African Geostrategy Lesson n°74
By Jean-Paul Pougala – English translation by Ngobuye Elvis Chunka (*)
In 1972, the German philosopher and author Anders Günther (1902-1992) wrote a book that would for ever shake the world of philosophical thinking of the 20th century on the three major Judeo-Christian Religions and the sects that share their worldview. The book was titled in the french version: ‘’L’obsolescence du « sens »’’.i.e “The Obsolescence of common sense”.
In the chapter entitled: « Les deux Sources de l’Absurdité »- “Two sources of Absurdity”, he contests Karl Marx’s view that « Religion is the opium of the people ». According to Günther, it is rather « the opium which is the Religion of the people». He compares believers in Judaism, Islam and Christianity to drug addicts, who, after haven taken their drug are in a state of apparent euphoria in an imaginary paradise which exists only in their minds and which renders them artificially happy, mindless of whether this happiness isn’t just a blatant lie, a lie of which they repeatedly remind each other.
Creationists are not only to be blamed for holding unreasonable beliefs, but actually for believing in belief. This may sound like a pleonasm, or a tautology, but on second thought you will see the point. Deeply they don’t really believe in a God as a supreme deity, but rather they believe in common sense, they believe in what in their eyes seems sensible, whether or not it is true . That is why they tend to ask biased one-sided questions like: Who created all of this? Who created the earth? Who created you ? They are uni-directed beings, because they pose questions so trivial that it shows the level of their weakness. They always stop at asking the more pertinent questions: Let’s suppose there was a God and he created the earth in six days, and rested on the 7th: What was his intention when creating the world? If a farmer plants cassava in his farm, we are sure that in a few months time he will harvest cassava. Now if he has children who spend all their time praising their father and telling everyone that he is capable of producing/creating cassava, then it means they have simply refused to give reason into their father’s work. For an act like this to make any sense, the farmer must have had at least the intention of doing it in the first place. After comparing cassava farming with other crops like yams or beans for example, and after having good reason to go for cassava instead of any other crop to produce. And so if his children are intelligent enough, what should preoccupy them shouldn’t be the fact that their father can produce cassava,but rather WHY? and WHAT FOR? And more importantly WHY Cassava and not Yams or Beans ??? Instead of asking these questions, believers prefer to rejoice under the effect of their drug, where what counts is simply the ecstasy produced by the opium. This is why Gunther said that opium is the religion of the people. What matters is consolation, whether true or false. Anyone who has taken time to analyse the question of Religion and is capable of objectivity should be courageous enough to ask the question like Gunther did : « Yes life is truly Absurd […] What is the purpose of the universe? What is the purpose of all life forms? And the mamals, the mosquitoes, the ants, snakes, bacteria, the HIV and Ebola viruses ? What is their purpose too ?
Gunther also invites us to be weary of the trap posed by the creationist religions, that make us believe they are divergent, one against the other on certain issues. He says in his book that this is just a smoke screen. In truth, all the creationists agree on one thing/creed: Monotheism. They are all united in telling the rest of the world that there is a God, and so it would be an error to delve into their petty inter-denominational arguments as to who is truest. He gives two examples of this: In 18th century Great Britain, jews were only admitted into the country on condition that they professed to be Orthodox Jews i.e Practicing believers. In the 30s, to be able to lecture in any American University, one must have been a professed believer in any of the three judeo-christian religions. He drives this point further by saying : « What was expected of these people wasn’t just a belief, but also proof that they were ardent and practicing believers. »
Here’s what he says in Chapter V (paraphrasing):
« Every single day, the number of sects increases exponentially, simply because the proliferation of Religious sub-groups( due to the precedent set by protestantism) seems to have reached its summit. But the Multiplicity is deceptive. I am convinced that the hundreds of thousands of men who believe they need to have faith in an ‘’Authentic ring’’ that can transport them mystically into a state of Nirvana, and that it is only that ring that can do it for them, are simply pretending to believe. Because dogmas have become inter-changeable. It is by virtue of accident that Mr Smith was contaminated with dogma from sect A and Mrs Miller, by the dogma from sect B, In the same way, it is by accident if Mr Smith takes a tablet of Paracetamol and believes only in it and if Mrs Miller takes oral rehydration salts against diarrhea and believes only in it. All dogmas act in the same fashion, 99% of them are simply « placebos » – Proof of this is in the fact that Smith and Miller, even if they mutually hate each other, will deny with the same energy, any attempt at reconciling their dogmas. Not withstanding, the contents of beliefs have degraded so much that they are nothing but means of achieving a state of drunken happiness and Nirvana which are beings that can’t talk, and are on par with plants and sleeping beings. (…) The founders of sects are always illiterate and uncultured, Mystic has become something meant only for the lower classes of society: members of sects are illiterate, not because they can’t read the publications and books of their sects, but rather because they do read them. »
It’s been 42 years since Gunther wrote these words, and looking at the proliferation of the same sects today in Africa, it is almost like he wrote them today. Gunther wrote to warn the European society against the invasion of creationist philosophy, which, like a snake through a slightly open door, gradually infiltrated into the European society, during the gracious period of the liberation movements of 1968. Was Gunther heeded to? Were his warnings grounded on facts ? What has happened in 42 years of infiltration of the European society by creationist sects ?
