Remi Oyeyemi's Open Mind

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?
Monday, September 1, 2003

Remi Oyeyemi


"The fanatics are those who seek to impose their faith on others, the fools are those who let them."
-- Arriana Huffington Syndicated Columnist and Social Critic on CNN's Larry King Live.
"If I had known what I now know about the Bible, I would never have been a Christian, not to talk of a Pastor."
-- A Christ Apostolic Church pastor who wishes to remain anonymous
"Zeal without knowledge is like an expedition in the dark"
-- John Newton
"Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die."
-- Reggae Star Peter Tosh

he reactions to one's earlier essay on Christendom were not disappointing and one is sure that for those familiar with the idiosyncrasies of those who subscribe to the faith, it was not either. Their usual mantra which 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.

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? 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 Christ who reacted, asking relevant questions and pointing out illogicalities, hypocrisy and duplicity that has been part of their history is "irresponsible journalism." Their reactions were an indirect admission of their own lack of faith in their God which they believe to be OMNIPRESENT, OMNISCIENT and OMNIPOTENT. This is because if they would demonstrate a limited, yes, just a limited modicum of 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 like Arowolaju, this is the best kind of world their Christian God 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 like Samuel Arowolaju and others like him 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 Christianity 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 would stop the movement and the struggle to free the soul, the spirit and the mind of man.

Faced with all the bloody acts of the Christian God in the Old Testament (OT), the latter day Christians, ashamed of such acts and unable to justify such meanness and obvious bloodthirstiness, always posit that we should stop paying "undue attention" to the OT but look at the New Testament....

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 eventually murdered him. By murdering Galileo, it is better left to imagination, what Christians denied the world. Though, the Christians succeeded in murdering Galileo, they failed woefully to murder his "truth" which has now become a "universal truth," and today the world is better for it.

This example is given to show that 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, Samuel Arowolaju should tell us what the Christian missionaries did 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, 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. 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 I am less deserving than an Isreali. 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."

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 buggles 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 the likes of Samuel Arowolaju.

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 and inadvertently violated instructions, David was seeking to assuage his own personal depravity via adultery and murder without any regard to the Christian God's rules. 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 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 unrepentant 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."

Faced with all the bloody acts of the Christian God in the Old Testament (OT), the latter day Christians, ashamed of such acts and unable to justify such meanness and obvious bloodthirstiness, always posit that we should stop paying "undue attention" to the OT but look at the New Testament (NT) which tells us about the exploits of their Jesus, "the saviour of the world" who "died for our sins." Let us overlook the pitfalls in the NT for a moment and ask the Christians to tell the world what actually informed the putting together of the OT with the NT? May be without the baggage of the OT, it would be possible to give the NT some benefit of the doubt? Why were the other books excluded from the Bible? How did they determine the eligibility of those included? As one of those who earlier reacted to the first article posited, it would have robbed the NT of its basis and possibly, legitimacy. If the two testaments could not but be put together, how does Christianity look in the whole bigger picture?

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, 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 chaos, upheaval and commotion. And when people doubted him, despite his "miraculous powers" he could only threaten them with "gnashing of teeth" in hell fire. No wonder the world is such a BIG MESS, if this truly is his handiwork!

When Jesus went to the temple to 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 mean-spirited? As an omniscient Saviour, how come he did not know that Judas Iscariot would betray him or that Thomas would turn out to doubt him? 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 God could ordain then the Samuel Arowolajus and Steve Nwabuzors of this world have some explanations to make to the rest of us.

As to what I believe, I must say unequivocally, despite my serious misgivings about religion in general, that I agree with 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 Christianity and its bloodthirsty God. I do not believe in a religion that seeks to deprive me of my identity. I do not believe in a religion that has no regard for my being. I take exceptions to a religion that does not believe in the equality of all races and chose another as a chosen one over and above my Yoruba race. I refuse to accept a religion that continuously assault, insult, denigrate, and ridicule my culture, when it has not even made any attempt to understand it. I refuse to believe in a religion that is incoherent, duplicitous, anti-people, anti-freedom, anti-reason, exploitative, complicit, subjugating, and enslaving to the spirit, the soul and the mind of man.

If the purveyors of Christian faith did not disrupt our natural growth by seeking to derobe us of our essence via the selling of "lies" as religion, it is better imagined where the Yoruba could have been in their evolvement.

