A Current Affairs And Social Critic Blog

NO-BULLSHITTING-LOGO-1-150x150-removebg-preview

THE INVASION OF FUNKY PASTORS SERIES, PART 4

NOTE: This blog was uploaded here recently in 2021 because this is a new site. However, it was first published on other platforms on August 7, 2016

This, is No Bullshitting!

It is Sunday evening on this seventh day of August 2016; so I deviate once again from socio-political topics, to a socio-religious one. One theme is common with all my commentaries—Combating Indiscipline (which I call Bullshit) in the society through the Media; be it ethnic, religious, cultural, or political bullshit. This is the fourth in my series on The Invasion Of The Funky Pastors, and their battle against the African Culture—a series based on my soon-to-be-published explosive, no-holds-barred book of the same title. Do remember—I am still addressing just the impact of misguided Christianity on the African Culture in Nigeria..

 If you think you like, or hate me so far, wait until you see what I have to say on the antics of the self-serving funky pastors who engineer the culture-annihilation campaign. You will really love me, or really hate my no-holds-barred positions, depending on your own position on the matter. But, my ideal reader is one that maintains liberal-mindedness and objectivity; then you certainly will love my well-researched postulations and conclusions, even if you disagree with some of them!

A key contemporary principle of intercultural interaction requires a visitor from one culture to another to make some adjustments in order to fit into the host culture—it’s like Inter-Cultural-Interaction level 101 in College. I believe the street parlance is—when you go to Rome, then behave like Romans, in order to fit in! It does not say when you get to Rome beat the Romans on the head and force them to change their ways to suit you; no sir!!! This principle upholds the notion that the guest in Africa, ‘Mr. Christianity’, should behave like the host, Mr. African Culture. In essence, it requires an African to adapt the foreign Christianity, which is largely influenced by Jewish and other cultures in faraway land, to suit the culture and environment of Africa. This is true about any other imported religion; indeed, any other imported concept! The object of a good enlightened Christian should be to ensure that bad traditions of the host culture (which should be reformed in the first place) are eliminated as Christianity interacts and fuses with the host culture. For instance, thanks to Christianity, killing of twins was abolished in Africa a while ago. The object of a Christian should never be to annihilate the entire host culture; no, sir!!! This is the focus of this edition of THE INVASION OF THE FUNKY PASTORS.

CHANGE & ADAPTATION:

CHANGE is as guaranteed as life itself, and we all have to accept this fact even if we don’t like it sometimes when it does not favor our desires, needs, or existing doctrines. And, very often, when something changes, other things around it, or concerning it, or related to it, also have to change as a matter of imperative—ADAPTATION. Unfortunately, one of the most common blunders by Christians in Africa is the failure to understand this reality of Mr. Change and his cousin, Mr. Adaptation, in our practice of Christianity. Our ‘World View’ tends to remain static and out of sync with the world that is constantly changing. I am pursuing very sensitive issues in this passage; dabbling into the need to dispassionately consider the following factors as we practice Christianity:

  1. The difference between today and the period that an event occurred or a doctrine was instituted in Christianity, and the bible…
  1. The differences in culture between Africa and the region(s) of the world where those doctrines

          were instituted; and…

  1. Man-made influences in Christianity and the Holy Bible, which may not be truly what the Almighty God and Jesus Christ approve after all. To support this argument, I will give you a peep into a future topic; that one of the worst atrocities ever committed by humankind was by Catholic Popes—in the name of God. The ancient believed that ancient crap; but you and I know for sure today that God certainly did not tell the atrocious Popes to do those evil things!!!

I said that this topic is sensitive, because I am aware of the population of us that look at certain topics in Christianity as no-go areas in discussions. I am also aware that some of those sensitive no-go areas include certain contents and history of the Holy Bible. But, you see, that’s information censorship, which has followed the entire history of the Holy Bible. Recall, if you will, that the general public was not even allowed to own or read the bible at some point in history! That was a ploy to mystify THE WORD and make knowledge of THE WORD the preserve of the clergy, which they dished out to the rest as they deemed fit. Some of the reasons may be justifiable at the time, mind you, but those “wonderful reasons” at that time are no longer tenable in the contemporary, changed world, period! The guys who sabi (know) grammar call it progressive thinking!

