God is not a Christian -Inquiry into Theology

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God is neither a Christian nor a Muslim, just as Christ is not a Christian. This prompts us to ask: what is theology? Theology is the study of the nature of the divine, the study of religious faith, practice, and experience. Stated differently, it is the study of God and of God's relation to the world. To truly understand theology, it must be viewed from an African perspective; without this understanding, we are lost…

I feel closer to God the more I distance myself from organized church denominations, which tend to confine God to very small, limiting spaces. Is this truly what God wants? The Catholic Church, Anglican Church, SDA, and Methodist Church are all denominations of the same religion. Why is it so? Their teachings often seem more like a religious power struggle rather than a focus on God.

Many people are caught in this struggle. One of the biggest problems in Africa is religion, which often debilitates rather than empowers. Many believe that all our problems can be solved through prayer and fasting instead of hard, smart, and creative work. Stop wasting valuable economic hours in church. Being in church from Monday to Sunday, expecting miracles to change your life, is not practical. You close your business to pray and fast for success, but this is not something God endorses.

There is no shortage of apostles, prophetesses, and prophets in Africa, many of whom perform fake miracles, contributing to the problem. Christianity has become corrupt, with people becoming self-centred and exploitative, amassing wealth at the expense of their followers while ironically asking their members to turn to God for their needs.

Theology should help us examine our relationship with God and encourage us to think critically. Often, the only day we need to rest is spent entirely in church, leading to exhaustion during working hours. Sundays are your prime days for sales and profit, yet you refuse to open your shop. Meanwhile, you visit the hospital on Sundays, expecting doctors and nurses to attend to you. It's time to redefine theology and educate our people, rather than leading them to poverty. You spend all night in church, knowing you need to go to work the next day. When you're sacked for falling asleep on the job, you blame your boss, forgetting that you are paid based on your productivity.

Africa faces numerous problems, and we must never forget our history of slavery. Over 18 million Africans were taken to the Arab world, and many were castrated. Over 12 million Africans were taken to the Caribbean, Europe, and America. The effects of slavery are still with us today. In Southern Africa, the apartheid regime was supported by Bible verses, and religion was used to enslave us. Are we ready to free ourselves from this mental slavery?

We must remember that the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England were involved in slavery. The effects of slavery are alive today, and though it is abolished, Africans are still not truly free. We will never know peace because of religion, which remains a significant problem in Africa. King Leopold of Belgium caused the deaths of 13 million Congolese, twice the number of Jews killed during the Holocaust, yet we have forgotten. Africans have a short memory, still holding onto the same tools used to oppress our forefathers. This amnesia leads us to repeat the same mistakes. We remain the people consuming what we do not produce and producing what we do not consume. For how long will this continue?

We need a theology that aligns with African reality. If we don’t decolonize theology, we will remain dependent on others. After prayer and fasting, remember that there is no free aid. A theology that embraces political correctness without critical thought is problematic. Everything from Europe and America is not necessarily right for Africa.

It’s time for Africans to redesign theology to suit their world, creating a theology in the African context. We need a theology that will educate us to be critical thinkers and problem solvers, a theology that will prevent us from gaining an education that creates a working class. We want a theology that makes inventors out of us.

Desmond John Beddy