Agnes Namaganda’s Pentecostal ideas can grow with time

Sunday July 21 2019


By Alan Tacca

In a letter to the Editor in the Daily Monitor of July 16, Dr Simon Nuwagaba commented on Ms Agnes Namaganda’s July 14 Sunday Monitor article, “Alan Tacca, salvation experience is like intimacy. It is indescribable”.
I cannot add much. But after Ms Namaganda characterised my articles as “ignorant swipes at everything Church”, I checked, and my ignorance looks all right. What bothers me is Ms Namaganda’s knowledge, because it smells like anti-knowledge.
Indeed, using my ignorance, I sometimes describe the believer our Pentecostal preachers aim to produce, and I suspect Ms Namaganda matches the type.
When the believer is not in ‘combat’ with imaginary demons, they are spraying ‘fire’ over ordinary human challenges, or trekking to ‘P5’, or being held hostage by ‘dogs’, or hurrying to a crusade to see a visiting miracle worker, or rushing again to scream and do zombie and voodoo-like things at frenzied night prayers…until, permanently distracted, the victim graduates as a bag full of delusions.
Instantly recognisable features: self-righteous, overbearing, intolerant.
Long-term danger: narrow-band fanatics can be easily recruited as tools of fascism.
Namaganda condemned specific things I have written about biblical myths, and about people masquerading today as God’s messengers, but she produced no argument to expose my ignorance. However, one of her assertions needs correction. I have never written anywhere that the Crucifixion did not happen.
Crucifixion was an accepted method of execution. The sequence of events and non-biblical sources suggest that Jesus was crucified.
But I have written that the Resurrection (and the Virgin birth) did not happen in any literal sense, precisely because such events do not happen.
Twenty-first-century biologists may conjure a virgin birth more easily than 1sts Century God. But Jesus is ‘alive’, or ‘resurrected’, in hearts where he is deified.
Given the complex circumstances, Jesus could have been lowered from the cross prematurely, dying later of different causes, perhaps in exile.
The empty tomb only proves that Jesus (dead or alive) had been removed. After that, Jesus’ mythological character grows.
Appearing to his disciples, (Acts 1:6), it is evident that Jesus’ past allusions had led them to expect him to restore the earthly kingdom of Israel. They asked: would he now restore the kingdom?
His reply was strikingly evasive: “It is not for you to know the times or seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.”
He killed one illusion, started another! To help them spread his glory, they would now receive special spiritual power from the Holy Ghost.
What happened in Jerusalem on Pentecost that year?
Many believers read Acts, Chapter 2, and assume that the turbulent events happened as recorded.
I read that chapter and judge that the elaborate preparations for the day were not recorded.
Mastering magic-show tricks was a legitimate craft among prophets. The Jesus machine probably had the competence to stage a descent of the Holy Ghost.
Today, science would have debunked the exhibition. Our Pentecostal pastors claim agency of the power to enact the Jerusalem event at will.
When the Holy Ghost brings salvation, Namaganda compares the devotee’s supreme joy to an erotic climax.
God must have invented holiness for the goats.
But after “shouting emotionally and unfathomably on top of their lungs during prayers”, what if Ms Namaganda realises that she had not only offended the neighbourhood, but also remained spiritually empty, craving the next prayer session?
That reflection alone could lift her to another level of understanding, liberating her to write more like a serious religious thinker than a randy teenager with a Bible.