CHANGE happened many decades ago, and now, we can read and discuss the bible after few persons in some faraway land finally decided that it’s okay to open up the secret to the rest of us; but there are still no-go areas. If you ask me, and even if no one asks me, I still say with due respect that there’s just one fundamental difference between the ‘no-go-area’ Christians, and people like me who see nothing wrong in openly but respectfully discussing the holy book—we understand that the Almighty God Himself sanctions the exercise of the human mind to explore or question anything that we see today as “fact” or “reality.” Remember—if our predecessors did not question what was originally called “the fact,” the world would still be of the old view that planet earth was flat. Also, remember—God Almighty Himself sanctioned Abraham to inquire! Oh yes, indeed! Here again is my favorite biblical citation—Abraham respectfully confronted the Almighty God, and actually queried the wisdom in God’s decision to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. The Almighty did not shout at him to shut up. God is the only being qualified to utter the haughty question that commonly jumps out of the mouths of vain Nigerian big shots—“Do you know who I am; who are you to question my decision?” But Baba God didn’t demonstrate such arrogance to Abraham; no, sir! The Almighty God calmly explained his decision to Father Abraham, and convinced him that His decision to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah was a good decision.

So, like Abraham, we must question anything that does not seem right to us. And, you see, pastors or bishops or popes are not God, and we cannot afford to believe that all their decisions are great, God-ordained, and unchangeable. And, wait just a minute; even the Almighty God Himself once had a cause to CHANGE His mind on something that He had done once before—He regretted destroying the world with water, and He promised not to do it again; didn’t He? That’s CHANGE!

A PEEP INTO HISTORY

A simple research will show you that some popes and bishops have been known to do some atrocious things. For instance, history recorded the Papal Inquisition that happened back in the 4th century AD, when the Pope sent troops to eradicate dissident Christians—called heretics—in the South of France. 

I mean, human beings like you and me were massacred like chickens at the command of the pope in Rome, simply because they were perceived to disagree with some of the doctrines or tenets of the church. Thousands—children, men women—were tied to the stake and burned to death regularly for several hundred years, on accusation of heresy. Many of the victims were falsely accused, without any substantiation whatsoever. In fact, they were not allowed to defend themselves, and their accusers were not even made known to them. You know what that means; don’t you? Anybody could cook up any lie against any person that he disliked for any reason; and the accused and his or her family, including infants, were instantly burned to death without trial.

Also, in the 13th century (1252AD to be exact) Pope Innocent IV sanctioned the use of torture against the heretics. In the 15th century (1478AD) Queen Isabella demanded Pope Sixtus IV to enact a ‘Papal Bull’—an edict of the Pope—authorizing the institution of the Spanish Inquisition to root out heresy in the Spanish Kingdom of Castille. 

Later, the Inquisition extended to the second Spanish Kingdom of Aragon. The Inquisition phenomenon—systematic murders and torture by a pope and his cohorts—was only one of such atrocities committed by church authorities in the history of Christianity. I am willing to bet all I own that nobody in his or her right mind today would say that Jesus Christ or God sanctioned such atrocities by so-called anointed men of God against their fellow humans, merely for disagreeing on how to worship God! Nigerian terrorist organization called Boko Haram is doing something similar today; they believe that they are fighting for Allah. The story of Christ says that he was for ‘winning of souls’ for God, and not forcible conversion. Yet, the Papal Inquisition and the Spanish Inquisition were all perpetrated in the name of Christ, and by the highest authority of the church—the Popes themselves—the so-called anointed ones! And, mind you, the heretics were not atheists; they believed in God. Indeed, they were professed Christians, but disagreed with some of the dictates of the popes and their cohorts.

The bible does warn us to beware of false prophets, false teachings, and wrong interpretation of the scripture. What the bible does not tell us, however, is that the medieval (Middle-Age) European authors of some doctrines that we follow today could never have imagined that there would be a phenomenon called ‘The Nigerian Factor’ in the Christendom several hundred years after their time. They did not know that this phenomenon would happen not in their Jewish/European land, but in faraway land of Nigeria in Africa, which has a different culture and different breed of people. Hence, they did not make any provision for the adaptation of some of their doctrines to suit us in Africa. They did whatever they did in line with the social, political, cultural, and geographical situations/conditions and needs prevailing during their time, and in their region of the world. Sure, they heard about false prophets in their time and region, for example, but they did not envisage the phenomenal proliferation of false prophets engendered by the infamous Nigerian Factor in 21st century Africa. But if we could ask them today, they most likely would tell us that it is up to us to adapt the doctrines ourselves to suit our situations; and they would be right. They would also advise us to pray for the discerning spirit to recognize today’s false prophets and false teachings. We do pray for the discerning spirit quite alright in Nigeria; and, God does give it to us, but many of us are unable to apply ourselves to put it to work when the occasion arises. We are too busy worshiping pastors to see when some evil or ignorant ones are wrongly interpreting the scripture.

