Opinion

Remi Oyeyemi: “When God Is Not Enough” – A Rejoinder, Rudolph Okonkwo

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By Remi Oyeyemi

 “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”

– – Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France (1769 – 1821)

“Zeal without knowledge is like an expedition …… in the dark”
— John Henry Newton (1725 – 1807) Anglican Cleric

“Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.”
— Reggae Star Peter Tosh (1944 – 1987)

The reactions to the article “When God Is Not Enough” by my brother and friend, Rudolph Ogoo Okonkwo still helped to manifest the depth of challenges that our people are facing in the abdication of their basic responsibilities and waiting for a “God” somewhere to help them take care of basic tasks they could have easily confronted. The reactions were not disappointing and one is sure that for those familiar with the idiosyncrasies of those who subscribe to the Christian faith, it was not either. The reactions were not different to an article I had written some years back “CHRISTENDOM: A House Built On Quicksand.” For the Christian and Islamic fundamentalists, God or Allah is just enough for everything. To them, God or Allah is the beginning and the end of every human act. There is no room for reason, logic or the uncommon commonsense.

It is only recently that the Christians have stopped killing those who do not share their belief. Though, they still manifest a lot of fundamentalist craze, it is just that they do not kill as they used to do. Their mode of killing is taking away from the poor the little he or she could use for his or her survival under the guise of tithe paying. The majority of Muslims are yet to catch up. They have thrown our world into constant mourning as they manufacture mayhem day in day out on a consistent basis. They claim to be armies of God or Allah as they willingly maim, rape and kill innocents. The world is on the precipice simply because of Islam and Christianity. The manifestation of brutality and cruelty by the adherents of the two faiths is a sign of the weakness of their God or Allah – yes, a God or Allah that cannot fight his or her own battles. Yet the adherents of both call their God or Allah omnipresent, omniscient and omnipresent. What a lie!

As for the Christians, their usual mantra which was and still is the use of threat and curse as Jesus did by continuously threatening those who doubted him and did not believe in him with hell and damnation was flagrantly reenacted to justify their faith. Rather than address the illogicalities embedded in the foundations of their faith, the best they could do was to curse, as Jesus did the fig tree, which if the context of the event is objectively examined, would incontrovertibly establish the innocence of the fig tree and as well raise a serious moral question about the motive of Jesus. The fig tree episode revealed that Jesus Christ was and is still not all that despite all his followers want us to believe to the contrary.

Or how do you explain the cursing of an innocent tree that the Bible itself agreed did not bear any fruit at that time because it was not its season to do so? Jesus could easily have used his miraculous power to command the tree to bring forth the fruits rather than curse it. But the Bible did not forget to note that Jesus was hungry at that point in question and thereby unwittingly implicating Jesus for acting out of anger, hunger and malice? So, Jesus did not curse the tree out of any genuine interest to teach any lessons to the unbelievers, but because he was seriously hungry and angry with the tree that it bore no fruit for him to douse his hunger! But the Christians, always smart by half, tried to use the fig tree episode as an analogy for what would happen to those who refused to believe their faith, thus feasting on the greatest weakness of man – fear.

To some of the followers of the two faiths who reacted, asking relevant questions and pointing out illogicalities, hypocrisy and duplicity that has been part of their history is “irresponsible.” Their reactions were an indirect admission of their own lack of faith in their God or Allah which they believe to be OMNIPRESENT, OMNISCIENT and OMNIPOTENT. This is because if the Christians for example, would demonstrate a limited, yes, just a limited belief in their own lies that their faith does not require the “death” of a sinner (which I presume I am in their books) but his “salvation,” how come they were unable to figure out their omnipotent Jesus “redeeming” me? But the question to be asked here is – if with all the prayers of believers, this is the best kind of world their God or Allah can give the rest of us with all his omnipotence and omniscience, does it not leave a lot of things to be desired?

The fanatical outburst of desperate zealots should not surprise anyone. It only confirms what we have all come to know for some time now. To intimidate, insult, abuse, threaten, curse, maim and even kill in the name of their faith is not new, though such tyranny has worked before. But the efficacy of such style is fast running out of fashion. No amount of puerile platitudes and inundating inanities shrouded in cowardly but desperate appeal to fear by hypocritical believers of some faiths, especially Christianity and Islam, would stop the movement and the struggle to free the soul, the spirit and the mind of man.

