Religion is one topic I would normally avoid because of its sensitivity and expected controversy. However, there is just one part of it that I just have not been able to ignore – the concept of control. I was out a few days back, and I listened to the opinion of a very passionate African who believed we were better off with the way things were in terms of religion around here. He explained that our religion and gods back then, controlled us and did a better job of keeping us in check. For those who have no idea about how the precolonial religions of Africa were, let’s just say the lot of them were a lot more ‘drastic’ than we have today, and were accorded a lot of fear induced respect as a result. Basically, if you swore to one of the predominant ‘gods’ back then, lightening might strike you under the burning sun. Quick disclaimer: I wasn’t born then and I haven’t experienced none of that stuff, so… yea.
Anyway, he explained how most Africans now go uncontrolled and unchecked because of the way religion is taken lightly. If a thief entered into a house and saw one of the holy books that westernization and *yawns* the Whites brought to us, they would simply shove it aside and continue their ‘job’. Also, in our courtrooms, people did not dare lie, having sworn on the other more ‘violent’ gods that were being worshipped. Today, that ‘truth-jerker’ is out and apparently, some people are not so pleased about it. Of course, I refuse to shoot myself in the leg by picking out any of these precolonial religions and comparing them to those that came alongside westernization for the complete eradication of ignorance or illiteracy. I would also not bother explaining whether or not I believe in all the supernatural mumbo jumbo that floats around this topic. But, really, we have to face it sooner or later – Blacks need to stop blaming Whites for everything. As Minna Salami puts it, it’s lazy.
Till today, especially post westernization, Religion is evidently a choice. However, in terms of nationally practiced religions – like swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in the court of law of any African system, I would go with keeping the general sanity of a people over enforcing extreme control. Humans generally have a knack for wishing for things they really do not want. If at all we did, we want to be on the side that is advantageous to us at every point in time. Do we really want to have unexplainable occurrences in our national courtrooms? If at all those gods were as brutal and unforgiving as we have been made to believe, are we really going to trade our sanity, literacy, and the mercy that we apparently enjoy by following new truths, for fire and war? The beauty about control is that it is not made available to the masses. If it were, not only would we all be dead, but there would exist no control in the first place.
For those who believe our cultures and traditions have been watered down as a result of the newness we have opted for religiously, let us not forget about the power of unity – at least for peace sakes. Back then, people accorded respect and attributed power to gods that their fathers worshipped or their communities believed in. With the thousands of cultures, belief systems, and the simple demographics of the numerous communities within the 54 countries of Africa, then you would agree with me that we would have had a major disaster on our hands. In any case, religion is still a matter of choice, but I would stand with the simplicity national leaders in Africa have opted for – let’s stick to mercy even as we fight for justice.
If you have a different opinion, kindly leave a comment.