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"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?

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Bible is a cracking book no doubt. What strikes me about the Bible is the resemblance of activities. I mean whatever human problems or experiences that happened in the past, are the same till now. Which makes me think sometimes about the conspiarcy theorists, who have managed to use that fact imo as a way to get people's attention. The Bible is one of those timeless books, sometimes i feel it is a shame it has been used and abused so many a times.

The African Traditional Religion has been described as a 'way of life' by some. Generally whatever goes on in our day to day lives, is spiritual, i guess whwich is where the superstitions arose. No written material on it. One time i went home and visited one of the traditional healing places for the buganda kingdom with a friend, basically i had to put myself through the process. And it was as spiritual as it could get. I mean the environment, was so calming and so on, the future predictions and so on, the cleansing with bathing of basically cleansing water. Well we grew up in a christian family where obviously christians especially the priests down played this side and of course the schools we went to where these traditional methods were seen as and viewed as evil. It is amazing how much the western culture has influenced our culture that we begin at times to see our culture as evil. That thought baffles me and makes me wonder why or how? It is like going to witvh doctors is a sin basically. But does it really have to be a sin if the ATR is a 'way of life'? I wonder. I remember we had this priest who was good at making medicine from traditional herbs. But i guess there are differences, ofcourse there is that medicine which is real medicine, and there is that which is supposed medicine, haha... But i am aware of the harmful side of it where people have been used and abused and killed or robbed of all property, ah. I guess some have turned it to a business, child sacrifice and all. But when practised in a safe honest environment, it is a s good as anything else. It is surprising how strong the ATR still is and how many people still believe in it and practise it. Well it is our culture, but with the harmful side of it, soemtimes i worry that it might get eroded. My grandmother is a strong believer in traditional medicine, she once accused my auntie who went under a couple of life saving operations for basically 'liking' going under the knife when she could do traditional medicine, ummm really? lmao

I guess there are both good things in the western culture and African Traditional religions or way of life that we can pick up and enrich our experiencing and thinking. Sometimes i think we are more afraid of the ATR and we have been led to believe somewhere along the way that it is more harmful than productive. I guess sometimes it is the psychological part of it that plays an important role and affects our way of thinking. Can we find a balance between the two? I don''t know.

Black people are generally social, and it is like a must part of culture. Churches attract people, people meet and socialise or feel a sense of belonging. Belonging and identity is a strong part of African culture it just runs in our blood, LOL! Sometimes it is a shame that soem churches have abused the people that have come to seek and to find this. But that is life.

*why do i feel i've gone off topic?lol*

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