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

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807010334
ISBN-10: 0807010332
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Editorial Reviews

Review

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)
  • Publication Date: November 30, 1997
  • Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001M0N220
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #488,600 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By D. Hill on January 18, 2005
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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Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on October 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At the time this book was published in 1973, William R. Jones was a professor of religion and director of black studies at Florida State University. In the Preface to this 1998 edition, he wrote that this book "personified my plan for black liberation and my uncommon religious conversion from black Christian fundamentalism to black religious humanism... IGWR's argument comprised a contructive criticism of the black church and black theology that blended deconstruction and reconstruction."

He wrote in the Introduction that it was Rabbi Richard Rubenstein's book After Auschwitz: Radical Theology and Contemporary Judaism that forced him to ask the question of the book's title. (Pg. xxii) He says that to speak of "divine racism" is to "raise questions about God's equal love and concern for all men"; it is to suggest that God may not be there for all men equally. (Pg. 7) He poses his disturbing question, after later noting that African-American misery, slavery, and oppression "all are POST-Resurrection events." (Pg. 119)

He argues that the Christian who wants to heal the sick must first confirm that the suffering at issue "is not deserved punishment." (Pg. 56) He thus criticizes the position of James Cone (e.g., A Black Theology of Liberation), because the classification of Afican-Americans as oppressed "clearly begs the question, and Cone's theodicy is invalid until this flaw is eliminated." (pg. 105)

He summarizes that the purpose and content of his book was an attempt to "make a place in the theological circle for a non-theistic model... the argument of this book explains why a humanistic model is necessary." (Pg. 171)

This is a challenging statement, and retains its vigor even today.
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