Do We Want Jesus or Muhammad To Rule Ghana?

Thu, 24 Oct 2013 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

Do We Want Jesus Christ or Prophet Muhammad To Rule Ghana?

Is Ghana an African Traditional Religion country? Is Ghana a Christian country? Is Ghana an Islamic Country? What exactly is the landscape of Ghana’s spiritual personality in terms of religious complexion? What do religious demographics say about Ghana? Let’s be quite clear about one thing: We don’t want to get bogged down in statistical convolutions. Our position is that it’s very difficult to define what Christianity or who a Christian is today, so is Islam or Moslem. The late prescient Joseph Hill of Culture believed “Jah Alone A Christian.” However, judging by the sanctimonious cacophony of pre-election rhetoric alone, one may be compelled to conclude the Ghanaian presidency and politics are exclusively for the Christological God. Sporadically, the muffled voice of Islam forces its way through the choked crevice of pre-election and post-election Christological cacophony to makes its presence felt. More troubling, even Islamic and Christian symphonic voices have not spared the relative peace of post-election Ghana, then and now.

Let’s ask this question: Who is the greatest historical figure of all time in world history? Who is qualified to ask this question? And what factors may drive an individual to choose one historical figure over others? It depends on several factors. The ideological leaning of the expert doing the ranking would seem to top such a list. However, we shall not bother our pretty little head about the other factors. The late Ahmed Deedat, one of South Africa’s leading authorities on comparative religion, ranked Prophet Muhammad number one on a long list of the world’s hundred most influential historical personalities.

About him: Ahmed Deedat, a prolific Muslim missionary famously known for his Islamic apologetics, was a knowledgeable character. He successfully debated internationally-recognized Christian evangelists and pastors such as Jimmy Swaggart, Eric Boch, Anis Shorrosh, and Stanley Sjöberg. His dedication to Islamic apologetics earned him the 1986 King Faisal International Prize. And he wrote profusely on historical Christ as well as on the Christ of the Synoptic Gospels. In fact, the divinity of Christ and the historical factuality of Christ’s death and resurrection defined the discursive contours of his authorial apologetics.

Actually, the covetous number one position Prophet Muhammad earned did not directly originate with him, Ahmed Deedat. In fact, the American scholar, Dr. Michael H. Hart, a polymath, did the ranking. Dr. Hart, a scientist, lawyer, astrophysicist, mathematician, historian, gave the number one slot to Prophet Muhammad after a comprehensive Eurocentric examination of hundred historical personalities (See his “The 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons In History”). Whose history, we may ask? Michael H. Hart’s, maybe! That’s not our headache, however. Let’s continue.

Some of those who made the list were Jesus Christ, Julius Caesar, the Wright Brothers, Napoleon, Michelangelo, Moses, and Shakespeare. Several others from the creative spheres of philosophy, science, politics, artistry, and writing also made the list. Dr. Hart concludes: “It’s this unparalleled combination of secular and religious influence which I feel entitles Muhammad to be considered the most influential single figure in human history (See Institute Al-Islam). Prof. Jules Masserman also writes of Prophet Muhammad: “People like Pasteur and Salk are leaders in the first sense. People like Gandhi and Confucius, on one hand, and Alexander, Caesar and Hitler on the other, are leaders in the second and perhaps the third sense. Jesus and Buddha belong in the third category. Perhaps the greatest leader of all times was Muhammad, who combined all three functions (See Institute Al-Islam).”

Interesting, right? Adolf Hitler made the list but the great Africans Imhotep, Queen Sheba, Bilal, Okomfo Anokye, Mansa Musa l, Queen Nzingha, Chaka the Zulu, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Hannibal, Ramses ll, Akheneten, to name eleven, were not considered worthy of comparison with Adolf Hitler! Even Simon the Cyrene, the black man who relieved Christ of the weight of his cross, failed to see his name mentioned alongside Christ’s! Oh Eurocentrism! Yet we are compelled to ask: Why did these men shower these eulogia on Prophet Muhammad? Why would a Western liberal thinker rank Prophet Muhammad above ninety-nine influential historical figures, while a liberal Iranian-American scholar, Reza Aslan, on the other hand, labels Jesus Christ a zealot, as the title of his book, “Zealot: The Life and Times Jesus of Nazareth,” indicates. Yet the Lebanese Kahlil Gibran would model his prose poetry “The Prophet,” one of the world’s best-selling poets after Shakespeare and Lao-tzu, roughly on one of the Christological farewell speeches, The Great Commission. Think of “The Prophet” as possessing a semblance of Christological poetry!

