The Complicated Relationship of God and Africans

The title of this piece could be deemed tantalising if not downright arrogant and revolting. Some will say controversial but I would not hasten to draw such emotionally charged conclusions. The idea is not to generate any of those sentiments. I am here simply to explore and share my observations while doing so. A while back I wrote somewhere about there being no God. Before you get all worked up for no logical reason dear reader, calm down and allow me to quote a paragraph from that particular piece. It began thus: ‘With all the abundant knowledge that is present everywhere in the modern day world, one would think that humans would have stopped being gullible and matured mentally; unfortunately as it is always the case on this doomed planet, it is yet to be or maybe it will never be. Man is still mentally chained as he was centuries ago. People still prefer to believe outrageous myths and preposterous fairy tales. Perhaps what is sheer preposterousness is the belief held by many around the globe that there exists a God-an imagined super being who is all powerful, present everywhere, capable of seeing and hearing everything, and is credited with the creations of heaven, earth and the beautiful celestial bodies that most of them we have the pleasure of witnessing at night under dark skies when they come out to dance.’

Suffice to say that my people were not impressed with my words and one of them might have wrote in the comment section that I will burn in hell or something along those lines. Bottom line is they were not happy. This was expected and when it comes to God black folks can be pretty dramatic. I remember that at some point when I began taking interest in the study of science and I happened to ask my father’s long time bae a question that might have challenged the premise of God’s existence and religion, she gave me the best answer a mother could give a son. ‘I will pray for you my child.’ Clearly she was upset but her motherly instincts overpowered her anger.

But if I am to be honest and brave in the midst of hostility and lack of reason, I would surmise that there exists a pattern that will without a doubt upset many if they have not pulled out their hair already: Black people love God so much, and yet He does not seem to reciprocate that love. It is a very complex relationship that if it were to be given a status on Facebook ‘complicated’ would describe it best. Now in the modern era a relationship that lacks a reciprocal or symbiotic aspect would be defined as a ‘friendzone’. Surely in the times of Google, Twitter, Yahoo! and so on I do not need to explain what a friendzone relationship is; if you are unsure make use of these aforementioned resources. I am assuming that we are all versed in this nasty, emotionally abusive phenomenon. Gentlemen, if you still cannot keep up please consult with your lady friends. Their notable expertise in that field is not to be outdone.

I am getting carried away dear reader; please forgive me. Back to the matter at hand: could God have friendzoned (inform Queen Elizabeth that is now a verb) Africans? The answer is an unequivocal yes. Black people are just tagging along in this bus. Whose fault is it? Normally in these circumstances the blame would be placed at the door of the perpetrator or the friendzoner (Today I am revolutionising the Queen’s language) if so to speak. But this is a very unique case and unfortunately the victim or the friendzonee (someone let the Oxford Dictionary know that it needs to be updated). And a curious mind would ask why? It is really simple: humans have been endowed with functioning brains and from that logic dictates that there is no God. He does not exist.

In that similar piece I quote at the beginning I offered a hypothesis of why I think and believe there is no God thus rendering the system of religion futile. In that hypothesis I remarked thus: ‘A thorough and objective study of religion and its origins clearly indicate that piety is a system of governance designed by man to rule his fellow men, banking on their innate fear of the unknown; hence the creation of an omnipotent, omnipresent God, Allah and so on and so forth and other names you might call your imagined divinity. God, the overlord of all that exists in this world, the creator of heaven and earth, is a fruit of the human mind-a figment of the imagination.’ Obviously it is in the nature of a loyal if not blind believer to ignore all reason and instead succumb to emotions, but I implore you dear reader to engage your mental faculties and look at this objectively. Look around you and I bet the person next to you screaming ‘God is great’ is not pale in skin. That very same person whose unwavering belief in God’s greatness has been slaving for over 30 years and all they have to show for it is a small house built by government in Dobsonville, Soweto. God has forsaken my people. He is not to be found in their despondence and suffering. If then such a super being does exists, he exists in the comfort of luxury and opulence.

A journey on a train in the morning from the sprawling township of Khayelitsha, south east of the spectacular city of Cape Town headed to town would briefly have you believe that all is well. Security guards, domestic workers, gardeners, street sweepers, farm workers and all the menial job titles reserved for my people that you can imagine seem to momentarily exit the train. The thought of poverty temporarily goes out of the window to make way for song and dance, an age old meaning of joy and celebration in African culture. The carriage transforms into a place of worship, the masses the congregation and anyone who has the confidence and courage to give a sermon is more than welcome to morph into pastor or a deacon. The mood becomes jovial and high spirited while the surroundings outside rudely continue to remind one that this improvised church serves as an escape for a people who have never known anything but despair. This is the best part of their day, however temporary. In the midst of song, dance and the occasional sermon a prayer will be introduced. It is in the honesty and solemnness of that prayer that you realise that black people are still chained; that their relationship with their imagined divinity is really complicated.

Move around the circles of the black middle class, those ones who carry themselves with the air of ‘I am better than Sipho in his shanty in Alexandra. Mma Naledi in the village of Loopeng knows nothing about Gucci or Louis Vuitton’; with the hope that their arrogance and pomposity might be compensated with objective thinking, only to be disappointed. Someone once said that the reason Africans continue to lag behind on the ladder of progress is because they spend all their time showering an imaginary super being with love, the love that He does not seem to be capable of reciprocating. But then again that is how things work in a friendzone, and that of my people is no different. The only explanation one can proffer is that it is complicated. Kgotsong!

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