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INVASION OF FUNKY PASTORS, PART 11

NOTE:  Though recently uploaded here in 2021, this was actually published in 2011. However, the story of evil BASTARDIZATION and COMMERCIALIZATION of the contemporary Christendom remains the same today; in fact, it is getting worse by the day!!! 

This, is No Bullshitting!

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 fifth 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. And, this is where I finally take my fist jab at some specific self-serving antics of funky pastors in Nigeria, and the effects on their zombified followers. My premise on this line of commentary is that no human is perfect; and this is spurred by my disgust at Nigerian Christians who have elevated clerics or “men of God” to the height of God Himself. This is a very dangerous trend that has done a lot of harm to many a Christian all over the world, including the infamous Guyana Tragedy. Funky pastors in Nigeria are not far from outdoing Reverend Jim Jones of the Guyana Tragedy with their new-wave born-again Christians. This has to be discouraged!

NON-DIVINE INFLUENCES IN THE CHRISTENDOM
There is no denying that since the inception of Christianity to the present day, non-divine factors have influenced the religion, the bible, its interpretation, and its doctrines in various ways. Some of those influences were based on regional, cultural, political, and personal conditions/considerations and wants; others were based on the period of time that the influences happened. And, in many cases, the influences, especially the regional, cultural, and period-elated ones, were actually necessary/desirable and positive in various ways for various peoples (cultures) of the world; while others were negative and definitely undesirable. Some of the negative influences happened out of honest or sincere human error; while others were advertently and mischievously instituted and perpetrated for selfish interests.

I do recognize that some of us humans who instituted or propagated some of our Christian doctrines—such as the Popes, Archbishops, Pentecostal Overseers, down to the regular pastors and priests—are more pious, or at least, they are supposed to be more pious than the rest of us by virtue of their divine calling and special anointing. However, we still have two problems on our hands as we talk about who and what to believe in matters of Godliness:

  1. How do we know who are genuine amongst the zillions of fraudsters that parade themselves as “man of God” these days?
  2. Even those who are genuine and are believed to be anointed are not perfect human beings! They may be more righteous than the rest of us, but they are still human all the same; they have human flaws—every single one of them!!! A simple research shows 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 tied to the stake and 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 15 th 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—ystematic 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 in Nigeria quite alright; 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, mischief, and evil. 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.

If you investigate any Christian Church today—especially the Pentecostal ones in Nigeria and the USA—you will, I repeat, you will discover some evil mess going on behind closed doors’ without one single exception. You may find that one deacon or the other is scheming against another for the next opening for promotion; or one individual, perhaps select individuals, are scheming to embezzle church funds; or a married pastor is scheming to have sex with a naïve chorister or any “sister” in the church; maybe even somebody’s wife. The list can go on, and on, and on! And I have only mentioned the little stuff actually, leaving out the big stuff like assassinations, as highlighted in “The Da Vinci Code.” Oh, sure, the Catholic Church wants us to believe the argument that the book is all fiction, and the contents are all figments of Dan Brown’s imagination. But any discerning mind understands
that such schemes did and do exist within the religions of the world. Whether we admit it or not, there are always ‘monsters’, as well as the ‘good guys’ all around us in whatever society that we are, be it religious or secular community. So, we must be careful who we trust in the name of Christ!

NON-MISCHIEVOUS HUMAN ERRORS & LANGUAGE MATTERS
I have very elementary examples of non-divine influences of man in the bible, which is not necessarily intentionally mischievous. I start with the simple matter of human typographical or similar errors in the compilation of the bible, which—with the constant periodic revisions—could have happened any time between the first English bible and today. For instance, I detected a clear error in the “Latino Heritage” version of the bible, in the Book of Amos 4, verse 4, which says, “Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three days…” Logics from the rest of the contents of the passage, and a look at other bible versions, including “King James Version (KJV)” and the “New International Version (NIV),” reveal that the correct phrase is three years, and not three days. You can check and see for yourself; the error is still there for you to see!

TRANS-LINGUISTIC FACTOR
We cannot leave out trans-linguistic factor—the fact that meanings often change, albeit very slightly sometimes, when a word or phrase is translated from one language to another. Such deviation, very slight though some may be, can cause sizeable incongruity problems. It is common knowledge that some books (the Old Testament) of the bible were originally in ancient Hebrew and Aramaic; and the New Testament in Greek. And then, the first English translations were written in what I call the ancient syntax, which now had/have to undergo another translation into our contemporary grammar. Now, unless these translations were/are truly entirely supervised by God—which we already know did not quite happen—the end results have been liable to be fraught with human trans-linguistic errors. 

Hence, some of the words or phrases in the various versions of English bible today may not be purely what the authors meant when they wrote them in the original Hebrew and Aramaic and Greek. Indeed, even the contemporary English versions, do not use the same words across the board; they interchange synonyms of varying degrees of meaning. Take the simple matter of the words city and town; the King James Version (KJV) of the bible may use ‘city’ in same passage that the New International Version (NIV) prefers to use ‘town.’ This may not be the best example to cite because the difference may not be significant. However, for the momentary want of another more significant example, it will suffice to make my point. You and I know that the two words are not exactly the same meaning—generally, they mean basically the same thing, but a town is not as large as a city. Does the word in the original Hebrew text say ‘city,’ or does it say ‘town,’ or does it use both words? Depending on the circumstance, it may make a little difference if we know exactly the one in the original Hebrew text!

Apply this insignificant example to more significant words or phrases, and then you may appreciate my argument here. I will take this even closer home with the version of the bible in my own Igbo language. In this case, by the
grace of God, I have enough grasp of both the English and my vernacular languages to know that the translation is definitely, certainly not anywhere near perfect in terms of exact meanings. Heck, some of my Igbo words are not even existent in English, not exactly! Hence, the translators had to make do with the closest that they could find, which, obviously took away some of the meanings intended by the original translation from Hebrew or Latin. So, my Igbo Christian brethren who can only read the Igbo bible are actually affected by second or third generation of trans-linguistic errors. I am not bullshitting ya, meeeeeeeeeen!!!

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