Reduce Your Intolerance, I Am Not The Problem… BY AGBA JALINGO

In Breaking News, Opinion

“Agba Jalingo, I am your ardent follower. I followed you on recommendations from very respectable people who spoke very well of you. But I have noticed that you are promoting paganism and satanic religions on your page too much and I am considering un-following you please!”

This is a message I received from a young “follower” some days ago. I cannot mention the name but because the person is still young, and considering also that this isn’t the first time I am getting these sorts of reactions, some very vitriolic, I am thinking that a public response is appropriate. I asked the follower what Paganism means. All this “follower” could say was that ancestral worship as practiced by Africans and bowing to idols, and everything that glorifies the devil, is Paganism and therefore, Satanic.

But Paganism or a Pagan, has nothing really to do with Satanism. Even by popular definition, a Pagan is simply a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main or recognized religions. In other words, minority religious views. Anywhere you are a minority in your religious views, you are a Pagan. You only need to fall into a minority religious group in the space you occupy to be described as a pagan and not necessarily connected to Satan.

But away from that minuscular and conditioned definition of Paganism, the private message at first sight, looks like a “like button” from a concerned follower. It sounds like a note from a die-hard “follower” who wants to quit but is still willing to afford me the privilege of conforming or aligning my views about God or losing the “followership.” But in actual sense, the message is a supercilious and overbearing encroachment, from a conditioned and intolerant messenger. To think also that this “follower” diligently sends a prayer link NSPPD, to me to join in prayers with the hope that I will repent, and is also very intolerant of my religious views and how I espouse them, is ironical.

It is a fact that African religions, even amongst Africans, have consistently declined and diminished in popularity and acceptance over millennia, owing largely to their demonization by the dominant foreign religions and the dearth of clear and open practice codes. This has consequently relegated African spirituality to minority and paganic status in the flood of dominance. How this should be classified as Satanism is what I find difficult to phantom.

Instead of this continued misgivings, bad mouthing and seeking to subjugate what Africans believe as their path to God, we must rather learn to adapt and to trust the diverse paths given to us by the divine, just as a river trusts the twists and turns of its banks on its way to the ocean. The tributaries that empty into the ocean are diverse, from different directions of the cardinal points and different contents in their waters. There is no single route to anywhere in nature. Not even to the kingdom of God.

If you have a problem with the way Africans acknowledge their ancestors as intermediaries to God, at least you can leave us alone and continue to give that honor to the Eurocentric ancestors recorded in the genealogy of your own religions. Stop making a mockery of yourselves by binding African ancestors while praying with the names of Jewish ancestors (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.) Pray also that your children will not treat you the way you are treating your ancestors.

And finally, brethren, reduce your intolerance. I am not the problem. My writing is not the problem. Your inability to tolerate my views and nature is the problem. Or more properly put; my refusal to accept your lie that there is only one way to God is what is giving you a headache. Deal with it. I know how long you have been told what I believe is evil. It is not. You simply don’t understand. So when next you want to unfollow me, don’t bother to write, just read this again and take your decision.

Citizen Agba Jalingo is the Publisher of CrossRiverWatch and a rights activist, a Cross Riverian, and writes from Lagos.

NB: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.

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