(Christianity and Afraka PT 2 of 3)
One of the major effects of the “God is IMMANENT” concept, is “diversity.” “Diversity” in the sense that one’s concept of the divine and the universe INCLUSIVE versus being mutually EXCLUSIVE. If God is truly IMMANENT and TRANSCENDENT then any conception of IT can POTENTIALLY be valid. *POTENTIALLY meaning that if the conception of “God” does not further establish an adequate order and structure for the optimal survival for its adherents then it is useless. This diversity causes little if not any emphasis on the either-or dichotomy in the conception of ideas that is found in Western thought. Thus right or wrong is not defined by some unchanging abstract source, but rather it is defined by the consensus of the group. This simple but pivotal point can be seen in a number of discrepancies, misconceptions, and misunderstandings held between Western and Afrakan concepts.
One illustration of these misunderstandings can be witnessed in a 1603 German report on Africa where the Dutch discussed with the Afrakans of the Gold Coast, how the Christian God gives them(the Dutch) everything they need to survive. The report proceeds:
“When they heard such a thing they marveled and said:”Why doth not our God to us likewise? Why sayeth he and giveth he not to us also Linen Cloth, ironware, basins or copperware and such like goods even as ye receive from your God?” To which they were answered by the Hollanders, “Indeed all such came to us from our Lord god and were meted out unto us but neither had our Lord god forgotten them although they kew Him not.
For verily they had from our Lord God received their gold and He bestowed upon them also the wine of the palm trees and fruit and grain of all sorts, fowl, oxen and goats. Item: bananas, iniamas, and such like, such as were needful for the preserving of their life.” But this they would in no way confess to nor could they believe it that such things would in no way confess to nor could they believe it that such things would come from God and would be bestowed upon them by the grace of God, and then they said that God did give unto them no gold but the earth did give it unto them wherein they did seek it and find it. Nor did God give unto them neither millet nor maize nor corn but the earth did give it unto them when they did sow it and afterward at the right time did reap and garner it.
And for the fruits, these the trees did give unto them, which they themselves had planted. Item, the young goats or lambs did come from the old ones. The sea did give unto them fishes and they needs must catch them therein. So they would not allow that these and such like things did come from God but were brought forth from the earth and from the water and were gained by their labour.”- report by Gotthardt Arthus von Dantzig translated by Jahnheinz Jahn
From the German writer’s perspective, one could speculate that these Afrakans succumb to a materialistic perspective on life and possibly atheist. However the fundamental concept that he is missing is “God is IMMANENT…” For him, succumbing to a Western, specifically European, worldview and probably Christian, God is “separate from His creations.” If “God is IMMANENT” then, IT, alone, does not “give” them anything. They must co-exist and co-construct with everything in their environment, including the trees, soil, and animals which all in totality ARE “God.” For the Dutch, presented in this report, their conception of God is likened to a separate ruling entity that blesses them with “gifts.” This is not so for the Afrakans Thus materialism and atheism could not be plausible distinctions of these groups of Afrakans, simply because the fundamental concept of the divine do not support the assumption of “distinctness from the divine” held by materialism and atheism.
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