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The Prosperity Doctrine of Ifa

Symbols of Prosperity

The prosperity doctrine is a belief that if an individual live as a good Christian then the Christian god will manifest his approval of the person with financial prosperity. Conversely, if someone doesn’t enjoy financial prosperity then it is safe to assume that this person needs to make changes in their life to gain favor and reap the fruits of the Christian god’s generosity. This begs the question how does a person live as a good Christian? It can be taken for granted that keeping all the applicable tenets of the Christian faith are important (don’t kill, don’t bare false witness, keep the Sabbath, etc). But the most important rule to keep is for an individual to make regular and generous financial contributions in order for god’s humble servants to be able to spread the Christian god’s word.

Some of the more popular ministers who preach this doctrine are T. D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Pat Roberson and anybody else related to the 700 Club, Joyce Myers, Creflo Dollar and his wife Taffy, and Benny Hinn just to name a few. One of the things these representatives of Jesus Christ have in common is the fact that they live well and they live large.

Each one of these ministers and many more enjoy rock star accommodations and presidential eminence rolled into one big ego trip. A number of these ministers live in luxurious mansions that make that little White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue look paltry. Some of these ministers travel from city to city in private jets that would make an oil sheik proud. The private investments of these ministers would make a Wall Street trader’s blood boil with envy. Pat Robertson alone is estimated to have a net worth of a measly 200 million to as high as a billion dollars.

It’s remarkable that on a weekly and sometimes daily basis these self proclaimed, televangeling (a verb, to televangelize) representatives of the Christian god will beg for your financial support to assure their perspective churches can afford to get god’s word to where it needs to go in every corner of the world. These people beg more than the under nourished children of fourth world countries. Never mind the fact that Jesus spread his word with nothing but a pair of sandals and a smock. The one time Jesus did catch a ride into town it was on the back of an ass and not the finest Arabian stallion available in downtown Jerusalem. The only luxury Jesus enjoyed was having his feet washed in oil. He never once made an appearance on a radio broadcast let alone a cable satellite channel. Yet, if Christians are to be believed, his word continues to reach billions to this day. When Jesus found the money exchangers disgracing god’s temple with their business transactions he threw them out in the only instance recorded in the bible that Jesus made the choice to get physical. In many respects the original teachings of Jesus have been corrupted far beyond their original meaning.

In many ways these ministers and ministries mimic the greed of global corporations. As these global conglomerates continue to feed their relentless addiction for more wealth and profit into every corner of the globe it is no wonder that these televangelist mimic their relentless pursuit of more profits in the form of tax deductible donations. Pat Robertson could buy a fleet of blimps and spread them out across the face of the world and fuel them until the rapture of Revelations with the spare change in his wallet. He doesn’t need another dime of someone’s hard earned cash to spread the word of god.

African based religions are facing their own version of the prosperity doctrine. In order to receive the full benefits of prosperity that we are entitled to we are instructed to give regular and generous gifts to our Orisas, ancestors, and iles in order to stay in the collective favor of the spirits. Any bad luck that we may suffer is our own responsibility because we failed to get the reading that would’ve foreseen a particular predicament. If an individual suffers any hardship through no fault of their own then it’s obvious that they are simply being tested by a particular Orisa or ancestor because of some perceived discrepancy in their devotion.

The beauty of this malarkey is the fact that it has absolutely no credence in the real world. Regardless of how straight someone may live their life, regardless if they give everything in their bank to the poor and their favorite charity, bad things happen to people. Hardship is an evitable component of life. Similarly, people will have good things happen in their lives as well. It’s all a part of living.

Supernatural mumbo-jumbo will demand that Orisa pots get fed or “recharged” with an animal’s blood on a regular basis in order to keep the energy of that particular Orisa stout so that the devotee can be better protected. An animal sacrifice can be a very profitable ritual for house priest. The house reading for the year will identify the Orisa who is to be celebrated. Logic holds that the pots that belong to this Orisa will need to be kept large and fully charged in order to reap maximum benefits. It would be no surprise if the Orisa who is to be celebrated for the year is one that a healthy portion of the members in the ile have a pot for.

Unlike their Christian counterparts, priest and priestesses of Ifa do not have the luxury of riding through Oya’s skies in personal executive jets nor do they have a fleet of Rolls Royce automobiles in their driveways. But what they do share with the Christian ministers is the ability to twist faith and manipulate people’s desire for personal wealth to their own advantage. These days, everyone wants every advantage they can muster.

There is no such thing as a prosperity doctrine in Ifa. No one is going to get wealthy simply because they poured animal blood over their Esu every day for the year. No one is going to avoid hardship because they rubbed palm oil on their Ogun pot every Sunday. No one is going to be blessed with the wisdom of the ages because they burn a hundred candles for their ancestors. These gestures are generous for sure but they do not indebt Orisas or our ancestors to be our personal genie in a bottle granting us our every wish.

Orisas and ancestors are endeavoring to help us develop strong spiritual character and to help us stay on our spiritual path of development. If we are fortunate enough to do it in relative comfort that would be nice. But as children of Ifa personal wealth, especially the all up in your face look at what I can afford kind, should never be a priority in our journey through life.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black Men, Black People, Divination, Faith, God, Ifa, Orisa, Philosophy, Religion, Spirituality


  1. Very disappointed in your evaluation of the Ifa doctrine. Likening it to Christianity demonstrates to me the high level of ignorance shown on this subject. What you have done here is further bring conflicting obscurity to people’s mind. Ifa is not a religion but a way of life in the Yoruba culture. lt’s main aim to bring spiritual enlightenment to the practitioner. Christianity on the other hand is a man made religion with stolen legacies from other cultures filled with dogmas and based on fear to keep its followers in perpetual check and mind slavery. So brother educate yourself first before giving false information

    Comment by as above | Friday, July 15, 2016 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback ass abovve,

      I don’t know what your experience with Ifa is like but I speak from personal experience. Unless you know from what I speak I suggest you check your self. If anyone in the Ifa tradition charges people to assist in their spiritual development then it is absolutely no different than Christianity where men and women of a supposed religious maturity prey on people looking for guidance. Christian guides use fear in the same way Ifa guides use fear. Pay for your spiritual development of you will be left behind. Take your blinders off.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, August 23, 2016 | Reply

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