Entertainment of Wednesday, 25 February 2015
The Humanist Association of Ghana has described as “disappointing,” the attacks against the musician, Mzbel for recently saying that she believed the story of Jesus Christ was “made up.”
Mzbel’s comments has generated a lot of controversy in the country with some critics taking to social media platforms to express their anger over the comments she made.
Meanwhile, the Humanist Association of Ghana in a statement stated that “in a democratic society it is important to encourage discourse and open up debate on any and every subject.”
When Mzbel was asked about whether she believed in Jesus Christ in an interview, she said, ““Wow! I don’t want to offend anybody. I used to believe in it but errmm, I did my own research and I think it was made up, I think it was made up. I might be wrong but according to my own research, I think it was made up because the same story 5000 years ago happened in Egypt where they have Horus. Horus’ mother was a virgin, where before Horus was born an angel came and said dadada…to Horus mother, Horus did miracles at the age of 12, he had disciples.”
Official statement from the Humanist Association of Ghana
Hiplife songstress Belinda Akua Amoah, of “16 Years fameme”, with stage name MzBel has denounced her faith in Jesus Christ. Her denunciation of Jesus Christ – the central figure of Christianity – has sparked the ire of some Ghanaian Christians.
She went on to say that the Jesus narrative is similar to that of the ancient Egyptian deity of Horus who predates Jesus – implying that Jesus is fiction modelled after Horus – labarun.com
Since MzBel came public with the above, a lot of people have waded in on the ‘controversy’ which is all well and good, except that, some, especially Christians, have felt the need to abuse her rather than either provide a good case against her case or encourage her free enquiry.
Some have quoted the Bible calling MzBel “a fool” amongst other unsayable vituperations. This is not just disappointing, it is heartbreaking. In a democratic society it is important to encourage discourse and open up debate on any and every subject. It is important that we persistently question all that we are taught and all that we hear. That is how society grows.
The abuse hurled at MzBel from some quarters not only silences others who are willing to enquire freely, it thwarts the ideal of open debate in a free society. As humans, we are on a daily quest to seek answers to varied questions. It is important that this is done ceaselessly.
When we think that we have found the one and absolute answer to all our questions, we stop seeking. When we think that we have found the one and only true answer, we foreclose the need to open up to other information or we shut out any ‘evidence’ that challenges our views.
The consequence of that is that we stop leading an examined life – we become uncritical of our lifestyles, our views and the people about us, some in positions of trust. This is self-destructive because it forecloses any critical thought, analysis, introspection or dissent. It denies the individual the opportunity to learn by experience and re-evaluation, preventing personal growth. It becomes cult dependency. We need to always be open to the possibility that new evidence could alter our conclusions and our beliefs.
In our quest to live better lives and be happier, one of the most important prerequisites for personal and social uplift is humility. Epistemic humility, that is. We have to be willing and humble to acknowledge that we do not have the answers, cannot have the answers, may never have the answers and that we may be wrong.
This is important because as knowledge grows, a sincere seeker of truth will inevitably find themselves in the position of being wrong. The ability to admit, without embarrassment, that we have been wrong all this while is fundamental to accepting the truth. And without truth, our ideologies, religions or worldviews are a pompous exercise in self-delusion or “self-indulgent folly”!
The claim to absolute knowledge – that our leaders (be they religious or secular), our doctrines, or a certain scripture is infallible – is perhaps the most toxic feature any doctrine or religion could assume. (And just about every religion makes this claim. If you consider that they could all be wrong, but they couldn’t all be right, it might be time to calm down on the conceitedness).
While we may disagree with MzBel on her conclusions about the historicity of Jesus, the noble thing is to encourage her quest to find out for herself: in the interview, she said, “my own personal research”. We should be willing to open up dialogue with people who disagree with us without hurling abuse at them. MzBel should be applauded for reading widely and for her epistemic humility as opposed to her interviewer’s: we see MzBel ask her interview, “How do you know that?” and then she goes on to say, “I might be wrong”.
There couldn’t be a more sincere seeker than this! As a society, we have to applaud MzBel for her honesty and her courage in being able to publicly voice her dissenting opinion knowing too well the kind of reception she was bound to get from the largely Christian Ghanaian population. Too often, we read material that only reinforces what we already know or want to believe.
Too often, we fail to ask ourselves the question, “How could I be wrong?” and “how could I know that?”. We have to avoid coming across as bullies, hurling abuse at dissenters, rather than employing intelligent discourse to win others. It might be time to call some decency into public debates and to respect the beliefs or non-beliefs of others even if we disagree with them. Truth doesn’t need us to personally protect it. In Conclusion…
We should be applauding and encouraging MzBel for her efforts rather than hiding behind Bible verses that malign dissenters as “fools”. We should be open to discussing our most sacred beliefs in an amiable atmosphere rather than appealing to the culture of verbal abuse and intimidation.