FAQ Chiism (Godianism)
His Holiness, Ogbaja,
Ahanyi Kama Onu Kama Onyioha,
Supreme Spiritual Teacher of Chiism
Ques.1. Your Holiness, when you talk of Chiism as a revolutionary spirituality for humankind through direct communication with God, I notice you did not use the term 'Chukwuism' for Igbo religion as the Yoruba Chief Fagbenro Bayioku, the Araba Ifa, Ojuile Lagos, would prefer 'Orunmilaism' for the Yoruba traditional religion. What do you say about that?
Ans. Chiism is universal in outlook and not addressed only to the Igbo because its rationale is inherent in the traditional spirituality of humankind around the world before Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius and other heroes of present day religions were born. And if it is for all the world, it has to be presented in a term which can be easily understood by all races.
Ques.2. What is revolutionary about Chiism?
Ans. Its spiritual balance, lacking in all other religions which claim exclusive truth and proceed to hate and kill as heretics all others who do not see Chineke (God) through the eyes of their heroes, only to perjure their sermons of 'love your neighbors' and 'Thou shall not kill', and menace the world with religious strife here, there and yonder.
Ques.3. You define Chiism as a philosophical rendering of African spiritual habits and practices, and according to you, the practices which distinguish African spirituality from other religions of the world are that the African communicates with God directly without passing through any medium. So, is Chiism a religion of the blacks only?
Ans. No, for on reflection, Iventa and Adam, Abraham and Moses, Joshua (Jesus) and Mohammed, Buddha, etc., were all Chiists, because when they lived and walked the Earth, they spoke to Chineke directly in their supplications like our African ancestors did. Thus Chiism was the first religious spirituality of all the ancestors of the human race and therefore a universal spirituality open to all races of humankind.
Ques.4. What do you say about the popular belief in the Igbo religion wherein deities and divinities act as intermediaries for the Supreme God, "Chineke"?.
Ans. If you listen to the prayer or libation of an Igbo priest or any other African priest at the altar, you will observe that his incantation makes a direct appeal to Chineke by whatever ethnic name he calls God. He does not request the divinity of the shrine to convey the grace of Chineke that he seeks for him. It is at this point that African spirituality is widely misunderstood. (For details read the Nkomii).
Ques.5. According to you, one of the aims of Chiism is to bring all religions to worship together and by so doing, society will learn to love one another and coexist without any prejudice. In what way has Chiism contributed to national and international unity?
Ans. It was from the lecture I delivered in 1962 at the Enugu campus of the University of Nigeria on the invitation of Students Christian Movement under the Chairmanship of Dr. Akanu Ibiam, the then governor of Eastern Nigeria, at which I denounced mutual acrimony in the religious front and made debut of Chiism, that Dr. Ibiam began his campaign for a united church of Nigeria and set in motion the coming together of Christians in CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria). Also, the W.C.R.P (World Conference on Religion and Peace) which holds consultative relationship with the United Nations seeking world peace through religious insight, after listening to my lectures, had adopted the precepts inherent in Chiism.
Ques.6. Chiism is a pragmatic religion in the sense that it draws from human experience to reform society. Do you not think that it is quite distinct from other religions who claim to draw from divine revelation?
Ans. To say that it is that distinct from other religions is to say that a rational abstraction from concepts is not inspired by intuitive perception which is as good as divine revelation. Upon this fact, say it in every conversation that Chiism is a revealed spsiritual philosophy as other religions are.
Ques.7. When you say that Chiism is no dogmatic religion, do you mean that it has no set doctrines with which to guide its members?
Ans. The Gospel of Chiism is compressed into its creed. And the creed sets out the principles, teachings and instructions on which Chiists have to act. However, we do not ask people to accept them without reason or proof - which are the offence of dogmatism. Thus, Chiism is a spirituality of reason, a spiritual philosophy of the scientific age.
