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African American Atheists and Political LiberationA Study of the Sociocultural Dynamics of Faith$
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Michael Lackey

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780813030357

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813030357.001.0001

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Touchstone Narratives

Touchstone Narratives

Measuring the Political Value of the God Concept

(p.117) 5 Touchstone Narratives
African American Atheists and Political Liberation

Michael Lackey

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses and focuses on Touchstone narrative, an atheist's response to the traditional conversion narrative. Traditional conversion narratives are composed of three stages: the meaninglessness and emptiness of lives without God; the conversion through contact with a community of believers; and the presence of God that constitutes and completes the happiness of people. Touchstone narratives on the other hand, consist of four stages. The first stage comprises expression of unbelief, the second consists of unpleasant experiences with a community of believers, the third stage is an emphatic declaration of unbelief, and the final stage comprises an interrogation of the socio-cultural consequences of religious belief. Consistent with the Touchstone narratives, this chapter examines the claim that the God concept is personally debilitating and culturally destructive. This new genre of writing allowed black atheists to produce some of the most insightful analyses of oppressive socio-political functions of the God concept.

Keywords:   Touchstone narrative, conversion narrative, unbelief, religious belief, God concept, black atheists, socio-political functions

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