Black People Need To Conceptualize A Black God
By Ken Ntiamoa, MBA, Toronto Ken Ntiamoa is President of Telefunds Financial Corporation, Toronto, Canada. You can reach him at 416 248 9011.
I write this article with a lot of apprehension. This is because religion is a touchy subject. Most of us would rather not question the essence, logic or lack thereof of our religious beliefs. We accept it just as it has been handed over to us from the generations. Religion and Wealth I believe that a person's earthly wealth is directly proportional to his belief in God, Jesus, Budha, Muhammad or any religious figure of his choice. The belief in God or some deity opens a person's mind to his surroundings. When you become aware of the power of God, you become aware of your own power. This awareness of self is, most often, all you need to become wealthy. If you do not belief the relationship between religion and money, take a closer look at the lifestyle of religious leaders the world over. I entreat you to take a look at the lifestyle and the surroundings of the likes of the Pope, Dr. Robert Schuller, Odiyifo Nkansah, Ida Hosa and infact, any others you may know and it won't take you long to realize that religion and wealth are very closely intertwined.
Black poverty and White Jesus If religion and wealth are closely related then it also makes sense that whom you believe in has an influence on your earthly wealth as well. I have often wondered why, everywhere, black people, in general are the underdogs. Even, in predominantly black Africa, the black man is not the one who controls the wealth of the continent. My question is why?
I just returned from a short visit to my native Ghana. While there, I met the Presbyterian Pastor of my village. During our conversation, the pastor told me that a few miles from our village is a gold mine. The gold mine belongs to the whites, of course. He (the pastor) went on to tell me that, when he visited the mining grounds, he observed a remarkable difference in the lifestyle of the white miners viz-a-viz the black mine workers. In his words, the difference was like "night and day." This comment gave me the ammunition to put forward to the pastor, a theory that I had haboured for a very long time. I asked the pastor, "what do you think is the reason why the white miners you saw lived in such beautiful surroundings and in affluence while your black brothers - those to whom the land belongs - live in poor surroundings. The pastor retorted, "We must be stupid or something close to that." I asked the pastor to follow me to his church. Lo and behold, on the wall of the church, close to the pulpit and facing the congregation was the effigy of Jesus - a long haired blond, blue eyed white man with a pointed British nose. I pointed and said to the pastor, "this is the reason."
The pastor looked at me with a shock on his face. I did understand the expression on his face. In his mind what I just said was blasphemous. How dare I question the image of Jesus, of God. I do not have anything against Christianity, Jesus or God. I asked the pastor, "When you kneel down and close your eyes in prayer, what is the image that comes to your mind? Whenever you have a mental image of Jesus, does he not in your mind resemble this white man on your wall? If you asked a black child to draw a picture of Jesus, what picture would you get? What if you asked the same child to draw Satan, what would you get? Can you understand why such a boy would grow up to become the President of a black nation and would see the white man as the one who can save his people? Would it make sense to you now why this Minister/President would give the best things in his country to the white man while denying his fellow black man the same opportunity? We need to have faith in something spiritual to be able to make some sense out of this seemingly senseless world of ours. This something spiritual, we call God. To me, Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit are all Spirit. They have no human image. And even if they did, it would not likely be that of a blue-eyed white man with long grey beard and hair.
Christianity came to Africa by way of white evangelists. If these white evangelists saw God in their image, that's fine with me. But that does not preclude me, as a black man, to see God, Jesus or any deity in my image - a broad nosed, kinky haired, brown eyed black man. The bible says that, "God created man in his image." Of course, this "image" that the Bible talks about is not that of a physical one. It is far more encompassing than a physical image. Human nature being what it is, we love to see, feel and touch something physical. This is why the Roman Catholic Church keeps physical "images" of Jesus, Mary etc. in their churches, even though it is God's commandment not to. It is for the same reason that our forefathers made physical images of God and worshipped them. If we want or need to see the physical side of God, one would not be wrong if he thought of God as a Black man. God can take on any image He wants. I am afraid that we black people could meet God or the Christ and not recognize Him because we are looking for a White man.
Recent discoveries in Zimbabwe, Kenya and Somalia show that man have existed in these areas for some two and a half million years. In his speech, when he visited Ghana, President Clinton admitted that he believed that the first man, in fact, walked on the African soil. The Bible, which is a much later occurrence, appears to indicate that life began around the Middle East. Even if that were to be true, Jesus could not have been a long-haired blonde with blue eyes and a pointed nose. The Israelites who served for 400 years in Egypt could not have been white. The original Israelite was dark-skinned. Why do I say this? There was no physical difference between an Israelite and an Egyptian. If there was, Moses, an Israelite, could not have passed for an Egyptian Royal all his life to the point of almost ascending to the throne of Pharaoh. It is common knowledge (even though white people would rather not admit this) that the original Egyptian was black. Jews of today are light-skinned as a result of wars, exile and the mixing of the races caused by inter-marriage. The movement of the Turks, the Romans and the Greeks and also the Holy Wars caused the Europeanization and the lightening of the skin of the people of North Africa and the Middle East. And even after all that, the present day Jew has a distinctive look that makes him neither black nor white; most likely a hybrid of both races. A typical Jew (and generally, a person from the Middle East) has kinky-curly hair, broad nose and tanned skin depicting his black ancestors. Anwar Sadat, a popular Egyptian leader of recent times, was dark-skinned, depicting his ancestral black African origin.
My point is that, the best way for mankind to view God, Jesus and any Deity is that of a Spirit. If we would rather see a physical God, then it is okay for black people to see Him as a black old man/woman as much as it is okay for whites to see Him in their image.
Psychological Damage Because the white man has been able to sell the concept of a white God/Jesus to black people, black people have unconsciously equated the white man as some deity, the God they seek, serve and kowtow to. In fact, in black Africa, this image is so strong that the poorest white man " the homeless kind who eats from garbage dumps" could clean up, put on a suit, move to Africa and have everything handed to him on a silver platter by black African politicians and businessmen. In a few short years, this white man could be richer than the richest African. This is a psychological problem faced by all blacks "Governments, Kings, Chiefs and ordinary citizens. In Ghana, it is common practice for the ordinary citizen to refer to a person he/she admires as "me broni" (my white man). The sweet and juicy pineapple, pawpaw and mango is the white man's pineapple, pawpaw and mango. Meanwhile, pineapples, pawpaw and mangoes do not grow in any European country. The useless child is the black sheep of the family. If you make a bad investment you sank your money into a black pit. Black magic is the bad kind of magic; and the list goes on.
A black African businessman could ask for a contract from a black African Government and it will be refused. A white man would get the same thing and more without even asking for it.
Would White People worship a Black God? If you do not believe that white people have deliberately and systematically categorized God as white, paint an effigy of a black Jesus or Mary. Put it in a Catholic Church in a typical North American city one Sunday and you tell me how many people will step in this church the next Sunday.
Friends, pastors, church goers, Christians, we all should make a conscious effort to stop seeing God as white if we ever would hope to liberate the black man from psychological enslavement and abject poverty. If we can do this, we blacks will begin to see the good in us. We would see that we also are God-like. We will seek to do good things for ourselves and to each other. We would then begin to give the best of ourselves to our own kind and others.
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."