In the following, discourse we will analyse certain facts in light of the creationist sects and also look at how some European countries put in place laws to counter the the phenomenon. Also, as usual we shall not conclude without seeing how these sects affect Africans of the diaspora.
However, it is wise to ask ourselves: what is the sociological motive for bringing in Africans of the diaspora into the issue of the proliferation of pernicious creationist sects?
To answer this question, let us look at a study carried out by a Senegalese thinker, Abdoulaye Gueye in his book : ‘’De la religion chez les intellectuels africains en France’’ with subtitle: ‘’L’odyssée d’un référent identitaire’’.
Gueye,carried out a study of 30 years, from 1950 to 1980 on the relationship between the Religion(s) of African intellectuals in France and completed his analysis with a comparison with Senegal. And the results are interesting: Africans in France believe in God, 10times more than those who live in Africa.
To arrive at such a conclusion, Gueye relied on a study carried out by another Senegalese researcher J.-P. Ndiaye, who published the results in 1962 of his study carried out since 1950 on African intellectuals living in France, where he found that only 0,9% did not believe in God .He compared his results with those published one year later in 1963, in Senegal by P. Fougeyrollas, who had carried out a study on students on the University campus in Dakar, by asking 156 students among which, 12 declared a non-belief in God. i.e almost 8%, against 0,9% of African students in France, which is 10 times more. He concluded that Africans in France had 10 times more believers in God than those in Africa. But how did we get here ? What explains this ?
The author takes us back to the colonial Administration era, which wanted to forge the African philosophy into a typically creationist one. This was in order to guarantee for themselves(the colonialists) total control of the African man, totally overwhelmed with Religious fear, just like the Vatican did in France during the 1000 years of the Creationist Middles age when everyone had to be Christian by force. To achieve this, Abdoulaye Gueye tells us how the colonial Administration did this with ease. They simply had to finance missionary schools ( since they were in a mission to « civilise » Africans) and they also made sure they were the only schools available in the countries. But the most important weapon used by the colonialists wasn’t the schools.
It was elsewhere, though not too far. In fact this weapon consisted in producing the future African Philosophers solely through the seminaries, that is, the same schools that had to train catholic priests. Gueye cites in his book Jean-Marc Éla and Eboussi Boulaga. Thess are African catholic priests, trained in these seminaries. The colonial system hailed these men as Thinkers, Opinion-leaders, to orient the views of the lay people, and since they were themselves creationists, there was no fear whether they would one day rebel against their masters, by cutting off the invisible chains and orchestrate a revolution against the creationist ideas they were charged with teaching the lay men. It just works ! Since, contrary to other places in the world where it is the illiterates who believe most strongly in God, in Africa it is rather the most educated people who bring God to their illeterate parents at home. Being a believer in Africa is synonymous with being a bit more civilised than others. This confirms the so-called « Civilisation Mission» which officially motivated the colonisation of the savage Africans by the more « civilised » Europeans. This is the reason why the Priests, Catholic Sisters and all the religious scattered over Africa are known by the amusing tag : « missionaries », since they are on a mission, a civilistation mission, they are here to civilize the barbaric Africans! It is only natural then, that the most civilized of Africans went on to France,and England, a little paradise for Africans! And in acknowledging his master, the slave gets to be assimilated and even identify himself with the master’s religion. This explains why in France, African students are 10 times more believers than their counterparts in Africa. And this is where the slave becomes excellent in showing-off and even surpass his master in the celebration of the rituals he just learned not too long ago.: A baptism,First holy communion, or a marriage in church is turned into a show, where people from the world over are invited, even forgetting that they are from a very humble economic class, sometimes where their family is still struggling with basic necessities back home. This in reality is simply a dress rehearsal, for their grand return home to conquer their families, societies or states, with their new-found ‘civilized’ beliefs. They become real «missionaries »: Bouquets of flowers sometime leave Paris for burials in Africa, which is quite ridiculous, for an African culture that doesn’t have the same significance and symbolism to flowers as Europe. Especially during the tragedy of death.
