Carrying Coal to Newcastle
The idea that informed the invasion of Africa by the Europeans and Arabs to peddle their kind of meaning of life is like carrying coal to Newcastle. During the industrial age of Britain when Newcastle was the city of coal, it was seen as a stupid thing for anybody travelling to Newcastle to have among his/her luggage a sack of coal. The cost of carrying the coal and the inconveniences would have made such an enterprise very expensive. For Europeans and Arabs to condemn outright the age long wisdom and philosophy of life of the Africans as irrelevant and ungodly was a testimony to bigotry, self-pride, disrespect of others and arrogance. After more than two centuries, everyone can see that these holy enterprises have led to a total collapse of the moral and ethical principles that had earlier enabled the various ethnic groups in Africa to survive in spite of the inhospitable climatic conditions. It is disheartening that the present generation of Africans who inherited these quack foreign beliefs of the most incomprehensible meaning of life are yet to understand why these foreign teachings are not effective in the context of African development and emancipation.
This writer argued in a pamphlet titled, The Ungodly Religious Nation that, ‘The moral and philosophical values of a nation are the springboard and the powerhouse of change and progress’. When the beliefs of a people or a nation are unnatural to human existence, the only fruit those beliefs can produce is that of decadence and death. These foreign beliefs have not brought life to Africa; they are killing Africa. The potency of any philosophy is its ability to deliver on all fronts of human endeavours. The philosophy should be able to answer all the knotty questions about relationships between god and man; between man and man; and between man and its environment. If a people flounder as is happening in Africa today, the best place to check for explanations is in the entrenched philosophy and the operational principles of faith and beliefs. In most cases, the problem has something to do with an inapplicable philosophy of life. This type of philosophy would have failed woefully to answer all the questions of the meaning of life to the satisfaction of all.
One of the greatest ironies of the foreign beliefs that are doing the rounds in Africa today is that they all took their journeys from Africa, at least in the present cosmic age of our universe. The ancient Egyptian history is not a myth, it surely happened. The few artefacts of that generation excavated and studied by archaeologists have helped to throw some light on the immense depth of the achievement and knowledge of that civilisation. It should be remembered that Christianity took its beginning from the Jews while Islam was from the Arabs. The Jews and Arabs also claim a common progeny to Abraham. The Judaic Torah (Old Testament in the Bible) has a beautiful story of the sojourns of Abraham in Africa as well as that of Joseph, the son of Jacob and the great grandson of Abraham. The Torah narrated with relish and garnish how Joseph landed in Egypt and how his father and siblings followed him to the land of Egypt to share in his political and economic achievements. Further down this historical journey was the story of Moses, the one credited as the founder of Judaism. It is remarkable to note that his humble beginning started in the courts of Pharaoh in Egypt. What do all these stories tell us about the children of Abraham? Are we to believe that the immense civilisation of Egypt – its beliefs and its cultures – never rubbed on Abraham and his children? Are we to believe that throughout their sojourns in Egypt, Abraham and his descendants did not imbibe anything good or bad from the culturally superior people of Egypt?
The truth is embedded in the historical fact that the worship of a monotheist god was a well-established religion in Egypt during the reign of Amenophis IV or Akhenaten (1353-1335 BC). Some scholars have argued that Akhenaten was indeed Moses who was exiled in 1361 BC from the palace after a short reign. However, Dr Karl Abraham in Imago argued that when Moses came back to seize the throne from the incumbent Pharaoh Ramesees, he failed but he managed to persuade a band of Hebrews to follow him into the desert to start a new religion . Without dwelling too much on the truth or untruth of the Jewish Exodus from Egypt, it is suffice to suggest that we cannot be sure of the true ramifications of these stories. Could it be true that Egypt expelled Moses for a treasonable felony? Could he have planned to usurp the Pharaoh on the throne of Egypt? These are intriguing questions and should call for a thorough reflection and for a review of the legends passed down as history of the ‘chosen people’.
The biggest problem facing latter-day religionists is their inability to reflect on and to separate truth from falsehood and to distinguish legendary myth from historical reality. They have a remarkable gullibility to swallow every story recorded in the Torah or other ‘holy books’ literally. The idea of taking these stories as symbols or keys to a larger and deeper truth is not an option any believer is allowed to countenance. They cannot contemplate the fact that these legendary stories initially started their journeys as oral history passed from generation to generation before their committal into written history. In addition, they cannot accept that in the tradition of all oral history, innocent modification or improvement of facts, deliberate exaggeration of details and a conscious or unconscious deletion of embarrassing events are the norms rather than the exception.
The religionist cannot accept that the writer of these ‘holy stories’ were researchers who listened to several different versions of the legend or oral history, assembled and collated them into logical forms. Each succeeding generation also had opportunities to review the selected stories to suit the mood of the time, to modify the syntax, and to take away or dot the i’s and cross the t’s. It is also absurd when one realises that the religionists have failed to accept that all writers have their grand motives or personal biases and that the writers of ‘holy books’ cannot be an exception.
The Torah was a collection of books written solely to unite the multi-tribe descendants of Abraham. The writing of the Law and the stories of other landmarks in the history of the Jews became powerful tools serving both as precedent and guiding maps to navigate the complex terrain of human nature and of governance. The legendary story of the escapades of Moses in and out of Egypt served this purpose very well and had helped to unite, somehow, the different incompatible parties and bands of the tribes of Abraham.
