This essay, which is in the “economics of religion” tradition, may not apply to you, but it may be well worth reading!
You may be of the semi-elite or elite and you may be enjoying a high level of well-being. But well over 10 million Black Americans are experiencing life below, at, or just above the poverty line. This essay is for them whether it reaches their eyes and ears directly or indirectly. Should not we exhibit compassion?
This is a thought experiment designed to illuminate the path that placed us (Black Americans) where we are today. The intent is not to trace physical historical events. Rather, it invites an exploration of thought that has made many of us second- or third-class citizens seemingly with little hope of righting the boat. These mental gymnastics should enable us to comprehend why we are what we are and how to transform ourselves into favorable choice beings.
As a starting point, we request your indulgence on a foundational point: The entire “system of things” in which we live is a lie! Baba Lindsey “Rob” Robinson (a co-contributor for BlackEconomics.org) was the first to truly awaken us to this point. We had long comprehended that White Supremacy and many of the related implications rest on lies. However, it was not clear that the “entire system of things” is a lie.
We know that the system is based on lies because the system’s statistics tell us so. The likelihood of Black Americans winding up at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder in so many categories (educational achievement, income, home and business ownership, wealth, etc.) must be far into the left tail of a probability distribution. Therefore, our reality represents something that should not occur under prevailing rules, laws, and ordinary circumstances. Besides, scholars of many persuasions have confirmed with their research that anti-Black discrimination is the order of the day in the US and around the world. Yet, the system (the US Constitution and its attendant laws and regulations) says that such discrimination is not permitted. There is no need to carry this line of reasoning further. A thoughtful and objective mind will conclude that the system is rife with lies.
How can we crosswalk from our current predicament to an improved condition by obliterating the lies? The following questions will help answer this question. However, one additional reminder is in order before presenting the questions. Religious literatures indicate that there was once a wise and divine one who said: “You will know the truth and…” Simply put, we need truth because we live in a world constructed on, and confounded by, a particular lie. It is hoped that the truth that you will realize by answering the following questions will free all of us who engage in a sincere search for freedom. Despite The Washington Post’s recent announcement that we are in a “post religious world,” the questions are posed from a “Christian” perspective.(1) You should contemplate the questions and fashion your answers. Our answers follow this essay.
1. What is the nature of God that we have been, and are, taught?
2. In whose image and likeness are we told that man/woman is shaped?
3. Is it not true that man/woman has many God-like characteristics?
4. The Western world “Christian” tradition is drawn out of, and is closely related to, which religious tradition?
5. Why is the Christian religious tradition the only major world religion that posits the “unworthiness” (sinful nature) of man/woman as a starting point?(2)
6. Does Judaism posit/emphasize the unworthiness (sinful nature) of man/woman?
7. Is there a rationale for the “Garden of Eden” myth/story and a central point of “Eve eating the forbidden fruit,” thereby, rendering man/woman unfit for paradise and unable to automatically benefit from a connection with, and the powers of, God?
8. If the Garden of Eden myth/story and the unworthiness of man is in the Biblical Old Testament, and the Old Testament (Torah) reflects, in part, Judaism’s religious literature, then why is the concept of the unworthiness of man/woman absent from Judaism?
9. Who were important early adopters of the form of Christianity widely available in the world today?
10. What was the critical and most important transformation of the Christian tradition made by Europeans?
11. If you believe that Jesus the Christ is White, and if you believe that he is the son of God, then which color must God be in an anthropomorphic sense?
12. If your primary religious personality and his father are identical in color to you, then will you not think that the most powerful forces in the universe support you?
13. What is the outcome when one is extended the just-mentioned expansive and unflinching support?
14. What should you not be able to achieve with the just-mentioned support and confidence?
15. With such support and confidence, should you be able to: (i) Have dominion over the Earth (the air, land, and seas), the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and every creeping thing; (ii) be able to master every conceivable area of human endeavor; and (iii) invent, develop, and manage all that is required to produce for your society’s needs and wants (an economy)?
16. How long have Black Americans been broadly awakened to the knowledge (idea) that God is not White?
17. Do you believe that many Black American Christians still believe that God is White?
18. If you believe largely or in part that God does not look like you, then what are the two logical follow-on thoughts about God?
19. Given questions and answers 16-18, what are Black Americans not likely to have?(3,4,5)
20. If you do not have the belief and confidence that you are connected to God directly, then will you likely have the conviction that you can emulate God-like characteristics; i.e., that you can do many of the things that God does?
21. If you have no firm belief in your abilities and powers, then is it possible that you are likely to fail in achieving difficult tasks more so than those who have a firm belief in their abilities and powers?
22. If you observe another People who have a God who looks like them and they are successful because they believe (are confident) that God supports them, and you believe that God does not look like you and does not support you (or does not support you on a priority basis because you do not look like him), then are you likely to conclude that you are unworthy of success and should be relegated to second- or third-class citizenship in the society?
23. Are some Black Americans steeped in the knowledge (religion) that their God looks like them and is not White?
24. Is it logical to think that those identified in question 23 exude more confidence in themselves and in their ability to achieve their desires than those who have no such knowledge (religion)?
