We're a nation of believers, yes. And some of our beliefs are patently absurd, yes. Some of our beliefs, however, straddle the line between complete lunacy and profound moral insight.
For a while now, I've been a bit fascinated by the Five Percenter Movement. (No, these aren't the guys who dress up like gay-ass wizards and yell through megaphones in Times Square.) The five percent are a ghetto-autocthounous social reform movement, loosely connected to the Nation of Islam, who are as insistent on religious cooperation as they are on community.
I had always wondered how an offshoot of the Nation of Islam could come to influence such disparate disciples as Busta Rhymes, the Wu Tang Clan, and the Beltway Sniper. John Allen Muhammed's affiliation with the organization was played up in the wake of his arrest. The articles often painted the religion as a kind of ultra-violent black version of the Ku Klux Klan.
Though rooted in pseudo-factual, racialized conceptions of creation and God, the five percent are not quite separatists. They claim to have offices across the country and in Europe with members of all races and nationalities. Their yearly conference indulges the organizations twin obsessions: science and karate. This highlights one of the most peculiar aspects of their belief system - and most belief systems in general. Though they are intensely logical, they're logic is completely bananas.
Recently, after reading a pamphlet recommended by a friend who was dabbling with the five percent for a time (but has since cut ties), I had what might have been my moment of awakening. The article was called "Black Man is God," and it detailed in 10 pages of circuitous blather how the black man is the original man because of his Asiatic origin.
To call it a weird proposition would be an understatement. It was loony, but the goal - of elevating the historically trod-upon dignity of the black man - was understandable, if profoundly anachronistic.
I wondered about this and other aspects of the Five Percent (their arcane, astrological conception of women and family roles, for example). But then I stopped wondering, because I realized I was God.
And God's don't wonder; they blog, Son!