People are typically amenable to the free exchange of ideas until the discussion breaches the topic of religion. While there are social pressures to avoid such discussions, avoidance of religion as a subject appears to be a form of intellectual cowardice. One’s religious beliefs should not exist in a bubble, free from scrutiny and criticism.
Black, Saved, and Smart is a blog founded by Torrey Fingal, allowing intellectuals to openly discuss controversial religious subjects without fear of reprise or judgment. It encourages the application of critical thinking and explores religious values in the context of current issues, among other topics.
Raised in a predominantly Black neighborhood in a suburb of Washington, DC, attending Black schools, and having Black friends, all the while growing up serving the ministry of a Black church, being a Black Christian was just a fact of life for Torrey. It was only when he went to university to get a degree in Chemistry that he found out that religion was actually considered a threat to the Black population by some.
Torrey founded this blog upon the discovery that some people apparently viewed science, religion, and blackness as antithetical to each other. Taking some Social Science courses when he attended the Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, he was surprised when it came up that some believed you could not be scientific or philosophical in religion due to the requirement of being critical of it. And you cannot be Christian while being pro-Black because Christianity was viewed as “the white man’s religion.”
To give an example, one of the entries on the blog is entitled “I’m Both Christian and Mad as Hell (And That’s Okay)” and explores the conflicting values of forgiveness in Christianity and righteous anger as a Black man witnessing the injustices encountered by his people. Other titles in Black, Saved, and Smart include, “Is God Really Male?”, “It’s Okay to Question God,” and “Christians, Stop Turning Off Your Brain.”
The blog empowers those who know that they can be Black, brilliant, and Christian at the same time. There are two main goals that Black, Saved, and Smart has. The first one is to encourage critical thinking about the Bible, social issues, and the Christian response to current social issues. The second is to dismantle the selfish, Americanized version of Christianity that is currently predominantly used.
By empowering African-American Christians to engage in uncomfortable discussions scrutinizing the nitty-gritty of religion, Torrey hopes instead of being blind followers, Christians may practice their faith with the awareness that their religion is not above questioning.
Also, a biweekly media series is currently in the works for Black, Saved, and Smart. Titled “Here’s What Really Happened,” it endeavors to depict popular and well-known Bible stories more accurately in its proper historical context.