Dying Without Jesus
By Khalil Amani
Consciousness. As the child of former slaves of the Diaspora I consider myself “conscious”—meaning aware of who I am as a black man in America—meaning that I’m aware of my history, culture, and native land—meaning that I am thoroughly familiar with how black folk got their religion. Indeed, as a conscious black man who has studied the ins & outs of our “shit-uation” here in America I cannot subscribe to a religion that was heaped upon my people by European invaders and captors. James Baldwin once said, "To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in rage almost all the time."
Africans are only 151 years removed from physical slavery and in that time, the European, yea, the white man has convinced us that there is salvation in his religion—Christianity. And so, the great majority of black folk in America have bought the whole ball of religious shenanigans—including their white representation of Jesus, which is in many black homes and black churches.
We have been so utterly convinced that “massah” brought salvation with him that we will argue tooth & nail as to why we have a white Jesus in our homes and churches. We say such idiotic and asinine things as, “Color don’t matter!” “I don’t see color,” and “Who cares what color Jesus is?”
Having no knowledge or understanding of signs & symbolism (as taught by the likes of Dr. Frances Cress-Welsing, Dr. Naim Akbar, Gerald Massey and Carl Jung)—black folk would rather argue with you over a black Jesus than ask how did a European-looking Jesus show up in the Middle-East. Black psychologists have uniformly and with a monolithic voice said that (religious) imagery shapes our thinking about the Divine. Black children see a white Jesus in church and believe that God is white too (as Jesus’s father). Without even knowing it, black children grow up subservient to white people, white supremacy and white ideas about salvation. God and Jesus are white and white people are the human representation of all things divinely white. Indeed, 21st century Negroes are indoctrinated to the idea of Jesus and most have never even given the Christian religion a "once-over." The mythologist Gerald Massey writes:
"The mass of people who are Bible-taught never get free from the erroneous [wrong] impressions stamped on their minds in their infancy, so that their manhood or womanhood can have no intellectual fulfillment, and millions of them only attain mentally to a sort of second childhood" (pg. 104 Gerald Massey's Lectures).
Furthermore Massey writes:
"The most important proclamation assigned to Jesus turned out to be false. The kingdom of God was not at hand; the world was not nearing its end; the catastrophe foretold never occurred; the second coming was no more actual than the first; the lost sheep of Israel are not yet saved" (83).
No salvation for the Jews of olden-time and no salvation for the African of olden-time! Jesus turns out to be no more than a utopian idea of salvation that sounds great, but where are/were the results? Why did the whole of Africa NOT get this Jesus message before 1555 (before the slave trade began)? Why did it take an estimated 10-100 million Africans to be enslaved and/or killed for black people to be converted to their former slaver master’s religion? Was this God’s salvific plan to save the African from the barbarity of the Dark Continent (as some suggest) or have we just thrown in our religious towels and said, “Awww fuck it! All we know is what our parents taught us and that’s good enough.”
There are so many problematic things within the body of Christendom that I cannot, with a clear conscience, partake in the fuckery. Christian history is rent with bloodlust, conquest, foul popes, financial scamming of the laity, misogyny, homophobia, racism, and sexism. Christianity was the moral pretext upon which the slave trade flourished. Good Christian men like Bartolome’ de las Casas (1484-1566) once traded Indians for African slaves and Southern Christian preachers taught blacks to “obey their masters” (from the Bible!). This is the idiocy that was at the foundation of what black folk have adopted. Oh, how we have harmonized and smoothed over America’s wretched religious past! Out of ignorance, we partake.
In my mind, only the spiritually and religiously lazy accept this “white man’s religion.” This is not true though! Look at Rev. Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, a powerhouse speaker, college professor and writer who proudly proclaims his Christianity—and the father of “Black Liberation Theology,” Dr. James Cone who wrote the seminal work “Black Theology and Black Power” (1969)—a major work that helped me formulate my liberation theology. These men know the history, but I have to assume they stay within the confines of orthodoxy to try and make change, but the hard truth is that Christianity was given to the African—by force! How can there possibly be salvation in the conquerer’s religion for the conquered? To believe that Christianity is our salvation is to admit that WHITE PEOPLE are our saviors and that slavery was a GOOD THING in the grand scheme of salvation. Christianity becomes the "Summum bonum" or the greater/higher good and slavery, the murdering of millions of African lives was just a bump in the road to salvation. Smh.
