African Americans in the United States live in a culture designed by European Imperialist, fostered by white supremacy, racism, and media propaganda. Images of Africa, the African Diaspora, and American Americans are manipulated to promote ignorance and disdain for the history of Black people.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the manipulation of African cognition and spirituality. Educational institutions are designed and supervised by white supremest beliefs, ideas, culture, and norms propagated by lies, fabricated images, whitewashed history, and more.
The religion practiced by African Americans in the United States is a testament to Christian Imperialism and its success in erasing ancestral spiritual consciousness and practices from the lives of the majority of African Americans.
The same slave vessels that carried African slaves to the United States also carried enslaved Africans to the Caribbean and Brazil. However, today we have evidence that many of the Africans enslaved in the Caribbean and South America, though indoctrinated into Catholic Imperialism, never completely abandoned African religious practices and spirituality.
The point is, that it was difficult for Africans to maintain their native religions and spiritual practices, especially in the United States where, with the exception of small clusters in the South and on the East Coast, Christian Imperialism successfully subverted African spiritual consciousness into a religion designed by Europeans and their quest to reign in power over the world.
Christian Imperialism has spread throughout the world within the last fifteen hundred years, but African religious practices have existed for more than seven thousand years. The differences are obvious when we contrast a small sample of Christian ideology, with a small sample of Voodoo ideology.
Let’s read a few verses from the letter that are said to be written by Paul. In doing so, let me mention that Paul’s letters were not thought to be worthy of scriptural inclusion in the first and second centuries, and it was not until after centuries of editing that somewhere about the 4th or 5th century did the Europeans seriously consider using them in their canon.
For example, Romans 12:19-21: “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore, If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
This verse could be a statement right out of a manual on how to neutralize people who have been victimized and made to suffer inhuman treatment. Take, for example, the African house slave who has been raped, beat and watch her children sold at the auction, only to see her depicted nursing a White baby with her breast milk?
Think about the kind of confidence this doctrine gave Europeans who owned African slaves. God died to forgive me for the evil that I do, and he commands my slaves to forgive me for all the evil things I do to them. I can’t lose!
And read this, Romans 13:1-2 says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
Often I hear preachers castigate the Willie Lynch Letter, which is an anonymous letter written by who knows, and who knows when; it claims to contain a plan to perpetuate slavery for at least 1000 years. But the same preacher will read:
Ephesians 6:5, “Slaves be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ.”
Preachers read this to African slaves, freed slaves and they read it in African American churches today. They tell people that the words in the Bible are the inspired, infallible word of God.
I have heard preachers say: “if one word of the bible is false, then the whole bible is false. But, God’s word is true, we serve a God who cannot lie.”
If this does not represent an ideology of perpetual enslavement, as well as, an attack on the liberty and freedom of all human beings, I don’t know what does.
Africans and Africans in the diaspora need to independently examine the question, are the verses we just read really God’s word and is the Bible the perfect word of God? In order to answer the question, it will require some research.
You will find that while Europeans were writing their bible, there were priests, scribes, historians, and others who rejected the bible, protesting the idea of turning allegories, legends, and mythology into literal history. Needless to say, many of them were silenced by the sword.
Nevertheless, there remain numerous resources available that will shed light on the origin of biblical content, and the process used by the Europeans to propagate it as the inspired word of God. One such resource is the Anchor Bible Dictionary.
The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Volume I, and the section on the canon contains important information to consider when asking questions concerning inspiration, and the bible containing the words of God.
The work of God or God’s Spirit being far broader than on a cannon only or only on certain individuals, one can just as faithfully affirm the work of the Spirit all along the path of formation of the Bible, or a canon, as on those individuals whose names happen to be recorded.
The broader pneumatic activity would include the so-called secondary passages as well as the so-called primary ones. It would include the work of editors and redactors and scribes. It would include the pseudepigraphic writing now recognized to pervade both biblical testaments. I would include recognition of how much ancient Israel and the early church learned from others through international wisdom and of hermeneutics by which such wisdom was adapted into Israel’s and Judaism’s monotheizing struggles throughout the history of the formation of the cannon. (page 851)
My understanding of the above quote is that the Bible is the work of Europeans, which contains writings of other nations and cultures that were plagiarized, edited, and redacted by schools of editors and scribes over the course of hundreds of years. Not one of the books in the Bible was written by the person whose name it bears.
The biblical quotes above are from Paul’s Epistles to churches he founded. It is Paul who the Europeans say wrote 15 to the church that the man Jesus founded. If anyone takes the time to examine Paul’s letters they will not find any reference to anything Jesus said or did.
Paul wrote absolutely zero about what the living, breathing, historical Jesus said or did during the time he is said to have lived. His letters are a compendium of myths, allegories, fables, and stories that were edited over a period of centuries. (For more research on this see; Tom Harpur; The Pagan Christ, Is Blind Faith Killing Christianity? Also see, Gary Greenberg; Myths of the Bible; How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical History)
African Spirituality, Voodoo
Voodoo is an authentic African-derived aspect of spirituality. And in order to shed some light on the nature of Voodoo and how it is used as a religious expression, the people of Haiti and how they use Voodoo is a good place to begin.
Voodoo became an expression of religion for enslaved African people who were taken to Haiti, an island in the Caribbean Sea, to work on Spanish, British, or French plantations.