It would have helped and be more acceptable if the Christians did not lie and call the Bible "the word of God." It is amazing that anyone could call such a book "word of God" that is so conflicting, contradicting, incoherent, and full of ungodly acts. It would have been enough if they just called it a sort of guideline by the progenitors of the faith who were human and are allowed some imperfection. It would have been easier to understand the philosophical conflicts embedded in it and seek to restructure it as a living document to meet the need of the faithful. It would have been better if their missionaries were not so dismissive of things they were totally ignorant of. It would have been better if they were less greedy and actually were more concerned about "paradise" if they really believed in it.

The major problem of Christianity is its claim as "the only way". If this were true, the whole of humanity would have been completely annihilated by now. With all the so-called hospitals and education they brought to the African continent, what was the intended purpose? They are all instruments of indoctrination and by extension, instruments of economic and political exploitation. I have so many friends who attended these Christian schools only to be converted. The muslims did the same thing on a smaller scale. Some of them were even given conditions that they have to attend church and be converted before they could be admitted. Samuel Arowolaju is trying to convince us that all the "good things" that his faith did were from the heart. But who does not know the following:

"oore ti a ba se fun obo,
Whatever favour you do for a monkey
egbe lo maa je,
is a waste
obo ko ni ogbon, ko ni iye
the monkey has no intelligence or wisdom
yi o fa omo eni l'asoya
it would tear your child's clothe
oore ti a ba se fun akuko,
but whatever you do for a rooster
kii gbe,
could never be wasted
bi ko ye, ti ko pa'mo fun ni,
even if it fails to reproduce and multiply
b'ope titi,
after sometime
omi ata re akan si ni l'enu."
You still have the possibility of cooking it for a meal

The Christians knew exactly what they were doing. Their philosophy is "a fe k'aje ma fe k'ayo," (the principle of giving someone something to eat barely enough to keep him alive but never satisfied or independent) so that Africans could perpetually remain a beggar. This is why the so called education that the Christians brought only focused on training clerks and petty administrators rather than scientists, especially during an era when they were going through industrial revolution in the second half of 18th century

Samuel Arowolaju was only half honest (a common Christian attribute) when he tried to argue that there has been slavery before the Christians invaded Africa. But he failed to tell the world that in Yoruba culture for example, slaves always have the hope of freedom. "Eru" or "Iwofa" as they were known, always get their freedom when they have paid their dues, usually a form of debt, to their masters. Their identities were never changed. For example, Ogedengbe, who later became the military commander of the Ijesha warriors and a leader during the Kiriji Wars was once a slave to Bashorun Ogunmola of Ibadanland. But the Christian enslavers have sinister motive. They not only ensure perpetual serfdom, they also tried to erase the African identity. They know that when your identity is lost, your soul, your being and your essence is lost. In Yoruba culture, " a ti ri eru ti o d'oba, a si ti ri ijoye ti o di iwofa" meaning "we have seen a slave who became king, and we've seen a chief who became a slave too."

Arowolaju tried to suggest that if I had no confidence in Islam or Christianity, how come I worked with Sheu Yar'Adua and Abubakar Atiku? This is nothing but pedantic postulation by Arowolaju. This, in an unwitting way explains the duplicity of a Christian like Arowolaju who chose deliberate ignorance about the fact that in Yoruba culture, political affiliation was never based on whether you worship Oya or Sango or Ifa. It never had anything to do with your faith. Only the Christians and Muslims brought their divisive tendencies by raising issues about someone's religion or the composition of a cabinet based on faiths. Yes, there were always disagreements. It is part of human nature. Even, during the intra-tribal wars in Yorubaland, we all never forgot that we were all members of the same family. Moreso, the Yoruba were honest enough, they were candid enough, they were dignified enough to admit that those wars were economically motivated. This is unlike the Christians who claimed they were "saving souls" when in fact they were saving their individual and government pockets back in Europe.