You see funerals that turn comical with coffins that have to sometimes travel long distances, and usually accompanied by expensive mables and decorations that transform the village into grand cemeteries, meanwhile just besides them are dilapidated houses. It all seems like a huge insult to the faces of the local villagers at times. And to crown it all, the idiocy continues when the « civilised » now brought to us the very cynical idea of a: « Funeral programme». This is simply the climax of the show-off of the slave about how much he has learned about how people should be buried, just like the master does. And since according to the master, it is written in the bile that Black is synonymous to bad and cursed, the colour black is directly associated with sadness at burials and it is therefore natural for the burial uniform to be a black suit or gown. Everyone seems to want to mark a burial ceremony with black, as a sign of sadness. Not forgetting the black shades usually worn by the « civilised » African.
Mission accomplished! The Africans will spend time on such banalities that the masters have wisely put infront of them to distract them, and prevent them from discussing the real issues that plague them and seek real solutions. This explains why an African student in the streets of Paris, Berlin or London, is the first, fast and easy target for evangelization by certain creationist sects like the Jehovah witnesses or the mormons, instead of the nationals of these countries. Who themselves are not involved in any grand submission strategy. This is why African families in the diaspora are twice more victims of the effects of these sects than European or American families.
However as in every rule there is an exception. There are Africans who have against all odds stood firm in their opposition to the status quo.
It is August 9 2014 in Endama village, Lekié division, South Region, Cameroon. The burial of the man known as arguably the greatest Cameroonian thinker. professor Marcien Towa (1931-2014). But something strange will take place. Marcien Towa expressedly didn’t want a creationist-style funeral ceremony, and his children respected the wish of their Dad, by carrying out a funeral ceremony in strict respect of African spirituality and culture. No priests,No pastors or Imams were invited. Naturally everyone around was stunned. The funeral of such a well known personality without any creationist rituals or masses!.This had never happened before. It must be said that though this act may seem insignificant, it carries a lot of values with it and proves to us that even when almost all African intellectuals seem to have been brainwashed by creationist values, there are still those who resist. Noting explains why in a secular Republic like Cameroon, funerals must have to pass through a church or mosque.
Indeed despite the wish of the great thinker who died of cancer on July 2 2014 at the age of 83, a catholic mass was said in his honour during his funeral on july 7 2014, against the wishes of the deceased at the Yaounde Notre Dame Cathedral , the capital of Cameroon. Even though all his closed ones are categorical on the issue, beginning with his student, who later became his friend and colleague, Prof Hubert Mono Ndjana, who spoke on the media during the controversy:
« Marcien Towa, the former seminarian, was, until his death an atheist. His last wish on this was that there be no priest or pastor at his burial ».
Like Mother Theresia who baptized poor Indians on their death bed and claimed in public that they were converting to Christianity before dying, to justify this bridge of Prof Towa‘s wish, it was insinuated that two of his sisters had prayed with him before he died and that was proof that Professor Marcien Towa could have had a death bed conversion to Christianity. The Religious people who justify this bridge of the man’s wish by say: « It was after haven accepted to pray with his two sisters that Marcien Towa finally died ». As if to say, just before he died the professor would have wanted to have by side, not the children he raised up himself, but rather his two sisters who had already been brainwashed by a Religion in which he had been prepared to become a priest, but from which he succeeded in freeing himself. Sounds like another blatant deathbed conversion LIE!
Was Gunther right in saying that creationists are like drugged people? How can you ask a dying man to make such a serious decision? If he is dying, it means he is no longer in total control of all his senses, his heart, his brain..etc. How can he make a decision ? With such behavior typical of sects, is there any difference between, the sects and the so-called ‘’mainstream’’ religions ? Or are they all the same, like Gunther said?
According to the dictionary a sect is defined as a : « Closed Religious group, and created in opposition to ideas and dominant religious practices ».
