“When I look in the mirror I feel proud of what I see. I don’t need reefer. I don’t snort. I don’t stick nothing in my arms because I’m already high. High with the beauty of the woman that gave birth to me.
Somebody the other day asked me, ‘do you know god?’
I said ‘yes, she died 14 years ago.’
‘What do you mean?’
I said, ‘mama, dear mama. The first time I opened my eyes there was a black woman putting a nipple from her breast in my mouth to sustain me, having to sustain me for ten months in her womb….’ That’s the sign.
That was god. The god I knew. The other one is belief. Belief! And belief isn’t a fact. Belief is a hope. Belief is faith. Belief may not happen.
But Mama did. And so… the man she pointed out to me that stood there was also a part of that.
Thus mama, daddy and I are the Trinity. The Holy Trinity.”
-Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan, anthropologist, archaeologist, scholar and a real black atheist
Excerpt from Tuskegee University speech
My name is Brother Ankh.
Not too long ago I joined a group of black atheists on Facebook. I thought this group would be progressive because they used black in their title. When you put the black tag on something you’re doing something special: You’re going to be bringing some flavor to the group and you’re going to be bringing different information.
However, I was attacked for bringing those black atheists some African knowledge. Unfortunately, they were not concerned with learning black knowledge or information. In fact, their group teaches the same things European atheists teach. But, if you want to practice the same form of atheism as the Europeans do, then just call yourself an atheist. Because there is a difference between being an atheist and being a real black atheist.
The etymology dictionary states that an atheist is “without god” or “denies god.” (1) So, I am not an atheist the way that people living today think of atheists.
I am not a black atheist either because apparently being a black atheist really means that you’re just an atheist with a little more melanin in your skin, but you practice atheism like a European atheist. A black atheist does not know his history. A black atheist does not want to learn about Africa and thinks that all things African are stupid. A black atheist does not know or understand the African god concept, even though the word god and the god concept were first created by Africans. That’s just tomfoolery.
So, what I am is a real black atheist because at the source of atheism is a Greek philosopher named Thales. And if you can understand what Thales studied, who he learned from and how his studies affected his life and the lives of early Greek philosophers you will understand real black atheism.
Thales was Greek’s first philosopher who was the first to travel to ancient Kemet to study their philosophy. He was born in Ionia (present-day Turkey) around 624 BC at a time when it was a Greek territory. And according to ancestor George G.M.James in Stolen Legacy: Greek Philosophy is Stolen Egyptian Philosophy, “…history makes it clear that the surrounding neighbours of Egypt had all become familiar with the teachings of Egyptian Mysteries many centuries before the Athenians…because philosophy was something foreign and unknown to them.” (2). James notes that the territory was an Egyptian mystery school “stronghold.”
So, not only did Thales learn from the priests in Kemet, he grew up under their influence. After studying with the priests, Thales opened schools in Ionia to pass on the knowledge he had learned from the African priests. His students included Socrates, Aristotle and Plato. And the African knowledge they all learned was called Voodoo.
“Know Thyself” is ancient Kemetan wisdom. Thales urged his students repeatedly to “Know Thyself.” It was part of the philosophy that he learned from the African priests and passed on to his students. But, he also said, “The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself” probably because it was difficult for Thales to understand his own nature.
When the ancient Greek leaders heard what Thales was teaching they called him an atheist and claimed that his information clashed with their own knowledge of the Greek gods. Thales never called himself an atheist.(3) In fact, he is credited with saying, “everything is full of gods.”(4) And though Thales is said to have paid little attention to the Greek gods, he was deeply influenced by African spiritual and philosophical principles.
Still, the Greeks labeled Thales an atheist. James writes in Stolen Legacy that Thales and his students were persecuted and driven from Greece: “The indictment and prosecution of Greek philosophers is a circumstance which is familiar to us all. Several philosophers, one after another, were indicted by the Athenian Government, on the common charge of introducing strange divinities.” (5)
And that was because the political system of ancient Greece cherished Greek gods. Any opposition to those gods meant opposition to that political system. Opposition to the political system made one an atheist. It’s a concept that is completely different from what we understand as atheism today. But, hear me and understand that whenever we learn the traditional African social Voodoo system we become an atheist.
We become an enemy of the state.
I am an African. So, of course I am against the gods of Greece. Of course, I am against the gods of the Christians. I do not follow false divinities.
We (Africans) invented the idea and the concept of god. But, we were simply talking about the elements. We were simply showing reverence to our ancestors. We were simply giving praise and reverence to the forces and power in nature that are real. It has nothing to do with praying to spookism or invisible things.
Real black atheism goes back to the womb of Mother Africa where culture and civilization were formed.
”Africans had a religion in Ancient Egypt …there were two types of religion in the world: supernatural religions or theistic religions. And then you have natural religions or atheistic religions. A lot of people have an idea that if a man is an atheist, that is: if he doesn’t believe in a personal god, he’s an irreligious person. That’s not true. The Africans had an atheistic type of religion and they were a deeply religious people. Because they believed that man not only has a body, but he also has a mind, soul or spirit…if you went to temple in ancient Egypt and you told the priest that you wanted Horus the Egyptian Christ to save your soul, he would tell you to not to waste his time. Horus, Osiris, Isis or nobody else was going to save your soul, except you.”
