he shrieking sound of the gate-bell savagely cut shorty my deep slumber.
I rubbed my eyes to get them sufficiently awake to focus on the clock: the digital panel said it was 05:12.
Impatiently the bell shrieked again.
Who could be disturbing me this early morning?
Since I mind my business and do not owe anybody, I expect to sleep soundly in my bed without any disturbance at ungodly hours.
Cursing silently, I hustled into a short and T-shirt.
I was almost at the gate when the bell shrieked impatiently. My body was shaking with rage as I opened the gate. An emaciated, elderly man in a faded shirt tucked into an ill-fitting trouser and a dog tie stood at a side of the gate. Beside him was a younger lady in an out-of-fashion blouse that looked like a demented tailor designed it. An old-English lady hat was perched rakishly on her head.
They both cradled dated bags.
My eyes roamed over them with undisguised anger.
"Yes. What is it?" I demanded in an angry tone.
The old-man find something amusing, He smiled crookedly, revealing dental works that were badly in need of dental care.
Opening his bag, he ruffled a while and brought some pamphlets out, thrust them to me and said: "Young man, we have come to discuss the good-tidings with you. We want to share with you the good-news about the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus."
I was, by this time, literally, vibrating with ire.
Cutting him short, I demanded, "You don't mean to tell me that you're Jehovah Witnesses!" I exclaimed.
"No, we are not Jehovah Witnesses," the man protested. "We are..."
I was not interested in whatever sect they belong to. "But for your age, I would have told you what you can go and do with your good-tidings. Good-day, even if you both don't deserve it."
I shut the gate in their faces.
The anger had drained the sleep from me.
I collapsed on the bed with angry thoughts parading my consciousness.
"Religions are the cradles of despotism." - Marquis de Sade.
What manner of arrogance made the Christians believe that they have the right to disturb my sleep?
Is it not presumptuous for them to arrogate to themselves the right to intercede between MY CREATOR and I?
There are hundreds, even thousands, if not millions, of religions in the world. Have the Christians pause to think of what bedlam it would be, if the other religionists are as arrogant and as aggressive as they are - waking people up to listen to 'good-tidings?'
What would our towns and cities look like if the Moslems, The Hindus, The Buddhist, the Traditionalists and the rest of the religionists wake us up every Sunday and start to peddle their versions of piety?
Our cities will look like nothing but hospitals for the insane.
After much reflection, Karl Marx said: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."
If opium is a sedative, then Karl Marx was only half-right.
Religion has become, at least in Africa, the amphetamine of the people.
And it has also become big, very big business.
How else do we explain the hypocritical priests who tell their malnourished and ignorant congregation that 'everything on earth is vanity,' and yet tool around town in the latest hi-tech cars, planes and live in posh houses?
These sanctimonious hypocrites very conveniently forgot what their saviour was supposed to have told them: "No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:12-14)
It seems as though Africans now need a dose of spiritual injection in order to draw breath. Our land is dotted with every manner of churches. Ill-fed ignoramuses, who believe that their god in heaven has answer to earthly problems, accost us on the roads. They waylay us in the streets and in the trotros (molues in Nigeria; matatus in East Africa).
The Christians are everywhere, falling over themselves in their bid to take us to 'alujanah.'
The hypocritical, sham charismatic charlatans leading them are crowding our airwaves with their fake American accents, pretending, in the words of Robert Ingersoll, to stand between our helplessness and the wrath of the gods.
The shameless priests continue to do today what the priesthood has done since the begininning of time: make their good living by selling patent and absurd falsehood.
The ignorant congregations are shouting hallelujahs to the priest's false claims of 'miracles.'
Why does any normal human being needs a miracle, which are nothing but mendacities?
If these pious tricksters can heal the sick, cure blindness and barrenness etc, etc, why don't they simply build hospitals?
We shall be grateful to them for it.
Any intelligent person should know that miracles, like magics are, essentially, fakeries.
"It is not God that is worshipped but the group or authority that claims to speak in His name. Sin becomes disobedience to authority not violation of integrity." - Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
We have to be thankful that most modern states are now secular. I shudder to ponder what it would be like to live under a theocratic rule. I dread to think of living in a society where priests hold all the pwoer - not only licensed to tell lies, but had powers to kill whoever expose their lies.
From selling fake indulgencies to burning heretics, the history of the Christian priesthood is one that will shame a nation of savages.
