Which spiritual culture for Africa?

Between revealed spiritualities and ancestral spiritualities, Professor Olivier Bilé offers a reading grid and a possible solution adapted to the realities of the continent.

A certain category of Africans is quite right to think that questions of culture, spirituality and religion are fundamental in the fulfillment of the destiny of a people. The latter are not wrong to say that if the religious and spiritual orientation is failed or distorted, this people is likely to find itself lost, without landmarks and without perspective of a development worthy of the name, so much it would be anchored in fertile values. That being said, it should however be pointed out that this category of African thinkers generally misunderstands these different notions of culture, spirituality and religion.

The reading grid is totally distorted when they conceive of the world as a place of cultural and spiritual partitioning, a kind of space of religious and cultural balkanization where everyone claimed to live only in the culture of their most distant ancestors. They ignore or forget that humanity has always been a vast and perpetual space of cultural transactions and interactions of all kinds within which the most powerful and robust vectors of culture, science and technology, of philosophy and spirituality, have always been and continue to be the subject of imports and exports between peoples.

For example, the French language that we currently use with its alphabet as well as its cultural referents, contemporary digital technology, which allows us in our WhatsApp groups and in other situations, to discuss and share elements of knowledge, have been developed elsewhere, doubtless do not come from our ancestral African culture in the sense that we understand it. However, we are very happy to use it and it is not a problem for us to know that all this comes from elsewhere. When we use the car, plane, train or subway to get from one place to another, we have no problem knowing that we are using technology that is not supposed to have any relationship nature whether with our rituals and our traditional African cultures.

When we go to pharmacies, to hospitals, to 50 or 100-storey buildings with state-of-the-art elevators, or when we carry out all sorts of social or economic activities related to the realities of the modern world, we are not too bothered by knowing that all of these elements of science and technology would originate and have been developed within the postmodern western world. I am one of those who modestly think that planet Earth has always gained from being a space for interaction between the peoples that make it up, who have always sought the best where it exists.

Historians like Cheikh Anta Diop rightly remind us of Africa’s character as the cradle of humanity. They tell us how the researchers of ancient Greece such as Herodotus, Thales of Miletus and many others, went to African Egypt to draw elements of knowledge and knowledge related to mathematics, geometry, philosophy. , to agronomy, to engineering sciences as well as to many other scientific and cultural disciplines which they abundantly exported to the Greco-Roman universe which in turn worked to appropriate them. while disseminating them in its area of ​​geopolitical influence.

Often out of ignorance, many Africans castigate Christianity believing that it comes from the West. They ignore in fact that the Christianity of the origins comes from the Near East near Africa here and that Jesus Christ of Nazareth who is the doctrinal inspiration was born near us here in Bethlehem in Judea. But also that when a certain King Herod threatened to take his own life when he learned that the Messiah had been born, it was indeed in African Egypt here at home that his parents came to hide him.

Surprisingly, the slayers of Christianity never attack the secret societies and the very evil Western occultist circles which, for the most part, have implemented various techniques and subtle devices to retain the global elite of captivated Africa. Freemasonry, Rose-Croix and other esoteric circles controlling our States are occulted. This category of Africans, fortunately very small, often prefers to attack Christianity. They are often not even aware that this Christianity, whose origins they impute, out of ignorance, to colonial Europe, hardly exists there anymore, the European world having been considerably de-Christianized for centuries.

What must also be said is that this Europe, which this African intellectual elite apes on many other levels, has itself abandoned this set of practices and ancestral rituals in the period of Antiquity and then the Middle Ages, when it was itself in those times, touched and impacted by the religious doctrine of Christianity. Europe was indeed a universe where magic was practiced, ancestral and traditional cultural rituals, cults to the dead and to natural phenomena, witchcraft, mystical practices of all kinds, and to which the peoples of that time surrendered account of emptiness and unproductivity.

By embracing Christianity from the East through the robust dissemination action of the apostle Paul, a disciple of Christ and his other fellow disciples, the Europeans had, at the outset, taken the right path. Unfortunately, they ended up devirilizing this same traditional Christianity by emptying it of its true invigorating and saving substance. By mixing it with far too many elements of local culture and traditions, by distancing it from the doctrinal radicalism characteristic of authentic Christianity whose vocation, it must be said here, is highly universal, by distancing it from good ethical values and fundamental morals supposed to govern the behavior of rulers and ruled, they ended up producing a model of Christianity to which they themselves ended up turning their backs from the 17th and 18th centuries. Europe today is no longer a civilization of Judeo-Christian extraction, but rather a civilization centered in artistic dynamics and values, an atheo-civilization of materialism and libido-liberalism.

