Within Reason; probing questions concerning Religion/Beliefs.

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    Preamble

    All “Truth”, should be understandable and provable I’m sure you agree, and if not, why not? And why should we, as rational, intelligent, literate human beings, strain our mental faculties beyond the points of rationality, common sense, natural law and logic; deforming the contour of our brains in a vain attempt to make sense out of nonsense? This article is geared towards establishing the answer to that question.

    There are some of us, of more discerning intellect, who believe that it is within reason for us to expect balanced answers to certain probing questions concerning “Religion” that may enter our minds from “Time” to time.

    I believe that to doubt and question the popular versions of God and “Religion” is not the same to expressing doubt or criticism of God Almighty. I believe that it is possible to keep faith with God and at the same time totally reject any concept of God that does not conform to logic and reason. I believe that we should not be subject to accusations of heretical doctrine, hypocrisy, malicious intent, lack of faith, or atheism, simply because we seek understanding.

    The “Truth” stands by reason of its own truthfulness. It needs no supplementary supports. But beware of the fabrication (religious or otherwise), posing as the Truth; because the advocates of the falsehood always request that we accept their lingo, not on the basis of its provability, but rather they encourage us to have faith. And not just good hearted down to earth faith, but rather a faith that is unreasonable, doesn’t hold up. A faith that requires us to actually twist the very fabric of normal thought processes in an adverse, abnormal way, to convince ourselves that somehow the fabrication is really the Truth. Where knowledge ends region begins.

    Beliefs, Differences and Detractors; stand with your belief

    Beliefs goes with spirits, where there is belief, there must be something, something that you cannot touch or see with your human eyes, only something that you can feel or see with dreams through connection with the spirits. You need to believe in what you believe in, if you don’t stand for something, you will definitely fall for anything. We need to stand with our beliefs and traditions and stop following people who through their food relief, jobs, biased charity and other things rob us into their beliefs / religions. Our ancestors are not for sale, they are not for a price, how much would one pay for them.  We are not ashamed of what we are; we are because of our spirits, our spirits are because of us. Africa is the continent with the richest spirits, cultures and traditional beliefs.

    How was Africa before the coming of Christianity?

    You want to tell me that Africa was nothing before Christianity came into Africa? Christianity has grown big and has the largest number of the followers in the world, yes of course. It is because it was forced into people of other beliefs. The family of the slaves had to pray before doing anything is it eating, starting the day or work, but their slave masters and their families would just grab the plates and have some food, start their day without any prayer. Was this Christ a Christ only for the slaves?

    When these people came to Africa, they had skills and technology; some were the Catholics, the church people, so called people of God and the holy people, instead of teaching, equipping people with these skills and technologies they made them slaves catching and chaining them like animals, selling them to one another like cattle for slaughter. Where was this Holy Spirit when they were doing all this evil?

    People are made to fear their shadows even their traditions

    Power mongers create fear in order to control the world; they can even make you afraid of yourself. “Outside there is a demon, Satan, Satanism”, there is a lot they talk about to make us run away from our shadows. “Your ancestral spirits are demons that trouble you”, etc. To me cultural beliefs, religions, traditional practices, and all the spiritual bodies, have become business other than a special organic it was, it has become politics, I wander where exactly is it heading to.

    Africa did not know of anything such as Satan, Satanism, and Demons, which are used to frighten people out there these days, making them feel they are unprotected just to have them filling the congregations. What can you tell me was wrong about the lives of our forefathers, with their ancient lives? What was this Satan to them? What was a demon to them, what was Satanism to them? They did not know of all these things so they did not exist to them. The only thing they were worried about was the witches, the wizards and their which craft practices of which they fought through their spirits and traditional beliefs in triumphant. Their spirits were their gods; they did not want some bossy-self-sated Gods /gods. They worried only about food of which they planted, grew crops and harvested. They also kept their domestic animals and hunted whenever they needed game meat. During dry seasons they consulted their rain goddesses from one tribe to another, each place had its rain goddess of which people depended for enough rain and good harvests. So really they didn’t need some bossy self-sated racial gods, and their priesthood and also their self acclaimed supremacy.

