There is a historical rationale behind why so many relatively impoverished Black people in America adamantly surrender a sizeable portion of their income to Black Christian (and Muslim) preachers who appear primarily concerned with enriching themselves at these people's expense. During their enslavement our ancestors developed an addiction to religious escapism in response to their perceived behavioral powerlessness, which continued post-enslavement due to the continuation of this perception. Maulana Karenga proposed that "power can be defined as the social capacity of a group to realize its will, even in opposition to others;" behavioral powerlessness is the inability to do this. Today it is neither unusual nor unaccepted for Black people to seek the solace of the church only in times of material deprivation and/or psychosocial desperation, which may very well be a weekly reality. In addition, it is not unnoticeable that many under- or unemployed Black men turn to the ministry as their last opportunity at extraordinary material success. Knowingly or not, these are some of the many lingering psychological effects of the emasculating experience of chattel enslavement and associated cultural imperialism that plague Africans in America over a century removed from this unrelenting atrocity. Essentially, in response to the consistency of Black behavioral powerlessness beginning during their enslavement, the masses of our ancestors began to develop an inferiority complex and eventually sought a means of escapism. A deliberately distorted adaptation of Christianity would be introduced during their enslavement to satisfy that desire for escapism; a desire that ultimately became addictive. Black preachers, themselves enslaved, were primarily used to preach a distorted version of Christianity imposed on enslaved Africans in order to keep them docile and contented, later termed "Slave Christianity" by Albert Cleage. Their job, as stated by Charles Hamilton, was to "preach to the slaves and to tell them that they had to obey if they wanted to go to heaven." Genovese expressed that "the most obvious function of a concern with Heaven among preachers to the slaves would appear to have been a determination to reconcile them to their lot and turn their attention to an ideal realm. The sermons of black preachers...often centered on this theme." Any addictive relationship, according to Craig Nakken, "begins when a person repeatedly seeks the illusion of relief to avoid unpleasant feelings or situations," i.e., escapism. Karl Marx noted that "religion is the opium of the people" because it provides only momentary relief from a painful reality but it does not eliminate the source of the pain, instead it focuses on the fantastic option of a better life in heaven. This narcotic effect is particularly addictive among the powerless.
Binding Type: Paperback
Author: Gibson, Joseph R.
Publisher: Independently Published
Size: 9.02h x 5.98w x 0.41d
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