During a live Facebook discussion between I and Akande Adeyemi Siraj on the topic, “Esu is not Satan”, he referred me to a refutation written by Ayo Turton, titled, “Esu Is Satan Re: Revenge Of Bishop Ajayi Crowther” against Remi Oyeyemi’s “Esu: The revenge of Bishop Ajayi Crowther“.
Ayo’s refutation inspired this article which is a rebuttal to his own refutation as well as a subtle response to Remi’s claim of revenge from Bishop Ajayi Crowther. At first, I felt it was unnecessary to write this rebuttal, but, I had a rethink. “If we have written refutations and clarifications to the lies of the West against Africa – slavery and underdevelopment, then, this article should be written for educational purposes and for any truth seeker to have pros and cons, then, draw his conclusion(s)”
The Revenge of Bishop Ajayi Crowther
In Remi’s article, he argued that Esu and the Biblical Satan are two different beings. Thus, It is wrong and misleading to translate Satan as Esu. Read his arguments here
According to him, Ajayi Crowther’s translation of Satan as Esu was more of emotions given the circumstances that surrounded his life. He wrote,
“ I agree that the overzealous, newly converted Ajayi Crowthers of this world seemed to be willing tools in the hands of their masters because of their anger towards their kinsmen who sold them into slavery“
“The negative connotation given to the concept of Esu is essentially the handiwork of Bishop Ajayi Crowther. Considering all the circumstantial evidences and the Historical context of his life and times, it is evident that Bishop Crowther was out to take vengeance and in the course of doing so, he employed all tools at his disposal. His deliberate falsification of the Esu concept remains a stain on his brilliance and his legacy. He provided a tool for those who never had any understanding of Yoruba beliefs to continue to demonize, denigrate and defame such.”
While I agree that Ajayi Crowther was an overzealous Christian Missionary, I do not buy the idea that his decision to translate Satan as Esu was an act of revenge. It is important to note that Ajayi Crowther was not sold, rather, he and his family were captured by Fulani slave raiders when he was twelve. Therefore, there is a very little chance that the translation was an act of vengeance, rather, an attempt to Christianize his people, give them a reason to fear someone the people are familiar with, bears semblance with his own Satan that Jesus came to conquer and Hallelujah follows.
A careful study of Ajayi Crowther’s translation of the English Bible to the Yoruba language would bring us to the conclusion that Satan to Esu was not the only mistake Ajayi Crowther made.
The book of numbers, which is the fourth book of the Bible was translated as Numeri by the Bishop. Which dialect his Numeri? None. If he could have translated to be Esu, why not render Numbers to be something like Onka? Numeri is the Latin name for the book of numbers in the Bible.
Also, in the Lord’s prayer, Evil was translated as Bilisi, from the Arabic word, Iblees (Arabic: إِبْلِيس), a proper noun, from the Qur’an
But deliver us from evil – Sugbon gba wa lowo bilisi
Meanwhile, the same evil was translated as Ajalu in Isaiah 45:7
I make peace, and create evil – mo mú àlàáfíà wá, mo sì dá àjálù
Replying Ayo Turton
Nothing was spiritually inspired in Ajayi Crowther’s translation
Refuting Remi’s claim of a revenge mission, Ayo wrote,
” …but any Yoruba language enthusiast will agree that the amount of sophistication, preciseness of language and ingenuity on display in the Yoruba Bible is amazing and must have been spiritually inspired with no room for petty vengeance mission”
While I agree that the Satan – Esu fraud was not a revenge, i totally disagree that it was spiritually inspired. No! Ajayi Crowther was carrying out the orders of his Slave Masters. He was a tool in the hands of this people for ‘Christianization’ of the Yoruba people. What is spiritual about people who came to destroy physically and mentally, with the Bible. The works of Ajayi Crowther was a further colonization of the people. There is nothing spiritual about it.
Evil is a phenomenon, not a character
Reading through Ayo’s argument that Esu is Satan, I deduced that Ayo’s unified personification of evil is counterproductive. For him, if Esu is a “…trickster, a disguise artist, a mischief-maker, a rebel…a shape shifter…”, then, he must have been ‘The Devil”. To him, “grammatically speaking, Esu is no doubt the Devil” as he as traits of Satan has written in the Bible.
It is important that we know and understand what a Devil is. Yes! A devil, not The Devil. We do not have ‘The Devil’, rather we have Devils. Devil is the personification and objectification of an evil, hostile and a destructive force.