    Colonialism stole our African origin; even our spirituality is still colonized

    Through colonization, the media and technology, Christianity has grown very big. The African traditional beliefs did not have a written book that would be forced into people of different ethnics through wars, taking advantage of drought, poverty and vulnerability.

    If a psychic, spirit medium, clairvoyance, Sangoma, Inyanga, spiritual faith healer / traditional healer charges someone an amount for services, they call it bad and unholy it is only good when somebody pays money on a Sunday offering and tithe in a church.

    The question of the land, our spirituality and the rain Goddesses

    I have heard the question of the land; people had a lot of their spirits attached to some parts of the land before the land was invaded during colonization. Sacred mountains were just climbed without the consultation of the spirits by the invaders / the colonizers. Guns were shot at some sacred pools which are homes to our ancestral spirits which made them (the spirits) very angry. They responded by bringing hardships to the land, drought and dryness to the land, in result of no rain, no good harvests and cold wars, etc. During the lives of our forefathers, a Rain-queen would be consulted with in terms of poor rains and poor harvests, and people would come with positive results with their places having enough rain both for people and their animals. I have got an example of a rain god or goddess in Njelele shrine in Zimbabwe, guns were shot at that rock/cave and the whole of Matabeleland South region have since run shot of rain and experience poor harvests or no harvests at all. We have got Nomkhubulwane the South African Zulu water and river goddess, when she is angry she causes havoc with floods and cyclones. This is not always the case with Nomkhubulwane because the Zulus are spiritually centered people that they don’t forget to consult with their Goddesses and plead for forgiveness and clemency when things have gone wrong.

    Church television programs and so called Demons

    There is a lot I do not understand here on these church television programs; people of other languages speaking in English when their demons are expelled in churches. In most cases these are young and educated people who can speak English well even when they are just people, not possessed. The old and uneducated have not appeared on Church television programs speaking English, why? These demons only affect the young and educated? Who knows? I wish these guys come to my place and pray for my old-old grandmother and see if she is going to speak English as her spirits come.

    What I know of the spirits, they speak and understand only the language of their people (Their ancestors). Those demons suppose to be speaking in their languages with someone translating as in what they are saying. (All these church TV programs are just business, and advertisement) scaring people with things that are none affective and do not exist at all. People need to be careful; they are going to run away from their own ancestors having made to understand they are demons; a thing that does not matter to them because it did not matter to their ancestors. (Can you run away from yourself?) It is impossible. Many people want to be other people than themselves, because those people are said to be so much famous, rich, so much of God’s people, no and a big No, everybody is God’s people, differing in their diversity. The planet earth was made conducive for everybody who lives on it regardless of traditional beliefs, cultures, religions and ethical background. (Freedom of worship and a right to belief) No religion or belief is mightier, bigger or greater than the other. Each and every belief is bigger, mightier and greater to those who believe in it. And that is what they believe in so let them. Christianity is mightier, and greater to those who choose to believe in it, so are the other beliefs, they have got a right to do so.

    Beliefs, Religion and Democracy

    In most cases Christians have a problem with other religions and traditional beliefs; they always undermine everything from other parties. For an example, we have Islam/Moslems, they worship the same God as the Christians and they only differ on the Christ/Mohammed story one being the son of god and the other a prophet. Still the Christians will tell you everybody is not doing it right besides them. They don’t just associate with other beliefs. Otherwise they are right; they must not bring in things from other beliefs to confuse their own. In the first place they should not have forced their religion into people with their own religions; they confused the world for their own benefit. They spoke of Heaven, what is that to us the real Africans who worship their ancestor spirits. What is this heaven to other people of the world who have their own beliefs and don’t care about the heavens they do not know. (Anything that you do not know of is useless, it is less important than that which you know).

