I do have to say as a scholar that any Afrikan who believes that either Christianity or Judaism is European in ORIGIN, or for that matter any of the major religious or spiritual systems in the world, has not studied that as a discipline, but has simply believed the narrative or religion given by the slavemaster which is rather strange. I find lots of people in the movement who reject Western narratives in general, but when it comes to religion, because they have issues with their experience with religion under Eurocentrism, they blindly accept the slavemasters’ stories concerning the history of religion.
Christianity and Judaism are Afrikan in origin. Europeans joined and hijacked the spiritual systems of Afrikans, Asians, and others and declared their reconstructions the models. If for example, you read church-sanctioned Roman Catholic official history, it clearly states that the bishops of Afrika were having conferences before Rome even had a church or had legally stopped executing Christians and that Constantine sought their legitimacy for his planned conference to lure those who were rightfully suspicious of his motives to his own soiree. For the record, many of the Afrikan and Asian bishops refused to go along with the ruse and later were executed for their resistance.
Just as we need real study to get out of the Eurocentric narratives of OTHER parts of history, we have to do the same for religion and not just turn our personal preferences or dislikes into something we call “Afrocentric” knowledge. I say as plainly as I can, with precious few exceptions, MOST of the Afrocentric writers in the movement people reference when talking about religion and religious history have ZERO as in nada, zip, zero, none real academic training on the subject. If you are getting your study of religious history from an atheist who has no professional training or research at all (and I know a lot of people in the movement who quote THOSE kinds of folks when it comes to this), you don’t have a real academic foundation for what you are saying. The blind lead the blind. IN religion and OUT.
King, James Cone, the one formerly known as Albert Cleage, and even Garvey all made the Afrikan Christian critique to Eurocentric Christianity (one of the reasons that study above and not simple prejudice is central to our liberation) which is that Christ is concerned about the lived condition of the people. God is God of the living, not of the dead. Eurocentric Christianity is much more concerned about the afterlife since it argues that the world, writ large, is existentially Satanic. Africa-centered Christianity argues that the charge of the Christian is not just about their individual eternal salvation, but also their treatment and the treatment of others in the lived experience. That makes the church the place where you should be able to go for raising needs and the church should (while it cannot itself be a social welfare, public defense, agency) be the staging ground for mobilizing leaders and others in the community towards that cause. King was calling the historical church in the Afrikan community back to its traditional role. From the end of slavery to about the 1940s the churches had been THE major social service, political organizing entity. It was during the 50s and 60s that some churches began to move towards a lack of engagement and elitist conservatism where ritual and prayer replaced the need for good work. King condemned it, as I do today, and he was as I am today condemned for it by those who see the church as a safe haven from sin or as a business venture or as a vehicle for self-glorification, rather than an communal spiritual activist organization.
I would respond in Christian terms by saying that a lot of the institutions that call themselves “churches” are not churches in Christian terms, but in legal terms. If I build a “church” to glorify me and my members and our buildings and such things, Christ says that’s not a church and anyone who joins that and thinks they are going to “church” is deluded. What we need, and this goes back to the “what are we going to DO” issue, is to cultivate a generation of Garveyite ministers and encourage young believers going towards the pastorate to our institutions rather than these conservative seminaries. But if we are not going to build those institutions, then to be certified as ministers, they will end up at the latter institutions, which are serious challenges collectively to any coherent faith. A lot of atheists, and agnostics, and others for example teach at Christian seminaries. Some “Christian” schools actually have few Christians around. The same is true for Islamic institutions which sometimes range from centers for Arab cultural nationalism to cults of narrow fascist theologies like some of the Wahabi schools in Saudi Arabia. But as much as we can condemn the church, those who condemn usually don’t join, involve themselves, do scholarship, or train. If we are not going to build the new institutions for theology, just as in education and economics and so, then we can expect what the system gives in terms of outputs.