But why are we bringing up the question of religion, Traditional African Religion, Christianity, and Islam, in connection with Ghanaian politics? How many African religious traditionalists has Ghana had since independence? How many Moslem presidents has Ghana had since independence? How many Christian presidents has Ghana had since independence? How many atheist presidents has Ghana had since independence? We can hazard a guess: Ghana has had more Christian presidents.

Indeed, what has Christianity and Islam done for Ghana? One of our scholars has said the African God has not helped Africa and Africans. This is a controversial theoretical proposition. However, we shall not include its discussion in our present conversation, for its analytic dissection falls outside the immediate scope of this essay. Again, granted, what have Islam and Christianity done for Ghana? Our imams, pastors, and evangelists have told us what Allah and God have in mind about the source and nature of our national problems, but, worryingly, Allah and God have failed to give us remediation direction or practical solutions. What has God been telling Judeo-Christians and Allah Moslems that he’s not telling the African masses? Could it be because African Moslems and Christians are not part of the “chosen people”?

Was it Christ who said: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”? Which things are specifically Caesar’s? Are they coins? But Ghanaians have been rendering unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, so what might possibly have been the problem? Moreover, the Ghanaian Caesar has been experiencing a glut of taxes, even hiding part in American and Swiss banks. And the Ghanaian Caesar has, for the most part, been Christian. Look via the verifiable vista of Ghana’s presidential history!

Who is this God that Christ, who’s himself God, referred to? Could it be that God is Caesar? Could we call that Caesar God? Could we call that God Caesar? Could we call this Caesar or God God Caesar? Could it also be that we are facing the wrong mountain, not in the direction of Jomo Kenyatta’s Mount Kenya? Could it be that our Caesar is the one Kwame Nkrumah characterized as “Trojan horses of neocolonialism”? Is the African heat too much for Yahweh, Christ’s God, Caesar God?

Has the Ghanaian Akorino community offended the God of the Mensah Otabils, of the Owusu Bempahs, of the Duncan Williamses, of the T.B. Joshuas? Why does the same God worshipped by the T.B. Joshuas, the Mensah Otabils, the Owusu Bempahs, and the Duncan Williamses give them competing prophesies on almost everything concerning Ghana? Why does Allah give competing prophesies to our imams and malams? Why does God endorse the Ten Commandments and Allah fatwa? What practical solutions have God and Allah given our church and Moslem leaders to give the people of Ghana? Who is this Caesar God that makes politicians rich at the expense of the wretched masses? And who’s this Caesar God that makes pastors and evangelists wealthy at the expense of the gullible congregation? Why do Allah and God give “big” and “transformative” prophesies to our presidents and to our pastors, evangelists, for the most part, without passing them via us, their supine “chosen” children?

When Nkrumah said “trainees should be made to realize the party’s ideology is religion and should be practiced faithfully and fervently,” did “religion” in his remark mean Islam or Christianity? Where were Prophet Muhammad and Jesus Christ when he made this remark? Were the “trainees” Moslems or Christians? Are the words “faithful” and “ferventness” part of the ordinary argot of today’s political portmanteau? Why did political Yahweh, Caesar God, give Ghana’s political Israelites delicious “manna” and us, the poor masses, the Talmudic lemon of the Curse of Blackness? Why has Ghana’s politics become so religionized?

In fact, are we worshipping the right Caesar God? Have we considered whether adopting the Caesar God of atheists would work for Ghana? Have we considered whether the Caesar God of Africa would work for Ghana? Are we, perchance, fearfully suspicious that the God of Africa died with slavery, imperialism, colonialism, and, therefore, beyond the pale of resurrection, of recovery? Do we have genuine pastors and evangelists whom we have invested the pillar of our trust in? Which of our politicians are Christians or Moslems? If they satisfy either, could they tell us what plans Allah and God have for Ghana? In fact, what has the God of the gun, the English/French languages and names, colonialism, communism, socialism, social Darwinism, capitalism, imperialism, environmental racism, Jim-Crowism, Western education, Apartheid, lynching, and fascism done for Ghana (and Africa)?

