Relg 102 Medium Post #9–11/10

Our materials this week are focused on introducing the concept of eschatology. While I have gained some understanding of black theology, particularly as it relates to the teaching of Dr. King and Dr. Cone, I am not very familiar with eschatology in general, let alone in relation to black theology. Therefore, I am interested in learning about the extent that eschatology is interconnected with BLM, considering the movement is not affiliated with any organized religions.

What I discovered after engaging with these materials is that this idea of “the end of the world” in the context of BLM is not religiously affiliated, but rather argues that, if the movement can accomplish all that it aims to accomplish, the world will be drastically different (virtually reborn). As Vincent Lloyd explains in his piece, all who demand an end to the world as we know it must be ready to admit that it is at the mercy of dominating systems like “anti-Blackness, patriarchy, capitalism, [and] settler colonialism,” but by doing so are also acknowledging that “the world is never fully captured by domination.” I found this interesting because it turns a traditionally religious theme of eschatology into a more secular concept so as to not push away the non-religious supporters of BLM (especially those whose identities are often questioned or unwelcomed in religious settings) who joined the fight because the absence of religious ties made them feel more welcomed.

I was also moved by how frequently the theme of faith came up in these pieces. This was not necessarily in the form of religious faith, but rather faith that something better will come. This came up in the interview when the concept of Black Radical Imagination was introduced, and connects to Lloyd’s statement that the world can always overcome domination. Walidah Imarisha explained Black Radical Imagination as the ability of black folks to “dream of new and better worlds while their bodies dwelled in hell,” and Robin D. G. Kelly explains that it is the ability to envision a better world “collectively.” This is a tremendous feat without which no progress could possibly be made. This idea of Black Radical Imagination moved me the most out of anything discussed this week, particularly because of the terminology. This dream of a better world is seen as “radical,” serving as a reminder of my own privilege and a call to action to use my privilege to propel this movement. Freedom should never be radical, but it unfortunately has become so.

This past week I turned in an essay where I discussed BLM’s lack of connection to Christianity compared to MLK and Cone’s Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century. However, as someone who has studied the bible in church, I actually found a striking connection between this “end of the world” that BLM is edging towards and the book of Revelation in the bible. If MLK were alive today, he might argue that perhaps this movement is carrying out the events that the book of Revelation alluded to. I would not call myself an expert on this book (as it is one of the most complicated in the bible), but from my understanding it’s events are suspiciously similar to what is going on right now. The bible uses Revelation to describe the “final battle,” one where good will triumph over evil and all things will be peaceful. When it has reached its conclusion, individuals who fought on the side of “good” will be rewarded with a spiritual life that transcends their struggle, and those on the side of “evil” will eventually fall. While this seems extreme, we can draw some connections to today. Black Lives Matter has its own martyrs, and appears to be setting up a “final battle” split into two clear sides of good and evil, arguing that you are either for the movement, or against it. When the struggle is finally over, those who supported the movement will live a peaceful life, while those who disagree will no longer have a platform to carry out their racism or other methods of domination and their legacy will be forced to fade away.