Religious ignorance is struggling to rewrite African history

By Ezugwu Okike (Ed)

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“The work they started is now being perfected by Pentecostal superstition and uneducated zeal, Away from disputable history, I daresay that no ancestral curse is plaguing any part of Africa”

I noticed a friend’s worried countenance and persistent moodiness, and tried to know why. A pastor had been to their village. After dancing around, the fellow fingered a spot and told them that a young man was captured and buried alive there, by their remote ancestors. As you should expect, the vengeful and restless spirit of the victim is pestering the village.
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I burst out, laughing contemptuously. For a start, there is no piece of evidence in all the world to show that the pastor was telling the truth. It was nothing more than the uncreative imagination of a sharper about to cash out. The purpose of this article, therefore, is not to dwell on that outrageous farce. Thankfully, it has supplied a spark for another discussion.
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Right before our eyes, Pentecostal ignorance is trying to rewrite history. Every attempt at rewriting history had been characterized by making the victim look like the aggressor. European scholars—I have not studied enough to comment on them—have tried with notable energy to present Africa as the land of barbarism and primitive crimes. The work they started is now being perfected by Pentecostal superstition and uneducated zeal. When a pastor visits a village for “deliverance”, he says that their ancestors buried people alive and committed other untellable atrocities. Thus, blackmailed and guilt-stricken, the villagers start weeping and let them fall upon precious rarities and old trees. I don’t have to add again that this is always a swindle.
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There are definitely records of barbaric practices in Africa during mankind’s long nights from prehistory. But these would only pale in comparison to the heart-stopping barbarisms which happened in Europe and other parts of the world. And to imagine that the two religions now judging Africa’s past originated from the Middle East. How do they talk stuff like that while still holding the bible? The Old Testament looks like some blood chilling catalogue of horrific tidings. Pastor should first sit down and read about Amalek. Saul lost his kingship for sparing a few living things there. Infants, pregnant women and nursing mothers were in the slaughter list. The crime of Amalek was trying to prevent a violation of their border and territorial integrity. To marry Saul’s daughter, David had to cut the foreskins of 400 Philistines. I hope you know the meaning of the old word? Pastor cannot condemn those wholesale atrocities. In fact, Jehovah is praised for great victories over his enemies.
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Away from disputable history, I daresay that no ancestral curse is plaguing any part of Africa. As recent as between 1941 and 1945, German soldiers raked up 6,000, 000 Jews and burnt them for fuel. The Germans are unarguably one of the most prosperous people in the world today. Within the same era, America let a nuclear bomb fall upon Japanese civilians. 129, 000 human beings perished. For centuries, Europeans traded on Africans like property. If an African woman gave birth in a slave ship, it was ripped open and offered the sea. This unspeakable inhumanity was supported by the “Holy Bible”. I smiled when I saw this in a footnote to Jack London’s Iron Heel;
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“In 1835 A.D., the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church resolved that: “slavery is recognized in both the Old and the New Testaments, and is not condemned by the authority of God.” The Charleston Baptist Association issued the following, in an address, in 1835 A.D.: “The right of masters to dispose of the time of their slaves has been distinctly recognized by the Creator of all things, who is surely at liberty to vest the right of property over any object whomsoever He pleases.” The Rev. E. D. Simon, Doctor of Divinity and professor in the Randolph-Macon Methodist College of Virginia, wrote: “Extracts from Holy Writ unequivocally assert the right of property in slaves, together with the usual incidents to that right. The right to buy and sell is clearly stated. Upon the whole, then, whether we consult the Jewish policy instituted by God himself, or the uniform opinion and practice of mankind in all ages, or the injunctions of the New Testament and the moral law, we are brought to the conclusion that slavery is not immoral.”
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Europeans, I suppose, got vaccinated against retributive justice. Well, that is good. Finally, when I see people trooping to Jerusalem and Mecca for pilgrimage, I only see the triumph of imperialism. Africa is, by a good degree, the holiest land on earth. Only few wars and bloodletting happened here. When holiness becomes the chief criterion for pilgrimage, the destinations will change.


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