25. Is it logical that those identified in question 23 are more “successful” than other Black Americans in achieving difficult tasks?
26. With which percentage of certainty do you believe that you and Black Americans can achieve any desire given sufficient time?
27. Given the known history of the physical world, has not time been nearly unlimited?
28. Given information that is accessible in the media and that is taught in educational institutions today, do you believe that man has time to achieve all imaginable/conceivable goals?
29. Are there actions that can recreate global conditions that would ensure an unlimited future on Earth to achieve goals?
30. Would you like to participate in the creation of a nearly unlimited global future?
31. Do you feel empowered to reshape your mind to the view that God is not White, and that God fully supports you in achieving your earnest desires?
32. Do you feel empowered to reshape your mind to the view that you have “a right to the tree of life” as much, or more so, than any other human?
33. Given your answers to questions 31 and 32, is there any earnest desire that you cannot fulfill given sufficient time and support from God?
34. If you can do anything but fail, then who are you?
The foregoing 34 questions should help you realize that proponents of the current system of things continue to promulgate the system and convince most humans that they are not gods. This effort is sustained because “knowledge of self” (that you are a god) would unleash from you a force too powerful to overcome. Given knowledge that you are a god means that you would have confidence in yourself, could never be reduced to servitude (the plight of most humans on Planet Earth), and can achieve all that you earnestly desire and are willing to work for in this life.
As you awaken to the reality that you are a god and bask in the related confidence, realize that controllers and operators of the system will try to convince you that it is in your best interest to remain asleep because too many gods, like too many cooks in the kitchen, will produce unfavorable outcomes. Of course, we disagree with that perspective. We know that God and gods know enough to know what and what not to do so that the good (heavenly) life on Earth is not disrupted and brought to a premature end. Besides, the current system is built on the premise that the best outcomes are achieved when everyone operates in their own best interest (the so-called “invisible hand” principle identified by Adam Smith in the 18th century). Therefore, you should ignore arguments against your recognition that you are a god.
We believe that: (1) The mind is the most powerful instrument in the universe; (2) a mind that conceives of itself as a god will be confident of its unlimited potential; and (3) if Black Americans begin to conceive of ourselves as gods and leverage the related confidence, then we will recognize that we have the power to achieve all that we earnestly desire and for which we are willing to work; including resolving all of our socioeconomic concerns/problems, completing our rise to an elevated place in the current (or our own) society, and enjoying superior wellbeing.
1 See Shadi Hamid (2024). “The Dilemmas of Living in a Post-Religious World.” The Washington Post. Washington, DC. January 9; https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/01/09/religion-islam-freedomchoices-memory/. (Ret. 010924).
2 We were first informed concerning this fact by the late Warith Deen Mohammed.
3 The late great historian, Prof. John Henrick Clarke, was an early poser of this important question. He used this question and his answer to it to help explain why Black Americans (Black People of the world) have been slow to advance since the onset of engagement with Europeans.
4 Adopting a psychological perspective for the analysis, the importance of confidence from an economic perspective is discussed extensively and well in Jeremy Sherman (2022), “Swaggernomics: The Economics of Confidence and Doubt,” Psychology Today: April 28; https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/jerkology/202204/swaggernomics-the-economics-confidence-and-doubt (Ret. 010924).
5 A very poisonous anti-achievement venom is produced when adverse achievement/performance stereotypes are married with constrained confidence. See Eleyes Jouini, Paul Karehnke, and Clotilde Napp (2018), “Stereotypes, Underconfidence and Decision-Making with an Application to Gender Math,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization: Vol. 148, April, pp. 34-45; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebo.2018.02.002 (Ret. 010924).
“The Importance of Being Confident”
1. God is all knowing, all wise, all powerful, a producer, and a source of life.
2. The image and likeness of God.
5. The answer to this question will become clear given answers later in the series of questions.
6. No! Judaism can be interpreted to posit/emphasize that the Jews are “Chosen People of God.” Therefore, they are not unworthy of the blessings/favor of God, nor to fulfill the commandments of God.
7. This myth is designed to relegate all Christians as unworthy and sinful and unable to experience the magical Eden and forbidden from accessing to the powers of God without an atonement process.
8. Because that part of the Old Testament, like others, is not intended for those in Judaism.
10. They rendered Jesus the Christ White.
13. You are likely to develop supreme confidence in yourself and your ability to achieve your earnest desires—even when the path to doing so is very difficult.
14. Nothing! You should feel empowered to do and achieve everything that you earnest desire and for which you are willing to work.
16. Primarily, since the 1930s with the coming of W.D. Fard Muhammad and the arising of Elijah Muhammad as leader of the Nation of Islam.
17. Yes! They may state that Jesus and God are not White, but if you could capture their mental vision/image of God when asked to “imagine God,” then you are likely to find that their vision/image of God remains White.
18. (i) God will not support you first among those on the list requiring support; and (ii) God will not provide full support for you in your endeavors.
19. We are not likely to have very strong confidence in ourselves and in our ability to achieve our desires even when we work to realize them.
25. Logically yes.
34. A god.