I believe in you.
I believe in people.
I believe in change, and if any change is going to happen,
we have to do it.
There is no savior coming to save us
that responsibility is ours.
This week’s guest is Robert Peoples of Affinis Humanity. Robert grew up in a Black Baptist church in New Jersey. When he was young, he enjoyed church but was an inquisitive child with many questions and no satisfying answers. As a teenager, Robert looked for answers outside the church—from Thomas Paine to Allah to the Buddha.
“When I read The Age of Reason, that set my trajectory on a whole different path.”
By 18 years old, Robert could no longer believe in anything supernatural. His understanding of the world came from philosophy, history and science. This was incredibly difficult for his family, but they continued to faithfully love and support him.
“[My mom] said, ‘Why don’t you believe in something?…’ I said, ‘I can’t…this is based on critical thinking.’”
One frustration Robert has with the Black church community is that it works to change unjust systems but then uses phrases like, “We couldn’t have done this without God.”
“It makes us co-dependent on…benevolent white leaders in power, for God to somehow change their hearts and change their minds.”
In recent years, Robert has been working with a political non-profit to ensure the “separation of state and church” and to change unjust policies. Human suffering is caused less by individuals “in need of heart change,” and more by systemic racism, homophobia, classism and other inequities.
“You can’t think transcendental thoughts. You can’t think about leaving religion…when you can’t eat, when you’re about to evicted…when you have no support.”
In the midst of all the work to be done, Robert is hopeful. He is effecting change in the world and reminding others that “to be human is enough.” He stands in awe of the beauty of nature, his daughters and this short life. His story is one of world-changing secular grace.
“The Book of Life opens up each and every time I wake up in the morning. I write my own book.”
[Humanism] has increased my love for humanity exponentially.
I no longer love people with conditions.
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“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats