top of page

Does misery helps the belief in God? The case of Africans from the continent and the Diaspora

God created man, or man created a God to the best of its aspirations? A fundamental issue when it comes to understand the meaning of faith and belief in God. Since earth has been earth, with the mankind living on top of it, the belief in a divine being , creator of the world and the universe was founded in the questioning of the first humans on earth, who came to the rational conclusion that the world in which they lived was too well arranged, to be a mere accident or a spontaneous creation. A posture that without necessarily questioning the theories of big bang of our era, admits de facto that the big bang itself was already something well thought. Who had the idea to create a big bang which later would create life on earth? If not a force controlling the same big bang that used it for purposes that we all live today. The African animist sees God everywhere, a God that is embodied in everything that contributes to life on earth; and he needs no particular religion to interact with God, for God, according to African wisdom, also animates human beings of his mind, hence the term animist.

It is interesting to note that the Congolese greetings with the term Mbote Na Yo implies that the light is on you, far from wishing good day, that means a day filed with goods, as in the West, rather the African wish light ; since God's light is the real wealth. This philosophy is better explained by the Congolese writer Nsaku Kimbembe Sengele, who writes "Mbote means get the right light I received myself "or" burn you too from divine fire, as I burn from the divine fire "or "burns so can you enlight." Whoever send the greetings transmits the fire, and whoever accepts it, accepts this fire. "

The Abrahamic religions that came later were mostly liable to the need of a certain socialization of humanity. Socialization that brought, the concept of hierarchy and domination of some over others. Also with these religions, including Christianity and Islam, which are the main driving forces, God can be reached only by adhering to certain worship well-defined by a duly appointed prophet by God himself. A God whose son and worthy prophets are not necessarily black Africans, has turned Negroes, the black sheep of the Abrahamic religions. Why God a fair being has done things so well that Africans are not worthy to receive the scoop of his will and his teaching in prime? African might not speak the same language with God that might be the reason why they didn’t have the privilege of receiving the light of His divine wisdom, without bypassing others who came from the West and from the East to impose their religions? The African purists will say without doubt that the Bible and the Koran tell the stories of the winners and that if there’s no text that relate experiences of African mysticism with God, this does not imply that there has not been, an African prophet, at the example of Simon Kimbangu, the Congolese mystic who spent the major part of his life in captivity in colonial prisons, and never had the opportunity to develop his ministry. In any case the situation of faith in the world is riddled with a paradigm of servitude and control that unfortunately puts the black man in disadvantage, even in the eyes of God, as understood by these imported religions. Also religion and belief in God have therefore taken a racialist coloring, so that now there is an important corollary between religion and assimilation of a certain group of individuals to dogmas. Belief in God and religions which closely are intertwined, are manifested mutatis mutandis in material life. The spiritual life directly influencing the material life, as formerly understood by the African animist who defined the rational link between material life and spiritual life, between thought and action, between the spiritual energy that gives life to liquids, solids, gaseous bodies. The African animist also admits that each entity is animated by a separate spirit that one invokes the favors regarding the needs, for example when it’s too dry, the spirit of the rain will be rightfully invoked. These spirits according to the animists, each contribute to the harmony of life, fulfilling distinct functions in a sort of government headed by the supreme spirit God, animism is thus distinguishing itself from Western paganism that has a Pleiades gods more or less equal, since it recognizes one God, but admits that the Supreme God has delegated certain powers to sub gods. Regardless of its name, from Amen Ra, to Zambé this supreme God remains the same, this fact and more others proves that monotheism is not the sole prerogative of the Abrahamic religions. The evolution of Western belief in God from the middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution through the Enlightenment centuries devoted the belief in the omnipotence of the Cartesian and rational science. This situation will help in another sense the evolution of occult sciences focusing on the forces of the invisible and exhorting them to manifest physically by following a practical method, greatly inspired by concepts and rituals of traditional religion and rationalism. The Westerner greatly influenced by capitalism well-defined by the German scholar Max Weber 1864 – 1920, who in his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Die protestantische Ethik und der Geist des Kapitalismus) admits that the Protestant rationalism helped the people of northern Europe to accumulate wealth and to make profitable investments. Westerners in the same vein by directly seeking palpable results, will popularize the secret societies as the rose crosses or freemasonries, which were born in the Roman Catholic Church (Freemasonry Knights Templar, and Society of Jesus or Jesuits, the Rose Cross, Christian Schism, Templars, Huguenot, Cathar Protestantism, Martin Luther proudly wore the emblems of the rose cross) are all societies influenced by spiritualism, which is the material manifestation of spirits, which is used to influence life and events. Also it is common in the West to admit that the proved or not, alleged membership of some Western figures to secret societies defines their good or bad fortune, and therefore their importance in the social arena, While the control of different events that have marked for more than 500 years Western life, is often rightly or wrongly attributed to the networks of influence of the occult.