Dr. James Cone wrote, "I still regard Jesus Christ today as the chief focus of my perspective on God but NOT TO THE EXCLUSION of other religious perspectives. God's reality is not bound by one manifestation of the divine in Jesus but can be found wherever people are being empowered to fight for freedom" (xii). Cone further stated, " It is a sad fact that the white church's involvement in slavery and racism in America simply cannot be overstated. ...From the beginning, it was the church that put its blessing on slavery and sanctioned a caste system that continues to this day" (72). But many would look at me as the unbeliever, the carnal minded man who will bust hell wide open!
Jesus would have NEVER integrated Roman religion to bring change to the Jewish people as black folk have done with this Neo-Roman religion here in the West.
Christians are finger-pointers as to who will be saved and who will go to hell. They've got it all figured out except for this right cheah! Read!
Jesus’s supposed words were, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).
It doesn’t say, “a few” or “some,” but “many" will get the middle-finger—the talk-to-da-hand or, in 1st century dissing fashion, writing gibberish in the sand by Jesus. Let that shit sink in before you dare speak on who will make it into the Kingdom and who won’t! You think you’re in-like-flint quoting Matthew 10:33—“But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven,”—gung-ho to profess Jesus’s name to the masses, but the book says Jesus ain’t gonna honor many of y’all’s fake-ass adoration and veneration. He’s gonna say, “Get the fuck outta my face!”
Furthermore, if you think going to church every Sunday is the ticket to Paradise—that your abstinence from clubbing, drinking, smoking—from having unmarried sex and whoring around makes you somehow more worthy to stand before God, I have two more scriptures from your book you should consider; “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) and “Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans [gang bangers] and the harlots [hoes] go into the kingdom of God before you” (Matthew 21:31).
The Bible not my ultimate source of authority. I only quote it because the children of the Transatlantic Slave Trade—the sons & daughters of the African Diaspora—Negroes, Blacks, African Americans are steeped in biblical mythology—and white people swear by it.
With the recent passing of Prince and Muhammad Ali some are whispering about their salvation. Prince, being a Jehovah's Witness did not believe in Jesus in the traditional orthodox sense that Christians believe in Jesus. Jehovah’s Witness focus is more on Jehovah (God) as savior and Jesus being relegated to a subordinate role. Wikipedia (for you fast-food researchers) writes, “Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus is God's ‘only-begotten Son,’ and that his life began in heaven. He is described as God's first creation and the ‘exact representation of God,’ but is believed to be a separate entity and not part of a Trinity.”
Conversely, the orthodox position, whether you be Catholic or Protestant does not believe that Jesus had a beginning (like the Jehopeless Witnesses) and that he is indeed—part of the Trinity. This argument was settled in 325 A.D./C.E. at the infamous (because somebody got bitch-slapped!) First Council of Nicaea where Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria and Arius battled over the origin of Jesus. Dubbed the “Alexandrian view” and the “Arian view”—a vote was taken and the Alexandrian view won the day. Jesus always existed. There was never a time when Jesus did not exist. Jesus was “Consubstantial with the Father” or “of the same substance.” (I bet the majority of you Christians sending Prince & Ali to hell are oblivious to what you just read!)
In the case of Muhammad Ali, he was an orthodox Sunni Muslim. He believed in God as Allah, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as the last prophet, the Holy Quran—the last revelation given to humanity and Jesus as just a prophet, but no son of God phenom.
So the question’s been asked. Can you go to heaven as a non-Christian? Is there salvation in other religions? Is Jesus the only way?
The Christian mind faces a salvific conundrum. No person in their right mind would deny that Prince and Muhammad Ali touched the world, inspired the world, brought hope and a sense of liberation to humanity through music and sports. Were their efforts in vain? Would a loving god send these two great men to hell based on their understanding of the Divine?
