Black Spirituality Religion : P.T.A.R.E. The Future of African Gods-By Molefi Kete Asante

Discussion in 'Black Spirituality / Religion - General Discussion' started by Sekhemu, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Until an African leader publicly acknowledges, honors and prays to an African God, we Africans will continue to be viewed as pathetic imitators of others, never having believed in ourselves.

    So powerful is the concept of religion when we discuss it in connection that to deny the validity of one's religion is to deny the validity of one's civilization. Indeed to deny one's religion as valid is to suggest that the person is a pagan, a heathen, uncivilized, and beyond the sphere of humanity. So to talk about religion is to talk about our views of ourselves, our understanding of our ancestors, and our love of our culture.

    There are no people without traditions and traditions are the lifeblood of a people. A people who refuse to express its love and appreciation for it ancestors will die because in traditions, if you are not expressing your own, you are participating in and expressing faith in someone else's ancestors. No person is devoid of an attachment to some cultural foundation. Whose water are we drinking?

    Our African history has been a recent orgy of forgetfulness. We have often lost our memories and accepted the gods of those who enslaved and colonized us. This is something the Chinese and the Indians have fought hard to keep at bay. While we have often embraced our enemies gods they have found those gods to be anathamea to their interests. Show me the gods we Africans worship and I will show the extent of our moral and ethical decay.

    Thos who speak to us of Christian or Islamic morals have often been the very ones who had defiled our ancestors' memories and called our sacred rites paganism. Malcom X once said that the world pushes the African around because we give them the impressin that we are chumps, not champs, but chumps, weaklings, falling over ourselves to follow other people rather than our own traditions.

    The distribution of religion represents the distribution of power. African distribution is minimal and exists in a few places in the diaspora like Brazil, Haiti, Jamaica and the American South. The religion that people practice is based on the influences that have captured their imaginations. In the American South and the Caribbean and in South America one will often find the Yoruba religion. It is Africa's most powerful religious export to the Americas, but this is still a minimal influence when one considers the fact that others have imposed their religions on us and we have accepted the imposition often without a fight from our traditional leaders. Indeed our traditional leaders have often been hijacked by the material good offered by the purveyors of these migrating gods.

    The abandonment of our history, indeed the abandonment of our gods, the gods of our ancestors, have brought us deep into the quagmire of misderection, mis-orientation and self-pity. When the missionaries forbade our shrines and punished us in the Americas when we called the names of our gods and sounded our mighty drums they were looking for teh Pavlovian reaction they finally got in millions of Africans: African is bad, it is inferior, it is pagan, it is heathen. We often hear others cursing our ancestors in the ways the Chinese, the lebanese, and the British would never allow. Why is this? Are we truly ashamed by our military defeat? Can we no longer think about how right our ancestors were in exploring human nature. Cannot we create new forms out of the old mold or must we throw away the mold?

    It is true that the idea of Christian names or Muslim names promotes and advances those cultures. Why must you change your name even if you chose to by into a foreign religion. What is wrong with your name? Any religion that asks you to do what others do not have to do is asking you to abandon your mother. The question is, why would you abandon your mother?

    What is religion but the deification of ancestors, the making sacred of traditions within the context and history. How can we honor any god who was used against us? The only people who accept alien gods are defeated people; all others honor and accept their own name for the almighty. We must learn to appreciate ourselves and our tradtions. What is wrong with the African God?

    What would we think of a Yoruba who accepted Chinese ancestors as his own? We would find it quite interesting and wonder how it came to be. But what of Africans' acceptance of others' gods? Is there tradition with these alien gods? ofcourse there is tradition with these gods! To accept the Jews' god or the Arabs' god or the Hindu's god and so forth is to valorized those histories above your own. Indeed, it is to honor the names and myths and stories higher than your own stories, it is to love the language, the places in their stories above your own. Why is Mecca, Rome, or Jerusalem more Sacred than Bosumtwi? Quite simply, it is imperialism, not by force of arms, but by force of religion which sometimes comes armed.

    In the first place it is important that we call popular traditional African religion everywhere by a common acronym, Ptare. This means that Akan, Yoruba, Igbo, Zulu, and Shona are the same religion with different branches. Just as Christians may be Baptists, Methodist, and catholics, and just as Muslims may be Mourrides, Sunni or Shiites. There is not difference in speaking of Ptare as one religion and speaking of Christianity or Islam as one religion.

    I believe that Ptare everywhere is as old as civilization, indeed, it is much older than christianity or Islam. The major characteristics of Ptare are found in all of the traditions from East to West and from North to South. The fact that we have often misunderstood the legacy we have inherited is not the fault of those who left it; it is our fault for preferring the oppressors' legacy over that of our own ancestors.

    The Characteristics of Ptare Include:

    Creator God
    Domicile of Gods-Presence , Shrine
    Priest/Priestess of God
    Devotee of God - Medium
    Herbalist - Pharmacist
    Psychiatrist - Mental harmonizer
    Diviner - Scientist, hunters/Warriors/Explorers


    All ritual in Ptare seek a return to Maat.
    Everything is one - we are part of the whole and nothing is disconnected from the Almighty. That is why we recognized mother Earth as well as Nyame.

    What Europe sees and teahes as limitations in Ptare are really advantages: No vast interpretative literary corpus to say what is and what is not - Ptare's interpretations are often dependent on a multitude of situations that demand attention

    No concentration on the material manifestations of the God's house. All temples are started as shrines and from the shrine place people build other edifices. Buildings should have some historical or religious significance.
    http://www.asante.net/news/ptare-accra-speech.html
     
  2. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I'm encouraging ALL practioners of Traditional Afrikan Religion, (Akan, Shona, Vodun, Kemetic, Ifa, Igbo) to share your insights.

    christians, jews and muslims are welcome too.
     
