This is a topic that I try not to get into conversations about..well religion and politics. For the simple reason that these are two very passionate subjects and I believe that everyone has a right to believe what they want to...whether I agree or disagree. However a few days ago I was logged into msn and in my profile picture I was wearing a tam with the colours ites gold and green. My godmother's son came online and struck up a conversation...nothing odd there. He asked me what I was up to and I told him that I was waiting for some mince to thaw to make something to eat. All of a sudden the conversation got prickly. Here's the basic gist
him (not to be confused with H.I.M) 'how you Rasta and you eating meat'
me: 'how is it that you're a christian yet you sin'.
He went quiet for a bit (by the way I have never professed to being a Rasta)
him:'well man has faults'
me: right just like it was a man who interpreted the bible..so how do we know that it was written the way it was intended since everyone interprets things differently?
him: so you're an atheist ( I think he was looking for the word agnostic)
me: when did i say that? disbelief in or questioning the authenticity of the bible now equates to being atheist? I believe in a higher being whether he/she/it is called Buddha, Allah, Jah, God, or whatever.
him: oh i don't know what to say to you young people (he's younger than me eh..but somehow this is the route West Indians seem to travel when you question Christianity..apparently it's because you've lived abroad and read too many book and watched too many movies about vampires so apparently broadening your horizons is on par with moving in with the devil...(which is another thing in itself).
me: listen, all I'm saying is that I don't believe in forcing opinions onto people and Christianity wasn't the first 'religion' per say. The amount of bloodshed over Christianity and the church is insane. I do not believe in people going into a country and basically eradicating all traces of the native people's beliefs just because they don't understand it and therefore cannot fully control them. Furthermore doesn't the same bible teach that God gave humans free will..so how does invading a country and wiping out their belief system and language and 'religion' equate to allowing people to have free will, especially when the 'radicals' who decided they weren't going to convert were killed out? Bigger , or should I say more powerful countries have always taken it upon themselves to go into a country and take over..enslaving, raping and pillaging in the name of religion and yet you want to sit back and not question how on earth what that could be considered 'christian'.
at this point he tells me he's going to stop before I curse him out and that we could have this conversation all day. I told him that no we couldn't because I generally said what I had to say and I'd ignore any reference he made to any conversation again.
In my humble opinion Christianity is like Medical science. Yes we have come leaps and bounds but I'm talking about not understanding. The Christian crusaders came in to a country didn't understand the language or 'religion' and basically forced the people to change because they didn't understand and therefore didn't have the monopoly on control..in the same way many doctors look down on homeopathy, that had been used from the beginning of time to heal people using natural materials, herbs, plants and acupressure etc, but the drug companies don't give doctors and hospitals grants for selling a bunch of rosemary and some aloe to someone to steep and put on their scalp to help hair growth and get rid of dandruff.
Ok that being done. I am not a Rasta. This doesn't mean that I am not interested in the way of life. I like that Rasta Livety is more a culture and way of living more than a religion/ I like that while it has structure it isn't steadfast. As I told the man I don't feel the need to conform to any religion (yes i did all the first communion etc in the catholic church.. but I've never really been a churchy type.. I don't believe that one needs to go to church to pray), once my conscience and heart and soul are good then I am happy. There are bits and pieces that I do not agree with in the catholic church..for example I find it unreasonable to preach that birth control is wrong and should not be used. But I also am completely against the idea that many Rasta's have of 'going back to Africa'. I think a pilgrimage to Africa is something every conscious enough black person should do at least once, however 'going back' and taking up residence at Shashemene is slightly unrealistic. I am not African, yes there is African descent. . but the idea of going back as though you've just lived abroad for a few years makes not a whole lot of sense. First off what African tribe no matter how sure I am of my roots in it will welcome me with open arms? Um that'd be none. We haven't been African for several decades.
But I have been taking the time to read up on Rastafari, while I always knew the basics it's been interesting to say the least to get a deeper understanding. I've even been browsing the Holy Piby. At first my real reason for reading more into Rastafari was basically about 3 weeks ago I happened upon my 'Mr Marley' cd (Jr Gong's first I THINK) and I'd forgotten how much I loved it. It probably didn't do as well as it should have because honestly back in '96 it was all about dancehall and Mr Marley is quite a political and social album. I wanted to understand some of the references that he made on the record...when he sings about 'Elija in the lion's den' along with other things. And I'm really happy I took the time (still taking the time) to learn.
Granted I am not declaring that I'm about to become a Rasta. If i did it's be like the difference between a vegetarian and a vegan. I am trying to not eat as much meat, but alas the black genes are strong and I need me some chicken, but I eat a lot of fish anyway, coffee something I love but doctor's orders are that I not have caffeine because it does funny thins to my heart, so that could be done..I will be needing milk for my cornflakes and cocoa tea though..and I will not be giving up my SKIDDIPS anytime soon. But it's less cult like than most churches that exist. I don't see myself becoming BoBo Shanti well i could do the headwraps I like them anyway but definitely not a Nyahbinghi..(the return to Africa thing).
So I'll definitely be doing more reading on it and living my own Rasta Livety