NTOABOMA—When I was younger, the Christianity I struggled so hard to accept was not the Gospels per se. The Christianity I fought so hard to reject, was not even the acclaimed mission of the Christ for mankind (if one believes there’s any such thing). It was Christendom and the European white supremacist Christian mission in Ntoaboma that I despised above every other. From Martin Luther’s hatred of Africans to Dake’s love for American Segregation because of that hatred, I stood in the face of European terrorism (colonialism and slavery) and I rejected every White Jesus and all his disciples. I still own a copy of Dake’s Annotated Bible thanks to an early astute introduction to it by a dear brother, Sowah. So, I know, obviously what it is I speak of.

But, over the years, I became enamored by the likes of Benson Idahosa, Duncan Williams, Eastwood Anaba and such. My own kind. I was interested, yes, in their interpretations of the Gospels, given the narrow way the message had been delivered in Ntoaboma by European terrorists for two hundred years (with such colonial jingoisms like: “Blacks were cursed and Whites were here to save them”). More, I was interested in how these modern African disciples of The Christ felt the God they worshipped, and I was enthused about how they professed Their Christ.

Anyone who understands how relentlessly organized the Presbyterian Church is, how fiercely organized the Catholic Church is, and so many others like them, would quickly appreciate how difficult the thought was to start a Church from under a palm-shed in Ghana or Nigeria. But these men from Ghana and Nigeria did, and they did it quite successfully against all the odds, when most felt it was impossible to start churches from Africa. They did, and no matter their faults set a new standard! But who amongst us has never been at fault—isn’t this the power of the Gospel they have preached?

Through the likes of Idahosa, Duncan and many others, the power of the charismatism of the African soul was once again resurrected within the Gospel. These men should be celebrated, not because they were Christians, or preachers, or men of God (whatever that means), but for the fact that they had the balls, the bravura and the revolutionary verve (unlike most modern African men) not to only stand in spiritual contradistinction from the European Missionary Terrorism, but to invoke in the minds of spiritual leaders in Africa that it was not impossible to re-organize our spirituality in any form or shape against oppression, against depression, no matter the havoc already wrought on the minds and hearts of our people by colonial terrorists and the neocolonialists that came after them! These men followed in the footsteps of the long arc of the African Prophetic Tradition for spiritual liberation after most Africa Religions had been painted with broad brushes of sheer evil both by Christian Missions and Islam before it.

When I was a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. Now, I see in the mirror dimly that the Christianity so many people in Africa fight about and for, is not even the one in the Bible! It’s their faith in a new beginning coming up! The Prophetic Tradition. It’s their faith coming up! A necessary new beginning away from the suffering wrought by European terrorism on African lands—whether this is on a personal salvation basis or on a community-wide approach to breaking free; free from both the terrorists and those who have become their useful idiots.

In African tradition, salvation is fraternal, not individual. This is The African Prophetic Tradition. So, although I struggle with the personal touch of the Christian Doctrine (that salvation is between a man and his God), I accept that faith is everything—from the small things to the big things. Plus, I find it difficult to find evidence for the idea that faith is not everything! Faith defines the bounds and the limits of our dreams and aspirations. Faith is why we are here and why we accept to live no matter the odds. No matter our struggles. That is why it has the power to both liberate the individual and the community at large. No matter my struggle to accept it the way that it is, I am constantly reminded that faith rides above religious doctrine, above ideology and above the disciples of the African Prophetic Tradition themselves! My struggle is to accept those, no matter the details of their spirituality, who have laid down foundations for us to bounce around with copious amounts of faith in the African spirit, hoping for a brighter African future.

My struggle.

32 COMMENTS

  1. Some “struggle” that! Over the years people have come to regard charismatic churches as nuisance (coupled with noise-making, tithe collection and money). But folks need to understand the humble beginnings of such institutions in order to be able to speak honestly about them in an informed way. Thanks for sharing your innermost thoughts. Much respect.

