Thursday, November 15, 2018

IFISM: Does Ifa indeed attempt to Reconcile Jesus the Righteous and Esu the Diabolic?

The book “IFISM, The complete work of Orunmila” by C. Osamaro Ibie attempts to present Ifa divination system in a popular manner.  Having assured us that he had a personal encounter with Orunmila who commissioned him for the project, distinguished civil servant Mr Osamaro attempts some orderly presentation.
His major efforts bordered on justifying a materialistic worldview, the place of sacrifice (including human sacrifices), witches and other diabolical (of course not so diabolical in the Ifa worldview) agencies.  Mr  Osamaro categorically writes that the almighty God cannot be interested in the lives of puny individuals.  He further asserts that what people would become on earth is exactly what they themselves decided in heaven before commencing the trip to earth.  Not only is the God in Osamaro’s Ifism not interested in personal lives of individuals, he cannot cope with the expansion and growth!  Finally, Mr Osamaro was vehement in rejecting the notion of God punishing people in the afterlife for what they did in the body here on earth – no judgements! All these are in stark contrast to what is revealed about God in the Holy Bible.
Also starkly standing out in Mr Osamaro’s book and the much-venerated Ifa corpus are the abject confusion and contradictions.  Amidst much sage-sounding philosophies and concepts, Ifa seems totally confused on the identity of Esu. Is this personality (commonly identified as the devil outside the traditional religions) actually evil, or is he merely mischievous?
The truly big confusion we would point out in Ifism, as described by Mr Osamaro, however is the implicit contradiction in its near-perfect description of the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the other conflicting worldviews simultaneously espoused in the same breath!


Unknown to many, the Ifa religion acknowledges a mysterious figure called Jewesun.  Inexplicably referred to as Odo Agutan (Lamb), and pointedly declared to be the “only begotten son of God,” Jewesun reportedly came to earth to show “truth and heavenly kingdom… and destroy the work of the devil.”  This Jewesun refused the counsel that he should sacrifice to the devil so as to have a soft-landing and smooth ministry on earth, choosing rather to forcefully confront the devil and destroy his work.  (Here, and only here in Ifa religion is Esu pointedly declared to be evil).  Jewesun’s ministry was eventually cut short after three years at the instigation of the devil. Being killed, he however rose up on the third day!  All these literally the pure Gospel truth contained in Ifa religion?
The problem, as previously mentioned, is that the obviously corrupted Ifa religion in the same breath, still eulogizes Esu and encourages he be given his due honour and sacrifices!
It is obvious that it is the precious name of the Lord Jesus that was corrupted to be Jewesun (which is the literary interpretation obtained when the name Jesus is stretched in the Yoruba language – “Je-’e-su”).  However, as is usual in African Traditional Religions  (ATR), some mythological story was concocted to explain the name.  But that is not of interest here at this time.
The big question is: how can ATR adherents hold to two contradictory worldviews at the same time?  It is clear that they at some time had access to the pure detailed gospel, which is now corrupted. While we certainly don’t want to promote a book riddled with confusion to our readership, we present some extracts on the personality of Jewesun, as described in Mr Osamaro’s book on Ifism:

“The Coming of Jewesun to Earth

It was also Oyeku meji who revealed how Jewesun came to this world.  The awo who made divination for him before he left heaven was called:
“Bi a ba kpe oku ni kponkpo
Alayiye, looma Daun
Odifa fun Odo agutan
Tinshe okonbi omo olodumare
Obe laa arinrin igbatema omo araye”
Here, Jewesun was pronounced the “Lamb” and “only begotten Son of the Almighty.”

The narrative continues:

“The son of God who was called Jewesun in heaven was told to make sacrifice with a sheep and red cloth in order to survive the plot that was going to be hatched by human beings against him on earth.  He was told also to give a he-goat to Esu which he bluntly refused to do because he had vowed to come to the world to destroy the forces of evil represented by Esu.

“He however agreed to make sacrifice with the sheep and red cloth.  The awo told him that if he did not make the sacrifice to Esu, it was the agents of Esu that would kill him and shorten the span of his life and missionary works on earth.  Since he had however made sacrifice with the sheep, he would wake up after three days and his fame would outlive him, after returning to heaven.

“When he got to the world, as he was about to begin his work of preaching the objectivity of truth, the way people live in heaven and the love of God for his creatures, Esu appeared to him in a dream and warned him that not even God himself had succeeded in eliminating his (Esu’s) influence from the entire planetary system.  Esu told him in the dream that if he did not give him a he-goat he would have himself to blame because he would infiltrate his followership to destroy him.  Jewesun once again refused to serve Esu on the ground that goodness could never surrender to evil. Jewesun was actually killed three years after he began his work on earth.”

IFISM, The complete work of Orunmila.  C. Osamaro Ibie.Pg 101-102

If all this is actually what Ifa teaches, then the adherents need to do a thorough soul-searching!  On their internet chat groups, several adherents of the Ifa religion express frustration at the concept of Jewusun as espoused by Ibie; but they  could not fault neither his citation or credentials. They will have to either fault this narrative and expunge it from the cited Oyeku meji, or follow it all the way to its original pure source: The Holy Bible!

Circulating on Social Media: Development à la Traditional Religion
Below is a travel advisory that circulated widely on social media recently.  It is food for thoughts if this kind of action is what will bring the development and progress we so much yearn for in our communities.
“HRM Oba Abul-Kabir Adewale Shotobi, (The Ayangboren of Ikorodu Kingdom) … has confirmed that this year Eluku Festival will commence and comes up on Wednesday 29 August 2018 (from 10:00pm (Night) till 05:30 am (Thursday morning). Saturday 1st Sept 2018 from 10:00pm (Night) till 05:32 am (Sunday morning). They both advised both males, females, sons, daughter, residents strangers, car owners, okada ridders (sic), keke maruwa drivers, transport drivers, tipper drivers, trailer drivers, especially those who are not original indigenes of Ikorodu town to stay away from coming into Ikorodu tranship (sic) from 10:00pm to 5:30 am on the above named dates.  PLEASE BE WARNED! “…….
Meantime, some comforting news emanating from Igboland.  Fed up with a repressive social order rooted in unhelpful traditional religion, folks from Igboland have determined to end the infamous osu caste system.  According to this tradition, the Osu are said to be dedicated to deities (Alusi) while the Ohu are said to be slaves by birth.  The major traditional rulers from the region are set to finally nail the coffin of this practice come Dec 28 of this year.  See Punch Newspaper: pg 12 Nov 7.

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