"Geesi dhereb kuma jiro"

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Religion In Africa

 Africans are the most religious people in the world, existing entirely in a religious paradigm. Religion maintains an unprecedented all-encompassing hold on society and the individual alike in the continent. Abrahamic religions constitute the largest denominations in modern day Africa with roughly 40% subscribing to Christianity and 45% adherents of Islam. The Abrahamic religions replaced native traditions and cultures along with myriad of uniquely African practices that sustained the population for millenniums. When developmental or governmental institutions not yet established in ancient Africa, religions dictated most events – and still do so today. And although the overwhelming majority identifies with either Christianity or Islam, indigenous religions, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism exist in Africa.

Religious indoctrination of impressionable youth commences early for African children. A staggering number of African children only receive religious teachings and rarely obtain non-religious formal education. Parents prioritize and ensure memorization of verses the children may not fully comprehend. The population disproportionately spends entire lifetime (from cradle to grave) on religion, starting with formative years where alternatives may not be available – usually by force or compulsion and not by choice or conscience. The youth are taught very early on not to think outside the box of religiosity. They are discouraged from questioning or examining religious content, and are instead taught glorified past religious conflicts that they are expected to emulate, with little chance of learning about contemporary life of the surrounding world. Faith of the family dwarfs facts and individual worth is measured by the degree of religiousness.

In Africa, the society, the government, the family and the individual function as a religious unit. Educational institutions serve as religious indoctrination centers where Western missionaries and Arab financiers compete for influence and recruit new converts. The countryside is littered with religious structures for mass worshiping, lacking institutions of higher education or societal capacity-building infrustructure that would alleviate the lives of the downtrodden. In this context, Africa does not appear considerably different from when the Europeans or Arabs initially conquered it. It is more religious than a century ago subsequently vastly lagging in social and economic progress. Historically, where national or societal institutions falter, religion intrudes with brainwashing, backwardness, oppression, ignorance and violence.  

In Africa intuitive thinking substitutes critical thinking through religiosity, leading the population to invest substantial emotional capital in religion. Intuitive thinking relies on intuition rather than critical reflection and accentuates belief in gods. Cognitive thinking abilities decrease belief in gods (Shenhav, A., Rand, D.G., and Greene, September 2011). Prolonged religious studying in formative years attenuates cognitive reasoning capabilities throughout life. Thus, religion being an emotional affair rather than an intellectual embrace, Africans are more likely to reason emotionally because of this mode of thinking. This type of thinking promoted by religions in which faith trumps facts has proven disadvantageous for Africans.

Discussing this taboo subject often invites confrontation, a subject that has contributed significantly to African conflicts (religion has caused more wars than anything else in history has) and gestates poverty and ignorance. Where poverty and ignorance remain prevalent, religion proliferates, and vice versa. If religions developed countries, Africa’s would have been superpower. Case in point, in the 1950s Egypt and South Korea had identical per capita incomes. Today Egypt's is less than 1/5 of South Korea's. Their standard of living diametrically oppose. When many African states gained independence there was an era of hope and jubilation about future prospects, however, today it's about religious conflicts, hatred, backwardness and oppression. Current generations are far more militant than previous generations which lack the opportunity to fulfill their full individual potential. This hindrance created failed states people flee en mass for greener pastures. 

All nations or continents were once as highly religious and superstitious as Africa yet most matured from religious domination. For example, the West went from Christian nations to secular democracies. As church and state separated it ushered an era of economic, social and political advancement leading to the current technological pinnacle. Increased educational attainment cultivated the decline of religiosity in Western civilization. Education has proven the enemy of religion. 

Religion in the West has been studied extensively without fear. It has largely been rendered as an irrational blind faith, while scientific discoveries repudiated religious myths. To some degree, it is viewed as immoral for its historical promotion of slavery, conflict, human sacrifice, celestial dictatorship and mandatory love/hate relationship in the concept of good vs. evil.