Let’s go back to the 1st Century AD when Emperor Constantine turned Christianity into a State religion. God did not have a discussion with the emperor and his cabinet to influence the doctrines of Christianity or the bible in any form, but they did! The emperor decided some of the Christian principles that were accepted or rejected or altered, as he turned Christianity into a State religion. He was human, and naturally, some of the decisions were made to suit his personal caprices and beliefs, and in some cases the beliefs (culture) and the environment of the people of Rome in that ancient time. No wonder, for instance, women were relegated as insignificant gender of humanity in the early versions of the bible, by male chauvinists, in an ancient society run mostly by the male gender. Every statement was addressed to “man,” about “man,” and for “man.” Also, not so long ago it was a taboo for a woman to be a minister in a Christian church in many parts of the world. I dare say that that was not the intention of Jesus Christ for Christians. It is argued, for instance, that it was the will of Christ for Mary Magdalene to be a powerful figure in the Christendom after his worldly life. But, she was schemed out of power because male chauvinists would not hear of, let alone accept the allocation of such powers to a woman in those days. “The Da Vinci Code,” a very controversial world Bestseller book authored in 2004 by Dan Brown portrays a conspiracy against the womenfolk in the Christendom.

However, chauvinism in the Body of Christ has diminished quite considerably from the ancient versions of the bible to the present day versions. The contemporary world has questioned the tenability or legitimacy of the relegation of women in Christianity. Now we have recognized the need for a change of view, and so, the modern revisions of the bible are more gender-sensitive. They no longer identify everything under the male gender; almost no more statements such as “the son of man” when we are talking about the entire humanity that comprises male and female genders. Women are now recognized as their own entity, and no longer identified through men. Unlike in the older translations, we now see words such as ‘she’ and ‘her’ as many times as we see ‘he’ and ‘his’ in the modern bible. Also, not only do we have many women in prominent positions in the orthodox Christian Church now, some actually head their own new-wave churches. Such changes are here because the modern world has reassessed some ancient views that are not the will of Christ or God, as the authors had made the world to believe.

I find “The Da Vinci Code” fascinating because the theme is consistent with my basic philosophy that no religion in the world is free of the human elements of corruption and mischief. Dan Brown presented The Da Vinci Code to the world as a fiction with clear elements of truth, and it sparked off a major controversy in the Christendom around the world. Fact or fiction, however, the book did open a sort of Pandora’s Box on the political power play with its accompanying deadly intrigues within the Christian religion. It draws attention to the fact that there are always schemers in Christianity, indeed, schemers in all religions for that matter, who will stop at nothing to perpetrate their personal agendas within the religious tenets. Some of the perpetrators sincerely believe that they are doing the right thing, in which case their errors are just a matter of ignorance. And, I sincerely believe that our Father in Heaven will not judge an ignorant person very harshly. My grouse, as I have repeatedly stated in other contexts, is with the mischievous schemers who do it willfully for personal aggrandizement. It happened in the ancient Christian days, and it is happening today.

So, my humble but no-holds-barred question is—who is anybody, to stop anybody from asking questions to find the “present truth” about anything in Christianity? Nobody; that’s who! If I said it once, I have said it a thousand times; that we do know for sure that “truth” and “fact” can change, and, I have cited one of the most classical examples—the world is not flat as it was once believed to be by our ancestor!!!

THE HOLY BIBLE & THE CULTURAL-ADAPTATION ARGUMENT:

The contents of the Holy Bible were written so many centuries ago in faraway land of the Jews, obviously influenced by the Jewish Culture in many ways. On this premise, my first thematic question for this treatise is—considering that there are differences in culture between the Jews and Africans, and there has been change in time (period) between now and the ancient period when some of our doctrines were instituted—should these differences engender changes in the way that Africans practice Christianity today in Africa? On both counts, my answer is a categorical yes! I will start with the matter of cultural adaptation.