According to French law:
« Is considered as an obstacle to the liberty of thought , any opinion or viewpoint which jeopardizes public order, the laws or the fundamental rights, the security or integrity of individuals. It is characterized by the putting in place, by an organised group or by an individual, whatever their nature or activity, of any methods with the objective of creating, maintaining or exploiting a person who is in a state of psychological or physical subjection, that rids him of a part of his liberty and freedom, with grave consequences for the person in question, his immediate environs and the society as a whole.».
To distinguish creationists into sects and non-sects, should we limit ourselves to the respect or not of such a law? And are the European institutions not already under the influence of the creationist sects ?
In an article on the french Newspaper « Le Nouvel Observateur » of octobre 20, 2011 :
« Slovakia,Czech Republic,Hungary,Austria and Germany, are countries that are steeply immersed within the sectarian phenomena, especially in the Protestant regions where the explosion of numerous doctrines brought about the emergenece of various spiritual groupings that practice mental slavery. Illegal practices have infiltrated numerous public institutions, courts, parliaments, and even up to federal ministeries, making the situation a cultural phenomenon of serious consequence. The case of Germany is typical. Senior Government officials even use the pretext of the country’s past dictatorships to say that the government shouldn’t intervene in these cases of violation of human freedoms, this leads to a government that simply watches on in inaction while these crimes are carried out. The non-seperation of Church and state, and the will to protect the various beliefs, even when they pose a danger to the nation, ends up looking like an endorsement by the government, of certain criminal practices on children[…] This ardent protection of the activities of these sects by the government, is a characteristic of a criminal-state. For decades these phenomena have existed, and governments of the other developed countries in the world continue to protect and tolerate them in the name of « cultural differences ». This attitude has been so widespread that the authorities have simply lost view on the fact that child co-opting and sequestration is criminal and causes psychological harm to the children and families involved. ».
WHAT MEASURE ARE BEING PUT IN PLACE BY VARIOUS COUNTRIES WITH REGARDS THE DANGERS OF THESE SECTS? CASE OF FRANCE
After the tragedy of the ‘Ordre du Temple Solaire’ in 1994, 1995 et 1997, France decided as from 1998 to put in place measures to control the activities of these sects. A special comission was created called : ‘Mission Interministérielle de lutte contre les sectes’ (Mils) i.e (Interministerial mission for the fight against sects) which since 2002, is now known by the accronym: Miviludes (Mission Interministérielle de Vigilance et de lutte contre les dérives sectaires.) i.e Interministerial mission for vigilance and fight against the negative effects of sects.
On the website of the French Prime Minister, its role is to control and sanction the religious sects which carry out the following:
-Demand huge sums of money from its followers as contributions,
-Cause the followers to cut-off from their natural environment,
-Physical dangers to the members
-Sequestration of children, antisocial teachings, causing public disorder,
-Are involved in many civil suits against them in courts,
-Attempts at manipulating public officials,
-Unacceptable and destabilising living conditions,
-Manipulation of vulnerable and ignorant persons,
-Mental subversion leading to dangerous acts or omissions,
-Isolation of the group and hostility to other opinions,
-Violation of the founding values of the Republic.
In a 194 pages report in 2011-2012 to the French Prime Minister, by this interministerial mission ((MIVILUDES), in page 10, there are some very harsh words from the President of the ‘’Union nationale des associations de défense des familles et de l’individu victimes de sectes (Unadfi )’’ which is The National Association for the defence of families and individuals,victims of sects, Mme Catherine Picard, cites the french law n° 2001-504 of 12 june 2001, for « reinforcement of prevention and repression of sectarian groups which jeopardize human rights and liberties ». In this law, we see clearly an attempt to fight against the abuse of ignorant and weak persons, persons in a state of « psychological or physical subversion ». In other words, when a priest says to someone God exists, when he knows deep down that it is a lie, and uses this lie to make gains on illiterate and uninformed people, it is called an abuse of a state of ignorance.
