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Is God A White Racist?: A Preamble to Black Theology [Kindle Edition]

William R. Jones
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Published originally as part of C. Eric Lincoln's series on the black religious experience, Is God a White Racist? is a landmark critique of the black church's treatment of evil and the nature of suffering. In this powerful examination of the early liberation methodology of James Cone, J. Deotis Roberts, and Joseph Washington, among others, Jones questions whether their foundation for black Christian theism—the belief in an omnibenevolent God who has dominion over human history—can provide an adequate theological foundation to effectively dismantle the economic, social, and political framework of oppression.

Seeing divine benevolence as part of oppression's mechanism of disguise, Jones argues that black liberation theologians must adopt a new theism that is informed by humanism and its principle of the functional ultimacy of wo/man, where human choice and action determine whether our condition is slavery or freedom.

Editorial Reviews


One of the most important critical assessments of black theology, and one of the most widely regarded. —James Cone, author of Martin & Malcolm & America

"Black religious humanism has no more articulate exponent than William R. Jones. No liberation theology, black or white, can afford to ignore his searing critique of the idea of God's omnibenevolence, or the link he makes between natural evil and social oppression. For all that, he expounds not fatalism, but humanistic hope for us all." —John A. Buehrens, president, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations

About the Author

William R. Jones is professor of African-American studies and religion at Florida State University.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5338 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (November 30, 1997)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001M0N220
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #930,037 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impenetrable Logic January 18, 2005
By D. Hill
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bill Jones' pointed critiques of traditional Black theologians' rationalization of black suffering is arguably the most enlightening theological work of its kind ever written. Unless we are willing to acknowledge that God is a racist, then there is absolutely no reasonable way to arrive at any other conclusion than the discomforting reality that God is not physically involved in the affairs of humankind. Whether God is powerless and unable to intervene or powerful and unwilling to intervene is entirely irrelevant. The result is what is practically important.

There is perhaps only one area where the book can be found lacking, and that is in its inconsideration of the faith-based possibility of divine involvement in human affairs on a spiritual or emotional level. While Jones picks apart anti-logical (a subset of illogical) arguments like a surgeon, he does not provide an "out" for the hard of heart by acknowledging that there are some realms of illogic that are not necessarily anti-logical and cannot be easily dismissed using conventional logic. This is a minor criticism, however, since the focus of the book is God's physical activity (or lack thereof) in this world. Jones' book is perhaps the most fascinating contemporary theological critique and treatise of the modern era.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting Critique of Black Theology November 13, 2003
Is God a white racist critiques various Black Theologians as leaving this big question unanswered. Jones' basic critique of Black Theologians is that they assume that God is actively at work for the liberation of Black people and yet have no examples or proof of such a claim. In fact Jones' would argue that the assumptions of Black Theology that God is all powerful and actively invovled in humanity leaves God open up to the charge of divine racism which is a question that Jones believes the Black liberation Theologians must answer. Jones also beleives that the God of black theologians can also lead to passivity.
In this work Jones looks at various major proponents of Black theology and seeks to show how each of their assumptions leave open the possibility of divine racism. Jones does have a proposal to get around the possibility of divine racism by seeking to replace the all-powerful God who is actively invovled in human events with a God that is not invovled and leaves humanity to work its own problems out. This position is what Jones has called Humanocentric Theism. God exists, but God ain't inovled.
Agree or disagree it is an important work that all of those interested in Black Liberation Theology should read.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Provocative October 3, 2001
This book is very well thought out. The author tries to give an argument about God. The title is a little misleading because of what he addresses. His argument is basically this: If God is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and all loving, why do black people suffer? I don't want to spoil this book, but if you are reading this review (no matter what race you are), you really should spend the money on this book. It is worth it, I assure you.
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