    God, churches, pastors and the money

    Look at how many churches are built one church after the other, next to each other with different names, each one is fighting for its own good, a lot of money is involved in this church business, “give some offerings to Go, ten percent of everything you earn’ and that one is a must, otherwise go will…..” At which bank is God’s account? How big is God’s purse? How big is God’s dinner table? This is all business; people have made a hell lot of money through this church business in the name of God pretending to be the God’s servants. Why does god seem to make a lot of threats through the bible at the church when money is wanted? Is it God really who wants these monies. Is it him who threatens people so much if they can’t give tithes to the church and the pastors? What character then is God when it comes to money? The God who warned people through the bible about the love of money, can he be so fraudulent, is it possible that he may have so much love of money that he punish those who do not give money to the church and its pastors? If it’s like that, that would mean that God and these pastors must save the love they claim they have for the people by being once off bank-robbers and robbers of money in transit (At once) because the threats I have heard in bible verses demanding money seems to me that they need more money than the whole world can give.

    Is there really things called chosen people and holly cities; what about others

    My only problem with these people is that they don’t believe that other spirits are real; they think it is only theirs. When these Christian people came with their bible to kill some people’s brains, programming the world people’s brains to their notion of the chosen, heaven and hell; they told people that Heavens are up in the sky, the scientific study revealed later that there is nothing up the sky, the blue sky we see is where the sight ends, it is endless in the sky, no heavens, no hell only the planets. The Jews claim their town Jerusalem is a holy city of God and the bible falsely states that there is a Jerusalem up in the skies in so called heaven, this is a mind game, it is using the word god to create fear and control the world. These church people now criticize one another, “this church is of God that is of Satan” they want to scare people from some churches in order to get members. Is it not that they are preaching the same bible with one primary aim to take people to heaven (Same theme different cast). If there is heaven, those who believe do not mind as to which church is going to take them to heaven, but for those who are doing businesses with these churches it matters, they want people they want money and tithes.

    Indigenous African Religions

    While it is true that Africans do not have a word equivalent to the term “religion” there are a number of terms in African languages that describe activities, practices, and a system of thought that corresponds too closely to what most Westerners mean by religion. African religions are often closely associated with African peoples’ concepts of ethnic identity, language and culture. They are not limited to beliefs in supernatural beings [God and spirits] or to ritual acts of worship, but affect all aspects of life, from farming to hunting, from travel to courtship. Like most religious systems [including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism] African religions focus on the eternal questions of what it means to be human: what is the meaning of life, and what are the correct relations among humans, between humans and spiritual powers, and with the natural world? African religious systems [also] seek to explain the persistence of evil and suffering, and they seek to portray the world as operating with some degree of order and predictability. They uphold certain types of ethical behavior. . . These ideas are expressed in sacred oral [and written] traditions, handed down from generation to generation through the performance of ritual [dance and music] and through intensive periods of education, including rites of passage.

    Issues of Indigenous African Religions.

    It is important to remember that while there are similarities between African religions, there are also differences. Just as there are differences in religious practice in the United States-not just between Christians, Moslems, Jews, Hindus, and others, but even within Christianity (Roman Catholics and many Protestant groups), Islam (Sunni, Shiite, Nation of Islam) and Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform) so too there are differences in religious beliefs and practices among African religions.

    Although the supernatural God and spirit world are important in African religions (as you will learn in the next section), religious beliefs and practices are central to all aspects of life in Africa. That is, religious beliefs’ impact, the way people live their everyday lives, from what they eat (or cannot eat), the way they farm, do everyday chores, hunt, make tools and clothes, arrange themselves in families, marry, divide work among family members, educate their children, treat illness, and bury the dead. Among indigenous African religions, religious belief and practice are not restricted to one holy day each week, be it Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, but are present in the most common daily activities as well as in special ritual ceremonies.