Similarly the Western monotheism beyond devoting one God, is a reflection of Western capitalist consciousness, instead of dealing with sub gods of his environment, will pass without further ado to the supreme God in capitalizing on the time and the impending results, to want heaven without dying sums up this idea. For the Africans of the continent and the Diaspora, the belief in God and everything related to the immaterial world is rather greatly influenced by the society in which they operate, and their daily life marked by misery, suffering and the desire of acceptance of others, is a burden that has made them beings with no intrinsic spiritual foundation, borrowing left and right contorted religious and spiritual elements that were yet better defined in their past with animism. This situation is highly prejudicial to Africans, this dichotomy and ambivalence between culture and imported precepts have made them an unprecedented spiritual hybrid species, an original grafted with altered imitations of its person...

Moreover the followers of Abrahamic religions, such as Christianity and Islam have for a long time assimilated religious dogmas imported, by adding an inculturation that seems to do more harm than good. In a kind of harmful alchemy many blacks have come voluntarily or involuntarily, to the conclusion that life itself should be something difficult and miserable, one must suffer if he (she) want to go to heaven, and better some would succeed only if God himself omniscient and omnipotent would have wanted so. By a smug paternalism some are clearing themselves from all wrong, when blaming their failures on this Father who is in heaven and that seems to be slow to fulfill the daily prayers of his children. A situation which is in direct antagonism with the principles of ancient Africans in animism, which had recognized to the man the ability to be inhabited by God, and therefore consequently to be able to decisively influence its destiny Instead of being a mere object in the hands of a God revered because of the fear in him. The concept of good and love is replaced by fear and submission, a principle which greatly prepared the minds of black peoples to slavery. Yet in the belief of the ancient African the man is an outgrowth of God by being animated by the divine flame, and to keep this flame and this divine good, man should behave in a certain way which moves him (her) away from evil, poverty, disease and others. The man respected God, because he has respect for itself. And better he had more to gain by following the principles related to good faith who were a great benefit for him, than the fear of the wrath of God that was in adverse a big prejudice. God's authority was not based on its wrath and anger but on the absolute good it provided. Also when things were bad the ancient African was not simply blaming God, he knew himself that he was somehow responsible, since he was part of that God. And necessarily he was always doing a self-questioning to know where he had failed himself, and done wrong to suffer the consequences. The wise african states : do not look where you fell rather look where you stumbled. like the causality rule the animistic African has since accepted the principle set out in Latin with the term Nequaquam vacuum, that implies the void space does not exist, because for him if the vacuum is called vacuum it’s not because it represents a vacant entity, but rather represents an entity filled with non-solid, material, like Earth's atmosphere which is filled with water, oxygen and other particles, that are not visible to the naked eye. One must live in harmony with these entities, as with the great whole which is God. The African wisdom states : "one do not see the wind, but can feel its effects". The relationship between God and humanity as defined by the animist will be taken over by Christianity in some of its passages, declaring the kingdom of God is within you. René Descartes later with the cogito ergo sum, "I think therefore I am" only reinterpret the expression of what was already known in ancient Africa, where artistic creation was very important. God created the world through his mind, and a man who thinks can create so he is also a kind of God or at least an outgrowth of the creator to whom he (she) is related. The same christians will state God designed man in his image.

However nowadays for Africans living on the continent and outside, things are so dramatic that they have finally understood that in this "white world", the most important is no longer the black clouds that plunge them in the abyss of misery, but the thunder lightning in the black sky, which are themselves a storm omen. Also when Africans wonder about their social condition there is always a feeling of "it could have been worse.” Thus they merely content themselves with the least, citing the worse instead of getting out of the least to excel. Forgetting that in a 3-point scale consisting of excellent, lower, and worse, when one excels it is twice as far from the worst, and while one is on the lower point it is just one step away from the worst.

The widespread poverty of black peoples has made the Africans from the diaspora and the continent, fervent believers in miracles. The social situation has reached the summits of the scandal, so much that one can logically only hope for a miracle, and rationally they put their mind to work in the miracle, affiliating themselves to any sect with healing power and social advancement, real or imagined. When faith remains, the opium of the little people by giving the illusion of escape from the moral and material misery, some Africans have understood that the occasion makes the thief, and willingly have joined Westerners in the quest for material enrichment by religion, at the simple difference that when the Westerners had to entertain Africans with religion to "ease them " of their wealth , the African crook finds his victims in his own community, sawing at the same time the tree branch on which he sits. By destroying its own community such African aspires unfortunately most often to be admitted in the community of other races, once that he has acquired the spoils of his crimes. It’s the case of African leaders who loot their countries of origin and take refuge in palaces in the West, and this is also the case of black celebrities who sell the destruction of the black community, by making propaganda of deviant behavior to similarly take refuge in the white community with the same spoils of their crimes.

By Hubert Marlin Elingui Jr.

Headline - A la une
In This Edition
bottom of page