by Ree, “The (Ree)lationship Guide”
If you’re a single Black person who has completely removed him/herself from the realm of religious and “spiritual” indoctrination, i.e. an atheist or agnostic, and are looking for love, good luck dating someone within the race.
For starters, Black Americans are the most religious ethnic group in the country. Black Americans out-pray everyone; Black Americans invest more of their time in the church; Black Americans overwhelmingly believe in God in comparison to other ethnic groups; and Black Americans believe their religion plays a significant role in their lives more than any other group.
In other words, religion is a big f-cking deal to Black folks!
According to research conducted in 2007 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, 87% of Black Americans describe themselves as belonging to one religious group or another.
What does this data mean to the single Black atheist and agnostic seeking Black love? It means that it is safe to assume a committed relationship with a Black man or especially a Black woman —more than eight-in-ten Black women (84%) say religion is very important to them — requires an understanding that they are more than likely committed to God and/or their faith.
But all is not lost! There are some believers who are free-spirited and open to dating a non-believer. Either way, there are many things to consider when dating as a single Black atheist or agnostic who is interested in dating within the race.
Below are 5 rules of dating as a single Black atheist and agnostic:
- Be upfront about your views on religion and/or God. Atheists and agnostics, in general, are already perceived to be everything that’s wrong with society — although they make-up a nearly invisible 3.1% of the United States’ population. Don’t contribute to the stereotype by being deceptive and keeping your views on religion and God hidden until the person you’re dating begins to fall in love with you. There isn’t a specific timeframe in which the conversation should be had; however, by the third or fourth date you should have established enough of a rapport to feel comfortable discussing your views on religion.
- Don’t diss and/or condemn their beliefs. This is another stereotype atheists and agnostics often face: They make condescending and otherwise hurtful remarks about religion. Yes, truth hurts; however, be sure that your “truths” are rooted in fact and are not subjective truths. As a freethinker, you should possess some tolerance for those whose thoughts and opinions differ from your own. This doesn’t mean you should silently allow your date to spew insults about atheists and agnostics, but be sure not to kick off the roasting session when this conversation begins.
- Don’t tell their friends/family about your views on religion and/or God without a prior conversation. As referenced above, most Black people are religious and/or believe in God. This means even if you meet another Black atheist or agnostic, or if you date a believer who doesn’t mind your lack of belief, you still shouldn’t share your views on religion and God with their friends and/or family members until after you’ve had a conversation with them about it. Why? It could cause unnecessary stress on the two of you, especially if the person you’re dating has family members who actively and dogmatically practice their faith. Allow your date to tell you how best to communicate with their friends and family about your beliefs before you meet them. It’s virtually inevitable that the conversation about religion and/or God will be discussed at a family gathering, and you should know how to tackle this conversation before it happens.
- Discuss inconsistencies. If the person you’re dating practices a faith, yet they are engaging in behavior (e.g. fornication or drug abuse) that goes against their faith, be sure to get a clearer understanding of how they practice their faith before moving forward with them in a serious manner. You don’t want to be blindsided when the person you’re dating decides they’re ready to practice their faith the way it was intended to be practiced and can no longer associate themselves with you. Get a clear understanding of their intentions upfront so that you don’t find yourself investing your time in them to be with someone else.
- Plan ahead. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the moment of engaging a new person in your life; however, it’s imperative that you plan ahead. In other words, think about the way you wish to raise your children (if you plan to have any), and then ask yourself “Would this person be a suitable parent and co-parent?” If the answer is no, don’t become involved with them intimately — even if you plan to use contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. There are men and women who’ve had a child by someone whose religious views are completely different from their own. This leads to a constant battle between whether or not children should read the Bible or Death by Black Hole, authored by world-renowned scientist and atheist Neil deGrasse Tyson.