    African religions provide people with what some people call a ‘world-view’. A ‘world-view’ can be thought of as a system of values, attitudes, and beliefs, which provide people with a mechanism to understand the world in which they live and everyday events and occurrences. Maybe we can think of a world-view as being like a language. Can you imagine how hard it would be to explain or understand everyday events and occurrences if we did not have language-words? Words are essential tools that help us explain and understand events and occurrences. But words come with their own meanings, we cannot simply change the meanings of words when we use them to explain or to understand events or why we live the way we do. Words and their meanings help shape the way we see, and therefore how we explain, events. Similarly, the world-view (values, attitudes, beliefs) that an individual learns from the time he/she is a baby provides a mechanism that influences how she/he understands all that happens to her/him, her/his community and the world in which she/he lives.

    African indigenous religions provide a system of morality that establishes right from wrong, good and appropriate from bad or inappropriate behavior. Just as with Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, children growing up in African religions learn right from wrong, what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior in every situation that they face.

    Rituals are important in Africa

    Like all world religions, rituals are important to African indigenous religions. Rituals are cultural or religious ceremonies that celebrate or commemorate specific events that have deep religious significance. Rituals serve to reinforce important religious beliefs through meaningful activities that bring comfort or joy and thus strengthen the unity of the followers of the religious tradition and their spirits. Rituals are often associated with important human events: birth, marriage, death, planting, and harvest.

    The Supernatural in Indigenous African Religions

    People who study religion in Africa tell us that all African societies have a belief in God. Some African religions believe in one supreme God who created the world and all that is in the world. Many African religions believe that there is more than one God; however even in these religions, usually one of the Gods is claimed to be the supreme God who was responsible for creating the world. Since there are many different language groups in Africa, there are many different names for God. Even within a single country there are often a number of different names for God.

    Whether or not a particular African religion believes in one or several Gods, the way God is viewed in most African religions is both similar and different than the way the monotheistic religions characterize God. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are the main monotheistic religions. These religions teach that there is only one God and that that God not only created the universe, God has complete control over that universe. Moreover throughout history, the one supreme God communicates directly with humans, and God is directly involved in the lives of humans.

    Similarities between Monotheistic and African religions’ Conception of God

    According to leading experts, on African religions, many African religions share the following concept of God. These concepts are quite similar to the way God is viewed in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, the three main monotheistic religions.

    • God is creator of all things.
    • God sustains creation
    • God provides for and protects creation
    • God rules over the universe
    • God is all powerful (omnipotent)
    • God is all-knowing (omniscient-knows everything that happens in the world)
    • God is viewed as parent (sometimes as a father and sometimes as a mother)
    • God supports justice
    • Human-beings cannot directly know God.

    Given these similarities it should not be surprising that Africans from all over the continent often accepted the introduction of Islam and Christianity into their communities.

    Differences between Monotheistic and African religions’ Concept of God

    In spite of these similarities there are important differences in the way God and the supernatural are viewed in African religions in comparison to Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. In most African religious systems God or the Gods after creation was not directly involved in the human society or the individual lives of people. Remember how in the creation stories the Gods were engaged in the creation of people, but after creation, the Gods usually withdrew from direct contact with human-beings?

    The idea of an isolated God does not make the supernatural un-important in African religions. Indeed, the supernatural, or spiritual realm, is most important to African religious belief. Between an all-powerful God and humans is a pantheon of spirits. These spirits are directly engaged in the lives of human beings, and can act as intermediaries between God and humans.

    Spirits in African religious traditions share some of the same characteristics of angels in the Christian, Islamic, and Jewish traditions. Good spirits help to protect against illness and misfortune and assist humans by providing rain needed for crops, as well as, fish and game animals used for food. However, not all spirits are good; some spirits are viewed as evil and are believed to be responsible for illness, premature death, and other forms of suffering and misfortune.

