Terror and Triumph: The Nature of Black Religion

Terror and Triumph: The Nature of Black Religion

Terror and Triumph: The Nature of Black Religion

Terror and Triumph: The Nature of Black Religion

Excerpt

What does it mean to be black and religious in the United States? What is the nature of black religion? How does one speak about and investigate what appear to be multiple manifestations of black religion? What is the religion in black religion? That is, what is it that makes black religion distinctive and distinguishable as a modality of experience?

This book represents my response to these questions, all of which stem from my earlier writings. Earlier I attempted to give some shape to my understanding of the diversity of black religion through descriptive presentations of the varieties of black religion, including at least one unlikely category—black humanism. In presenting these traditions and their theological frameworks, my goal was to challenge monolithic and myopic depictions of religious experience in black communities, depictions that take the path of least resistance by framing all discussion in terms of the Black Church. Although the Black Church has dominated the religious landscape of black America, other traditions are nonetheless present and have played important roles in the lives of many. My objective, however, in the following pages is more ambitious than a description of the various forms of religion found within black communities. The questions I posed earlier call for more than this. In fact, they push for a more general study of black religion, one that gives more precise attention to the very nature and meaning of black religion. Through the development of an interdisciplinary approach, I seek to articulate . . .

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