  2. “faith rides above religious doctrine” but indoctrination and “terrorism” by our kind is do not. If the act of the Christian missionaries is considered as “terrorism”, then perpetuation of the same doctrines in an “African” way is still terrorism. It is the same as independence handed over to our fellow citizens to perpetuate the colonial masters programs. It is still not freedom and true independence. Look at how they are dressed in this picture, what is African about this? Or is it the Bull’s horn? A lie is still a lie not matter who uttered it.

    • That is in essence part of my struggle. A lie is a lie, and I do get your drift. But lies have power to move mountains too. Europe was built on the lie of The European Miracle. But Europe is built. Hence my struggle.

  3. When it comes to Christianity, a lot people confuse the message with the messenger. They’re NOT the same. If Europeans took advantage of Christianity for economic, financial and Social gain and advantage, Christianity is against that.
    Some years ago, an Anglican Bishop/Priest in England announced that he didn’t believe in God Almighty. He was asked to resign but said he wouldn’t.
    How do you condemn Christianity because of this Anglican Bishop/Priest?

  4. Great write-up. However as you mention of a struggle, I am struggling with ‘faith being everything ‘ just as I struggle with the assertion, ‘prayer being everything’ by many faith preachers.

  5. Koame Armachie, you’re struggling because you have to believe first. It is God Almighty Who gives faith. When the faith is strong, then your prayers get answered. It will then lead to righteousness, which God Almighty gives too, then finally, salvation.
    It is a lot of hard work. God has never said that when you’re a Christian, you won’t suffer hardship. You will go through real hardship which will test your faith. If you pass, you move up the plane spiritually. God Almighty will be with you all the when you keep on praying.
    It isn’t like drinking a cup of tea or light soup.

    • Are you saying believe and faith are same? Isn’t it in James that Satan even believes? What makes you think it’s unbelieve that creates the struggle?

    • Koame Armachie, you didn’t read my contribution very well. The first statement I made was:’You are struggling because you have to believe first’. This means that if you don’t believe, you will struggle. Then I went on to say that: ‘It is God Almighty Who gives faith.
      So, I never stated anywhere that believe and faith are the same, from these two statements.
      It is in the Bible if you don’t believe, you cannot please God in anyway. That’s the beginning, in the case of doubting faith, prayer, etc.
      After that the struggle continues but it is about perfection, which is not like drinking a cup of tea a or bowl of light soup.

    • Koame Armachie, remember that Satan was an Angel of God before he fell from grace. His problem is not believe. His problem is pride.

  6. Christianity is a daily walk with the Almighty God via Jesus Christ.Reading God’s word and practicing its content is the differentiation. We might have our beliefs,God knows us best.

  7. My question is: what do I have to believe? That Jesus is God or the son of God? That he had a virgin birth by a woman to get a human body (the only way to be human) but flew to heaven with the human body acquired on earth?

  8. Kwame Yeboah, I see your point. You are not wrong. But, I am not sure if what you believe actually matters in the grand scheme of Belief. Nor do I think it is even necessary to believe anything at all. Although (and this is the point I am trying to make about my struggle). It seems that those who Believe, and exercise a strong sense of belief in something or someone are more likely to believe something else, or someone else, sometimes even believe in ideas contrary to their beliefs. Why is this vital? For change and for good causes!

    For instance, Dake believed that Whites were created better than Blacks but then he also believed that God created all men equally. A contradiction in terms, except if one were to then proceed to believe that Blacks were not human. (America had at one point in time done just that and written the inhumanity of Blacks into law). But with time the humanity and equal humanity of Africanness became too much to hide, destroy and wipe out. Dake and America could no longer reject the idea of Blacks as men, or as equals, although what they wanted was contrary to their Belief: that all men were created Equal.

