I don’t know why, but it seems that folks have this I’m better than you complex all through-out history. It started from kingdoms far far away (place fairy tales music here)…. to the now. It’s sad but we are in 2018 and we still are having wars, and unnecessary strife due to the (I’m better than YOU thinking).
So, let’s dig a bit deeper. I know that this is not new to you, and I am sure that you’ve experienced some of the following:
That African stuff is Devil Stuff! Leave that stuff alone?
You know that those voodoo people worship the devil right?
If you leave the ways of our Lord Jesus Christ you will burn in HELL!
How about this one?
Jesus will forgive you if you just get rid of that ‘stuff’!
Since Christianity pretty much dominates the world – you may have already encountered an experience with… My God is BETTER than yours.
Wanna know what happens when someone messes with someone’s else’s beliefs? When I first got to these traditions, I didn’t care who knew about my beliefs and I would push my one eleke (which I only had one for a LONG time lol) up high on my neck whenever I would see some christian person with their bible, just to get them to talk to me so that I could tell them to go hell. (What? You’re laughing?) Sound familiar to you?
It’s like this… I went through some phases.
Phase 1) Discovery of the Spiritual, Witchy, and Whoaaa world of the Ancient Ways
Phase 2) Declare war against those crazy Christians – I mean, look at what they did to my family, ancestry, slaves, pollution of the world, (place other world problem here). In my mind… they were ALL guilty!
Phase 3) Declare that nothing christian will ever touch me, be uttered by you, or anything to be linked to me. (I remember telling my mother that just in case I die before her and she has to bury me, that she better not let one of those crazy Christians from her church near my funeral, etc —- Can you imagine my mother’s horrified face?)
Phase 4) Focus on myself – getting married, having babies, watching movies, reading Harry Potter, and watching those movies over and over…. Being romantical, and life events. (At this point, I’m still hating anything Christian just because…)
Phase 5) Focus on my spirituality – This is the time that I reconnected to spirituality from the point of view of Q: is this where I am supposed to be? Q: What is my purpose Q: Will any Orisha take me? Q: (Place other zen spiritual questions here)… and this was the beginning of initiations….
Phase 6) More life events – major ones (another baby, a move – that was insane AND a realization….. I didn’t hate Christians anymore? What had happened?
Phase 7) Focus on my purpose and know that WE ARE ALL ON A JOURNEY. This is a bit harder to swallow, because, I really wanted to condemn, but I came to the realization that ALL folks are going through their own spiritual, financial, etc. challenges, and my challenges are NOT bigger, or harder than yours. The realization that someone else’s spiritual path doesn’t mean that it’s better than mine, or vice versa… but an individual journey that we each have to walk on. The UNDERSTANDING… that they may not be ready to accept this truth that has taken me years to find… and I have to understand that.
The truth is that I don’t know when it happened… I don’t know when I stopped saying ‘I hate them, just as much as they hate me’…. but it did. I discovered a few things that changed my point of view.
- Re-connection with family relatives who are Seventh Day Adventists just like my parents (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?)
- Discovery that one of my close co-workers of MANY years, is also a Seventh-Day Adventist…. Another (Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?)
- Discovery that when my husband (who is also an Orisa priest of many years (among other things)…. gets approached over and over, not only by Christians, but by ‘people’ who are curious on his clothes, his ‘accessories A.K.A. = elekes, and then it doesn’t help when we go out to an event that we are wearing full African garb. He says ‘we are here to teach them, as we are the example. Maybe they thought that we were (place all evil devil things here), and we prove them wrong by our reaction, and by us educating them.’
- I realized that it is their right to feel that way, just as it is my right to feel the way that I do about my traditions.
- I realized that if I want to crush them in a fight using their own bible, laws, and stories — I can… but… what do I get out of doing that?
- Discovery that — you can’t change anyone else, but plant a seed.
Now… how does all relate to MY GOD IS BETTER THAN YOURS?
I find that throughout the existence of Christianity, much prosecution has happened and there are far more deaths that have happened in Jesus’ name than any other reason — and the truth is…. that I have found that if I stoop down to the level of a very stubborn ignorant person — I may win that fight (so I think)… but the moment that I go down (way down to that level)… I’ve already lost the fight.
So, why write this?
Many folks have come to these traditions from Christianity and let’s remember that part of Christianity helped to hide our traditions so that they could survive in the new world (Thank you Lukumis wooo hooo!)
Many of us are still engulfed in the wonder of finding Ancient African Gods to worship, and the Spirits to venerate and other elements other than Bible characters.
Many of us feel such pride to finally connect to something that fills our soul, and then we begin to forget what it felt like to be the prosecuted one… and begin prosecuting others.
Ifa teaches us soooo many things on how to be behave, and yes pride is wonderful…. but it is not becoming of the wonderful followers of Orisa to now have an attitude to the rest of of the world of ‘My God is BETTER Than yours’.
We must RISE above this! We must elevate our thinking and our minds, and begin by emulating positive, accepting and loving attitudes and behaviors towards others.
Let’s just think about this for a minute…. We didn’t like it when the Christians said this to us right? Why would we now turn back and say ‘Oh, well Orisa is way better than your puny God?’.
If you are at any of the angry phases (see the story above)… there is no judgement here. Really… I get it…. I was there right with you… However… perhaps you can be open to the possibility that there is another way?
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