I do recognize that you may not take my opinion on this matter seriously because I am just Harry Agina, a non-clergy sinner; but maybe you will consider the opinion of the late Pope John Paul II, who declared during his reign that “PEOPLES SHOULD BE TAUGHT RELIGION ACCORDING TO THEIR CULTURES.” The Pope said that WE MUST FUSE THE GOOD TRADITIONS OF THE AFRICAN CULTURE WITH CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES, AND USE OUR CULTURAL ELEMENTS TO GLORIFY GOD. Unfortunately, a lot of us Africans have no respect for our cultural values; hence Pope John Paul II’s declaration is wasted on us! It is not just about religion, mind you; we generally fail to recognize the need to adapt any foreign concept to suit our cultural and regional realities. We, erroneously, tend to copy and practice foreign concepts exactly as they are in the foreign cultures. Our Christianity will get better when we realize that everything that the Jews do in faraway Jewish land, or whatever is good for the Eskimos in their ice-land, is not necessarily suitable for Africa and the Africans.

I ask you to leave your mind open and ponder on some of my arguments, and then ask yourself this chain of questions—does Harry make any sense; are you following any doctrine that, deep inside you it does not seem to be quite right, but you are doing it because you want to comply with an established doctrine? I guarantee that, with an open mind, you will find my arguments to make a lot of sense. Who knows; maybe you will even fall in love with some of them. Have in mind that the spirit of investigation to find Mr. Truth is permitted by God, according to the bible. Many, if not most of Christ’s teachings emanated from answering of questions. He did not rebuke the curious congregations; he answered their questions. On my part, I endeavored to make my commentaries intriguing and enjoyable reading experience for you as we seek the truth. I haven’t done too badly so far; have I?

Obviously, it was imperative that the bible was influenced by the Jewish and Greek, and other cultures in which it originated. And if we agree on this; then it goes with commonsense that Africa should adapt some culture/environment-related elements in the bible and the Christian doctrines—whatever they are—to suit our own African environment and conditions. I don’t hesitate to repeat a thousand times wherever necessary, that when done properly, the interpretation of the scripture to reflect the African Culture does not mean in any form that God’s word is being challenged; neither does it imply that the word of God has changed. Fortunately, as I have said, a foremost Catholic authority, the late Pope John Paul II declared that I am absolutely right on this matter; well, that’s if there’s anything like absolute in humanity!

Besides the pope’s declaration, I have also heard the views of some western Catholic priests and Anglican Bishops, as well as renowned theological experts, on the general topic of adapting Christianity to one’s culture. They maintain that the anti-vernacular-name priest that I cited in my past post on this platform, and the extremist “born-again” Christians who try to annihilate our entire culture, are not representing the views of Rome or the Catholics of the entire west, nor the high authorities in the Anglican Church. They are not even representing the views of all Nigerian priests either. This embellishes my argument that we have renegade “men of God” all over the world, especially in Africa, and even more especially in Nigeria, who are propagating their own personal agendas and doctrines. And, we have some ignorant Christians who are following them blindly. Progressive Christians insist globally that “We may keep out some bad influences of culture, but others will remain inside,” sanctified, and employed to serve ‘in glorifying God.’”

Refreshingly, I have come to learn since I dabbled into this project that the Roman Catholic Church in Nigeria is actually increasingly promoting the African Culture, not only theoretically by preaching it in their sermons, but actually practicing what they preach by observing Culture Days inside the church, featuring masquerades and other elements of African culture. And, guess what? Though born into the Anglican Church, I am now leaning more towards the Catholic Faith for this singular reason. As for the Pentecostal Sects, I am yet to hear a position-statement from any top-notch widely respected pastor on the matter; no wonder, the culture-annihilation campaign is championed by the growing “born-again” Pentecostal movement. Mind you, it is a great movement for God, but there is a great need to enlighten the ignorant members of the movement on cultural preservation; and even a greater need to sanction the funky pastors who capitalize on the massive ignorance to make mischief as they pursue money…No Bullshitting!!!

 

0 Reviews

Write a Review

Read Previous

THE INVASION OF FUNKY PASTORS SERIES, PART 3

Read Next

INVASION OF FUNKY PASTOR, PART 5

264 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

Follow by Email
Instagram