    Take for another instance, a person may be more likely to believe that Ghana can one day become the most powerful nation in the entire world. Others might shudder at the idea, but the person who has faith that one day he will rise into Heaven, can equally be called upon to believe that a Heaven can also be constructed here on Earth. I believe that if that person can be persuaded logically and spiritually to believe that Heaven could actually start out from Ghana, and nowhere else, we may just have a strong nation to build here in Ghana.

    All this is say the details of faith are very much inconsequential. The politics of faith have actual consequences. But faith is neutral, and it can be harnessed especially if the content of that faith is well-rooted in the interpretations of the politics of the home-country. This is why Idahosa, Duncan and Eastwood can be important to my brothers and sisters who are fellow Christians. To persuade large swaths of Christians in Ghana, one ought not to appeal to the Pope, or the Vatican. This is the spiritual, religious and political advantage that these men have given us in Ghana and Nigeria. And this is important for every nation. Control, religious or otherwise, must be contained from within, not without if a nation must rise above others, say. Idahosa and Duncan have broken some of the burdensome yoke of the Vatican on African minds in Ghana, and they have laid out a necessary religious and political foundation for our own tweaking. This is vital, I think!

  9. In other words, the crowd control should be in-sourced and not outsourced but the controlling ideology should be the same – “pile in the sky after your death”. My problem is this is the same tool fashioned by the white oppressors to control our minds and led to our underdevelopment. Shouldn’t our “struggle” be to liberate our mind so we can appreciate our worth – a very important condition for aspiring to be “the children of God”?

    • I agree. But I believe the “liberation struggle” can also be done in love. For after all, we live in the same country, and we suffer the same controlling white supremacist ideological mapping. To wrest power and instill a more balanced aspiration in God’s children, one has to show more love than the Vatican Church.

      But I don’t disagree that sometimes the Kingdom of Heaven must be taken by force! Sometimes the battle is carnal.

  10. Kwame Yeboah, God Almighty gave us a free choice to make decisions for ourselves. But remember that the decisions you take has consequences now and eternally.
    If you really want to know where to go, kneel down on your knees and pray passionately to God Almighty to teach you the way and He will.
    Do not use your human intelligence/logic to try to figure God Almighty’s mysteries because you won’t understand it. Your questions about Jesus’ birth is an example.

  11. My “choice to make decisions” has been fashioned by how I was brought up by my parents, community, society and education. Every step of this upbringing in Ghana is influenced by a foreign religious doctrine that teaches about our nothingness but heaven after we die; that makes fear to challenge blind untruths such as we can know God only through a foreign religion and pages of a book. God has always been with us and not through foreign or local Bishops.

  12. Kwame Yeboah, Christianity doesn’t only teach about waiting to only to enjoy in heaven it also teaches that you can enjoy right here on earth. Read below what Jesus Christ of Nazareth said about it:

    Matthew
    6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

    Read the whole chapter and you will understand ‘all these shall be added unto you.

    So you see, it isn’t true that you have to wait to go to heaven.
    People who want you to follow African Traditional Religion always deceive you that it is a foreign religion so it is bad.
    Why do you travel in cars, ships, aeroplanes? Why do you use English language? Why do you wear foreign clothing and eat foreign food? Are they all bad?
    You are being deceived.
    I’m saying it again: if you want the truth, kneel down and pray passionately to God Almighty, telling Him that you want the truth about religion and that if He’s the true God, He should show you the way. Continue praying passionately and He will answer you.

  13. Kenneth Quartey, Really! I don’t hate inventions because I am a scientist. But these inventions are not exclusive of a foreign race. What I am against is the mental enslavement particularly through religion that makes the enslaved unable to think and invent things. Christianity is not responsible for all you have listed above but science and technology are. We did not start wearing clothes, sail in boats and eat food after Jesus was born. In fact we stopped inventing our own after we became born-again. I am a professor in the largest Christian University in America so I don’t hate Jesus Christ. I think that our biggest problem is that Christians DO NOT KNOW HIM. There is nothing liberating about wearing foreign clothes or speaking English language. In fact there is everything stupid and unGodly about doing that at home in Africa.

