By Maynard Manyowa
A few weeks ago, while perusing my newsfeed on Facebook, I was confronted by a shocking story. The headline read – “Pastor Makes Congregants Suck His D*ck In Church, Claims It Has Holy Milk”
A few weeks before that, newspapers in Zimbabwe had reported that a Prophet Had Died In The Mountains While Fasting For 30 Days Like Jesus, another had, Died After Asking Family To Bury Him Alive So He Could Resurrect On Day Three Like Jesus, while aSouth African Prophet Made Congregants Chew Live Snakes
Not long ago, Ghanaian papers published repulsively competing and similar stories, aPastor Tried To Walk On Water Like Jesus Did, and Drowned In Front Of Congregants.
A Kenyan Pastor Asked Women to Remove Their Underwear in Church So That God Could Enter Their Bodies, while a Zimbabwean Church Invited Strippers to Perform In Church.
Right, Given all this…..
I usually stay clear of matters of religion.
My reason is that, as with all matters that deal with institutionalized beliefs and systems, extreme offense is easily taken even when none is offered even in the mildest of insinuations.
Sense and reason are spontaneously and shamelessly thrown out of the window, and brazen bare knuckle fighting becomes the buy one and get one free order of the day.
No one is willing to listen to any divergent opinions, let alone entertain the idea that what they hold sacrosanct as to be unquestionable must face an acid test of sorts.
In public discourse the rational disposition is to seek to persuade others while remaining open to be persuaded by them.
Whereas adherents seek to persuade (convert) others, they are not open to being persuaded by them.
To borrow from contemporary language, the dialogue goes nowhere fast.
The vanguards of wisdom will always tell you that, for the end to justify the means, the end must be justifiable in itself, and to this end discussion and dissertation must bring enlightenment to the participants.
But when it comes to matters of religious debate that is rarely the case.
For this reason among many others, I usually stay clear of engaging in matters of religion, especially Christianity.
But some instances are too extreme to ignore, too disturbing to turn a blind eye to and too stomach turning to escape deliberation.
After all, evil triumphs when good men, or in this instance philosophers say nothing.
A Problem Of Faith
Over the last two months there has been an upsurge in cases of absurd beliefs and ritualism.
There have been several calls for some form of intervention as many are blaming contemporary pastors for what they term, ‘perversion of scripture’.
A few learned comrades have on the contrary blamed the gullible congregants who partake in these sick practices.
All this is well, and holds true water.
Except that, it is the duty of any philosophical mind worth its salt to indulge beyond what meets the eye.
To put it in simpler words, both scapegoats (pastors and congregants) are more apparent than real.
I will be extremely frank. Whilst some degree of blame rests with the Pastors and some with their congregants too, it is only in minimal proportions.
The problem we see today is the result of faulty religion, and to this end the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of the entire creed of Christianity in all its forms and varieties.
To begin with Christianity is built upon the sacred value of ‘Unquestioning Faith’.
In simpler words, submission to alien values that defeat common sense is Godly, while questioning analysis is evil, satanic and demonic.
To the true Christian it does not matter that the bible has several inconsistencies. It does not matter that the bible makes fundamental errors about creation, age of earth and many more. It does not matter that the bible supports things like slavery, burning of witches, stoning of victims of rape, and many other unspeakables. It matters not, that all evidence points to the non-existence of a God.
To the ‘discerning’ Christian, what matters is that they believe, and God instructs them that a man who believes is guaranteed eternal life, over a man who questions any ludicrousness.
It is this same tendency to believe against reason that the bible was used as a tool for the trio of evils that is misogyny, slavery and colonization. It is the same tendency that has led some to genuinely believe that holy milk lives in the privates of their pastors, or that raw snake can taste like chocolate.
A belief is an acceptance of things that otherwise make no sense, offer no evidence and are flawed bottom up.
In other words, Christianity exalts gullible believers, blind faith adherents, and open mouth – shut mind followers.
In the while, it discourages rigorous analysis, testing of beliefs, and questioning of evils.
For this reason, intentionally or by cunning coincidence, the creed opens itself up to exploitation by clever men and women who have no other intention than self-gratification at the expense of the gullible. Be it millionaire prophets, slave masters, or evil racists like the KKK (FYI a murderous but strict Christian group)
But it cannot just end there, … A Deeper Problem!
While the religion is flawed as I argue, and creates sitting ducks out of its flocks, while creating monstrous shepherds out of its leaders, we must understand that illogicality and barbarism are central to the dogma of Christianity.
You see, although Christians revel in the romanticized notion of a loving God, the biblical illustration is to the shocking contrary.
In the bible God instructs the ruthless murders of 2.2 million people, and that excludes the floods and Sodom and Gomora where actual numbers are not given. The actual number could easily surpass a billion.
For their loyalty, the likes of Moses and Aaron were rewarded with a license to commit Grand Genocide, and murder men, women, children and disabled people. They were allowed to Rape, commit Arson, Abduct and Kidnap, all as a reward for their loyalty to God.
Abraham, a serial child abuser, was instructed to murder his own child to prove his love for God. Lot offers his daughters for gang rape, and they later commit incest with their father. All to please God?
Clever readers will realize that it is impossible to reconcile the notion of a loving God based on this.
What is most indicting, and central to the subject at hand is that Jehovah himself exercised no discretion.
By all biblical accounts he instructed murders, rape, genocide, battery, denigration of women’s rights, and promoted misogyny, bigotry, and homophobia. In several instances, he indulges in the spectacular bizarre and instructs extreme slaughters.
All of which points to my assertion. Christianity may have gone to the dog as we would like to believe, but the evidence available is that Christianity has always been the dog itself. Devouring its own, and repeatedly pulling out the shockers.
The entire creed has a rude history of absurdities and atrocities and what we see today is simply a contemporary manifestation of what Christianity really is and always has been.
After all, Jehovah does not change, he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. (Malachi 3 v 6)
Enough Said, This Is Africa!
This article first appeared on News 24 Voices.