Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sancerre thinkery

After a tough and somewhat demoralising day at work, I came home and cracked open a nice Sancerre Rose bought from the lavish yet vast Terminal 5. Events proceeded downhill from there. First, I ended up watching TBN, a televangical tv station on DSTV. Benny Hinn was on. There was some woman about to be healed from a years long painful affliction, side by side with her concerned-yet-hopeful spouse. We were trying to work out Hinn's nationality. He had me a little flummoxed for a while, and I pride myself on being to decrypt accents. For anyone who wants to know, you can go here, but let me save your clicking: he's Israeli with a Greek dad and Armenian mom. I took another sip or three of the suave plonk, and thoughts turned quickly to another Nigerian favourite, pastor Reinhard Bonnke. In the mighty caverns of my ignorance, I hadn't quite sussed that he was to blame for such mayhem in Kano, nor that he claims to have brought a man from Onitsa back from 42 hours of being amongst the dead. Triffic.

By now, Benny Hinn had segued into some random Illinoisan televangelist, Bill Winston. Bill was talking about the importance of having priests amongst the kings, getting quite worked up about it in the process. Here's something on Bill if you have read this far (let me not always use wikipedia as my own breviary).

Listening to Bill and trying to make sense of the glorious self-justification for his role in life, my thoughts drifted yet again. I noticed the perspex pulpit, the plastic flowers, the raised ramp instead of an altar - all components of the low church Nigerian model seen all the way from RCCG to House on the Rock. Thoughts segued to Pat Robertson and all the other American evangelical crooks , and inevitably onto Oral Roberts' technicolour progeny, Creflo Dollar. You couldn't make this stuff up.

By now, I was engrossed, but yet still in learning mode. I had not realised the relationship between that totem for weaker minds, The Secret, and prosperity doctrine. Fabulous.

All in all, its strangely pleasurable to know that the Nigerian pastor-blingers are not originators, and that they are simply simulacra for what was once a peculiarly American phenomenon.


Anonymous,  12:22 am  

You too like trouble sha, just can't leave 'well' alone (lol). I'm going to get comfortable with something fried and something cold to watch the fireworks on your comments page tomorrow.

For what it's worth, it really is terrible the extent to which radical evangelism in Nija has robbed so many of us of independent and logical thought. Simply declaring oneself 'born again' obtains the stamp of respectability, never mind that one continues to be arrogant, dishonest and indisciplined. It's really quite amusing to see how readily people will accept 'winches' and 'spiritual attacks' as the explanation to any unfortunate circumstances - not badly lit potholed roads or residual pesticide in food, counterfeit medicines or fatty diets and no exercise...
We're being held hostage but I'm still unsure if it's by our dark, grim and hopeless daily realities or by the false prancing prophets who take advantage of our fears and desperation.

Anyhoo, let the fun begin.

lagbaja,  2:31 am  

anon 12.22am, you talk about how radical evangelism in Nija has "robbed so many of us of independent and logical thought."
I think its safe to say that you can't rob someone of something they don't have in the first place. I prefer to think of it in terms of people's naivete being played on/taken advantage of.

Can't stand that sh*t either.......

Waffarian 2:44 am  





Kody 2:12 pm  

Calling The Secret a totem for weak minds is a tad dismissive. Are you saying only dim people believe that postive thinking is much more productive that negative thinking? That is its core message afterall..

Controversial Anon 2:21 pm  

Dim people only, think that religion is 'positive thinking'!

Religion, faith, christianity, blah, blah, blah, is NON-thinking, NON. There is no thought applied when you believe information that simply is handed down to you with an explicit instruction not to question it, even without any evidence what so ever.

Faith is defined by the OED as a process of Non-thinking. I hope that's clear enough.

Kody 3:30 pm  

Clear enough? If it was the question!
Was talking about dismissing a basic premise. Not the religious hoopla it is wrapped up in.

Anengiyefa 8:55 pm  

I think that Jeremy's post was more to do with the supposed exploitation of vulnerable people by canny televangelists in the US, and the similarity to them of their counterparts in Nigeria, and less to do with faith or religion in general.

Faith is universal. Our specific methods of understanding it are arbitrary. Some people pray to Jesus, some go to Mecca. Some study science and believe that it holds all the answers. In the end, what all people are searching for is the truth, that which is greater than themselves. Religion is like a language, or a mode of dress. We tend to gravitate towards the practices with which we're raised, although in the end we are all proclaiming the same thing, that life has a deeper meaning.

My problem with religion generally is the requirement for leaps of faith, the cerebral acceptance of things such as miracles and divine interventions; and then there is the requirement that I must believe that if I don't live by a specific code of conduct, say the Bible or the Quoran, I will go to hell. I find it hard to imagine a God who would rule that way.

Reigion has been with mankind all along, and there has always been that part of the human mind that seeks an explanation for the meaning of life. I believe however that this is one question in respect of which we are meant to remain without an answer. In other words, to recognise that there is indeed a power greater than ourselves, but also to accept that we are not meant to understand that power.

Waffarian 9:49 pm  

@controversial anon: yayyyy! you have a blog...come on, activate the comments section!....come on! heheheheh.

Controversial Anon 12:52 am  

@ waffarian

lol. hahaha, yeah, now got my very own blog, don't know what the problem is with the comments section, you can see it with firefox but not with IE, strange.

Bitchy 5:47 pm  

Simulacra?! Good heavens.

I've been away from blogs for a long while now, but it's good to see that I can still get my new word for the month from Jeremy. Lol!

Hope you're well J? Love to Bibi too. Xxx

Goy 1:22 pm  

Benny Hinn is Israeli? Suddenly, everything becomes clear...

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