    • Kwame Yeboah, I never said you hate inventions. I said that if you say Christianity is a foreign Religion so you don’t like it, why do you accept foreign manufactured products like cars, planes, clothing, etc?.
      Mind you, the enslavement you are talking about is not only through Religion but what about Education, Arts and Culture, monetary systems, financial systems and so forth?
      You just hate Christianity. Just admit it.

  14. Kenneth Qaurtey paaa!!! Awurade.

    Kenneth Quartey, you realize that you are changing the subject? Read what Narmer wrote again. It is no endorsement of Christianity. Narmer makes the claim that Faith is good, no matter the form in which it comes – whether it’s Christian, Vodun or Islamic. He seems to believe, at least in this essay, that even if people have Faith in the “heavenly” narrative, that is, about the spiritual realm and life after death, they can also actually believe in what others might think is impossible. The capacity to believe in a God no one has seen is equal to the capacity to believe in a militarily powerful and prosperous Ghanaian future many might disbelieve today. For instance, many might think it impossible for Ghana to become the most powerful nation in the world in A.D. 2100, but it takes Faith, or a group of people with Faith, to actually believe that it is possible in order that they might work towards it. Faith then is more important in nation building than any other attribute.

    Which brings us to Idahosa, Duncan and the rest. They believed against the odds that it was not impossible to build a Church from Ghana or Nigeria, whether other Ghanaians believed in Jesus or not. In the same way that if a group of men believed that Ghana would become the most powerful nation in 2100 would have to have faith to fight against the odds of today in order to work towards that goal.

    In sum, Narmer is saying that Idahosa, Duncan and the rest had manly balls to believe and do whatever they set their minds to: whether one believed in a Jesus or a Powerful Ghanaian future, or not! He has not endorsed Christianity, but the character of the men it took to start truly African Churches! Ebei! The difference is not insignificant!

  15. Dade Afre Akufu, you didn’t get what I wrote. I didn’t change the subject. Rather, I was pointing out that there is only one God Almighty. If he wants the truth, Kwame Yeboah can kneel down on his knees and ask God Almighty to show him the truth.
    Despite his belief in other faiths, he can still kneel down and ask God Almighty to show him the real faith. This a simple matter. I didn’t even mention the name of Jesus Christmas of Nazareth because I know that when he does so, he will the Truth, the Way and the Life.

  16. Kenneth Quartey, How do you know that when Kwame Yeboah kneels that he will be shown the “truth” by God? And how is it that you already know this “truth” which God seems to hide from people who don’t kneel down on their knees? How are you so sure that what you seem to claim that God revealed to you is going to be the same as what he reveals to Kwame?

    So, I am not so sure how all your assumptions about kneeling, God and praying work to reveal this one truth to all! And I have evidence: all prophets claim they hear from God and yet, we have many religions and faiths! Perhaps, they all didn’t kneel? Some did squat, or laid prostate on the floor?

    So, I am not very sure when you make the indirect claim that you are a greater prophet (since you know this one “truth” and that God will reveal it to Kwame). I am not so sure that those who have come before you and who were unable to reach a consensus on what it is that God, whoever that he is, seems to keep away from people who don’t kneel to him, feel about you!

    Again, this is why I say you changed the subject. The subject was, faith is a great thing, no matter the bent. For faith itself is required for one to justify why they are here, and why they live even against great odds.

  17. Dade Afre Akufu, I said that if Kwame Yeboah passionately and let me add genuinely kneel down on his knee and ask God Almighty, He will show Kwame Yeboah the truth because it has happened many times over and over again.
    God Almighty is a covenant keeping God. He is a prayer answering God.

  18. Kenneth Quartey, I do not doubt that you have faith in what it is you speak, that Kwame could kneel and see God. That kind of faith is equal to that which makes me believe that one day in 2100 A.D, Ghana will become the most powerful nation in the world. This is the crux of the essay. The power of faith.

