by Okoye Chukwudi Charles Ezeamalukwuo

“God made man in his own image;
A being of love and boundless grace.
Man remade God in Man’s image;
A tool of fear, hate and disgrace.”

-The Journey of the Soul

Yesterday, I was reading the news and I came across the story that involves Kano state Sharia law and the destruction of countless crates of legal alcoholic drinks. I was shocked by this development because I thought Alcohol is legal in Nigeria. I thought that Nigeria is a secular state and that there is a clear separation between state and religion. To make matters worst, the comments from some people on the post did not help. They argued in favour of the destruction of another man’s legitimate business, stating that alcohol is wrong according to the teachings of their religion, and so should be forcefully resisted. Hence, it is right to destroy what is legitimate under our constitution and under the constitution of many countries in the world because someone told you some one thousand four hundred years ago that God (whom happened to choose him alone) told him that alcohol is wrong. Hmmmm…unbelievable.

My experience with the antics of Organised Religion started from birth. My childhood and most of my adolescence were spent in the strict adherence to the Catholic faith. I grow up in a family that wore the Christian Doctrine upon their skin (alas! not as much in their hearts). I was taught that Jesus is the ONLY true way, the only true teacher and that any other way or teaching is false. I was taught that Christianity (which happens to have about 1/5 of the world’s population) is the only true religion ordained by God, and that other religions were works of the Devil. This idea of being specially made me a bit arrogant and proud. Out of many, I was among the few chosen.
But as I grew older and started to study deeper and wider, I began to see the similarities of my religion with the other so called “damned” religions. I began to know many of the evil practises and actions done in the past by the Church in the name of God. I began to understand that Christianity is not the only Religion that thinks it is special. The Muslims, the Jews, the Buddhists and co also think that theirs is the only true Religion. Hence, I made a 180 degrees turn around, an epiphany. Today some friends and family members accuse me of being an atheist and in dire need of deliverance so to speak because I disagree with their narrow view of God.

The root of my problem with organised religions lies in their inability to tolerate opposing views. Each Religion believes that it is the One True Religion, the only one instituted by God and the only one good enough to make Heaven, while it believes that the others will be damned in hell for all eternity. We see this mostly in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Catholic Church, it is called Heresy for one to preach anything that contradicts with the Vatican. In the olden days people were burnt at stake for Heresy. The clerics argued then that it was better to torture the body that is temporary in order to save the soul that is permanent. In other words, whether you like it or not we will send you to heaven but first we will pass you through hell on earth. We see this actions being practised today by the radical islamists, who bomb, maim, torture innocent people because they share a different opinion from their own. But the true is that…

“God calls not only with the Jew,
Nor has he special relation
With the cross, star and moon and few;
For God is of no Religion.”

-The Journey of the Soul

I have asked this question many times and I will ask it here again; when a religious person encounters a pagan religion, whose people live in love, peace and harmony. Whose people are warm and hospitable and treat both friends and strangers with love and respect, and also embrace him as one of their own, treating him with dignity, but have only the flaw of worshipping idols, will he still go about preaching to them to repent and abandon their “Evil Practises”? This question beats me…

I have argued somewhere before that the idea of being special by Religious sects is a very dangerous one because it will make man to do unpredictable things in the Name of a being as ambiguous as God. The Israelis (who are but 0.1% of the world population) believe that they are the chosen people. God created 7 billion people and chose only 7 million as his people…does this make sense? This theory has been propagated by them to justify the hedious crimes against humanity taking place in Palestine.
The same can be said of Christianity in the Dark-Medevial ages down to the crusades and the spanish inquisition. And Islam too.

The teachings of organised religions have split in two many homogeneous countries today. We see this in India and Pakistan, we see this in Israel and Palestine, we see this in North and South Sudan, in Iraq (Sunni vs Shite), in Ireland and Northern Ireland, in Serbia, in Lebanon, and even in Nigeria to mention but a few. Religion, I have been told is supposed to make us better and more humane. But what I have seen is neither of the these. I have seen families divide over religion, Countries go to war over religion, Marriages dissolved over religion, Children disinheritated over religion, innocents slaughtered over religion and etc. History is overflowing with the blood of the innocents killed by the holy sword of Religion.
God has become a victim in the hands of Religious heads, who use him at will to achieve their self-centred political and economical goals.
In my part of the world, Catholics hardly marry from any other Denomination in the Christian faith, yet we all are supposed to be children of one loving God through Jesus Christ…Make I hear!