Voodoo, also spelled Vodou, Vodoun, Vodun is a word that has its origin in Dahomey. Dahomey was a major trading center for slaves in the 17th, 18, and 19 centuries. In 1975, Dahomey became known as the People’s Republic of Benin.
Among the Fon-speaking people of Dahomey, which was located in West Africa, Voodoo signified “spirit,” or “deity.” And so, here we find the origin of Voodoo has roots in Africa, as do all modern religions.
The African slaves that came ashore in Haiti came from various regions in West Africa, which included Dahomey, Togoland, Nigeria, and the Congo River basin. They carried with them different perspectives and different ways of understanding the natural and supernatural world.
The Igbos and Yoruba people were neighbors in Africa, but they did not have the same religious practices as the Mahi, who was also a neighbor. But, when they found themselves grouped together as slaves in the New World, the common aspects of their religious practices were syncretized into the religious system they called Voodoo.
Therefore, Voodoo in Haiti was composed of religious systems originating in Dahomey, and Lagos (Nigeria), while including ritual beliefs and practices of enslaved Africans from other tribes along the West Coast of Africa.
There was no manual, instruction book, bible, or written instructions whereby people were converted into Voodoo. On the contrary, Voodoo was culture; it was unlike a book that could be taken away. Voodoo was religious consciousness, bound to the inner realm of the African people.
The nature of Voodoo was powerful and pervasive; it was present in all aspects of Haitian social, political, and spiritual life. Voodoo was like the skin covering the body, the skin goes wherever the body goes. Likewise, religion and everyday life were inseparable in Haiti.
To understand Voodoo, you must understand African religious systems. In African religion, there is no separation between sacred and secular, between holy and profane, between the physical and spiritual.
In the African religious system, everything is sacred, and so it is with Voodoo. Everything is sacred, meaning everything in the universe including human life, mineral life, plant life, aquatic life, and animal life.
This understanding was the nature of Voodoo among the Haitian people. Voodoo permeated all aspects of their lives and existence. This ideology is present in the African proverb: “We are, therefore I am.”
Voodoo taps into energy vibrations that facilitate relations and interactions between the living, the dead, and those not born yet. If fosters behavior not meant to threaten or bring harm to anyone. It provided the Haitians with the comfort of knowing they were part of an immortal family.
Africans were challenged when faced with juxtaposing the nature of Voodoo with the nature of Catholic Imperialism. For example, in 1452, Pope Nicholas V issued a papal bull, Dum Diversas, which authorized and ushered in the West African slave trade. The Dumas Diversas states:
We grant you [Kings of Spain and Portugal] by these present documents, with our Apostolic Authority, full and free permission to invade, search out, capture, and subjugate the Saracens and pagans and any other unbelievers and enemies of Christ wherever they may be, as well as their kingdoms, duchies, countries, principalities, and other property — and to reduce their persons into perpetual slavery.”
The priest or priestess who presided over Voodoo gatherings could never issue such a directive. Those who have been initiated into the priestly realm of Voodoo aspire to a life of service, as in: “sevi lwa yo,” which is translated “I serve the spirits.”
Interdependence is an imperative within Voodoo, as people draw positive energy from one another. Interactions with others, nature, and spirits foster growth, understanding, and wellness.
Voodoo can be seen as the heart in the life of the people; it is concerned with the wellbeing of each person as well as the community. It teaches people to turn to their ancestors and spirits for guidance, direction, and advice on how to make life better for themselves, their communities, and the world.
The Voodoo ritual is much more than paganism, heathenism, or black magic as it is described by Europeans and the Hollywood film, and media propaganda machine.
Voodoo rituals are gatherings where people strive to aline themselves with virtues that facilitate harmony, and balance; virtues such as justice, benevolence, patience, and forgiveness. Respect for elders and instilling values in children are intrinsic to African consciousness and as such, norms in Voodoo ceremonies.
The Voodoo ritual is also a gathering where those present communicate with the Loa. Loa is a word from the Congo that they use for deities. It is when the Loa possesses a person that communication is established with the ancestors and spirits.
In his book, The Durm And The Hoe; Life And Lore Of The Haitian People; Harold Courlander tells us:
The Haitians tell you that the loa live “in Africa,” or on the “island below the sea,” or “beneath the water,” or in a mythological city called La Ville-aus-Camps. The loa are believed to share the residing plan with the spirits of certain categories of the dead. What goes on in the land of the loa is no man’s knowledge and every man’s conjecture. The say a few privileged people have been able to go down “below the water” and return.”
The Voodoo ceremony takes place at the Voodoo Temple and is officiated by a hogan (priest) or a mambo (priestess). Papa Legba is the central loa, as he serves as the intermediary between the loa and humanity. He stands at the spiritual crossroads and gives (or denies) permission to speak with spirits.
With Papa Legba’s permission, those present in the ceremony may communicate with the spirit and their ancestors to get advice regarding matters of importance. While the ceremony is taking place there is music, dancing, food offering, drumming, and animal sacrifices.
This article only scratches the surface of Christian Imperialism and Voodoo; it is not meant to be a probative examination of either religion. It is only meant to offer food for thought. The writer believes we live in a world of effects, effects so blinding that we cannot see the causes.
When I read, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord,” I could say that this is just a reworking of ancient contemplation. “Cause and Effect,” how easy it to rework, “cause and effect,” into “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.”