  19. Dede Dade Afre Akufu, I pointed it out that believe and faith are not the same. But your faith in Ghana may not happen because it is not backed spiritually.
    Remember that we human beings are made of the Spirit, Soul and body. We most of the time concentrate on the secular faith but spiritual faith is needed because we’re ruled by spiritual forces.

  20. My bro Narmer Amenuti, I just want to chime in with a Kem perspective on your quandary. I don’t know if we are approaching the question of empowerment etc. from sound footing, i.e. from the perspective of faith or lack there of. Maybe faith isn’t a significant player at all in humanity’s approach toward their goal. Perhaps it is this goal that indeed negates the necessity of faith as the impetus/catalyst to attaining said goal.

    Is it safe to assert that melanated humanity in general and Africans in particular have been under various forms of foreign invasion/occupation for over 2500yrs? What tactics can we obviously point out were used against our once thriving civilization culminating in the Nile valley? Did we achieve all of the many many millennia of civilization on faith and belief? If so, wouldn’t faith be one of the first things any invading aggressor, implementing the stratagems of war, would look to undermine? Instead what we find are FAITH based ideologies in various multiplicities.

    I’m advocating that maybe FAITH is really the Achilles heal of a human being’s psyche.

    We did not build pyramids on FAITH or believing so hard that it facilitated the drive of our society to accomplish the miraculous. It was our goal that led us to be the light of the world. Just like it was the “White man’s” goal to usurp this position of global adulation, authority, attention from African civilization by any means necessary. What we observe of their so-called development is only a product of this goal not faith. They used everything at their disposal in attaining it, and look at what they’ve left in their wake.

    The goal of African Civilization was to be like the Gods, for we were indeed in the Land of the Gods. We didn’t have faith that we could be like them, we had KNOWLEDGE and REASON we utilized to navigate a verifiable course. Our goal was spiritual and the “whiteman’s” goal was carnal/material. I think the confusion comes because we don’t often understand just how spirituality is based in very precise technical knowledge, no faith necessary.

    The question is what is your goal? If you wanted to accomplish the “development” associated with the super powers of the world, FAITH and belief is where you will turn using religion as your basis, because that is how you can get billions of people to submit themselves over to your control by the acquiesce of their reasoning mind. It is the reasoning mind that thrives off of sound logic and knowledge, which in turn bolsters true spiritual evolution (the original goal of humanity). When Cambyses and others came to the Nile Valley looting gold and other material treasures we laughed at how silly that was. This is because we understood that those things weren’t really valuable at all but the by product of was indeed valuable, spiritual knowledge.

    “Tell me your goal and I will tell you if you are a fool.” African proverb

    • Kwame Yeboah if by “faith in action” you mean ‘faith with works’, I have to agree that this is how we can achieve a set goal. Faith in the efficacy of one’s work to accomplish said goal, is the compelling emotional drive that keeps the individual pushing forward. But the efficacy of one’s work is determined by their goal not their faith, no matter how much faith they have. In fact that faith will wax and wane according to the perceived fluctuations in this efficacy. This is why emotions in general and faith in particular are so tenuous a resource to rely on as a basis for any substantive accomplishments. Can it help? In the proper sequence, yes. But the “works” part is the only way “faith” should even enter the equation. Otherwise the individual would simply be deluding themselves and their goal will loom ahead of them mockingly.

      Faith then is very devious in its capacity to paralyze the faithful. Where ever and whenever it is applied with the fervor that faithfulness can engender, you will find a people stagnated in a cycle of evolutionary inertia; you will find a people enslaved. Perhaps this is why religions made FAITH a pillar/cornerstone of their doctrines, for there is no easier way to perpetually keep a people enslaved than to foster those who are already enslaved to their emotions, effectively enslaving themselves.

      “Every goal has its intelligence, and every intelligence has its values.” ~ Maakheru Naba

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