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According to Ahanyi, K.O.K. Onyioha, “Paganism and heathenism were two of the most common words used by western colonialists and their Christian missionaries who accompanied them, when referring to the religious beliefs that existed in Africa. This was because of their ignorance of the principles and the doctrines for which this religion stood. But at least now, they know and are aware that what they once mischievously labeled as paganism and heathenism were neither pagan nor heathen but a religion and spirituality, which had stimulated the growth of great cultures and civilizations in Africa.”
Godianism has been the oldest spirituality of Africa. It is in the cradle of Chiism that the African people grew. The adherents of this religious movement believe that Godianism will help the children of Africa to rejuvenate themselves in unity and solidarity.
Godianism does not look down upon or despise another religion, nor does it use force or coercion to impose its belief on others. With its message of universal unity and its philosophy of 'biri ka'm biri' (live and let live), it serves as an eye opener to those who still peddle religion in the market place by means fair and/or foul to win the world for this 'ism' or that 'ism'.Godianism on the other hand brings harmony and unity among the people of different religions in spite of their diversities. Humanity should eventually understand that harmony is the keynote of the universe. Equality in the universe throbs with a harmonious rhythm. Any disturbance of this rhythm will spell suffering and bring disorder and chaos.
Godianism intends to bring this needed harmony first among the peoples of Africa and subsequently offer it to the world as food for thought.
The religion has since spread to other parts of West Africa, particularly Ghana. A former Catholic priest, and former member of the Provisional National Defence Council of Ghana after the coup by Jerry Rawlings in 1982, named Vincent Kwabena Damuah wrote a booklet entitled Miracle at the shrine:religious and revolutionary miracle in Ghana under the name Osofo Okomfo Damuah, which has been very influential in helping the new faith develop in Ghana.
Godianism has, since its inception in Nigeria during the fight for independence from Great Britain, turned from one that was founded with pronounced political motives to a movement that has developed and displayed strong cultural and philosophical aspects, and is viewed as being a "philosophical reflection on African traditional religious customs".
The religion holds that Chineke is the creator of the universe. Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria believe the Igbo language as being one of the languages used by Chineke with which to communicate with mortals, including in the faith's book, called the Nkomii.
The purpose of Godianism is to renovate the person spiritually to enable him/her to co-relate in harmony with the rest of humanity. But the physical bearing of a person is not only the prima facie evidence of the complexion of that person's heart, but also offers for him/her the first attraction for acceptance into a harmonious relationship with others in the society. In efforts of Godianism to promote harmony among humanity every Chiist (Godian) encourages his/her neighbor to embrace personal cleanliness, and by refraining from such repulsive habits such as smoking and excessive drinking of intoxicants.
The Origin of God-Symbols
To thank God, the African ancestors would wish they could see God in person so that they could express their gratitude. But since that was not possible, it became their duty to create an artistic image of Him in the shape of a replica they fashioned from wood. This replication or God-symbol resembled their racial features—black color, woolly hair. By making this replica, they are expressing the fact that they do not know what God looks like, but that this is what they imagine him to be .
The Chiist (Godian) creed
The entire spirit, philosophy and purpose of Godianism are compressed into the following creed of the Godian Religion:
- I believe in the Almighty God, Creator of heaven and Earth, as my source of inspiration, strength and as my protector.
- I believe in the universal brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of one God; love your neighbor as you love yourself; do unto others as you would want others to do unto you;thou shall not kill; thou shall not steal; thou shall not commit adultery; thou shall not lie; and in respect and obedience to elders, just laws, and in retributive justice.
- I believe that every human being, consciously or unconsciously, looks up to something above him as his source of inspiration, and that "something" is the Almighty God.
- I believe that the Almighty God made the world a paradise of happiness for humanity but that man has made the world a hell for himself by too much quarrels with his fellow man over methods of God-worship.
- I believe that the Kingdom of Heaven on earth shall come when man learns to quarrel no more with his fellow man on the excuse of difference in methods of God-worship.
- I believe that religious concepts are inspired by man's desire to offer thanks to God for His goodness to humanity.
- I believe that every human being has his own way, organized or unorganized, systematized or unsystematized, of expressing the necessary gratitude to God, and that in this fact every human being satisfies the purpose of religion or God-worship.
- I believe that there is no sense in quarreling with my fellow man over his religious doctrine, belief or methods of God-worship that differ from my own manner of satisfying the common purpose of thanksgiving to the Almighty.
- I believe that to base association of man with man, nation with nation, on the ground of common religion and faith, is sheer folly.
- I believe that every man should have the right to worship God in the way he understands best, without bitterness.
- I believe that any attempt to force man directly or indirectly to accept any particular faith, religious doctrine or method of God-worship rumples social harmony.
- I believe that organized religious bodies as they are known in the world today, though the fundamental principles underlying their purposes are good, have, by each in its way canvassing to have all men embrace its doctrines, aroused unhealthy competition and mutual jealousy among themselves and blown the world into tumultuous asylum of warring religious factions.
- I believe that if the universal brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God shall be a reality, if the Kingdom of God shall come, the traditional African attitude of live and let live in all matters of religion is the indispensable catalyst.
- I believe that deification of man has given source to the formation of the many religious organizations now competing and quarreling with one another, each in frantic attempts to get everybody to accept and hallow the man it has deified as the only son, holy prophet, and only medium through whom God's mercy and blessings should be invoked.
- I believe that the practice of deification of man shall continue to be the source of disharmony in matters of God-worship unless it is stopped.
- I believe that to deify any person born of woman or to accept and hallow anyone so deified is conspiracy against social harmony and sinful contempt for the very sanctity of God.
- I believe that to end deification of man and hang religion directly on God is to end proliferation of religions and religious quarrels and in return peace among men.
- I believe that the Creed of Godian Religion represents a new religious civilization which needs to be propagated to save human society from total destruction.
Violence and non-violence
The religion of Godianism believes in one part that the response to a threat is usually violent and that it is part of man, by nature, on the principle of self-preservation. To say that non-violence in a violent human society, in which society is ranged against man, oppression against freedom and repression against life itself, is to Godianism a clamor which does not accord with the fact of human nature and the law of self-preservation. Godianism teaches that man has the right to return violence when given violence, but it is not okay to be the one who provoked the violence. Godianism also believes that the human life is sacred and that it should not be destroyed under any circumstances.
According to Godianism, the only way to non-violence is to reconstruct human society in the various fronts of human interactions into systems that conduce to harmonious relationship among men—into systems that do not expose man to any sense of insecurity or social injustice to stimulate the violence which is part of his nature dormant in the meantime.
Beliefs on appearance
It is a cardinal point in the aesthetics of Godianism that all Godians must at all times turn out neat. Clothings are to be well washed and clean, the hair on the head should be well-cut, and the beard should be clean-shaven. The Godian must observe top perhygiene and impeccable sanitation for his surroundings. The Godian woman must have her hair neatly plaited or set. It is believed that it would be undermining the objective of Godianism to promote harmonious relationships among men if Godians wore dirty looks.
- African Godianism by Chief K.O.K. Onyioha
- African Godianism by Chief K.O.K. Onyioha, pp.72-74