Just like in the Middle Ages when the Christians did all within their power to make sure that the world continued to believe their lie that our planet was the only one existing and that it was also flat. Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642) the scientist who made the thermometer (1596), investigated the laws of oscillation and gravity and insisted that the world was not flat but round (1604), came up with the Proportional Compass (1606), Astrological Telescope and observed planet Jupiter (1608) was made to face inquisition in 1615 by the Christians. In 1616, he was banned by the Christians from further scientific inquiry. To ensure that such lies subsisted, the Christians ridiculed, hounded and did everything to stop him. By this act, it is better left to imagination, what Christians denied the world. Though, the Christians succeeded in circumscribing Galileo, they failed woefully to confine his “truth” which has now become a “universal truth,” and today the world is better for it.

If the Christians ever did any good, it is because there is something to gain out of it or because they have no control over it. Otherwise, what did the Christian missionaries do why we were selling ourselves into slavery? Did they not stand aside and look on? After all the Christians were the one with better morality? The Ogun, Oya, Ayelala, Sango, Ifa and other traditional worshippers never claimed to be the best or “the only way.” It was the Christians who claimed to be the best, yet the worst has been emanating from them. They are mostly duplicitous, mean, cruel and wicked. Only very few of them have any milk of human kindness in them. And if you bother to find out about those few who are kind, it is because they have been exposed to other influences outside Christianity. The Christians only jumped on the bandwagon of slavery abolition when their economic masters in Europe and America deemed it unprofitable anymore.

As far as this writer is concerned, all religions have their failings because they were all borne out of human desire for security from fear and to have an orderly society. But to now seek to use an instrument intended for orderliness to engage in spiritual, political and economic subjugation of the mind is where they all erred. That apart, this writer, as earlier reiterated has issues with a religion such as Christianity, the template of which is a partial God who thinks, as a Yoruba man, I am less deserving than an Isreali or a Jew. This writer could not in good conscience continue to worship a Christian God or a Judaist concept which is in tune with mass murders of innocent children and women such as Canaanites, Amalekites and others. It is difficult to accept the dogmas of such a religion as “absolute truths.” This writer refuses to accept the Bible or the Quran as the word of God because they do not align with the Eledumare in Yoruba cosmology, who is not a Supreme Being full of contradiction, partiality, bias, meanness, cruelty, wickedness and confusion.

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorah, if nothing else, speaks to the acute ineptness of the Christian God who could not use his OMNIPOTENCE to change the hearts of the sinners in those cities. Rather he chose to destroy them. Yet, one of his golden rule was – “Thou shalt not kill.” The use of the so called deluge to wipe out the entire planet, saving only the children of Noah, certainly boggles the mind about a Christian God that is omnipotent and omniscient. The deliberate act of the Christian God to stand aside and look while the world remains like this is begging for serious answers from all the Christians. The Muslims have to explain to the rest of us why they have to carry out Jihads to maim and kill on behalf of an omnipotent Allah?

It is difficult to accept the treatment of King Saul as “fair” when you juxtapose his transgressions with that of King David who not only committed adultery, but was also a first class murderer. While Saul was trying to save the beautiful sheep for sacrifice to the Christian God, hoping that the latter would appreciate it but later turned inadvertently to a violation of instructions, David was seeking to assuage his own personal depravity via adultery and murder without any regard to the Christian God’s rules or interests. Yet it was David who got to be favoured and not Saul. Funnily, it was the fruit of that egregious act of adultery, Solomon, that got to inherit the kingdoms as compared to Jonathan who remained loyal to David at the cost of his own inheritance. Not only that, in the wisdom of the Christian God, Jesus, who was to be the Christian messiah and the saviour of the whole humanity, could only descend from that line of adultery and murder!

But the Christians mantra is that some of us humans could never understand their own God and this kind of unrepentantly blatant partiality and injustice. That his acts are beyond what man could ever comprehend. But if we are unable to understand this Christian God how do we relate to him appropriately? How could anyone claim to be inspired by a God he could not understand? Does that really make sense? “Oooh,” the Christian would say, “do not seek to make sense of God and his ways, he has a grand plan for all of us. You have been reading the Bible as a book. You should read it in spirit.” But how could one get to read it in spirit when they claim that you could not even understand him talk less of relating to him in a manner to be imbued with the so called “spirit?” It is as if the Christians are insinuating that being “spiritual” is “sheepish stupidity.”

