THE DILEMMA OF RELIGION IN AFRICA (taken from africanholocaust . net Organized mainstream religions are spiritual technologies responsible for the backbone of civilized societies. Out of these organized rituals came vehicles for perpetuating culture, law, justice and morality. However, religion has been fingered time and time again as being the inspiration and agent of slavery and brainwashing. Mass religion is a big soft target since most people are members of a religious group it is easy to say it was this factor, above all others, which is responsible for any and all negative behavior. Anti-religious Russia and China witnessed some of the most barbaric regime, pure inhumanity and sever oppression-- Yet no religion. So the argument about religion dividing people is equally true for politics, race, color, nationality if not more so. More wars are caused over land and resources than God. Even during the crusades (which were supposed to be a Muslim-Christian conflict), the crusaders killed many non-Western Christians. However, far more emphasis has to be placed on greed, wealth disparity, and its effect on the human condition. In the absence of religion, slavery would have taken place. In the absences of democracy and communism, wars would have taken place. If we look at the most ruthless dictators most of them do not kill in the name of religion, (Mao for example said religion was poison). The biggest wars in history are not really in the name of religion; even the crusades were about Europeans acquisition of trade routes, which Muslims controlled. Outside of Islam and Christianity slavery existed, the largest slavers on the continent were neither Muslim nor Christian. Terms like "Islamic Invasion" and "foreign religions" are painted all over African history exclusively as if this was the process by which Christianity and Islam came into Africa. Islam has been a native part of the African landscape for 1418 years, Christianity for 2000 and Judaism for far longer. Yet history paints Christianity in Europe as if it was fundamentally a European institution, they paint Buddhism in China as if its origins where Chinese. Anthropologists seek to extract religion from reality and make Africa the perpetual victim of invading Arabs and Europeans. Afrocentric history on one page vilifies these religions but then on the next page tries to score racial points by claiming the glories of the Islamic and Christian contributions such as Mali, Aksum and Songhai. However, Aksum was not a victim when it chose out of its rights as a sovereign self-determined super-power to accept Christianity as a state religion. Nor was Ancient Ghana when it accepted Islam as the state religion. These were super powers under African influences that made these choices, just as Rome did when it accepted Christianity. And in Africa’s recent history some of the greatest minds of liberation were both Muslim and Christian: Garvey, Malcolm, Martin Luther King, Ture, etc. Before there were Catholics in Rome or a Church of England there was an Ethiopian Orthodox state in Ethiopia, before Islam was ever heard of in Iran and Iraq or Syria or Medina it was being practiced on the African continent; these religions are traditional African religions. The unique African expression within these faiths is not homologous but in Ethiopia and West Africa the African traditions are distinctively African. This is because the process of acceptance had Africans as agents of their destiny and hence Africanized these religions as opposed to be victims of other people’s interpretations. This does not mean that the alteration to culture was not destructive at times but to use these terms are very loaded. In the case of Eurocentric Christianity, it was the partnered with a Holocaust and thus was extremely destructive because its primary modus operand was to enslave and destroy. With all these religions, the problem of undue cultural influence became an issue where to be Islamic or Christian meant taking on the cultural attributes of the dominant practitioners of these faiths, may they be Arab or European. So this is a cultural challenge not serviced by throwing the baby out with the bath water. If Muslims and Christians are sensitive to this they will select African Muslim names, as opposed to Arab names, they will seek out African interpritations, which speak to their reality, and the same for Christianity. But religion is part of human globalized culture and cross-fertilization is an aspect of human history and it is in this context that religion should be looked at in Africa and indeed world history. The question to all those that seek to re-divide up Africa by being anti-Islamic or anti-Christian is what in practical terms do they want Africans to do? Beyond the rhetoric what is their plan to fix what they see as a conflict? Should the Ancient Churches and Mosque of Lalibella and Sankore be burnt? Do they expect 1 billion people to mass exit these two religions? In addition, what religion are they bringing as an alternative? Will this native African religion work in the 21st century? Religion demands belief and regardless of origin a religion must make sense spiritually to the practitioners. It is not like changing a name from Kevin to Kimani. It is not like removing European clothing and wearing African clothing. So practically, it is a futile endeavor to attempt to mass convert a continent in which the fastest growing religion is Islam, followed by Christianity. It would be far better to Africanize these faiths and make them service the people and the culture at the same time. It would be more sincere to centralize all the religions around commonality and unify people based upon being African and having a common moral core. The sincere question regarding the role of religion in Slavery has to be looked at from the perspective of 1st came the greed and 2nd came the justification. Religion, like political systems (communism, democracy, etc), offer the justifications for the greed of man and all three world religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam have been used in this way, as well as indigenous religious systems. So in the America’s we see Christianity being used as part of the making of a slave by transplanted Eurocentric values. In Africa we see Islam, or lack of Islam, being used as justification for enslaving people. We also see how selective interpretations were used in both Islam and Christianity (Curse of Ham, etc) to sustain slaving. However, when slavery became a liability due to the numerous revolts and the industrial changes the same religious institutions, which formally sanctioned became vocal in the abolition of slavery. Europeans and Arabs did not walk into Africa to enslave Africans because of a deep hatred for dark skinned people: The primary motive was profit. South African apartheid was the same. It was a system, which protected European privilege and opportunities. Race was used as a justification to secure this privilege and most found justification in the Bible, the same Bible that Martin Luther King and Nat Turner used for liberation.