It is important to return now to Africa to see that it experienced two types of Christianity. On the one hand, this model of colonial Christianity is exported to it precisely by European actors. The said model, which had already shown its limits in the European universe by causing a massive de-Christianization of society due to abuses of all kinds but also to the doctrinal washout carried out, could not reasonably bring a real dynamic of liberation and emancipation to the context and to the African people. The most serious thing is that this model of Christianity was originally intended to accompany the colonial work and the project of subjugation of Africa. When a religious system appears indisputably to be in collusion with the system and the neocolonial order in force, it is obvious that the latter cannot objectively contribute to the Liberation and the desirable emancipation of the people.

That being said, it is absolutely necessary to widen the grid of analysis now to consider that authentic Christianity, Christianity which liberates by affirming in its spirit and its letter that: you will know the truth and the truth will set you free, n In reality, it has nothing to do with all the doctrinal and human aberrations operated relative to this model of Christianity.

I would like here to make an analysis as objective and as honest as possible, excluding any fanaticism of chapel. This is why I want to invite the African slayers of Christianity to get to know better this religious and spiritual current which remains and remains the most powerful on the planet both from the point of view of its geographical location and the positive effects operated in the lives of billions of people. It is indeed good to truly discover it in order to know that its true paradigm is a real factor of liberation, of healing, of transformation of entire lives, and that it is, in reality, the only spiritual vector likely to help us free from the pangs of neo and colonial domination.

Everyone has seen that in the past, in times of slavery, the slave trade or colonial conquest, our local, traditional and ancestral religions, cultures and spiritualities were unable to preserve us and triumph over external invasions. . It is not by appealing again to these values ​​by waking up this cultural and spiritual cadastre that we could get out of it, as long as it is true that it has not served us in any way in the past in the face of European adversity.

I would also like to take the opportunity of this remark to also indicate that the traditional and ancestral rituals around death or around the celebration of all kinds of events have perfectly been and still remain the occasion for certain maneuvers of darkness and the invisible, to cause illnesses, to break destinies, to perform evil acts whose great amplitude in terms of level of malevolence, causes incalculable damage to our African and Cameroonian fellow citizens as well as to all of our social structures. Bewitchments, evil possessions, strange and mystical diseases, malevolent and destructive links are the lot of Africans in connection with these ancestral rituals promoted by some.

If the Europeans had abandoned the same types of practices and the same ancestral mystical cadastres, it was because they had noticed the level of harmfulness of the said practices as well as their inability to make general society evolve towards progress and modernity. . It is therefore as vain as it is useless to attempt to steer Africa along such illusory routes and perspectives.

I am well aware of the situation of bewilderment of a certain category of our elite and our populations who no longer manage to make sense of things. My people perish for lack of knowledge, say the scriptures.

It seems to me more relevant and more appropriate to seek the ways and paths of this true and authentic Christianity which posits that: you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. The infinite power and benevolence of the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, its universal scope never denied since its emergence in the world and within humanity for more than two millennia, is indeed the proof that he represents the Way, the Truth and the Life.

However, I would like to point out, by way of conclusion, that while I am in favor of the dialogue of civilizations, which must be a dialogue that respects all the actors involved, I remain against the idea that we should import anything and everything from otherness. I think we have to look for what is good elsewhere and work to improve it as much as possible. Many societal values ​​from the Western world must be repudiated without reservation and kept at a distance from our African universe. Gender theories, transhumanism, LGBT cultures and other similar drifts must be firmly kept out of our African cultural space.

From this point of view, we are perfectly in phase with the fundamental doctrine of authentic Christianity which takes up and rejects this type of culture which everyone now knows led to the destructive episodes of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Today the main promoter and champion of authentic Christianity, which it will nevertheless gain by refining and making more combative, within the framework of what must be included in the register of a true theology of liberation, Africa appears as the David of humanity who will defeat the Goliaths of cultural and spiritual perdition and bewilderment.

Which spiritual culture for Africa? – Journal of Cameroon