Children in Western nations are not susceptible to the level of religious indoctrinations African children experience, the secular Western education system promulgates critical thought, it distinguishes factuality from imagination. The secular education system encourages independent analytical thought that African children are inoculated from by religiosity. In the Middle East, where Islam spread from, many oil-rich nations now send hundreds of thousands of their youth abroad each year to obtain secular education. The top ten universities in the West now have campuses in the Gulf region. This, while exporting dangerous Wahabi ideology to African (and other) Muslim nations. It will ensure decades of religious conflicts, malfeasance and backwardness. Moreover, the continuation of the phenomenon of curtailment of critical thought.

Africans – engaged in a life long celestial battle of good vs. evil – typically point out the flaws of developed nations when faced with plausible explanations of the detrimental effects of religiosity. The African people are mummified by holy texts and anticipate a messiah to come down from the clouds and solve all problems for them. Unlike other religious peoples of the world, the Africans behave as though they're high on religiosity due to its grip on the mind. They proudly proclaim that (whichever religion conquerors imposed) is a blessing when evidence suggests that it has greatly hindered development and probably a curse. The African people defend religion with hawkish fervor, but would not study it in an honest and transparent fashion. They may not fully understand the given religion, but are sure it's the greatest thing ever, while simultaneously ignoring glaring facts of its associated repercussions. (For Africans, religion is helping tremendously, but only in their minds.)

The behavior of the African mind on religion presents impressive indications of its hold on the continent; people are euphorically self-righteous, absolutists and irredeemable. It increases delusions, hallucinations and pathological disorders leading to fanaticism and in some instances murder and genocide. The pattern is similar from Somalia to Nigeria, from South Africa to Algeria. Africans appear blinded by religion and accordingly detached from reality. A South African observer noted;

"I sometimes feel exasperated that so may of my countrymen fail to make what seems to me an obvious and self-evident observation about the damage religion is doing to our countries and continent. I always challenge my religious friends to take a simple drive through Sandton (which is white South Africa) and Soweto (which is black) and tell me what they see. All of them without fail, just stare at me like I am a mad man as they expect to make no profound discovery. The fact that on a drive through Sandton, they will pass countless large and beautiful company buildings, office blocks, hotels, restaurants, schools – is lost to them – while a drive through Soweto will suffocate them with churches and shebeens (liquor selling establishments) – with an occasional school here and there which on Sundays are also used as places of worship by the throngs of black worshipers.
The contrast is so obvious and is duplicated in every township.

The white man made sure that the shebeens and bottlestores (which were the first targets to be burned and destroyed during the 1976 student uprising) took care of destroying our bodies, while the churches intoxicated our minds. This sorry state of affairs is no different in the rest of Africa.

Even from an African historical perspective, religion makes no sense. How do the people who chain you and take into the holocaust of slavery, displaying such intense hatred for you – making your life on earth hell – still wish that you should go to heaven when you die. Of all the 4 most important things [Guns, Money, Knowledge and Religion] white people brought with them to Africa – they allowed us, and we are proud that – we have taken the most useless rubbish. If we want to change our continent – Africa – we are wasting time concentrating on leaders, because as products and reflection of the societies where they come from we will forever continue to be ruled by these scoundrels until we can find a way of changing our people. This will be the surest way of ensuring that the people’s products which aspires to leadership is of better quality. It is this toxic mindset of ignorance and deficient cognitive thinking that afflicts Africans which religion cultivates and gestates. If we want progress, we must fight ignorance with education in order to bring forth the progress Africa is starved off."

Religiosity has not moved the human developmental indexes for Africans, where children are programmed to think as though advancement is something for others to strife for, it has omitted the healthy skepticism required for a progressive society. The continent is still evolving and has not yet reached the age of enlightenment with symptoms of zombified collective. Most are conformist, because religion is more like a ritual which people follow without thinking, hence they are unable to see the corrosive nature of a religious mindset. Their consciousnesses is in deep sleep if not in comma.