Arowolaju wanted me to believe that Christians brought democracy to America. I could not disagree more. I would rather posit that the Declaration of American Independence document was put together by "good natured" gentlemen petrified by the tyranny of organized religion, which in this case is Christianity. Professor Allan Dershowitz on page 62 of his latest book "America Declares Independence" wrote inter alia:

(Thomas) Jefferson intended his great document of liberty with its "theology born of 'Nature's God,' " to attack "two claims of absolute authority - that of any government over its subjects and that of any religion over the minds of men." Jefferson "saw the concepts of God and man upheld by orthodox theological circles in the colonies as antithetical to the Declaration's theological and political ideals." His (Jefferson's) own "heterodox theology"
- which rejected organized religion in general and the doctrines of orthodox Christianity in particularly - "is institutionalized in the Declaration as a primary truth and necessary corollary of its political theory." The Declaration reliance on human reason and freedom of thought in place of "monkish ignorance and superstition" was indeed a radical departure from the manner by which European nations had governed, with its divine right of kings and its established hierarchical churches."
(Parenthesis mine)

Not only that, Benjamin Franklin, according to the same book, had described himself as "a thorough deist" who rejected his Christian upbringing. Franklin was also a "Freemason" who subscribed to the notion of God as "the Great Architect." Franklin was a great supporter of Thomas Paine and "never came to accept the Bible as the divine revelation or Jesus as the son of God." There are several other examples of America's founding fathers that one could give in this regard. But we should presently limit them to just the above for now. Arowolaju would need to extricate himself from the chains of blinding fanaticism to be able to objectively analyse issues.

Yeah, the American democracy is without doubt, a testimony to the fertility of the mind of man unbounded by fanaticism of the Christian genre. What the American founding fathers sought to do at the inception of the country in trying to separate Church and State was very commendable but it was not novel. This is a practice that has been part and parcel of the Yoruba culture since Day One. The Yoruba kings were not irreligious. But their religiosity was never a factor in the way and manner they governed their people. Among the "AFOBAJE," the kingmakers, they could have their individual beliefs in either Sango, Oya, Ogun, Ifa among others. It was never about one's faith. Rulership in Yorubaland was purely political, economic and social.

Even, this system was never perfect, but it was good enough to ensure economic, political and social stability for centuries. In the early 17th century when the English monarchy was in turmoil and a king was being beheaded, Ijeshaland for example, was stable enough to allow even a woman to become a king without any brouhaha. There has also been the practice of "Iyalaje" of different Yoruba townships to honour entrepreneurship among women. Not until almost two hundred and fifty years later did a woman has the right to vote in America. Our society was still evolving, but the duplicitous Christians, acting as secret economic and political agents of their home governments came to disrupt everything by exploiting our hospitality and trust. The evidence of this could be seen in the way and manner Ibadanland evolved. The area now so called began to be settled in early 1800 by warriors who wanted to be adventurous and free from the control of Alaafin. It became a stop over for traders to Eko and from hinterland who got security from these warriors in exchange for some dues. When the need for political control arose to ensure stability, they all came up with REPUBLICANISM, which gave every "agbo ile" or "family" the chance to be Olubadan of Ibadan. In fact, what is being practiced in America today is not alien to Ibadan - allowing immigrants to reach the height of their potentials in Ibadanland. But the Ibadan people had what the U.S. does not have - allowing a foreign born that has been accepted into a family or "agbo ile" to assume the rulership. Late Olubadan Ali Iwo is an example of this. This was new then and it worked very well. If the purveyors of Christian faith did not disrupt our natural growth by seeking to derobe us of our essence via the selling of "lies" as religion, it is better imagined where the Yoruba could have been in their evolvement.

Given Samuel Arowolajus and Steve Nwabuzors of this world's deep conviction and faith in Christianity and its promised "heavenly paradise," one is still wondering what they are doing in this world! After all, this is a "world of sin," despicable and undesirable to the Christians. One is at a loss as to why they could not dispatch themselves to the so called "heavenly paradise" and leave the rest of us to take care of this world. What is it that Arowolaju, Nwabuzor and their fellow Christians are waiting for in this world worrying about "irresponsible journalism" when they have been guaranteed a "paradise?" What a dubious lie these Christians are selling to the rest of us? There is no better evidence of their lies than the fact that the Christians themselves do not believe their own lies. The only reason they subscribe to the faith is for social, economic and political reasons. This is the only reason that Peter Tosh sang the tune that "every one 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 haranguing hunger of many, the wobbling want of man, the scandalous squalor in it and the monumental 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 likes of Arowolaju and Nwabuzor 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?