr. Pinn, see him if he shows up in your town.

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