SBC Perspectives #2: Subtly Anti-Religious

For this second installment of SBC Perspectives we get a chance to talk to Titus O’Neal Johnson. There are times where he is very subtle in his approach of being anti-religious but wouldn’t be so quick as to label himself as anything in particular.

The conversation and the answers were well thought out on Titus’ part. Enjoy!

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1. State your name, age, occupation (no need to give us your place of employment but only the job field), your racial identity and your identity when it comes to religion or lack thereof.
“My name is Titus Johnson and I am 28 years old. I’m a security guard and a substitute teacher. I’m African-American and as far as my identity when it comes to a categorical belief; I’d say that I’m a compromising Humanist.”
2. When it comes to your view on religion does those views affect your view of the world?
“In our 21st century, there are more individuals along the line of Atheism and Agnosticism than ever before, most particularly within the generation of Millennials (That includes myself). My view are but one of many synonymous views of religion, as it is the start of a new era of enlightenment. We know that since the Scientific Revolution started, natural philosophy started answering questions that held on the falsification of pseudoscience and mythological lore. You have philosophers that break us away from the Aristotelian views to our more rational empirical evidence of what was once taboo and condemned by either exile and/or death. Then you have the continuation from the groundwork of the Revolution and into the Age of Enlightenment, introducing us to Empiricism and Rationalism, reinforcing the strength of science even through opposition. I only present the information and knowledge throughout our history, and realize that our inquisitiveness made us do terrible but wonderful things.”
3. What is it about religion that doesn’t appeal to you?
” It isn’t that religion doesn’t appeal to me; on the contrary, the collective nature of belief in a particular viewpoint makes it a powerful force to be reckoned with. What I find unappealing about it (to a slight degree) is the mythologies that reside in them that our still believed often too literally. The stories are interesting, intriguing, and engage an audience but at the end of the day (figuratively speaking, at the turn of the century), the stories are just historical references of cultural heritage. It isn’t appealing to live in a past that no longer is. We must move forward.”
4. As a black man what do you consider to be a harmful trait about religion if you even believe there are harmful traits?
“As an African-American, I see borrowed mythos from other cultures to keep an old idea fresh, but it is getting old as the cat is getting out of the bag. Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back seems to be a quote that comes like a double-edged sword in the lifespan of religion. It can also be said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it; yet another quote that presents a double-edged sword, but here is the honest justification of the matter: Curiosity also created new things to better cultivate humanity, prevent war, and save us from ourselves plus the condition of history isn’t just for consequence, but for betterment as human nature strives towards advancement, doing the same activities in different ways. Like I said before, the harm is believing in a system that doesn’t move forward towards the inquisitive aspect of our nature. How can we better a better species if we don’t question the very nature of our existence?”
5. How have other people of color treated you? Have you told anyone else your view on religion? What was the general reaction?
“I haven’t completely revealed my Humanistic beliefs but I throw hints. I respect everyone’s beliefs but I always have to look at an individual’s actions for justification. To be honest (because truth is a form of absolutism for me), I state the prevalence of actions speaking louder than words. The only exception is the analytic/synthetic conditions of science. The fact that the empirical data must hold credibility to the concreteness of the physical world constitutes both variables to hold prevalence. The general reaction to my hints makes for acceptability of the overall for most, and an ongoing conversation of religious belief the next. I like to avoid the conversation to keep from transcendental debate.”
6. So you are a self described humanist. Do you think your lack of religion or at least in the eyes of what many would consider lack of religion influenced your view on humanism?
“It was my inquisitiveness and my yearning for knowledge. What really did it for me was my studies in Philosophy and Science. I realized how Philosophy created the Scientific Method but also reinforced a theory that remained false for over 2,000 years. To my surprise, that philosophy influenced institutionalism during the Middle Ages. We all know how religion played a role in wars and deaths during this period. This connection (and more) drew me back to the issues of religion in the present, as it continues to keep its hold on to an enlightened generation born during the era that science held strong to. The Information Age was our childhood. God was in the computer and was existing as a technology. That is what influenced me the most, the fact that we are creating extensions of our very selves. Technology is ontological and so is God.”
7.Why do you think there is a lack of your kind of views in the African American community?
“This is a simple answer. We see the church as a governing power of collectiveness with God (I specify “we” because I’m an African-American too, and I feel empathy for us that don’t question these contradictory beliefs). It was conditioned violently and it upsets me greatly to see us clinging to that aspect of history in present-day.”
8. You mention throwing hints towards your beliefs and convictions. Can you give an example and do you think others should take this approach?
“Simply put, I’m quite modest about my opposition. I give references to similar viewpoints and often describe the actions conveyed by individuals in history deemed as positive or negative despite religious affiliation. I’m quite modest and subtle about it. Should others do the same? I honestly can’t speak on their behalf. There are those that are politically correct about it and those in hiding to keep from the ‘fire and brimstone’ treatment from heavily religious individuals that will scorn them unjustly. I’m in the middle ground. I enjoy the enigma of words and ‘seeing’ what others may think by reading their actions.”
9. What do you think of the future of religion?
“Religion is starting to become an endangered doctorate. I believe that in the next century, religion will possibly die off in most countries. We have science to ask and answer the questions that are left unanswered.”
10. What do you think of the future of religion in the African American community?
“The village mentality is one of the great traits that defines our culture. The future of religion in the African-American community is already in question. You have conscious individuals questioning Biblical texts, studying on their own on the anthropology of a race that was forced a doctorate that subjugated through violence, death, slavery, racism, and prejudice. It won’t be long until we see a future that breaks from the ignorance of religious absolutism and into a new conscious synthesis of rational belief.”
11. We thank you for your time Mr. Johnson. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
“Well…the Devil is in the details lol. (Pun intended) I’ll conclude by stating that.”
Mr. Johnson was a joy to have and wonderful to interview. He is one of many people who prefer the subtle approach to things. If you are like Mr. Johnson or if you have another approach to anything you do in life that would fall outside of the normal behaviors many would expect contact us at sbcperspectives@yahoo.com and give us your name and contact information. We’ll get back to you as soon as we possibly can.
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