Here’s what Catherine Picard says in the report:
« Through door to door prospection, offers of discussion, pretence to help against loneliness, distribution of pseudo-religious documents, religious organisations like Jehovah’s witnesses are making forceful headway into people’s lives, pretending to help them, and at the end become a replacement for the peron’s family, which are then abandoned by the person, since he/she has seen a better family in them. […] Some even go to the extent of going through orbituary pages to take out the names of bereaved persons in local newspapers and then pretend to come to their help : “ We just learned of the death of your husband, in this your moment of sadness,we would like to bring you some comfort by showing you the good news in the Bible ” […] Other groups hide behind psychics and healers to propose their services to people. Irrational practices are very appropriate for control of the vulnerable persons. They are also very profitable. It can be done through phone calls, personal motivation, ‘’coaching’’, health tips. […] The most used means brought up by the Miviludes is that of voluntary workers who visit people, who then profit from the lack of vigilance due the confidence the persons then put in them, to get them to make donations, gifts and other financial advantages etc for them individually or for their group or sect. »
LESSONS FOR AFRICA
On August 16 2014, an online newspaper from the Democratic Republic of Congo known as : Afrique Quotidien, published this headline, which was also relayed on Radio Okapi :
« RDC: six personnes accusées de sorcellerie brûlées vives » i.e « Six persons accussed of Witchcraft burned alive »
The story took place in the Equateur (North-west DRC), Precisely at Businga, a village situated 140 km from Gbadolite, in the Nord-Ubangi district. Several pentecostal pastors, in their Sunday homilies at church, regularly target the richest people in the area, who apparently refuse to believe in Jesus and thereby don’t come to church and give offertory. Not believing in God, and thereby not being under the control of these pastors, is proof that someone is a witch or wizard. And the slightest case of epilepsy in the village that happened, all the villagers know who was the perpetrator. 6persons were thus burned alive:2 men and 4 women, together with their assets and houses. According to Radio Okapi :
« On the 4 and 5th of August 2014, the mob also burned 48 houses belonging to these accused witches and their closed ones, leaving 300 people homeless. These beliefs were spread by Christian pastors. […] Witch hunting is still very frequenting in certain parts of the DRC where thousands of handicap or sick children and known as « witches » by some Pentecostal pastors, and are either driven from their homes or killed ».
In Africa there is a time bomb ticking in front of us all, but no one seems aware, this is the bomb of the creationist sects. These churches that are sprouting everywhere like mushrooms without any control, are real crime centers that may become uncontrollable in the long run. These Tv chanels in honour of the vrgin Mary or in honour of the new- age prophets who cure even sicknesses that haven’t yet been discovered , these are real dangers that sooner or later may become difficult to solve.
It is therefore urgent that we close them all. Or better still employ the Australian method, that is to tax them. It was thanks to this strategy that the Australian government succeeded in preventing bandits and conmen who had turned to the easy church business to make money
Today we complain about the Islamist group Boko Haram, and other creationist sects, but we forget that it is our politicians that tolerated them in the beginning. In the hope of making cheap electoral gains. But with people who sell creationist lies, things can only turn for the worse in the end.Africa is only just beginning to be invaded by creationist sects, because sects like the church of scientology haven’t yet arrived here. But immediately the incomes of the African population rises, we can be sure to see them install their churches here too. Will our governments be able to resist?
Each year young Adolescent Africans are mistakenly separated from their families at the tender ages of 16-17 to go study in Europe.At their arrival, there are these creationist sects, ready to recieve them.They have developed sophisticated methods of recruitment of these kids who, find themselevs having to deal with the solitude of living away from their loved ones for the first time.We find ourselves then in a situation where numerous kids, who in Africa had never been into these churches, but find themselves in Europe within prayer groups, and sects where sexual abuses are usually a given. Gradually, these kids leave their studies and dedicate themselves fully into the mental slavery activities, where they work for free for these sects in recruiting new members who are usually also from Africa. This is how these sects are then exported from the ghettos of Bruxelles, Paris, London, Berlin,
Let me conclude with a thought from professor Marcien Towa in ‘’Zeen, la Revue du Club de Philosophie Kwame Nrumah, n°1 de janvier 1989 : -A review of the philosophy of Nkwameh Nkrumah
«In a world where gigantic forces clash leaving it in an accelerated, and even dangerous movement, what will be our place and role? In such a world, the unaware and inert people, those who let themselves to just be blindly carried away by the movements, are destined to be disentangled and used as mere tools in the hands of the others. We can only prevent such a disastrous future by setting a global goal and by adopting a means to this goal […] Africa needs to adopt science and technology and rid itself of the magico-religious mentality. ».
Africa has a date with the rest of civilisation on that science and technology that Towa was talking about. And all the creationist sects are an obstacle to distract Africa and make it think that God is more important and it is better to stick to irrationality than to science. But our future is in Science, otherwise, we will have no future.
August 19th, 2014
(*) Ngobuye Elvis Chunka is Cameroonian. Medical laboratory scientist(Biologiste Medical) in Port Gentil, Gabon.