Furthermore Organised Religion had impeded the growth in Science and Technology for many centuries. Man was busy trying hard to achieve Heaven while Earth rots away.

Earth is a Hell and not a home
Paradise; -a place yet unknown
Man in his quest to gain Heaven
Made a Hell of Earth; faith driven

-The Journey of the Soul

Problems that involved simple human reasoning were left to grow complex while Man waited on God. There is this lack of ambition and constructive reasoning among religious people, their eyes are perpetually focused above, and their attitudes are usually one of resignation to their fate. Their’s is an unrealistically rigid mentality that is incapable of independent reasoning. “My pastor told me” syndrome or “It is written in the holy book” logic. To them, Earth is a distraction, Heaven is the goal, thus everything is accepted in faith. “God giveth, God taketh, Glory be to his name.” Hence nothing is done to advance the comfort and convinence of the society as a whole. I have said it times without numbers, the day that Nigerians stopped overly waiting on God to solve our problems, that day will half of our problems be solved.

In conclusion, I believe that the end product of Religion should be to make us more loving, to make us more tolerant, more patient, more kind, more gentle, more humble, more honest, more disciplined etc. Thus if your faith is that which makes you less of these, which makes you more paranoid, more aggressive or demand the blood or tears of your fellow humans, my brother…”Know Ye well thy Path leadth unto Hell.”

“All Religion is part of truth,
None alone has it all by root
Any faith that practice not love
Is dead and far from God above.

-The Journey of the Soul

I believe that organised Religions by the fact that they are organised -standardised, are prone to manipulations by the CEO and board of directors who manage them. The chief aim of establishing those Religions I believe was to awake our inner self to try and find consolation in death while making the world a better and more loving place to be, but with growth and time, corruption which is the inherent in humanity entered into these Religions, and these goals were substituted for a more standardised versions; that of increasing membership, that of silencing dissent voices, that of money making and global hegemony.
I must state clearly that I too am a bit religious myself. I believe in a Supreme Being, controller of the Universe; God. But do I believe that he called only a handful of people to be his and condemned others…NO, with a capital. God is for everyone. He is not a product that Judaism, Christianity, Islam or any other Religion has a monopoly on. You do not need to enter a church, a synagogue or a mosque before you can order yourself a basket of God. There is no exclusive right or patent to him. He is as free as the air we breathe. And anyone who truly seeks him will find him in their own way.
For as it is written; “Seek (my good friend) and surely you will find.”

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author, and does not necessarily represent those of Lyriversity.

Lyriversity — Liberty of Creativity

Advertisements
Comments
  1. FRANKDEGREAT says:

    U R SAYING D FACT BUT NO DAT D FOOLISHNESS OF GOD IS FAR GREATER DAN D WISESNES OF MEN

  2. Moses opara says:

    You draw out realistic words we all must ponder on. I read

  3. Always a delight to read, though some inferences to me seem ill-informed. The opening problem is not just with organized religion, but a state, a nation and people that do not have a standard, a yardstick, a modus operandi.

    I think should be organized, it puts a check to a lot, but I also believe that a people must understand and strive to know beyond just what is dished to them by their theocratic leaders. We see beyond dogmas and principles that are etched in stone.

    I still insist that organized religion is not the problem in total, but the people who accept to be beguiled and fooled by the elite that spearhead or lead these organizations.

    Selah!

  4. Oluwatosin says:

    An illuminating piece. the poetry intercalated within the sum of religion- catabolizing prose had might, cubit upon cubits of philosophizing.

  5. I am a religious person and my belief is basically centered on the monotheism of Allah the creator of the heaven and the heart. We can see this in the stars, the moon and the sun, they work according to an other. This order cold be from nobody but the presence of a supreme being whose order every creation conforms to. Religion doesn’t tolerate hatred and deceit, it is about being kind, facing reality and encouraging others to do good.

