Many people avoid the question saying it has got no faith value and that it is divisive, some will even say it is blasphemous but the protests don’t send the question away: is God’s race black or white?
Before the theologically initiated could speak on the issue, I talked to a group of wheelbarrow peddlers just outside Chenda Motel in Mzuzu, the question was the same: is God white or black? Two of the six saw the question as blasphemous, one abstained and the other three?
“I think God is a white man, just look at what the white man invents. The white man does a lot of things that put him at closer with God,” said Evance Gondwe.
“According to the Bible, Jesus was there before creation because it is written that the three agreed to create man in their image there is no statement that said he was of this colour thus to me God is colourless,” said Scot Neba.
“They say I was created in his image right? I am black, therefore God is black-simple,” said Kondwani Tembo.
The question is really a hot potato out of six people with similar traits there are more than three views? Well enough of the vendors how much do they know anyway? Maybe their leaders can suffice.
300 meters is the Islamic information Bureau headed by a sheik who doesn’t hide that he avoids journalists, I, however, managed to soften him into dialogue, the same raw question was asked.
“Black and white are not colours to term a human, this is white [plain paper] and this is black [phone charger], no creature has seen God it’s why we should not even say that God is a spirit because nobody has seen him,” said Sheik Ibrahim Fiqrah, Coordinator of the Mzuzu Islamic information bureau.
The other more radical view is held by many black consciousness sympathisers who argue that accepting a white God means that black people are second class. Two of the more outspoken people with these views include Jamaicans Allan Hope and Hubert Mackintosh.
“The view that the only son of God was a Jew means that his father is a Jew too and where does that leave a black man?” said Peter Tosh in a 1970’s interview.
Allan Hope disputes the portrayal by Catholics and Jehovah’s witnesses in which Jesus is shown as a Caucasian with flowing blonde hair and blue eyes. Hope says this perpetuates colour blindness among black people as they think that everything white is good and thus rejects their own history.
Another Jamaican (Macka B) quoted Revelation 1:14 and Daniel 7:9 where John and Daniel describe God as they saw him in their visions saying (Daniel) “...the ancient of days took his seat…the hair of his head was white like wool.” Many who argue for a black God quote this verse saying only black people have woollen hair.
A lot of people will take the view that God’s colour does not matter but one wonders whether the likes of Hitler and Constantine could have accepted God if they knew he was a black man.
Many also attribute the current wealth of the West to the use of a white God to subjugate black people by making them leave their religions to take up Christianity which also meant them submitting their land and confidence.
God himself has not made any statement that can be accepted by many warring parties in the debate and as people kill and quarrel in his name only one man’s words can sum the debate: “Time will tell,” sang Bob Marley.