On the value of Black African view of man….

(An excerpt from my working chapter on Africana doctrine of humanity and Africana theological anthropology. This is a draft.)
 
On the value of Black African view of man….
 
It is assumed that traditional African perspective on man (humanity) stresses the value of community rather the individual, as it is commonly practiced in Western societies. Traditional African doctrine of humanity is more promising, dignifying, and liberating. The role and destiny of the individual is essentially determined within the framework of the community or kingship, and the individual’s active participation in the life of the community. That does not mean that the African people do not see any merit in the individual, nor do they undermine the worth and implications of individual choices or preferences; however, it does mean that the African people prioritize communal choices over individual preferences. The individual exists as a corporate entity.
 
The notion of “social man” or “corporate individual” (even “collective solidarity”) affirms that the individual knows his or her functions in and responsibilities to the community. It is only in this manner can he or she be deemed a genuine being in the African stance of corporate humanity. While one is born human (humanness), one has to become (evolutionary theory) a person (personhood) in the context of communal life and communal engagement. Being a human is a biological category; being a person is not. The person is the product of the community. Hence, African anthropology–both from a social and philosophical perspective— promotes the notion of radical dependence and radical interdependence since human beings are radically interdependent and dependent.
 
It is also assumed that traditional African philosophical ethics and humanism ought to be praised, as compared to those of the Western ethico-philosophical traditions. For example, in the African worldview and cosmology, all principles of morality and ethics are to be sought within the context of preserving human life and its power or force (See Laurenti Magesa, African Religion).
 
Traditional African view of man and moral philosophy promote an ethics of relationality and interpenetration, and make a clarion call upon us to the imperative and practice of sociability, bonding, and collective solidarity in the modern world.
 
 
 
 
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Soyinka on Religion

I’m pleased to announce my newly-published article on Wole Soyinka

“‘Shipwreck of Faith: The Religious Vision and Ideas of Wole Soyinka” (Toronto School of Theology, 2016)

Abstract

“This article investigates the religious vision and ideas of Wole Soyinka in selected non-fiction writings. While African spirituality is deployed as a literary trope in Soyinka’s creative works and dramatic masterpieces such as Death and the King’s Horseman and A Dance of the Forests, scholars have given scarce attention to his engagement with religion in his non-fiction productions. To highlight that engagement, first, this article proposes the notions of radical skepticism and religious inclusivism as symbolic markers to describe Soyinka’s perspective on religion and his shipwreck of faith. His witness of religious violence and fanaticism in his home country of Nigeria and the host countries outside of his native land had shaped his religious experience and altered his religious vision. To call Wole Soyinka a radical agnostic and religious inclusivist in the humanist tradition is to confront the uneasiness and ambivalence of religion that had marked both his adolescent and adult life. Second, it argues that Soyinka’s abandonment of his Anglican faith, the “imported religion” of his childhood and Nigerian parents, was a consequence of his re-evaluation of the merits and liberalism of his ancestral faith: the Yoruba religious tradition and spirituality. Third, it contends that Soyinka rejected the Christian faith because of a theological crisis he encountered both as a teenager in Ake (his hometown) and as a student at the University College in Ibadan. The article resituates Soyinka’s religious sensibility not in the tradition of the Abrahamic religions but within the religious world view and cultural framework of African indigenous faiths and spirituality. Finally, it presents Wole Soyinka as a religious critic and radical theistic humanist.”

 

Keywords:Yoruba religion, religious fanaticism, religious inclusivism, African humanism, African spirituality

http://www.utpjournals.press/doi/10.3138/tjt.3845

 

 

 

 

Let’s Talk about Port-au-Prince’s Gun Culture Problem!

Port-au-Prince (Note: I said Port-au-Prince not Haiti) has a serious gun culture problem similar to the gun crisis in Southside of Chicago, Los Angeles, Louisiana, Philadelphia, Miami, New York City, Memphis, Oakland, Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore, etc.However, this culture of violence in Haiti’s capital city is linked to the country’s high level of unemployment, the country’s backward political process, and the disregard for law and order. The gangstarization of the country’s Police forces just like in the United States also contributes to this predicament.

Interestingly, many gangsta politicians and the gangsta bourgeois-elite minority in the country make a grand economic profit out of the non-regulating gun ownership and the kidnapping activity in the capital city. What makes it worst is that many Haitian public intellectuals and cultural critics remain silent about this pivotal issue. An Ayiti tout moun se chef!

If we are serious about radically transforming our civil and political societies, we need to be engaging in critical self-reflection and bring to surface (in meaningful conversations) our internal forces and Haitian-made woes that are destroying us and deferring future emanticipating possibilities.

3 cautionary statements for and about PhD holders:

3 cautionary statements about PhD holders:

1. A PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) in any academic discipline does not make one a scholar.

2. A PhD does not give one authority to write on a non-specialized field or non-specialized discipline of study or even for any individual (the PhD holder) to pretend that he/she is a specialist and an expert in every academic field of learning.

3. A PhD does not make one a thinker or wiser.

* Knowledge is not equivalent to wisdom.
* Knowledge without wisdom is meaningless.
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* The Doctorate degree should not make anyone arrogant or aloof; rather, it should humble you and make you want to know more and compel you to use your skills and credentials for the best interest of others…toward the common good.