  6. I am a religious person and my belief is basically centered on the monotheism of Allah the creator of the heaven and the earth. We can see this in the stars, the moon and the sun, they work according to an order. This order could be from nobody but from the presence of a supreme being whose order every creation conforms to. Religion doesn’t tolerate hatred and deceit, it is about being kind, facing reality and encouraging others to do good.

  7. LarryJamesD says:

    Pure Religion Is Of D Heart; It Doesn’t Really Matter D Denomination Where One Is Been Subjected To. Ur Faith Can Bring Relief To Many Whose Faith Have Diminished, Whether Xtian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Etcetera! Service To God Does Not Require Much Wisdom; Rather Dedication… #Words!!!

  8. Anene Francis says:

    Good write up mr Solar. I salute you.

    During arguments centred on religion, I usually keep mute because it is a delicate matter of which I am not yet well grounded especially about those different from mine. I’ll comment on this, taking care not to be too sentimental.

    * That Nigeria is a secular state is mostly theoretical. In practice, religious laws and ethnic laws are placed above the civic laws in areas with significant difference in population between majority and minority. E.g some community’s customs allow many forms of extrajudicial killings or molestation as punishments, yet that is not taken as a crime there. Nigeria is multi religious and multi ethnic, several of them difficult to agree on several laws… The best for Nigeria is to be a true secular state but how achievable that would be, I do not know. I hope the national conference would go a long way in addressing that.

    From what I have observed from Christianity and christians, I have learnt not to judge any religion based on its followers alone, because many people betray their religion in their actions. I seek the unadulterated teachings of religions to understand them… The purpose of religion was to seek God and guard of conduct. Now many see it as a means of division. e.g You identify yourself as a christian or Moslem when filling forms but you can’t remember the last time you studied the holy books or worshipped as expecteted. During religious crises, you would be the first to grab a machete to side ‘your’ group… very unfortunate. Now innocent religions carry all the blame when its follwers are not doing what it says.

    @Solar, I don’t know what religious teachings you got and is now getting but personally, I hate teachings that induce hatred for another. That we do not agree on certain teachings does not mean we should hate or quarrel…

    * but let me add, that with increase in the knowledge one acquires, he may be tempted to fault a ‘truth’ just because it cannot be proved with the limited human knowledge and ability. ( I hold unto what my religion teaches with faith while I seek to understand it better not contradict it, and also others when I get the oppotunity, so as to better tolerate theirs. Me sha)…

    *This article has some other of your opinions I disagree with but don’t have enough supporting points to back my argument, or the will to engarge them. So I’ll let them go for now. I second Dr Nma totally.

    Once again, I must commend you on your hardwork in putting this together. Good argument, an eye openner. Keep it up

    • Ezeamalukwuo says:

      Mr Analyser Supremo…saw your comment;..very cautious in your remark. The issue of religion is kinda a dangerous one, in which one must tread carefully. Dissing religion is very far from my plan, no I don’t really diss Religion, I diss Organised Religion which has become a Standardized version of Religion,
      God is now a product that must be sold for the highest profit possible…his teachings are dependant on what the top echelons see it as. The Truth has become a casualty in this race.

      But on the other hand I await the day your research will be complete and you refute my points…he smiles..thanks for reading.

  9. Yisarick says:

    This is transporting my good man. Religion has done more harm than good. After corruption, the next problem leaving with Nigerians… I give it to religion. Nigerian problem and problem with Nigerians… Religion

  10. dilibe chukwuebuka says:

    nice write up,keep it up.permit me to add that i agree with you partially in most of your aguements and disagree in a few.i agree that religion should make us more humane,loving and peaceful,and that its turning out to do the opposite but i disagree that the problem is to be found in religion itself.different religions may claim to be the only way to GOD but on a closer look after studying it and opening your heart to GOD’S guidance you will know the truth.christianty may seem divided but you shouldn’t be surprised if you have studied the bible as a whole and not in parts.it is clear that GOD doesn’t judge as man does.he is not intrested in where and how ofteen we worship him but the contents of our hearts.a begger can be accepted before him while a pastor who lives in the church won’t.someone who has never been preached to but who is humane,loving and doesn’t do anything he knows within himself is wrong can be saved.GOD made it clear that who ever seeks him will find him.(irrespective of religion)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s