Last modified on 14 January 2013, at 00:31

James Hal Cone

James Hal Cone (born August 5, 1938) is an African-American Christian theologian in the Methodist tradition.

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Black Theology and Black PowerEdit

  • "It is important to make a further distinction here among black hatred, black racism, and Black Power. Black hatred is the black man's strong aversion to white society. No black man living in white America can escape it...But the charge of black racism cannot be reconciled with the facts. While it is true that blacks do hate whites, black hatred is not racism. Racism, according to Webster, is 'the assumption that psychocultural traits and capacities are determined by biological race and that races differ decisively from one another, which is usually coupled with a belief in the inherent superiority of a particular race and its rights to dominance over others.' Where are the examples among blacks in which they sought to assert their right to dominance over others because of a belief in black superiority?...Black Power is an affirmation of the humanity of blacks in spite of white racism. It says that only blacks really know the extent of white oppression, and thus only blacks are prepared to risk all to be free." [Black Theology and Black Power, p. 14-16]
  • "Black Power seeks not understanding but conflict; addresses blacks and not whites; seeks to develop black support, but not white good will." [Black Theology and Black Power, Page 16]
  • "All white men are responsible for white oppression. It is much too easy to say, "Racism is not my fault," or "I am not responsible for the country's inhumanity to the black man...But insofar as white do-gooders tolerate and sponsor racism in their educational institutions, their political, economic and social structures, their churches, and in every other aspect of American life, they are directly responsible for racism...Racism is possible because whites are indifferent to suffering and patient with cruelty. Karl Jaspers' description of metaphysical guilt is pertinent here. 'There exists among men, because they are men, a solidarity through which each shares responsibility for every injustice and every wrong committed in the world, and especially for crimes that are committed in his presence or of which he cannot be ignorant.' " [Black Theology and Black Power, p. 24]
  • "For the gospel proclaims that God is with us now, actively fighting the forces which would make man captive. And it is the task of theology and the Church to know where God is at work so that we can join him in this fight against evil. In America we know where the evil is. We know that men are shot and lynched. We know that men are crammed into ghettos...There is a constant battle between Christ and Satan, and it is going on now. If we make this message contemporaneous with our own life situation, what does Christ's defeat of Satan mean for us?...The demonic forces of racism are real for the black man. Theologically, Malcolm X was not far wrong when he called the white man "the devil." The white structure of this American society, personified in every racist, must be at least part of what the New Testament meant by the demonic forces." [Black Theology and Black Power, pp. 39-41]
  • "Racism is a complete denial of the Incarnation and thus of Christianity...If there is any contemporary meaning of the Antichrist (or "the principalities and powers"), the white church seems to be a manifestation of it. It was the white "Christian" church which took the lead in establishing slavery as an institution and segregation as a pattern in society by sanctioning all-white congregations." [Black Theology and Black Power, p. 73]
  • 'People should love each other' sounds like Riis Park at sundown. It has very little meaning to the world at large." [Black Theology and Black Power, Page 135]
  • "The revolution which Black Theology advocates … [means] confronting white racists and saying: 'If it's a fight you want, I am prepared to oblige you.' This is what the black revolution means." [Black Theology and Black Power, Page 136]
  • "We cannot solve ethical questions of the twentieth century by looking at what Jesus did in the first. Our choices are not the same as his. Being Christians does not mean following 'in his steps.'" [Black Theology and Black Power, Page 139]
  • "To be Christian is to be one of those whom God has chosen. God has chosen black people!" [Black Theology and Black Power, pp. 139-140].
  • "Therefore, simply to say that Jesus did not use violence is no evidence relevant to the condition of black people as they decide on what to do about white oppression." [Black Theology and Black Power, Page 140]
  • "The Christian does not decide between violence and nonviolence, evil and good. He decides between the less and the greater evil." [Black Theology and Black Power, Page 143]
  • "Whether the American system is beyond redemption we will have to wait and see. But we can be certain that black patience has run out, and unless white America responds positively to the theory and activity of Black Power, then a bloody, protracted civil war is inevitable." [Black Theology and Black Power, Page 143]

A Black Theology of LiberationEdit

  • "The black theologian must reject any conception of God which stifles black self-determination by picturing God as a God of all peoples. Either God is identified with the oppressed to the point that their experience becomes God's experience, or God is a God of racism...The blackness of God means that God has made the oppressed condition God's own condition. This is the essence of the Biblical revelation. By electing Israelite slaves as the people of God and by becoming the Oppressed One in Jesus Christ, the human race is made to understand that God is known where human beings experience humiliation and suffering...Liberation is not an afterthought, but the very essence of divine activity." [A Black Theology of Liberation, pp. 63-64]
  • "Black theology cannot accept a view of God which does not represent God as being for oppressed blacks and thus against white oppressors. Living in a world of white oppressors, blacks have no time for a neutral God. The brutalities are too great and the pain too severe, and this means we must know where God is and what God is doing in the revolution. There is no use for a God who loves white oppressors the same as oppressed blacks. We have had too much of white love, the love that tells blacks to turn the other cheek and go the second mile. What we need is the divine love as expressed in black power, which is the power of blacks to destroy their oppressors, here and now, by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject God's love." [A Black Theology of Liberation, p. 70]

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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