A 15 Year Research Project on Religion in Haiti

A 15 Year Research Project on Religion in Haiti

The next book I want to write about Haiti will be a complete religious history of the Haitian people. It will be a five volume work on the religious experience and diversity of the Haitian people and their African ancestors. This is a 10 to 15 year intellectual project. The tentative book titles are as follows:

1. “Before Ayiti: African Traditional Religion, Christianity, and Islam: The Religious Experience of our Ancestors” (Volume 1)

* I have already written two chapters on this book.

2. “The Faith of Haiti’s Founders” (Volume 2)

* I have already written a 46-page draft on the religious sensibility of Toussaint Louverture.

I continue my research on the religious commitment of President Alexandre Petion and King Henry Christophe.

3. “Haiti’s God: The Birth of Protestant Christianity in Haiti” (Volume 3)

4. “Catholic Christianity in Colonial Saint-Domingue and Postcolonial Haiti” (Volume 4)

5. “The Concept of God in Haitian Intellectual History and Literature” (Volume 5)

“On God, Love, and True Religion” (Part I)

“On God, Love, and True Religion” (Part I)
The Thing that most fascinates me in life is not success, sex or money (although they are important incentives in my life), but God’s relentless and loving presence in human quest for him through religion and spirituality.
(Allow me to state this parenthetical statement: I understand very well that all religious traditions do not teach the same doctrine nor every form of spirituality is parallel to each other. For example, Christianity proclaims the divinity of Jesus Christ and claims that Jesus is the only way to God, whereas Islam confesses Mohammad as the Final Prophet of Allah. Vodou and Hinduism teach there are multiple ways to God through the Lwa and gods or the Vodou lwa and gods in Hinduism are various expressions and manifestations of one true God. Some religious scholars parallel various religious traditions with their geographical locations and cultures. For example, in Africa, one finds African traditional religion; in Asia, one encounters Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. In the Arab world, one meets Islam, and in Europe, one finds Christianity. [this perspective on religion and geography has been challenged by various scholars and thinkers] Hence, the distinction between world’s religions is evident. The interesting thing is that our world embraces religious pluralism, cultural relativism, heterogeneous narrative, and epistemological difference. Nonetheless, what remains a paradox for many people, as it pertains to religion, are the following questions:
1) Are all religions true?
2) Do they all (religious paths) lead people to God?
3) Do the people from different religious systems or traditions worship the same God?
4) Does God approve all religions of the world?
5) How does one know which religion is true and not a deviation from God’s original plan for humanity?
6. Does it matter what religion one chooses to embrace?
7. Is it okay to blend various religious traditions and rituals?
8. What if all religions have it wrong?
9. What if all religions are different manifestations of human delusion about God?
10. What if there is only one true religion?
11. What if Jesus is the only way to God?)
By religion, I seek to convey the idea of God’s loving movement and disruptive intervention in cultures and religions of the world to draw people to himself and to create a new and distinctive human race that will honor him and spread his name. This particular perspective on religion does celebrate cultural diversity and value various religious traditions. Nonetheless, it does insist that God transcends our religious imagination.
True religion is also a way to experience and receive divine love, grace, and care. True religion boasts in God’s solidarity with humanity and the oppressed of the world; correspondingly, it forces us to depend daily upon God to provide orientation, wisdom, and guidance in this life of despair and hostility.
True religion promotes human interdependence, reciprocity, and solidarity with one another—as men and women who are created in the Imago Dei.
Food for the Soul!

Holy Discontent: These Things Make Me Sad!

Earlier in a post today on Facebook, I wrote that “sometimes words fail to communicate what we want to articulate.” Although words still fail me, here are the things I have been contemplating about today (Language will always remain a fallible vehicle to clarify effectively the human mind, communicate adequately the human thought, and action):

Holy Discontent: These Things Make Me Sad!

There are many things in this world that are very depressing to me, but the following fifteen issues are notorious:
1. The depressing living condition of the Haitian people in Haiti.
2. Politics in Haiti.
3. Politics in the United States.
4. The Race Problem in America.
5. The failure of Evangelical Christianity in America to care for the poor, the needy, and underprivileged families.
6. The unholy alliance between Evangelical Christianity and the Bourgeoisie class in America.
7. The failure of Evangelical Christianity to practice justice and be in solidarity with the oppressed and disheartened.
8. The disastrous effects of globalization and free market capitalism.
9.  The end of (spiritual) piety and the triumph of secularism and atheism.
10. The end of compassion and love.
11. The end of human hospitality and community.
12. The triumph of (social) evil in our society and the world.
13. The fear of the stranger and difference.
14. The desecration of life and dehumanization of people.
15. The continuous battle of people of color–black people in particular-in this country to acknowledge their humanity and show that they too count in America.