Monday, December 17, 2012

Olokun's Friend

I've had this thought in my head for some time now that just won't go away. I know people don't generally like debating about religion which is fine, but i think the minute you stop asking questions, you stop growing and you might as well roll over and die.

So my question is

Why is Christianity better than our African traditional religion?
Why does paganism have a negative connotation?
Why does God mean something different from god?

But the first question just won't leave my mind. Were we just a bunch of lost heathens doomed to hell until Christianity was introduced to us?

I don't understand religion 100%. Has anyone ever stopped to question what they were doing and why? Would you be a christian if you were not born into it? PROBABLY NOT. I've had friends say "I was born a catholic and will die a catholic". What does that tell you? I cannot imagine being a catholic, yet they are Christians.

For the first 9 yrs of my life i was a Muslim, simply because i was born into it. If my father was into religion, i would probably still be a Muslim, if not in practice, at least in name. I "became" a christian when my mother decided she wanted to start going to church. No, she did not convert. She stopped going to church because she married a muslim. She never went to a mosque but we celebrated sallah and our uncles and aunties and cousin were free to come pray at our house. I still remember the little plastic kettles used for washing up before praying and my brother would pray with them or go through the motions. He was really little, so i know he wasn't actually praying. There was a lot of hoopla surrounding her re-christianization including threats of divorce but eventually things settled down and we were christians.

I attended the same church until i left Nigeria. Now that i am no longer a part of that church and can view things objectively, i will be frank to tell you that that church was 50% church, 50% native doctor. I'm not kidding or exaggerating, but of course everything was covered under the cloak of christianity and the bible. It's so EASY to be brain washed especially when you are part of something. You divorce yourself of the ability to think independently. Things that other people would see as crazy becomes the norm for you cos that's how things are done. The basis for christianity is the bible, so why are we doing things that are clearly not bible based and why is no one asking questions?

I should gist you guys about my church. That's my christmas project.

I barely know anything about African traditional religion but that has been put on my to do list. I think it's important to learn so if nothing else, i can defend my choices. At this point i have a very ambivalent relationship with christianity. I could take it or leave it. I suspect i will always be a mix match kind of girl. Please don't worry about my salvation, it's personal, abi? Channel all your negative thoughts if any into praying for me. That's WJWD.

*Olokun
Our neighbors were olokun worshippers. Their dance is some serious business.

13 comments:

  1. When I have your time, I'll come and reply this post.

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    1. Na really when I hv ur time. Lol. I guess i should expect a great response from you when you have my time. I'm waiting :)

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  2. loool you're def an edo babe. I'm bini as well and my elder sis was shipped off to Uniben for uni so she stayed with our cousins. Their neighbour too was an olokun family, haha don't let me get started on olokun ish.

    Well as for the other points hmmmmmm, where would I begin? I would be back.

    If I were not born a christian, I would have become one. That's something I'm quite certain of.

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    1. Good to know u put some thought into it. I like that. I was just reading from Wikipedia they olokun is an Edo thing although not exclusively.

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  3. ITS A MYSTERY DEAR. Nice write up.

    Cheers

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  4. I can't give a coherent answer to any of your questions. I'm Christian because I was raised to be Christian. And over the years,I've come to accept the tenets of my religion as true, although I have a few occasional moments when doubts creep in.

    The extent of my questioning is mainly around who wrote and complied the Bible, the conditions under which it was done, and what books were left out. I went through an extremely brief period when I explored Gnosticism, and the other gospels and letters that were not included in the Bible. Lately, I've been interested in interpreting all scripture in the context of when it was written and discovering whether it should still be relevant today.

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  5. What a coincidence! I just updated my blog on religion also, only to come here and read your thoughts.

    The truth my dear sistah is that nobody has a 100% or all the answers to your questions, but as humans we all know there is a GOD! We all know the differences btw good and bad.

    We all know if everything else fails, we run to GOD for help, which shows that we humans know the truth, but refuse to acknowledge HIM.
    Yes, there are false prophets and teachings, but the bible is there for us to read as a Christian.

