The Enduring Sting of Vicious Gospels

Fattening and Sickening

“During the mission period, 3 out of 4 of the coastal Indians perished. They’d lived well free, but as soon as we introduced them to a Christian and community life, they fattened, sickened and died” – a Christian missionary during the Christianization of the Native American peoples, The West (Burns).

My mind goes to the parallels of devastation in my own country, Kenya. I have observed so much of similar fattening, sickening and dying among present-day Kenyans who have clung to a debilitating form of Christian thought decades after the colonial missionaries left.

Not all Christian thought is created equal. It’s like wheat from the fields that is meant to nourish. Some gets chemically altered, bleached and reduced in nutrients so that eventually it fattens, sickens and kills; and some is harvested and separated from the chaff just right so that its consumption strengthens and liberates.

A Cesspool of Heartless Spirituality

But the modern-day industries that monopolize and process Christian thought have little to no good intention. They are no different from the missionaries of old who conquered and killed in the name of God. A lot of modified, bleached and poisoned Christian thought is imported from the American evangelical industries to African countries, now mostly through social media, and consumed largely by the poor. 

I receive these emaciated over-shared cookie-cutter posts daily by Kenyan friends on social media who seem clueless about the moral bankruptcy, greed and political machinations of the American evangelicals they keep quoting. If these Kenyan believers are aware of this cesspool of spirituality they keep feeding from, then they’ve been indoctrinated to not judge the messenger because – they argue – “after all God uses sinners.” 

It’s drinking from that same cesspool of spirituality that got Kenyan evangelicals singing the praises of America’s dirtiest electoral politics and its outcomes as if the brutish victor were the reincarnation of Christ himself. They were told it’s all in God’s Armageddon plan and you Africans need to toe the line lest Jesus finds you unprepared. A truly vicious gospel.   

This vicious gospel is heavily sold by small faith traders (miracle workers, guilt-peddlers, moral police, end-times preachers and prosperity gospellers) who thrive off of selling a gospel that leaves others in greater suffering. Like drugs that dock at the port of Mombasa, seep ghostlike into society where unassuming consumers get hooked, sicken their minds and die while the shadowy kingpins sit pretty on a mound of dirty wealth.

Prayerful and Peace-loving Citizen

So much of the depression in poor communities comes with a particular way of thinking and a spirituality that is itself the sting that carries the poison. A thinking that does not allow the believer to loudly claim power and personal responsibility to challenge what went wrong, what ails their society, and what should be done.

It’s a thinking that claws desperately at unseen spiritual forces that provide believers with the perfect excuses for not taking action towards healing and freeing their community from the ravages of calculated poverty and oppression. They leave it all to God. After all – they say – God willed them into these oppressive situations for his glory. And they have the bible to prove it. I would not wish such sickening spirituality upon the mind of a suffering enemy.

When some get tired of the boot on their necks and rise up in protest, you will find those infected with that debilitating strain of evangelization saying, “I’m not with those rebellious trouble-makers; I am a prayerful and peace-loving citizen and I’ll stay in my sanctified corner praying for calm to return for that is my portion.” As if there ever was calm in squalor and silent suffering.


One would think that this sting afflicts only the uneducated hoi-polloi. Not so. Slum communities (or as some would prefer, economically depressed neighborhoods) in Africa are also home to hundreds of college-educated believers who feverishly share teachings from American evangelicals while their shacks burn in political turmoil and smolder in poverty.

One’s awakening does not come without the dare to respond to that gnawing voice in one’s conscience. It bids you read books from competing philosophies that you’re forbidden to read and scour through critical blogs that challenge your mind’s comfort zones. Find a leading critical thinker to follow on social media and challenge them to duels of thought until you’re no longer terrified of your own mind’s ability to think for itself.

If these resources are unavailable, go into seclusion and think alone for 3 days, making sure to fast from sugary-sweet prayers of desperation. Just you and the power of your self-healing mind. If facing your raw thoughts by yourself scares you, find a friend who thinks very differently from you; one you can trust to take you through critical thought without judgement, and spend some quality time together. Do this even while your chained mind is kicking and screaming against leaving the comfort zones built from years of being told what to believe and how to think.

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