Ques.8. Chiism was part and parcel of Nigeria's nationalist movement for the independence and freedom from colonial rule. Would you see Chiism as a political organization in a religious garb?
Ans. There are three prongs to a people's freedom. There is the political, the economic, and the religio-cultural prong. Chiism vibrates in the religio-cultural prong of human interactions and not in the political prong, though it must always insist that even in politics there must be morality, and so cannot stay indifferent to what goes on in the politics of its community.
Ques.9. Chiism succeeded in rousing 'God of Africa' consciousness in order to achieve political freedom for Nigeria. From this can one deduce that African religion have a political function?
Ans. Yes-but it all depend. Politics is the science of state management and a state is an agglomeration of households. Thus parents taking care of their children and running their households are, in that, contributing to the management of their state and performing political function at that level. The same is true of all religions which teach their adherents moral purity, love, truth, justice and fair play which are necessary spiritual attitude or disposition of the mind for social harmony and peaceful polity. Given this fact I can say "Yes"-that African spirituality like every other religion on earth have this amateur, and not professional measure of political function.
Ques.10. Chiism is presented as a civilizing spiritual philosophy because it mediates all religions and unites them. How does it achieve this unifying role?
Ans. By presenting itself as a coordinating and harmonizing umbrella for all religions without prejudice to the independent existence of any of them, particularly as all religions have Chineke (God), around whom the philosophy of Chiism is wound, as a common denominator against whom none can raise cane on the ground of gender, ethnicity, nationality or race.
Ques.11. You defined civilization not in terms of scientific and technological development but as a cultivation of the human heart to live in harmony with fellow human, despite creed or color, and the environment. Do you think that it is only the Chiist (Godian) religion that preach this aspect of your definition?
Ans. While it is true that all religions preach the same absolutes of love and harmony among humanity to share with Chiism the same concept of civilization, they perjure it with each claiming exclusive truth only to hate and kill those who are not their members. Therein lies the tragedy, when you consider the fact that the word civilization, threshed to its basic cob, means living in harmony with your fellow man and nature.
Ques.12. With reference to the above, do you think that the discrimination found in 'Osu' caste system which still plague Igbo modern society will qualify Chiism as a civilizing religion?
Ans. Osu caste system is not aboriginal in Igbo social tradition. It is an abrasion which came with the man hunt for slaves which Europeans began in the 16th century. It has nothing to do with our traditional spirituality. For how much longer will we bear the false propaganda of other races that osu caste system is an endemic tragedy in the tradition and social system of the Igbo people. Be assured it is the oath of Chiism to eradicate it. (For details, go to the web page dealing with the slavery Question and the foundation and scope of human dignity in Okebulani.)
Ques.13. Is it right to say that the aims of Chiism is:
to achieve conceptual unity of all religions,
to lead humanity to the direct worship of God,
to eschew all racism, ethnicism and clannish attitude,
to achieve peace and order in a chaotic world of ours,
to have eternal reward in heaven.
Which of these is/are not applicable?
Ans. Chiism holds that a human receives the reward for good or bad deeds here on earth even at re-incarnation. So that to us, heaven or hell is here on earth and in the mind of a human.
Ques.14. Does your rejection of idols not imply the rejection of such concepts like Ofo, Amadioha, Ikenga symbols?
Ans. In the glossary of Chiism we have no word like idol and so could not reject what we don’t have. We have in place divine image. We should understand the difference between religion and the metaphysics which support, sustain and control traditional life in Okebulani (Africa) and in which Ofo, Amadioha and all occur.
Ques.15. In Igbo society, title taking like 'Ozo', 'Ofala', have not only socio-political significance but also religious function attached to them. Do you allow such traditional titles in Chiism? If yes, do you have installation ceremony?
Ans. In every society around the world are titular cults like Ozo or Ogboni that make the man. Chiism allows it's members to take such titles in the communities it permeates. The cult hold their ceremonies on their own.