Great thread, brothas. I'm glad this is coming up because honestly I'm pretty much in the same boat as GA. I'm an atheist in the same sense but I think the problem is that we try to force a definition of God that is Western in its basic construction. Westerns learned how to speak and read from Africa but when we use English these days we have to constantly ask each other if our words have been understood. By the same token Westerners have taken religion from Africa and misunderstood it.
Whatever I feel about the bible it's not a European book. The region it all took place in was all considered Africa at the time. But Europeans thought Africans were savage because our religions had many gods assuming that these gods were all real entities rather than symbols of the forces of nature and therefore used to teach science.
I think all religions have a grain of truth because of how much time they spend reflecting upon these questions. The problem is when one religion thinks it has all the answers. I think these religions have always contained the thoughts and feelings of people who feel there is something bigger than us, connecting us. The real problem is that we're trying to now force that thing to be a person.
In the Old Testament people get confused about how many gods there are because Genesis says Let "us" make man. We argue over semantics as if the writer was actually there and saw what happened. But what I think they felt was that there was a "force" and that it was "spirit". It wasn't, in the OT, a separate entity. The NT says God is a spirit. And there is no way the spirit of the Father isn't holy so by definition the God the Father of the bible is a holy spirit. And if he is a holy spirit then how could the same terms be used to identity and distinguish a so-called third person of a trinity?
But Haile Selassie is the power of the Trinity! So the Trinity must be true? No, the people who created that were under the influence of Christian indoctrination. That doesn't change the man. He didn't even accept the full adoration of Rastas during this time. So either he was right or both were wrong. But you can't accept doctrine on the basis of Haile Selassie because he happened to be born into a Christian family the same way Jesus happened to be born a Jew. According to Judaism Jesus is absolutely NOT the messiah. So that gave birth to Christianity the same way that followers of Haile Selassie gave birth to Rastafarianism. Feel me?
But again, going back to religions, I think there is a "spirit" but this spirit isn't a person. It is a Force. That Force can inhabit the Buddha, the avatars of Hinduism, Jesus, Mohammad, Haile Selassie, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, and Malcom X, many of whom died from human intervention. Each religion is a thesis to which there is antithesis but few people ever bridge the gap into sythesis.
How can an atheist accept the divinity of Haile Selassie? Not by believing there is a trinity but that humans have put feeble words and semantics on this idea trying to describe a power beyond their comprehension. This power connects us and seems to be more concentrated in some of us; not that we're storing it like a battery but rather our access to it seems to be different. Without it talking to us are imagination is free to step in and say this is this and that is that. And that power helps to make others believe. But at the end of the day the power behind every religion is the same. We're the ones that are different.