Now, if the core philosophy of the faith that legend credited to Moses derives its origin from Egypt and if Judaism like a well-nourished plant has branched out into Christianity and Islam, why should any African prefer this heavily slanted philosophy of the Jews and Arabs to the original philosophy brewed on the African soils? It is high time Africans begin to unwrap the dressings around the cake if they intend to enjoy a good meal of the cake. It is common for the uninitiated in the cake eating business to take the sweet outer dressings of the cake as the real thing inadvertently leaving the actual cake untouched. We must begin to see the packaged philosophy of life brought to Africa with all the legendary dressings for what they are. They are not the real things; they are mere empty vessels, even though they are making the loudest noises all over Africa but because they are false they cannot bear any fruitful result. Africans must learn to put aside the superficial claims of the faiths and focus their attention on the nature of fruits these superficial philosophies have borne in the length and breadth of Africa. A popular adage says, ‘the taste of the pudding is in the eating’ but if the diner of the pudding is dinning on the dressings without knowing the difference, he/she needs help from an experience pudding diner to focus on the pudding and leave out the dressings.
Africa at this stage needs divine help to make her people to come to a clear understanding of what is really missing in the continent. It is not the lack of faith in God or an inadequate worship of the foreign gods that is the problem. Africans from the north to the south and the east to the west have demonstrated super-human devotion to the cults of these foreign gods. No visitor to Africa can fail to notice the highest priority Africans give to issues that pertain to the foreign gods. Africans have never joked with their hourly prayers; the daily worships; the unfailing weekly attendance in mosque and church; the yearly pilgrimage to ‘holy lands’; and the servicing of the various rituals demanded by the Priests and Imams. Yet, the quality of life in Africa is below that of every other race in the world. In order to distract Africans from facing the grinding spiritual and material poverty, the puppeteers urged Africans to offer more prayers and to look forward to the crowns already prepared ready for them in the Hereafter. The logic is simple, as a confirmed irredeemable wretched of the earth each devoted African will automatically become a king or prince in heaven.
Africans need a powerful helping hand to snap them out of the hypnotic state of foolishness where the puppeteers of our world have confined them for so long. Africans need to understand that the con artists of politics, economics and religions have mesmerised them for too long and that their services as the mule of the world is now an essential foundation of the present civilisation. The various fake and obnoxious philosophies transferred to Africa have succeeded in conditioning Africans to the servant positions carved for them in the world. These philosophies have succeeded in killing in the Africans the natural instinct found in all humankind for the fight against enslavement and oppression. Africans have since become comfortable with fighting among themselves for crumbs from the opulent tables of their priests and imams. It is common today to hear a latter-day African priest pointing to material properties in his possession, like the ownership of a limousine, a mansion and large designer wardrobes, as a confirmation that he has a direct private electronic mail service to the throne of heaven.
Africans as a race need a helping hand in the area of true knowledge to make them recognise and accept the truth that they cannot find freedom and true emancipation in the kind of religious exuberance they have devoted their lives these past centuries. All the foreign religions doing the rounds in Africa are only offering a fake superficial knowledge of the meaning of life. Since what they are offering is unnatural to the psyche of the Africans, the knowledge transferred has failed to produce any form of perfection in the race. As a killer philosophy, the only fruit it is capable of producing is decadence and death. These have become the lot of every African since they tricked our forefathers to permit these perverted philosophies a space on the African soil.
Dear fellow Africans, nature encrypted the truth of the meaning of life within every human soul just as it encrypted the physical properties of the body in the genetic materials within the cells. Training the mind to grasp the meaning of the material observable knowledge of the universe is the first step towards unlocking the key that will awaken the soul. The mind must be primed open with information collected by the senses. Each African must put his/her senses to good use by inquiring, studying, and learning to understand the origin and nature of every phenomenon around us. We must learn to separate the sentiments and legends from the reality and truth.
In our world, we must recognise there are many great exaggerations, great hyperboles, and great legends but most of them are born of the seed of great lies. These lies were designed to promote the supremacist beliefs of some races and to establish a total dominance, albeit by divine decrees as contained in the ‘holy books’, over other hapless races of the world. The socio-economic and political arrangements of our world are proofs that, so far, this cruel but brilliant selfish design has worked wonderfully well. Unfortunately, there is nothing godly or holy about the designs, if anything at all, it is ungodly because it builds its operating value on the hatred of others and on self-interest. Notwithstanding the debilitating effect of the philosophy on the majority of the peoples of the world, it has helped the descendants of the designers to achieve political and economic domination of the world. This is the purpose of the whole philosophy and this is the result flowing out from the religious designs.
If Africans who lay claim to the status of a born-again or of an ulema cannot see why our world is in the mess it is today, then it needs not surprise anyone why they have failed to understand that unless the dangerous philosophy underpinning the civilisation of our world is completely overhauled, we can never realise freedom and peace. It is this inability to appreciate the fundamental errors in the design of the political organisations and institutions of the world that have led the ‘experts’ to continue to offer palliative solutions for the cure of the spiritual disorder in the world.
Since these puerile solutions have failed to bring any relief, they turn the attention of the gullible masses to look to the Beyond for answers to socio-economic and political problems. The con artists in religion, politics and economics of every shade and colour keep advising the marginalized people of the sick world to swallow a high dosage of the pill of endurance, patience and hope for the glory of Hereafter. These treacherous people who lay claims to being the good and the just openly condemn the world as a sinful and wicked place. In the same breadth that they urge their naïve followers to prepare for the paradise that is above their reach these spiritual and political leaders in turn keep busy with the business of collecting and hoarding all the best things of the world for themselves.