Of course, if you let a Christian tell you, they will quote a litany of scriptures that basically say, “Fuck all your religions! It’s Jesus or hell!” Amongst the top quoted scriptures are Acts 4:12—“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” and John 14:6, which says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
But Alas! There are Christian scholars and critical thinkers who question the idea that there is only salvation in and through Jesus, but you will NEVER randomly come across these thought-provoking scholars unless you’re really about this religious study life. One of the most enlightening books I read in college, entitled, “No Other Name? A Critical Survey of Christian Attitudes Towards the World Religions” by Paul F. Knitter helped me navigate the subject of Christianity’s claim to be the one true religion in which all must come to believe. I was introduced to such great theological minds like Arnold Toynbee, Ernst Troeltsch, Paul Tillich, Karl Rahner, Raimundo Pannikker. Rudolph Bultmann, and others. They had some pretty interesting things to say like,
“only if all religions abandon their own self-centeredness can join hands to save the world from self-destruction…. the main offenders [of intolerance] were the three Western religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Of the three, … Christianity had the worst record of intolerance and arrogance… we ought… to try and purge our Christianity of the traditional Christian belief that Christianity is unique…Christianity had become too externalized, formalized, institutionalized, and thus lost its bond with the God of the unconscious. …Is it not thinkable that God has expressed himself in many languages and appeared in divers forms and that all these statements are true? All religions are the same in their essence and always have been the same. …it cannot be proved with absolute certainty that Christianity will always remain the final culmination point, that it will never be surpassed. …the new perception of religious pluralism is pushing our cultural consciousness towards the simple but profound insight that there is no one and only way. …Because of Jesus Christ, Christianity understands itself as he absolute religion. For no other religion—not even Islam—maintains so absolutely that it is ‘thee’ religion, the one and only valid revelation.”
Couple all this book learnin’ with what I know about history—African history—with what I know about mythology and all of its archetypal “savior-sons,” “virgin births,” “immaculate mothers,” and “dying & rising gods”—I understand that Christianity offers no new motifs and stories that would make me turn a blind-eye to these things which predate Christianity by millenniums!
The Christian who says those that die without Jesus are hell-bound are full of shit! For none alive has definitive proof of heaven or hell! And what kind of loving god would send people to hell for not knowing Jesus? The millions of handicapped, babies & children who die and are not religiously astute enough to understand Jesus—the aboriginals of Africa and South America who die not knowing Jesus—the over 1.6 billion Muslims, 1 billion Hindus, the 488 million Buddhists who are Buddhist because they were born in countries where that religion flourishes. Like America, which is an unofficial Christian country, shall they be blamed for growing up in a country where Christianity is not the State religion? Why must they convert and conform? The American Christian will never convert to Buddhism or Islam (en masse’). Why would they think that the middle-easterner and the far-easterner must comply with Christian notions of salvation?
To die without Jesus is not a Hell sentence, because Hell is just a made-up concoction of Roman Catholicism. Hell was created to control (religiously) ignorant and scary people way back when and we still freak the fuck out over going to hell. Listen to the following video and get a clue!
Dying without Jesus. If the Christian mind really understood what Jesus requires of us, they would know that Prince & Ali fulfilled it. Love. They did not walk in the Christian faith's orthodox way. They walked in God's way, spreading love & light. That was God's plan, which makes the Christian God’s plan to send his son as the savior of the world a plan that has gone horribly awry! What does God get out of sending more of His/Her creation to hell than heaven? Could it be that we created our god, our salvation and our damnation? By jove! I think we have!
And for a surety, Prince and Muhammad Ali are resting in the bosom of the Universe, not any made-up place of damnation!
Khalil Amani is gay hip-hop's "Straight Advocate." He writes for Allhiphop.com, DJ Kay Slay’s Originators & Straight Stuntin Magazines. He’s been featured in L.A. Times, Spin Magazine, DaveyD.com, The Biography Channel. Author of six books, including the groundbreaking “Hip-Hop Homophobes…” (iuniverse.com ’07). Follow on IG @khalil_amani, Facebook, Twitter @khalilamani.