    The weight of a traditional spiritualist

    They weigh less, there are so many reasons that we can put on the table; these people sourced their raw materials from the forests in the form of wild plants and animal remains, but today a lot of them use western type of things which have been industrialized for their use, by people who know very well that those things are nowhere near the traditional needs, they are meaningless, they are just business. For an example; what did African traditional people use as attire for their spiritual needs before the coming of cloths with the westerns? What did they use in place of beads before the westerns came with the plastic beads which Inyangas and Sangomas put around their necks today?

    Some African cultural attire is copied from a western method

    Right, instead of those clothes they wear today they used animal skins, the colors depended on which animal does the spirits associate with. Many spirits associated with the leopard skin. For the red color they would go for springboks and some antelopes that has light brown/ close to red color. That was their red color. Now that some animals became endangered and protected they went with the idea of cloths which resembled the color of those chosen animals, but the cloths were introduced by the westerns for business other than spiritual needs of an African understood.

    With the beads, these spiritualist and traditional healers in their gear, used seeds from different wild plants, (omabophe, imikamba imikampa imfibinga, imikumbakumba, mdlambuzi, umdlampunzana, umqhobampunzi, umviyo, ivuthwamini, imigwadi, amahlali, ikhemeswane, Umbumbulu, umwawa (iwawa) and others, (beads were made out of their seeds.)

    As they changed to plastic industrialized and manufactured (man-made beards) those who manufactured them took for granted the existence of the African beliefs and powerful spirits, they thought that spirits take anything that comes or they do not exist. They forgot that you can ask from the spirits if something can be done or used. Same applies to Christians they use cloths and where were cloths when everything began. Is there a verse that says god said in his creation, “Let there be cloths”? But they use them. Some of them today carry knobkerries, because Moses is said to have carried one. Are they all Mosses? Same applies to some African spiritualist and traditional healers, they would make a rule that everybody must live their shoes outside, it is because they are confused by the bible verse that says “Moses remove your footwear because this place is holy”, maybe it was because Moses had killed someone back in Egypt, who have you killed to remove your shoes, why are you not holy, what is being holy in our African way of spiritualism. All these things make our African way of spiritualism lose weight or mixed up for worse.

    Menstruations and some laws of spiritual movements (Do they real matter)

    Some white garment and most of the churches will tell you that a woman is not allowed at the church when she is on her menstruation periods because she will destroy the powers of the prophets and disturb the presence of the spirits. The same applies with the African traditional beliefs and practices. Does a woman know when exactly is she going to see her periods? What if she comes to that church or traditional healer’s place clean and start her periods when she is already in, would that mean that everything in there is dead and is no longer of use, even the spiritualist himself have expired? What if the woman in her periods is seriously ill that she can die and the healer has got something to help her with, will he/she leave her to die? If this is the case, it means everything on earth is dead because there are a lot of women on earth even in the spiritualists’ home stead who get their periods unaware. Where do they go during their periods, do they leave their homes because of their spiritualists? A lot of things in these beliefs have lost their origin some do not make any sense; they seem to be laws just put to add weight.

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    Spiritual cleansing and the binding of the body

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    Khokhovula and his daughter in their consulting room consulting with the ancestor spirits confirming things that the spirits may need be done, he is sited here connecting with the spirits submitting himself for the work that the spirits may send him to do. He is also asking for powers and the light to spread broader and reach his people so that they are protected from their enemies.

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    Mrs. Khokhovula is making some request from the spirit in the consulting room, she is even asking that the spirits keep the family going and the people that need help from her husband Khokhovula get helped. She is Khokhovula’s right hand.

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    Mrs. Khokhovula is wearing her animal spiritual hat for her animal totemic. It is the hat that connects her with her totem animal spirit.

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    Mrs. Khokhovula and the children, the other child is already a Sangoma and Inyanga at the age of two. She is enjoying every part of her spiritual live with her loving family. She plays a mother figure not only to her biological children but even to the people who come for the services of her husband.

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