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  6. Love this post!!!!

    I cannot stand when people swallow things without even stopping to check what they are being fed with. That said, I do not share your curiosity for African traditional religion primarily because I occasionally saw my grandmother worship that way and to me, it seems something must be in pain or humiliated in one way or the other before they are done. If it isn't one helpless animal, it is one person. ANd shrines are always smelly and putrid. All manners of concoctions and libations offerings are placed there to rot. Hiiiyammah!
    Christians, however, especially the Nigerian specie do not make Christianity any more attractive anyway, with their propagated image of an ever-angry God who is ready to smite you if you do any wrong, and not willing to forgive until you are broken, grovel and are thoroughly humiliated either by yourself, your condition or by his 'representatives'.
    So, in conclusion, Sistah, I feel you.

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  7. Such an amazing and important question to ask. Nigerians just swallow everything they are spoon fed hook line and sinker without ever questioning it.

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  8. sometimes it is how one is raised that determines our religion, my parents did not believe in traditional gods, they consider it taboo and not Christ- like.

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  9. I really appreciate the thoughtful responses i have gotten so far. I am impressed.

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  10. I like this. I probably wouldn't be a Christian if I wasn't raised that way. But that said, I'm sure some Christians would disagree with my own brand of Christianity. I don't think it makes any sense to blindly accept things without question, whether it's what's in the Bible or any Holy book, or the word from some 'man of God'. I believe there is a God, because (as far as I'm concerned) life wouldn't make sense otherwise, but the Nigerian god get as e be. Too many things that don't make sense. I try to find out about other beliefs and other ways of life and pick what makes sense. So I guess I do mix'n'match too. As long as I respect God, myself and other people.

    At the end of the day, we were all born with common sense and a sense of right and wrong. We shouldn't throw that away because of some dogma.

    As for traditional African/Nigerian gods, most of my knowledge is from Africa Magic and those ones have their own k-leg. That being said, all religions are just silly attempts by human beings to figure out the big picture (why we're here and all that). No one can ever know 100%, so we might as well see what everyone learns and pick up something from there.

    Sorry this is so long.

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  11. The fundamental doctrine in christianity is faith. Faith means believing in what you haven't seen and not relying on your own reasoning. And this includes believing that the bible was written by inspired men of God. It doesn't have to be rational to believe in whatever is written in the bible. Unfortunately it is this concept of faith that is being abused by charlatans and modern day false prophets. And they get away with it because nce you begin to challenge their questionable doctrines or practices they label you as without faith. They will then ostracise you if you continue to ask questions.
    Besides the bible is such that there are verses that can be quoted to justify anything including war, murder, fraud, deceit, polygamy and forcifully snatching something from you oponent in the belief that God has decreed that you possess that thing. Jacob is eulogised in the bible although he deceived his brother Esau and robbed him of his birth right. There are passages in the bible that can be quoted to support war and even murder. Abraham was going to kill his son Isaac in the bible. But for divine intervention he was prepared to commit murder by killing his son Isaac and this is touted as an example of faith. And this is the reason why there are African versions of christianity based on a passage in the bible. Can you believe that there is a Nigerian church with a branch in London that walk barefooted even in winter to church based on a passage in the old testament that commanded Moses to remove his sandals because he is walking on holy grounds and this passage has become the conerstone of their belief in such a way that even in winter in London you can spot church members wearing a white long frock walking barefoot to church?

    Now back to your questions on African religion. I think we Africans have been brainwashed into thinking that everything African is inferior including our culture, religion and many more spheres of our life. Surely there are aspects of African traditional religion that is not good particularly unhygienic practices and human sacrifice. But when African traditional religion was prevalent people were scared to sleep with another man's wife or to steal because of the perceived curse that will come on you. Now people defraud with impunity and do all sorts of things knowing that there isn't any immediate punishment if they are not caught. What I can say is that there are positive aspects of African traditional religion and so are negative aspects. But as to whether we will go to hell for being African traditional religion worshippers I don't know. What I know is that we shouldn't automatically look down on all indigenours traditional African practices.

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