August 30, 2022


Greetings, folks!

This is Harry Agina with edition 2 of my little series, “On The Legitimacy of African Religions.”   Naturally, when an issue of legitimacy of anything comes up, that means that somebody somewhere is challenging its legitimacy. Yes, indeed, African religions are being demonized by non-other than the Africans themselves. Something makes this so idiotically ironic, and I will tell you what, pronto! The “white man” demonized the religions and other elements of the African Culture some centuries ago. Today, progressive, and tolerant “white man” has admitted that his forefathers, and maybe even his father, were wrong. But no, some idiotic Africans now insist that the ancient “white man” was correct to demonize our culture. How idiotic can a person get!!!

I am talking about a particular bunch of Pentecostal Church idiots in Africa who are not proud of their African Culture, and they want it to go extinct. This is edition 2 of my series to challenge their idiotic war against our African Culture. I must state this thematic question each time: Does Christianity (or any other religion) have monopoly of right of way to God? In other words, is Christianity, or Islam, the only religion in the world that truly worships God as some members of those religion claim?

My own answer to my question is, hell doggone no! I insist that all religions that profess to worship the same Almighty God are legitimate. The only requirement is to follow what I call the Godly template, the Ten Commandments of God. In the last edition, I introduced my TV documentary investigation into the controversy of the legitimacy of the African religions. That was in the 1990s. My geographical sampling spanned from North America (USA and Mexico) to Central America (Belize), to Europe (London), and then seven countries in Africa. I eventually expanded it “Down-Under” when I made an unrelated trip yonder.

In case you didn’t know, Down-Under is a colloquial nickname for Australia and New Zealand. Indeed, it is used for the entire countries on the Pacific Island. If you didn’t know that, don’t feel unenlightened, or something, please. I didn’t know it myself until a month or so before my trip to Australia, late in 1998. The story about the reason for, and the origin of the nickname is for another day. As usual, I do have the link to the last edition for you at the end of this, as usual.

Before I dive into the documentary trip, I will state once again that true relationship with God is not much about your religion. It’s mostly about your own personal spiritual relationship with God. In turn, your relationship with God is determined by your righteousness. And, yes, there are certainly a bunch of Africans in the traditional African religions who are more righteous than 99.9 percent of the professed Christians of the world. Some are probably more righteous than the entire Christians of the world, period!!!

“I’m a Methodist Christian, and Christians have Christ. The Muslims have Prophet Mohammed, and the others, including African traditionalists, believe in various media to reach God.” Those were the words of Dr. Robert Childress in Texas, USA, back in 1998. He’s the presiding pastor of Covenant Glen United Methodist Church, in Missouri City; a suburb of Houston, Texas, USA. Dr. Childress is African American, and he has PhD in theology. “They can all get the same result, as long as the members have true faith and do the right thing,” he concluded.

Deji Oladimeji, a professor of African Studies at the University of Lagos, in Lagos, Nigeria, took Dr. Childress’s view one step further. He said, “In Africa, the belief in God had been there long before the white man came along with Christianity, and before the arrival of the other religions on the continent. Our forefathers had their own forms of traditional religions. And I believe that they were doing just fine in spirituality and righteousness. You cannot tell me that they all went to hell when they died, just because they didn’t know your Jesus.”

The last sentence by Deji was the essence, or the driving force behind my TV documentary production. Misguided African Christians may demonize African traditional religions to thy kingdom come if they want to. But it would be stupid of anyone to say that Africa has no Saints. True Sainthood is defined by one thing, and one thing only. In simple language, that’s righteousness in the eye of God. Mind you, I’m not talking about some of the so-called Sainthood of the contemporary world, which are pronounced by ordinary man.

More than ever, Nigerians have gone spiritual in recent times. Everybody is desperately in search of solutions to their mounting social problems. The problems progressively get worse as society continues to degenerate under corrupt evil leadership. Some go about it in the Christian way, or the Moslem way, while others take the traditional way out. Be it Christian, Islamic, or traditional way, objective observers and scholars have one conclusion. A believer could get to the right destination, depending on his own personal sincerity, righteousness, and faith in God. It is not based on the religion of the believer. It’s all about being a good person, regardless of what religion one belongs to. This is my cue to the subject of good and bad in everything.

“There are evil traditionalists, otherwise called witch doctors, who give the traditionalists a bad name. They use their powers to kill and hurt their fellow human beings,” said Professor Oladimeji. “And, of course, there are many quacks who pretend to be what they are not. But all that does not mean that African traditional religions are categorically bad. It only means that you have good people as well as evildoers in the traditional religions.”

And then, of course, the pertinent point that must come up is that there are even more evil persons in Christianity, and all the other religions, too. “You find a lot of armed robbers and killers that profess to be Christians, but we don’t go around accusing all Christians of murder; or do we?”

Those were my own words, exactly! But this time, it came from Dr. Deji Oladimeji. Many Nigerian Christians, especially pastors, disagree with this view, which is widely held by their American, European, Belizean, and Australian counterparts. Unlike the pastors in those other regions, the Nigerian pastors that I spoke with categorically maintained that the African religions are evil. Indeed, most of them also insisted that the only right way to the Almighty God is through Jesus Christ. I had a favorite follow-up question, thus: “Are you saying then, that you actually believe that only Christians, who constitute less than a quarter of the world population will eventually enter the heavenly kingdom of God?”

Contrary to the views of their American, Belizean, Australian, and European counterparts, a majority of my respondent African Christian pastors answered categorical ‘yes’ to that question. They insisted that all the other religions are not worshiping God. Some of them simply referred me to various passages in the Holy Bible. Variously, those verse present Jesus Christ as the Savior, the Way, the truth, and the light. My investigation was not all about pastors, mind you; I spoke with a whole lot of regular people, too, including a group of white US Marines that I met at the “Yeke-Yeke Traditional Festival” in Togo, West Africa.

This is where I give you my “cliff-hanger” for this edition. Remember, we are talking about the legitimacy of all the religions that worship the Almighty God. We shall enter the next edition with my discussion with the American Marines in Togo, West Africa. At this point, what they said to me, and what they did at the festival, are for me to know, and for you to find out. And, of course, for you to find out, you’ve got to tune in to the next edition (Part 3) of this series.

Do remember, we are keeping the best parts for last. They include the an illustration of the worship of the same Almighty God in the African traditional way. This is where we bring our series on Kola-nut, the “Holy Communion-cum-prayer” nut of the Igbo tribe of Nigeria. Until then, bye for now, from Harry Agina

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