NTOABOMA—Someone recently asked me what God we worshipped in Ntoaboma? I proudly exclaimed that in Ntoaboma, most folks worshiped the same Gods that our ancestors worshiped. Of course, with a few exceptions. Curiously, this answer stirred up distant emotions in my new friend, who quickly retorted, “And so why is Ntoaboma poor?”
My first reaction was to laugh. But, on second thought I let the laughter slip away into an obvious anger: an anger well situated within an emasculating frown. I asked my newfound friend about how he became aware that Ntoaboma, of all places in Ghana, was poor? Instead of an answer he returned more questions: what the average income was in Ntoaboma; what the average educational level was in Ntoaboma; what types of industries we had in Ntoaboma, and so on and so forth.
So I asked him: What has average income, average level of education and types of industries got to do with God? Does God give average income? Does God give his followers an average level of education? Does God build industries?
Of course, God doesn’t give or build any of these. Humans do. My friend came to agree with me after several minutes. And so I followed: If it is human beings who give or build these things, then it follows that human beings can also destroy or deny these things to themselves and to others. In other words, human beings can prevent other human beings from building and giving these things to themselves and to others.
That is, when you chance upon a village like Ntoaboma, and you gather that the people are generally poor, the question you ask is what resources we have in Ntoaboma, and how we are utilizing them. For poverty is a direct result of the lack or deprivation of resources. Not what God we worship!
You see, the question of interest almost always guides the conclusion. For instance, when your question of interest is about what God(s) is worshiped in Ntoaboma, versus what God is worshiped in London, you will be led to conclude certain things about correlations: that the Italian Jesus (Ita-Jesus) is good, and Shango is bad.
(The popular image of the Jesus among Christians today is that of an Italian man. Of course, Jesus could not have been Italian. Most probably, Jesus was a dark-skinned, woolly-haired man according to descriptions in the Christian literature. Therefore the idea of a Jesus with pale skin, flowy Italian hair, and Scandinavian blue-eyes cannot be any further from the truth. What many think is Jesus today hence is an Anti-Jesus).
Put another way, correlations conceal hidden truths. The paralogism that Anti-Jesus is good, and Shango is bad will not hold in the face of direct scrutiny: Does God give average income? Does God give his followers an average level of education? Does God build industries? Of course not. More, if Anti-Jesus was so great and the people who worshiped him (Antijesusans) more saintly than the Ntoaboma people who worship Shango (Shangoans), how come that after two hundred years of Antijesusan colonization in Ntoaboma Anti-Jesus has still yet to make Ntoaboma look like London?
There’s another explanation, but we need first to ask the correct question in order that we can arrive at the right answer. What are the resources in Ntoaboma and how are they utilized? Not what God is worshiped in Ntoaboma! With the correct question one will arrive at the correct explanation as follows: (1) Ntoaboma has resources like gold, bauxite, cocoa, and Ntoaboma can feed itself, and so (2) why are the people poor, or yet, where are these resources going when it is clearly not entering the people’s pockets?
If one is bright enough, or yet, if one dares to stare the truth in the face, one would quickly realize that the Antijesusans from London trading with their caretakers in Ntoaboma are a bunch of thieves. The Antijesusans come to Ntoaboma with something they know that God has already given to Ntoaboma (resources) and they say if Ntoaboma can compromise (believe in another God) then they can have these resources. Meanwhile these Antijesusans steal, loot and plunder Ntoaboma’s resources.
The devil comes with something he knows that God has already given to you and he says that if you can compromise then he will give it to you. The devil knows that Ntoaboma is rich in resources but he comes to Ntoaboma with the promise that if we bow to his Italian Jesus (and his European ways) then Ntoaboma can have riches. But the devil already knows that Ntoaboma is rich, and that Ntoaboma need not bow to Europe’s ways in order to be successful!
(Remember that this is the last test that devils dish out before they have launched their evil wars on you. According to one Christian narrative, the devil once tried Jesus, asking the son of God to bow down to him in return for the whole world. The devil knew that Jesus was the son of God, and that the whole world in fact belonged to the Christ. But in the devil’s last temptation of Jesus before he had launched perpetual war on the Christ the devil begs Jesus to just bow down to him and have the whole world. And Jesus said, take note, “For what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul to the devil?”
Most of Ghana’s leaders have made that evil compromise with themselves and with their devils: with their trading partners, with their former colonizers, with their former rapists, murderers, and former abusers. Most of Ghana’s elite have been compromised by the devil. The devil has promised them riches in London, New York and Paris while the devil plunders the riches in Ntoaboma and beyond. Most of Ghana’s elite have sold their souls to the devil in return for the riches in London, New York, LA and Paris. They do this because they are unaware that they’ve always had these riches right here in Ntoaboma: the gold bracelet, the copper-roofed brick home and the elaborate tilapia dish!
And so for the lack of knowledge among Ghana elite, my people in Ntoaboma perish! There’s only one way out: to escape oppression one cannot be equally yoked with those who do not believe that you are being oppressed; to escape oppression one cannot be equally yoked with those who are unaware that you are under an evil siege. One cannot be equally yoked with unbelievers.
Many of us, in Ghana, have become “used to anything. The less we think about our oppression, the more our tolerance for it grows. After a while, Shangoans all across the country just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, we have to become acutely aware of being slaves.” (Paraphrased). “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” (Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography).
The first stage of breaking away from the devil is to lose the devil’s religion and adopt your own. That is, we must in every sense lose the idea of this Italian saviour — for there’s no such thing.