"The Battlefield is the heart and the mind/You win outside if you win inside"
(lyrics from "Overcomer")
This is a long one so bear with me. I just watched a bunch of documentaries on channel 4 On demand dealing with Christianity from different points of view and it was very interesting
There is so much to be said about all that I watched. I am absorbing the information and it’s gonna come out of me in some way when I let it simmer
For the meanwhile the main thing that has jumped out at me is that one of the reasons Pentecostal Christianity for example is growing so fast in the Africa and amongst immigrants that have brought it with them to the UK is because Africans have adapted Christianity to become their own thing and mixed it with their cultural bent.
What do I mean by that? Well in Nigeria for example generally the cultures are very spiritually aware already. I mean we had witch doctors and shamans and different types of rituals, customs and beliefs that are supposed to open people up to the realm of the spirit. So generally people are conscious of spiritual things even if they are not Christians. Some might argue they are superstitious and probably in some instances they would be right but the fact is there is a general awareness of the spiritual culturally speaking. It’s like we take it for granted that there is a realm like that. We don’t demand proof or evidence of it, it just is and that is that. I think this is why the dynamic Spiritual reality of the Holy Spirit is easily accepted and not just that sought after even to a fault because people chase miracles, signs and wonders feverishly.
When colonialism and Christianity and the slave trade come to Africa we absorbed Christianity into our cultural ways. In fact some of these things remained mixed. When I see people making videos exposing Jay Z as illuminati or Rihanna’s “Umbrella” containing subliminal messages etc it echoes back to how African cultures generally see the spiritual realm in everything even when there are only hints here and there and no full proof or evidence. It’s the reason why music is not just music to most; it seems to be more spiritual. I guess it’s because music was used in rituals e.g the drumming and singing that were used and done with repetition and got shamans into a trance where they saw visions. Music was used in recreation too and for celebration and entertainment but some people don’t want to hear that everything is seen through a spiritual lens and has a subliminal message of evil.
From these documentaries I watched I also have come to the conclusion that generally reason is elevated to the top in western culture due to the fact that science is seen mainly as the way questions of the meaning of life are answered. If something cannot be verified with logical, intellectual evidence after experiments and tests then it can’t be real or accepted as truth. Religion did not provide scientifically verifiable answers so it cannot be accepted as the final authority. Also the bible is not a science book detailing natural laws of physics, biology, chemistry etc. I don’t think that was the purpose of the bible. Apart from all this, people made scientific discoveries that threatened the Church at the time which interpreted reality and therefore held power over people. Scientific findings poked holes in the Church’s limited interpretation of reality which came from the clergy’s interpretation of the bible. The fact is the bible is not a science book and does not contain knowledge of ALL things. You won’t find Newton’s laws of physics there or Einstein’s E =MC2 formula for nuclear energy.
This same type of scientific thinking is applied to reading ancient manuscripts like the bible and sadly some people think the bible is literally dictated word for word, word of God which isn’t true. Even the bible doesn’t support that view. Someone in the documentary gave an interesting comment on the bible, he said it is “Human interpretation of Divine inspiration” I think that is a great way to look at it. The human element cannot be eliminated in the scriptures because as it is written by “men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”
It’s not just that western culture elevates reason. It elevates reason from a Eurocentric point of view. If reason is elevated then it must be THEIR reason that is elevated and not the reasoning of other people e.g Africans. Some even hold the view that genetically Africans are less mentally intelligent. I guess to them that would explain why the “developing world” is generally more religious and according to their standards “less developed”. We are packing out Church services on Sunday while their cathedrals are emptying by the day. They are becoming world powers while we have allowed greed to kill our economies. Our people at home are praying to God for prosperity and are giving tithes and offering but remain in economical dire straits simply because greed and corruption remains and everyone is trying to get a piece of the action by any means necessary.
So it seems to me African cultures (I think I should be clear that cultures of African descent like Caribbean and African American too can be included here) are more attuned to spiritual reality (generally and culturally speaking. I can only speak for where I come from) and excel in that dimension and Western culture excels in intellectual pursuits and elevates reason. I think both types of approaches are needed. I want to be mentally sharp, critical in my thinking. I don’t want to ever stop asking questions even hard ones but at the same time I believe that can be done with being spiritually aware and open to reality of the spiritual realm as guided by the Spirit who guides us all into all truth. The walk of faith is more than just an intellectual pursuit, it is a spiritual walk but just because it is a spiritual walk it doesn’t mean it does not involve the intellect. If you lose your mind, someone will find it and use it for their purposes. Am I wrong for thinking this way? What do you think?