-Ancestor scholar Dr. John G. Jackson
Black atheists should never lose their African culture, because it was the African culture that made the Greek philosophers turn against the Greek gods; it is what made the Greeks call them atheists. A real black atheist does not leave religion to study people other than self. A real black atheist would not refuse to read and study the great works of Africa’s geniuses Dr. Ben, or Cheik Anta Diop or John Henrik Clarke- the Imhoteps of our day.
Now, lets take a quick look at Voodoo to see what Thales and other early Greek philosophers studied and learned from African priests. First of all, primary researcher, scholar and elder Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan said that Voodoo has nothing to do with witchcraft. In his book, African Origins of Western Religion, Dr. Ben writes that “vodoo, vaudou, or vaudoux comes from the Dahomey in West Africa where it means genius, or protective spirits.” (6)
Milo Rigaud writes in his book, “Secrets of Voodoo,” that “vo means introspection” and “du means into the unknown (into the mystery).” (7)
What that all means is that Voodoo is creative force: it is a belief system joined in unison with religion. They are compiled together…always to be learned together to take advantage of the creative force. When we learn about that force we get math, science, arts, etc. The math, science, and arts are the outward expression of who we are inside. The Africans had mastered religion. And religion was the explanation of science. We didn’t separate religion from science. Europeans separated the two.
When we take an inward look into self we start to unravel life, which is the mystery. When we start to unravel that mystery we become a genius. So, Voodoo literally means that whenever you take an inward look at self, you become a genius. When the Africans of Kemet mastered Voodoo they built great pyramids, great temples, great universities and great shrines to their ancestors. That is why Thales encouraged his students to “Know Thyself.”
Therefore when you study self and grow to know yourself, you will build great civilizations based off of math, science and agriculture. It is already inside of you. It does not come out of the air. Knowing self does not come from spookism; it comes from hard work. Unraveling that mystery makes you a genius.
If you’re still wondering which god or gods this real black atheist believes in… understand that I don’t believe in a god. I study to know god. They are what our ancestors called MuKulu.
MuKulu is an African word and is the oldest etymology of the word god. MuKulu is intended to represent distance, the highest or height as in the sky or high achievement that comes along with age.
MuKulu is also intended to represent water which is linked to the sky in the form of rain that brings sustenance and prosperity to the community. (8)
When I use the word god, what I’m really expressing is MuKulu so that it speaks of someone who invested his or her time in building up and providing for the community. MuKulu is what our ancestors invented. It was their god concept.
The secondary meaning for MuKulu was a wise old elder, a great king or great queen or it was an ancestor. A child could not be MuKulu, because the word expresses distance or age. Those ancient Africans, our ancestors, said MuKulu before there was colonialism; before there were Greeks; before there were Persians; and before the Romans knew god as a wise old elder or as the oldest representative in their country.
This is how the original African people who invented the word god and its concept intended for them to represented. Not surprisingly, the oldest representations of god in art form are African and women. Our beloved women were at the center of the African culture because she gave birth to the community (children, science, writing, math, art, etc.) and to the workforce. Let’s take a look at some of the earliest depictions of African MuKulu:
Other cultures copied and borrowed their gods from Africans who made statues worshiping themselves (us). A real black atheist would never want to be against the ancestors because they built up the community. A real black atheist would never want to be against the sky that brings life in the form of rain. A real black atheist would never want to be against the wise old elder because they would never learn.
I am a real black atheist. Mukulu are my ancestors.
I know African gods because the gods are in me. I am an aspect and the essence of the divine heavens (9) having a human experience, named Brother Ankh. The gods are the elements, the forces, the power and the energy in nature.
Now tell me who you are. Tell me what you know… not what you believe. But before you speak, know too, that first hand research kills conversation every time.
“Read books about yourself. There are millions of them. Let no one tell you to the contrary. Read about religious doctrines and theories. Don’t let anyone tell you: ‘this is it.’ And there is no more… Read, read, read. Read about your people in the past, the present, the future.”
-Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan
Black African Power.
SIDEBAR: Ankh means everlasting life. It means master teacher, too.*
*“The ANKH is a symbol not only of life in the physical sense, but a life of service, of vitalism, of health and healing, of wisdom, infinite love, solidarity, eternal life, power and authority. When you have mastered yourself, then you can stand powerfully (vertically) as a pillar in your community.”
1. Online Etymology Dictionary. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=atheist&searchmode=none , March 30, 2013
2. George G.M. James. Stolen Legacy. New Jersey. Africa World Press, Inc. 1992, p. 9-10
3. Ancient History Encyclopedia. http://www.ancient.eu.com/Thales_of_Miletus/March 30, 2013
4. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://www.iep.utm.edu/thales/March 30, 2013
5. George G.M. James. Stolen Legacy. New Jersey. Africa World Press, Inc. 1992, p.29
6. Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan. African Origins of the Major Religions, p. XV
7. Milo Rigaud. Secrets of Voodoo. New York. Arco Publishing.1969, p.8
9. Strong’s Concordance, h8064 (abode of the stars, the sky, the atmosphere)