Jesus Christ once courted controversy by saying “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free” while addressing Jews. At that time, the Jews were the only nation with the title, “God’s Chosen People”. They thought they knew the truth and were already free.
So they objected but Jesus did not retract. Instead, He expanded on His view. In so-doing He escalated the conflict between the Jews and Him. From this we learn that right from the days when Jesus was on earth the truth about Christianity was misunderstood by some people. And today, Christianity remains characterised by conflicting views.
This is why there are more than five hundred and fifty churches in Zimbabwe alone, and more than thirty-four thousand in the world. BUT, are all these churches Christo-centric? This article initiates a discussion on what Christianity is, with special reference to Zimbabwe where 87 percent of the population are Christians. Similar articles in future will then take the discussion further. In Zimbabwe, Christianity came aboard the train of colonisation by Europeans. Some sceptics use this as a reason for condemning Christianity. They regard it as a vestige of colonisation that has to be cast away. They advance arguments against Christianity in carefully styled English assertions. They would like to cast away Christianity but retain English as their official language. They are prepared to cast away Christianity while they continue to wear suits that also came with colonialism.
They are strongly against Christianity but they are strongly for the education and political systems introduced by colonialism. I’m sceptical of these sceptics’ scepticism, for even if we decide to discard all aspects of European culture brought by colonialism, we can still retain Christianity because it is not a traditional aspect of European culture. It originated in Palestine. So, Europe and Africa stand equal with regards to being recipients of a religion that did not originate in their respective territories.
Although Christianity should not be discarded, connotations of racial superiority that were preached by some Europeans need to be discarded. Some White missionaries used the bible to perpetuate racial hegemony against blacks. They argued that whites are God’s chosen people but blacks are not. They further argued that Blacks should be subservient to whites because whites are blessed but blacks are cursed. These whites repeatedly told themselves this lie until they believed that it was true. They also repeatedly told this lie to blacks until a substantial proportion among blacks believed the lie. Up to now, a large number of whites and Blacks still believe that whites are superior to blacks. Nothing can be further from the truth!
In the bible, there are two reasons why Europeans are equal to Africans. First, the Europeans are just as gentile as the Africans. The bible tells us that before the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, only the Jews were God’s chosen people. Then, only the Jew could claim superiority over other nations. Thus the British, Germans, French, Dutch, etc were just as “un-chosen” as the Zimbabweans. Second, after Jesus Christ died on the cross, even the Jews can’t claim superiority over any nation. In dying on the cross, Christ enabled the adoption of gentiles (the un-chosen people) to be the children of Abraham, the chosen people of God. Christ’s death made the Jew and the Gentile equally blessed. This is why Mai Charamba in one of her songs says, ‘Africa, . . . You are not cursed but you are blessed . . . ’ Thus, Zimbabweans are as blessed as Britons. Zimbabweans are not inferior to Britons. We are equal. So, the bible does not support racial supremacy. However, this only becomes clear after we distil error from what some preachers say by comparing their sermons with the bible text.