9 September 2018

Africa: Does God Hate Africans?

opinion

There is this email junkie named Joshua. I suppose stretching his liberty to insult people he regards non-believers, he has formed the idea that I, a teetotaller, am a drunkard. That is fine with me.

More to the point, he in effect wants me to acknowledge his favourite 'prophet', the Mbonye whose boots attract lickers, because many presidents seek his attention.

Poor Joshua cannot understand the pact between the fraudulent and the perverse.

In ancient times, when knowledge was more limited, it is understandable if human wisdom, uprightness and power were thought to be from the gods.

But gods are more beautiful when they are dead, when men have been liberated from their supposed power.

Abraham's God is the same. He is charming to my type now because He is mostly dead.

Perhaps because He was supposedly Absolute, He was as beneficent as He was terrible. People feared his guts and called it love. He was rather like an absolute monarch whom you worshipped as he whipped you, and whom you thanked again for not killing you.

If for no conceivable reason God allotted you a thousand misfortunes, you were supposed to preach that He had good (unknown) reasons for your wretchedness.

Sorry, you cannot sell me this Bronze Age stuff as verifiable reality in our times.

In His expired form, God would be forgiven for every transgression perpetrated by all the world's despots. If the weird-headed notion is tenable, that God is sitting out there constructing plots of human fate, then He must be held responsible for those despots.

The other day I heard one ebullient 'apostle' proclaim - and insist - that every ruler is put in power by God; not metaphorically, not in some symbolic interpretation, but literally. And he maintained that no ruler lost power until God had so prescribed.

The correct path, therefore, was not democracy but theocracy. God uses people, individuals, not political parties... It was useless for people to risk their lives for political change. God would bring change as and at the time His infinite wisdom determined...

If you do not understand the contradictions churned out by our 'apostle', I was equally confused.

In the biblical story, changes of power and censure of the moral order in society were generally through conspiracy, betrayal, assassinations, war and divine collective barbarism.

To project these ancient narratives as representative of a political culture divinely tailored for 21st Century Africa can only be construed as a design to embolden the despots of our time and to downgrade the heroic citizens who, at great personal risk, have the will and find the courage to champion the conscience of their nations and further the cause of democracy.

If theocracy is the divine ideal, then God has been a phenomenal failure, because I do not see theocracies anywhere, except in Iran, with its brand of horrors; unless you call the Vatican a real country. And even the Vatican is creaking under the burden of decayed dogma, opaque rule, gender inequality and homosexual paedophiles.

If it is God who gives and changes power, then God is very kind to the Nordic countries that pray so little, giving them peaceful change at reasonable intervals; and He hates long-suffering Africans who pray so much, giving them a plague of barbaric rule that sometimes subsides but does not heal.

Acquiescing in this despotism to justify the biblical narrative is to mask the hypocrisy and opportunism of our religious leaders, vesting them with a semblance of relevance in a future that ordinary citizens are struggling for.

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.

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