  3. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Kayira be kotomaa Sekhemu,

    I read this article some time ago and was inspired by its message. Still, after reading it again, I'm continually inspired. It's a hard path to walk as practitioners of traditional African spiritual modalities; to hear the ancestors' call and take heed is to exhibit courage, fortitude and a knowingness that sometimes evades the hearer and follower.

    Many people fail to understand the connection religion has to culture. I believe this is due to the "globalization" of particular religious beliefs as catholic. A people's religious complex is a byproduct of worldview. When religion is exported, a worldview is exported along with it. The converted's culture is ravaged in the process. The converted is left with a remmant of the former culture; a lifeless devitalized shadow. The converted does things they no longer know why they do it except that that's the way its always been done. They engage in meaningless acts of empty symbolism. As dynamic group, the converted become mockeries of their former selves, a people with no distinction whatsoever.

    A case example. It been reported that former concepts are replaced by new ones and the old ones become eventually lost. Words in languages that originally mean one thing and communicate volumes about the thought process of a group are changed in meaning to give voice to something totally alien to the culture. A lineage is formed as the ole lineage is severed and grafted with new stories of origin, holiness and reverence. The people become dis-empowered; definition lies in the hands of others crafted from molds unknown.

    Oops, I have so much too say, I believe I got ahead of myself. Whenever a religion is superimposed upon a group of people by another group of people, it changes form, shape and character - it becomes a vehicle of aggression, an ideology, a tool used by the proselytizer to enforce a notion of some moral, social or cultural supremacy. It (Religion) ceases to be a way to experience divinty, if that was ever the case; but instead, serves a political agenda of domination, cultural hegemony and ethnocentrism.

    Any group that allows themselves to be duped to follow another's religious tradition, especially one that differs from their worldview, has accepted surrender as a viable means of survival. They have accept the validity that their divinty is powerless, less able to meet their needs and their elders were fools to ever scuplt a religious system so worthless. It becomes the ultimate mission statement of lack of self-value.

    I know I'm babbling. Please excuse me. I'm currently writing a book that speaks to some of these things.

    Blackbird
     
  4. Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Shared insights from a Christian!


    Sekhemu,

    It has been nine (9) years since Dr. Molefi Kete Asante gave that lecture in 1998. Today, we still do not understand his total message. Everything stated by the Doctor is true as it relates to African People. Below are also quotes from the lecture under the heading:

    What Must be Done

    “Remove all images of a white Jesus. This is not correct even if one is Christian. The historical Jesus had be black in color despite the missionaries’ attempt to paint him English and Swedish.”

    “We need boldness from our leaders to accomplish this transformation.”

    As you should know, Jean Claude LaMarre produced the Movie - Color of the Cross. This is definitely an attempt to remove the image of a “white Jesus.” We have a Thread here at Destee.com titled – Color of the Cross. Another attempt at describing the “historical Jesus” as a man of color. Both are great efforts at negating the problems cited by Dr. Asante and in keeping on course with “What Must be Done.”

    But what has been the outcome?

    As you should know, my own effort of inspiration is no different than Keita’s or Blackbird’s, the need to put the truth in writing, especially the overwhelming black presence in the Bible. We have become the “leaders” that Dr. Asante spoke about nine (9) years ago, and are acting with "boldness."

    But what has been the outcome?

    Great post! But are we helping with “What Must be Done!”
     
  5. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Clyde

    I want to thank you for your contribution to the thread, I'm very greatful and honored.

    I'm aware this article was written several years ago. However, as you know, not much has changed in successive years.

    It can be debated whether or not "The Historical Jesus" even existed, althought I'm not inclined to go down that road.

    However I've failed to see how a Black Christian Doctrine "the overwhelming black presence in the Bible" squares with Tenets laid out P.T.A.R.E. ,specifically as it relates to the consulting of the priestly order, the ancestors and oracles.

    In Ifa, like all other traditional African Religous systems, Medicine is understood from a socio-spiritual dynamic, and no individual/community can re-align him/her/itself with out the aide of their elevated ancestors, the divinities and the Creator.

    Moreover, it is impossible to meet this objective without the dissemination and nurturing of indigenous cultural taboos, customs and rituals of a given ethnic group or clan.

    Yes, I am helping with must be done. How? By knowing and fulfilling my destiny. How do I do that? by way of what is called Iwa Pele (Gentle and Balanced Character).

    Only heaven knows the way to salvation!
     
  6. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Alaafia Blackbird

    Ba Wo Ni?

    This is a brilliant analysis Brotha.

    Blessings to you in writing you book

    Ase
     
  7. Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    In the Spirit of Sankofa!


    Sekhemu,

    Thank you for the salutation, I feel likewise.

    In my view, it would be necessary to first pull the cover, so to speak, exposing the misrepresentation/misconception of Color in the Bible; since most Black People in America take root in the Word of God.

    This task within itself is humongous. But maybe, just maybe, after accepting the truth that the current Bible, as it stands, reflects Europe recasting the entire Bible into a saga of European people; we (African-Americans) would then be prompted to acknowledge our African roots. Perhaps at this stage then, African Traditional Religion could become juxtapose with Christianity.

    The point being we must start somewhere!



     
  8. Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    In the Spirit of Sankofa!


    Hello Blackbird, Sankofa! It has been a long time Brother!

    Congratulations on your book, I am looking forward to reading it! Keep me posted!



     
  9. Blackbird

    Blackbird Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thank you, Brother Clyde! Indeed, its been a while!

    Thanks for the encouragement. It's still in the unfinish stage. Definitely, I will let you know when its completed. I hope you have been and continue to be blessed in your endeavors. Sankofa!

    Blackbird (The Struggle of Our People Continues)
     
  10. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Somewhere has been started !

    More to come
     
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