What baffles today is that any decent person can, in all honesty, read those calamitous, dreadful and utterly shameful histories and still dare to belong to the priesthood.
There will little trouble if these Christian men and women who go about preaching love and tolerance practice what they preach?
The truth is that we see very little love even among the Christians themselves. The Chatholic have no lost love for the Anglicans, and the latter have nothing but deep hatred for Christians of other sects than theirs.
Couples have had their marriages destroyed because they choose to belong to different churches.
Parents have disowned children who choose to go to different churches.
What is more intolerant than shoving your religion down someone else's throat?
There are, at least, six churches near where I live. If I need to, I can easily find my way to any of them.
No, it is not enough for the Christians to disturb our sleeps with their constant drumming and singing, they have to come right into our houses and wake us up from our sleeps.
I believe religion to be a private thing. Every human being should be able to find his or her way to the creator.
If my father is in heaven, does it make any sense for him to talk to me through another person?
If I need to talk to my son, I talk to him directly and not through another person, not even his mother.
I believe in live and let's live, and I wish the Christians would learn this elementary courtesy.
I believe that I'll be 'saved' through my own efforts and conducts, and not through some 'holy' book of dubious origins filled infantile tales of pornography (two daughters getting their father drunk and seducing him), absurdities (uncountable), massacres (too many to recount here), mayhem (just too numerous) and false astronomy (a general stopping the sun so that he could complete a massacre).
I am fully prepared to face my creator and account for anything I did wrong.
I don't need Christians to teach me anything about morality - the ones I know are the most amoral around.
I don't need anyone to tell me to love my fellow-being; because common-sense tells me that I cannot expect love from those I hate.
I don't need a religion to tell me not to steal; I am contented with what I have, and I've trained myself not to want anything I cannot afford.
I don't need eternal life; one life is simply enough for me.
I don't want any paradise in the sky; I want to build mine right here on earth.
I am not in the least impressed by infantile tales of someone walking on water (I can easily take a boat); turning water into wine (I don't touch alchohol); waking Lazarus from the dead (what is the point? I won't like to be disturbed after I join my ancestors).
The nature of my work (computer consultancy and video production) calls for no prayer: I cannot find lost hard disk clusters by reading the bible; neither could I fix a damaged video tape by supplicating to my almighty father.
Organised Religion has nothing to offer me, so the Christians can take their pie-in-the-sky lies and sell it to whoever will appreciate it.
They should very kindly leave me alone.
"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." - Thomas Paine
A great mind has opined that we Africans are in the fine mess we are because we spend more time preparing to go to heaven than on improving our material lives here on earth.
While other people are slicing genes, interacting with one another thousands of miles apart through electrons, and doing their utmost best to improve their physical and material environment, we are busy wallowing in our ignorance-engendered poverty.
And why do our people forget that religions are essentially ancestor-veneration. If the Christians worship their own acestors, perhaps i can relate to that. But why on earth should I, a True-Born African be paying homage to teh god of Abraham or Moses or to any Semitic people?
I am a Yoruba with a history that goes back into time. My ancestors were here long before there was any Habiru, or Hebrew.
If only Africans will learn their history!
Sadly, we continue to occupy our days and nights with useless religious rituals, chanting futile hymns to desert gods, and we pretend not to know why we are as poor as we are.
Instead of parading our streets with ramshackled followers purporting to teach a religion they barely understood, I will be glad if our religious leaders can mobilize their followers to plant and harvest.
What a beautiful sight it would be to see a Methodist's Corn Farm or a Presbyterian Yam Farm or a Catholic Ranch or an Anglican Cocoa Plantation!
Are there biblical injunctions against the establishment of Electronics and Computers Academies, instead of the plentiful Bible and Theological Studies Schools we have?
Is there any reason why our numerous churches cannot build factories and help alleviate our chronic unemployment, instead of buying posh cars and planes for the priests?
Many churches are built right inside dirty swamps, violating the injunction that cleanliness is holiness, why are our preachers not interested in improving their own earthly environment instead of sermonizing about a glorious, beautiful heavens?
The Christians should not become too emboldened: If some of us are not challenging them, it is only because we have better employment for our time.
They should be contented to peddle whatever lies they tell themselves in the confines of their churches.
If they find it difficult to restrain themselves, they should not complain when occasional salvoes are hurl in their faces.