It is amazing how anyone could put his total belief in someone like Jesus who claimed to come into this world to set the children against their parents, wives against their husbands, husbands against their wives and every family member against each other! This writer as an individual, have serious reservations about such a messiah whose major objective is to cause anarchy, chaos, upheaval and commotion. How can any sane mind follow and worship a messiah who causes agonies, wailings, sadness and unhappiness? And when people doubted Jesus, despite his “miraculous powers”, he could only threaten them with “gnashing of teeth” in hell fire. Jesus seems to always forgetting his miraculous powers for deployment to change the heart of unbelievers other than changing water to wine to encourage alcoholics! No wonder the world is such a BIG MESS, if this world truly is his and his father’s handiwork!

When Jesus went to the temple to mercilessly whip those businessmen, he betrayed an obvious weakness and utter powerlessness. As an omnipotent awe-inspiring Saviour, how come he could not even try persuasion and asked them to leave the building but decided to be cruel and mean-spirited? After all, it was not as if he warned them before and he was ignored. As an omniscient Saviour, who is supposed to know the beginning and the end of everything, how come Jesus did not know that Judas Iscariot would betray him or that Thomas would turn out to doubt him in advance and do something about it? Was Jesus, in spite of his omniscience and omnipotence, a bad judge of human beings? Look at the fate of John the Baptist who ended up being beheaded. How could any good natured God allow such thing to happen to his messenger who was sent to prepare the ground for an omnipotent messiah who was going to save the whole humanity from their sins? Some Christians would argue, such things happened as part of a plan and they have been ordained to happen. Well, if this is the best an omnipotent and omniscient Christian God could ordain then the Christians have some explanations to make to the rest of us.

I must say unequivocally, despite my serious misgivings about religion in general, that I agree with François-Marie Arouet (1694 – 1778), popularly known by his pen name, Voltaire, that if there was no God it would be necessary to evolve one. The wonders of our cosmos make it impossible not to believe in a Supreme Being and this could be made out of my own personal definition. But definitely I do not believe in the Islamic Allah or the Christian God for their bloodthirstiness. I do not believe in any religion that seeks to deprive me of my identity as A Yoruba man. I do not believe in a religion that has no regard for my being. I take exceptions to any religion that does not believe in the equality of all races and isolate another as a chosen one over and above my Yoruba race. I cannot believe in any God that is tendentiously racist like Islamic Allah and the Christian God. I refuse to accept any religion and its purveyors that continuously assault, insult, denigrate, and ridicule my Yoruba culture, when it has not even made any attempt to understand it. I refuse to believe in any religion that is incoherent, duplicitous, deceitful, denigrating, anti-people, anti-freedom, anti-reason, anti-logic, exploitative, complicit, subjugating, and enslaving to the spirit, the soul and the mind of man.

Given the Muslims and the Christians’ deep conviction and faith in their religions and the promised “heavenly paradise” or “aljana”, one is still wondering what the Christians and Muslims are doing in this world! After all, this is a “world of sin,” despicable and undesirable to them. One is at a loss as to why they could not dispatch themselves to the so called “heavenly paradise” or “aljana” and leave the rest of us to take care of this world. What are the Christians and Muslims waiting for in this world worrying about “intolerable sins” when they have been guaranteed a “paradise?” What a dubious lie these Christians and Muslims are selling to the rest of us? There is no better evidence of their lies than the fact that the Christians and Muslims themselves do not believe their own lies. The only reason they subscribe to their faiths is for social, economic and political reasons. This is the only reason that Peter Tosh sang the tune that “everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.”

Look at the world in which we live. Consider the level of injustice that has made it a jungle, the pervasive poverty of it, the horrible hunger of many, the awful want of man, the scandalous squalor in it and the binding betrayal of the human race by organised religions, especially of the Christian and Islamic genre. Is it not time to start asking whether the promises of “heavenly paradise” or “aljana” are realistic? Is it not time to start asking why the Christians and Muslims alike would not want to die, leave this “sinful world” for the rest of us and proceed to that “heavenly paradise” that they are so sure of? Is it not time for the rest of us to stop being the fools for letting the fanatics impose their lies on us?

“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.” – John F. Kennedy

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Article written by Yemi Oyeyemi

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