Is Omar Bashir a Moslem or Christian? Is Charles Taylor a Christian or Moslem? Was Hendrik Verwoerd a Christian or Moslem? Is Joseph Kony a Christian or Moslem? Was Foday Sankoh a Moslem or Christian? Was Mobuto Sese Seko a Christian or Moslem? Are Charles Taylor’s and Mobuto’s friend Rev. Pat Robertson, the front-man who lobbied US Senators, Congressman, and Presidents on their behalf, the same man who called for Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez’s assassination, a Christian or Moslem? Do we want the personalities of our leaders to assume the political tenor and temperamental complexions of these men? Is President John Dramani Mahatma a Christian or Moslem? Is ex-President George Bush, the man who lied to the American people and the world, a born-again Christian or Moslem? Were the American “Founding Fathers” freemasons, deists, Christians, or Moslems? Was Kwame Nkrumah a Christian or Moslem? Let’s ask the following: Does Don Carlos’ words “Jah shall clean, out the bad weeds and separate them from the good because the day of harvest’s near…Death to the black and white oppressors who have oppressed…I throw my word without partiality…Listen to it. Let it fall, and let it fall…” mean anything to our corrupt politicians?

Does Max Romeo’s lyrical statement: “If poverty ain’t crime, then stealing sure ain’t none” mean anything to our corrupt politicians? Do Max Romeo’s “Stealing In The Name of Jah” and Paul Kelly’s “Stealing In The Name Of The Lord” mean anything to our self-righteous pastors and evangelists who are very good friends and colleagues of our corrupt Christological and Muhammadological politicians? What does Fela Kuti “Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense” mean to our corrupt politicians, pastors, and evangelists? What does Lucky Dube’s “False Prophets” mean to our corrupt Christological and Muhammadological pastors and evangelists who are good friends and mentors of our Christological and Muhammadological politicians?

The question we had wanted to ask all this while is simply this: Do we want to Prophet Muhammad or Jesus Christ to rule Ghana? George Bernard Shaw has a clue as to who he would have loved to see rule Ghana, even of the world. He writes of Prophet Muhammad: “I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its vitality. It’s the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him, the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being anti-Christ, he must be called the Savior of Humanity.” Shaw concludes: “If a man like Muhammad were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems that would bring in the much needed peace and happiness.”

On the other hand, in “The New York Times,” a reviewer of Reza Aslan’s book “Zealot,” Dale B. Martin (“Still A Firebrand, 2,000 Years Later”), writes of Jesus Christ: “According to Mr. Aslan, Jesus was born in Nazareth and grew up a poor laborer. He was a disciple of John the Baptist until John’s arrest. Like John, Jesus preached the imminent arrival of the kingdom of God, which would be an earthly, political state ruled by God or his anointed, a messiah. Jesus never intended to found a church, much less a new religion. He was loyal to the law of Moses…Jesus opposed not only the Roman overlords, but also their representatives in Palestine: the Temple priests, the wealthy Jewish aristocracy, the Herodian elite…” Martin concludes: “The Romans crucified him as a rebel, a zealot and a pretender to the Judean throne….That Jesus was a Jewish peasant who attempted to foment a rebellion against the Romans and their Jewish clients…”

Therefore, with these sharply glaring contrasts, who, Prophet Muhammad or Jesus Christ, do we want to rule Ghana? May we ask if the God of Africa and African Traditional Religion have a say in this matter? Shall we look elsewhere for answers? Maybe. Let’s allow Lucky Dube to decide for us (“Shembe Is The Way”): “It wasn’t the valley of death, I was walking in. It was the valley of confusion for many years. Different religions, different beliefs. Undermining my culture, making fun of my language. Telling my children, they have no God. Finally I can tell them about, Shembe is the way. Oh Shembe, thank you for showing us the way. Shembe is nobunazaretha…I hear them shouting Amen at the top of the mountain. I hear them shouting Uyingcwele at the top of the mountain. No one will undermine my religion. No one will undermine my culture anymore. Because God sent him from above, to be with the people. Bring them back to the ways of our forefathers…” One more from Lucky Dube (“Teach The World”) before we call it quits: “It takes a million people to build up a good reputation. But it takes one stupid fool to destroy everything they have done. The world knows your people as the most violent in the world. The world knows your nation as the most oppressive in the world. Take it upon your nation’s dignity…It takes you to teach the world. That’s why I gotta say wherever you go teach the world, teach them right….” Thanks to Lucky Dube we have a cogent answer to our puzzle. He says it’s not about Jesus Christ or Prophet Muhammad. It’s about us, the quality of the psychological morality of the people and their humanity that matter! Indeed, it’s our humanity that can make Ghana better, not religion! After all, isn’t religion the expressed province of personal secrecy?

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis