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What has God done for Black folks lately?

 

By Rosemary Ekosso

 

I shall refer here only to the Christian God, because he is the only deity with which I have more than a passing acquaintance.

 

I believe in God, or at least a form of him that my mind can grapple with. But I don’t really understand him.

 

God is notoriously unreliable when it comes to giving me what I want. But that may be alright, because I’ll be the first to admit that asking God for a private jet to take you to work each morning, or twelve million pounds to buy the house of your dreams is more than a little unreasonable.

 

But how about those people who only ask for a daily meal and medicine for their children? Why can they not have even that? It is customary for Christians to say that we cannot decipher why God gives to some people and takes away from others. Well, if and when I meet God, I shall ask him. In the meantime, people are living and dying in abject poverty whilst other wallow in mind-boggling wealth and luxury.

 

And all this talk of the meek inheriting the earth is only so much hogwash. It is condescending and morally dishonest to exercise patience on the part of the poor. It is like those people who say, smug in the knowledge that other people’s eggs are involved, that you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. My response always is: “if na so, sen’ ya egg dem make ar brokam! Well, send your eggs over, and I’ll break them. Don’t you be looking at my eggs!

 

It is easy to say the kingdom of the meek and downtrodden will come in the afterlife whilst we are busy selling our souls and taking out mortgages to build our mansions in the here and now. If we are so convinced that this is the case, then we should spend our lives in prayer and fasting while waiting for the eternal paradise

 

          

 

That we are unable to do so is clear proof that we do not believe in our own God. If we could trust him to give us what we needed in the life after this, we would not be so keen on getting our hands on as much as possible in this life.

 

A Catholic Cardinal once famously said that you could not run the church on Hail Marys. If a man of the cloth, and a highly-placed one at that, cannot bring himself to trust Jesus when he said we should be like the birds of the field that do not worry about where their next meal is coming from (Mathew 6: 26-30, the Sermon on the Mount), what does that tell us about the faith he claims to uphold?

 

So if we cannot trust our own God, why should we expect others to trust him? Why should we preach his benevolence to people who see no sign of it?

   

If we, in our firm belief that he is the author of all the good that happens to us, are unable to relax and trust him to go on providing, why should we expect other people, for whom his benevolence is only heard about but not witnessed, to believe it? Why should we trust God’s benevolence when it is so obvious that it only extends to the part of mankind that is able to get what it wants, either by accident of birth or by work?

 

I also have a problem with the doctrine of free will. We are supposed to be endowed with the faculty of determining good and evil on our own. When we ask why God does not punish the wicked, we are told that God has decided to let mankind act as it will, and that on the last day, he will separate the sheep from the goats, or some such other bucolic image. I say we should string’em up now. We can always tell God why we did it afterwards.

 

What is the celestial points system in respect of degrees of goodness?

 

 We know that survival does not depend on whether one is good or not, but on whether one is able to get the wherewithal for keeping body and soul together. So some people have to do pretty heinous things to survive. Given that you are not allowed to take your own life, is it then alright for you to sin in the process of trying to stay alive?

 

Is there a celestial balancing system whereby those who sinned to survive will be excused? It is infinitely more difficult to stay on the path of righteousness when you are poor and are trying to survive. A good poor man is a very good man indeed. Will the rich and the good be treated the same as the poor and the good?

 

My conclusion is that deep in our hearts, we know there is something wrong with our perception of God, but we need to hang on to it so that we can lend a certain pious cachet to our most selfish and outlandish delusions.

 

A final point on our idea of God. It cannot be entirely beneficial that we insist on interpreting God in terms of outdated and frankly dangerous rituals and traditions. I myself find religious observance fairly pointless. I rate confession, something my Catholic father thought was the balm of the soul, right down there with enemas (or colonic irrigations, as I hear them called these days).

 

Perhaps what we need is a new God, more realistically perceived. And perhaps we need to ease up on the worshipping and proselytising, and try to do some real good.

 

When I see the number of Africans who worship a white man’s God that has never done anything for them, I tend to agree with Marx that religion is the opium of the masses. The white man can worship his God all he likes. See what his God has done for him.

 

What has God done for poor Africans that they should worship him to the extent that they have become the future of the white man’s churches?

 

Rosemary Ekosso is a Cameroonian translator and court interpreter with the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. She blogs frequently at Ekosso.com

 

Please e-mail comments to comments@thenewblackmagazine.com

 

Rights to reply

 

Dear Editor,
I can see Ekosso's dread and concerns about God; the sinner, the rich and the needy.  May I remind you that all things are made by God for His pleasure and  glory.

Since we live in time, temporarities abound and there is the beginning and the end of all things except that which is  blessed by God.  The end always justifies the means and what is worth doing  is worth doing well, so that in the end the blessings of God will be  bountiful on you.

A word to a wise is enough.  God  bless!
Pastor  Jomo.

Dear Editor,

It is so sad to see someone who obviously has such little understanding, laying this fact bare for all to see in this article. Maybe she should turn the question around and ask what have black folks done for God (or our selves) lately?  

I'm not sure whether this is supposed to be a cry for help, or if it is an attempt  to encourage others to join your magazine in gross ignorance.  Either way it is  sad to see a black female and a black magazine go out like this!

Christopher Icha

 

 


 

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