Days are spent on seeking miracle healing through telepathic communications, performing Stone Age rituals to stave off (invisible supernatural beings; devils, demons, etc) and ward off diseases. For instance, while the world seeks medicine for the AIDS epidemic ravaging the continent, African religious institutions stipulate that the disease is consequence of sinning and that god(s) are punishing the sinners (with AIDS). People pray for rain rather than learn to purify water, only to have the sun scorch crops, and when prayers or gods do not deliver it is insinuated that people are not praying enough. It is an intellectual dishonesty and a common but disingenuous religious talking point, one similar to the popular African theory that “if the conquerors did not come we'd still be worshiping fictitious gods”, and the thinking that all knowledge comes from holy books.

It is a familiar occurrence to witness two Africans who - one believing the Bible from the accident of birth, and the other believing the Quran by the same accident - each label the other a nonbeliever. The African diaspora are often flabbergasted when they encounter Europeans/Arabs whose lives religion has little influence over. Africans are so religious they now send missionaries to Europe to revitalize religion in developed countries. "We out-Muhammad Muhammad and out-Pope the Pope" - Dr. John Henrik Clarke. 

In Africa religion is a closed book, not an open book of discoveries of the wonders of life. Leaders utilize it to gain and maintain power, it is a proven weapon on the vulnerable, and people often fall prey to it. The continent consists of societies where people attempt to live like the Arabs of the 7th century, where people aim for high priesthood in Europe, and children conditioned to think that they were born with religious dogma when it is clearly a learned behavior. This is similar to suggesting that a child is born a communist, a capitalist, a socialist or a patriot. These are not innate human traits but dogmas a person accepts uncritically (usually as a child when they don't know any better and can't think for themselves). For example, a person would die for a country in the same way they would for a religion, or any other dogma, for that matter. It is essentially the thinking that a particular dogma accommodates that becomes an asset or a liability. Ultimately, any dogma that inhibits healthy skepticism is harmful.

An individual with only religious education suffers a mental gap about how the world works. Their views are skewed, their brain functioning only from a certain perspective, while completely ignorant about practically all else in life. And this is the tragedy of Africa. Religion has taken its toll on Africa; it has crippled its ability to reason, to think clearly, to understand itself. It has destroyed its confidence and diminished its ability to positively contribute to the world in proportion to its potential. Africa must initiate an honest debate regarding the subject matter. The mind killing fear that sustains religiosity must be lifted and the youth given the opportunity to think logically and forwardly. It must come out of the box of religiosity, not necessarily become irreligious, to experience and enjoy such secular/progressive values as human rights and freedom of expression that religions oppress. It must encourage free thought and enlightenment. Africa doesn't need aid, it needs critical thinkers, and currently those with critical thought flee to countries where they won't be oppressed. Countries in which the concept produced advancement and prosperity, countries that send aid to Africa.

There is no doubt that religion appeals to certain individuals but those enthusiastic about religion should not quell the cognitive development of unsuspecting African children. Basically, if religion is so great, and could stand on its own entreaties, it wouldn't prey on innocent children by frightening them with real or imaginary punishments. It would instead attract adults through rational enticement. As it is now, religions only exist on mass brainwashing of vulnerable children and the solicitation of those ripe for its domination. Religions contain both positive and negative elements, both warrant equal analysis without prejudice.


  1. Saaxib, I interesting analysis of religion in my beloved Alkebulan. As well thought out ur sentiments may seem to penned to persuade the unconvinced mind, I beg to differ on ur overall stance that religion is debilitating to our folk. Quite the contrary

  2. "I beg to differ on ur overall stance that religion is debilitating to our folk. Quite the contrary"

    So you have evidence of religion causing advancement and harmony?

    I guess this is what the article suggests when it said; (For Africans, religion is helping tremendously, but only in their minds.)