Different Cultures and traditions have different concepts of devil(s). That Iblees, Satan, Krampus, Mephistopheles etc., have similar attitudes does not make them one person. If we should pay attention to the similarities, how about the glaring differences? If we should, then, Jesus should be translated as Orunmila, “given the fact that Orunmila is proverbial, wise, calm, peaceful and forbearing as Jesus”
Hagar was Abraham’s wife and God has no Son
In an attempt to give us the historical background of Islam and Christianity, Ayo wrote,
” In the Book of Genesis, Chapter 12: 1-3, God gave Abraham three (3) promises, a promise of a new land, a great nation, a spiritual promise that “all families of the earth shall be blessed” through him. In Genesis 16, when Sarah failed to bear Abraham a child, he advised him to take their Egyptian maidservant Hagar who bore him a child named Ishmael.
The Quran record is similar, but has no record of Sarah, Abraham’s original wife that later bore Isaac. Whereas the Christians belief that they derived their association with God as children of covenant through Isaac the lineage of whom Jesus came from, the Muslim belief that their association is derived through Ishmael, the lineage of whom Mohammed (pbuh) came from, guess what, they are both right. This is why Christians would say they are children of God and Muslims would say we are servants of God.”
It is not incorrect that Hagar, an Egyptian was a slave to, then, wife of Abraham. Just like their Slave Masters, African Christians are masters at lying at distorting facts and history. When it comes to Hagar, Christians pretend that it is not in the Bible that Hagar was Abraham’s wife. We read,
“And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.”
Genesis 16:3 (KJV)
It is unfortunate that Christians desperately try to ignore this fact. Meanwhile, if Hagar is worthless because she was a slave, then all African Christians who have this belief are also worthless since they used to be a slave of whites.
God has no Son. The Christians have been conditioned to believe this. If Hagar had been proven to be worthless, African Christians are worthless too and they have to accept a white Jesus, the so called Son of God so that they can become Sons, yet, they call themselves Civil servants but too proud to be slaves of God. Jesus was called God’s servants Matthew 12:18, Acts 3:13, Acts 3:26 and the Christians themselves, slaves of God in Romans 6:15-23.
Claims of terrorism
Ayo also wrote,
“The unceasing violence has been violence in Islamic world is also consistent with the Bible historical fact and prediction as recorded in Genesis 16: 11-12”
I am pretty sure that he wanted to refer to Israel. The terrorist activities of Israel are well recorded in the Bible. Rape, murder, pillage are what we know Israel for in the Bible till this day. We read from the Bible,
Samuel 15:3 New International Version (NIV)
3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’
While some are getting destroyed, Israel keeps destroying while their African slaves are so happy. Ayo also accused the “Islamic World” of violence but has forgotten that it was his American-Israeli forces that invaded Iraq in 2003. He accuses the middle east of violence and American soldiers have made the territory their home.
Their colonial masters are still at what they do best, but with the Bible in hand, an average Christian is a slave forever except he becomes conscious.
If Neptune is not Poseidon, Èṣù cannot be Satan
One thing to note is that we are focusing more on the person, not on the character. Even if the character, there are many glaring differences.
Ayo referred to the bible and the Qur’an’s position on Satan. Islam and Christianity are Abrahamic religions and they share the same history. Both religions agree that Iblees and/or Satan,
– Disobeyed God
– Had contact with Adam and Eve
– He was cursed by God
– Had contact with Job
– Would be in Hell.
Beyond doubt, Iblees and Satan is one person even If there are other differences from the Qur’an and the Bible about his creation or attributes.
In comparing Èṣù with Satan, we will agree that they have similar attributes, e.g., deception, mischief, etc. etc… Shall we say Jesus is Orunmila because they share similar attributes?
Now, differences between Èṣù and Satan …
– Satan existed in the Middle East, Èṣù is a Yoruba deity
– Èṣù had been existing and worshipped before the white man came with his own Satan
– Did Èṣù leave Yoruba land to go tempt Jesus?
– Yoruba History says life started in Ilé-Ifẹ̀. When the “Kingdom of God suffered violence and the violent took it by force”, is it the middle east version or Yoruba land version?
– If Èṣù did not tempt or fight Orunmila nor any messenger of Olódùmarè, why was he waging war against Angel Micheal in a Jewish book and also tempted Jesus?
– God of the Bible had to die to save humans from the sin Satan caused Adam and Eve to fall into. Since Yorùbás used to have Èṣù, why did God send his Son to the middle east when Èṣù, the culprit is in Yoruba land.
– Èṣù eats ẹbọ while Satan eats blood of Jesus. Haha!!!
For any seeker of the truth, avoid calling Satan, Èṣù. Call him Sátánì instead. I am not calling to the worship of Èṣù but, our freedom and independence is not complete till we take charge of our mental state, thought process and conscious of what we accept and/or believe.
Neptune and Poseidon are closer than Èṣù and Satan but the Romans and Greeks do not mix them up, not even for translation’s sake.
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman