FEATURE ARTICLE

Wednesday, October 31, 2018
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THE FLYING ATHEIST

y chance I came in contact with a young man popularly known as 'There-is-no-God.' He is a teacher by profession. By religion he is an atheist. An atheist is one who denies the existence of God. I want someone to tell me what this atheist young teacher imparts on his students. Of course the students will graduate into ardent atheists. What service will those graduates in Atheism render to the country during their National Youth Service Corp? If I were the NYSC Director, I would post them to serve at Sambisa forest in Borno State. My humble advice to the teacher atheist is that he should quit from teaching with immediate effect before the hammer of God strikes him.

Once upon a time, an atheist boarded a flight from Scotland to Switzerland. While on the air, the atheist was preaching and convincing the passengers around his seat that there is no God. God being everywhere heard what he said. After an hour in the air, there was an acute turbulence against the plane. The pilot alerted the passengers about the impending danger. He advised them to tighten their belts, say their last prayers and get ready for any eventuality. If you were among the passengers, what will you do? Some of the passengers started crying. Some were praying charismatically. A few urinated in their clothes. A number of them lost consciousness immediately and were about to enter into coma.

Surprisingly, the atheist screamed. He knelt down before his seat and shouted, "Oh God, save me!" A voice came down from above saying, "Do you now believe that God exists?" The frightened atheist replied, "Yes Sir God, I believe. Please forgive my stupidity and have mercy on me and the occupants of this flight!" He began to weep profusely. He was shouting, "Had I known! Had I known! I am finished!" The merciful God looked down from heaven and shook his head pitifully.

After some minutes, there was calm inside and outside the plane. It began to fly normally. The pilot advised the passengers to remain calm and enjoy the flight because normalcy has returned. However, he instructed the crew members to search out the Jonah in the plane. To avoid embarrassment, the atheist surrendered himself. He pleaded guilty for the unfortunate incidence. Luckily, there was a priest of God in the flight. He prayed over the atheist. After denouncing Atheism and confessing his belief in God, the priest baptized him in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Instantly he metamorphosed into a Christian; from Atheism to Christianity. To God be the glory! The converted atheist, like Saul after his conversion, started preaching to the passengers that there is God. The Holy Writ says, "The fool says in his heart 'There is no God'" (Psalm 14:1). He apologized for his previous heretic preaching.

When the plane landed at Switzerland, the converted atheist approached the priest who baptized him on air and asked him what he would do to become a priest. The priest directed him to meet the Bishop of his domicile in Switzerland. He did so. He underwent one year probation and was successful. The bishop sent him to the senior seminary to study philosophy and Theology. Today the converted atheist is an active priest in the Lord's vineyard. He devotes his ministry to the conversion of all atheists.

In this present time, many people all over the world live as if there is no God. Some baptized Christians no longer go to church. Even some who attend church on irregular basis are faithless. When I was studying in Germany I noticed an empty church. During one of my homilies there I made this remark before the German handful congregation: "Viele Menschen in Deutschland fragen, 'Warum gehen wir wieder in die Kirche, wenn alles zu Hause ist'?" The translation is: "Many people in Germany ask, 'Why do we go to church again, when everything is available at home'?" Yes, they have steady power supply, nourishing food and drinks, good transportation system, good medicament, good roads, lucrative jobs, pleasurable houses, sound security system, lovely dogs, little worries, etc. In Nigeria the contrary is the case. The church in our country is still full, but how many of the congregants are true believers in God? Some attend church only to fulfill all righteousness. Some go there only to seek for miracles. By so doing, they switch from one denomination to the other from time to time.

Just last week I overheard someone over the radio saying, "I no longer believe in God. Rather, I now believe in Computer, the maker of all things, possible and impossible." To avoid bombarding my ears with heresy, I switched off the radio. In fact, I wanted to throw the radio into the fire to burn both the speaker and his teaching. However, I spared the radio-set when I remembered that the speaker was somewhere else broadcasting while the innocent radio was only transmitting his heretic message. If someone who does not believe in God is known as atheist, what can we call someone who believes in computer? Is he a computerist? The computer is man-made. It is God who made man. God has neither beginning nor an end. He is omnipotent and omnipresent. He is the Alpha and the Omega. How can one abandon the Creator to believe in the creature?

Worse still, Satanism is on the increase these days. It is the worship of Satan, the commander-in-chief of evils. Indeed evil is trying to overcome the good nowadays. A certain poor Christian was very pious. For many years, he sought to become rich by praying ardently to God for a long time. When his prayer was not answered by God as he expected, he abandoned God and Christianity and turned to Satanism. Within a short time, he became superfluously rich. From then he asserted that no one should dare mention God to his hearing again. Satan became his master. Bet me, one day he will regret his outburst. Remember what happened to the biblical rich fool who was boosting of his wealth. Instantly God rebuked him saying, "You fool! This very night your life will be taken from you: tell me who shall get all you have put aside?"(Luke12:20). Hence Qoheleth remarks, "All is vanity! What can one show for all his toils, toiling under the sun? A generation goes, a generation comes, yet the earth stands firm forever" (Ecclesiastes 1:2 - 4). We brought nothing into this world and we shall leave it empty handed. Therefore we must live with care. An Igbo proverb says, "Okuko si umu ya, unu na-akpa nri anya ufie akokwala unu." That means it pays to be vigilant and prayerful always.

Cultism is an offshoot of Satanism. Many cult groups are springing up here and there. Often the cultist groups fight against themselves to show superiority. Some students in the higher institutions of learning abandon their studies and get themselves initiated into cultism. Some lecturers themselves are equally members. Some politicians also belong to different cult groups in order to acquire power by all means. Recently cultists allegedly killed a final year medical student and nine others at Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma in Edo state. Similarly, a popular lawmaker was caught in a nude condition in Osun state in a forest in the middle of the night bathing with human blood in order to win the forthcoming 2019 election. For some, if not most politicians, the end justifies the means. Therefore they are ready to sacrifice human beings in order to secure political offices. No wonder many persons are missing these days. Let us beware of where we go and with whom we go. Our society is getting worse every day. Thus, St Paul admonishes us: "Be calm but be vigilant because your enemy the devil is prowling round like roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Stand up to him in faith and prayer" (1 Peter 5:8 - 9). Some persons in our society today are devils incarnate. It is not written on the face.

Initially, Christianity fought against paganism and won converts. Today the war is not with paganism but with neo-paganism. Many Christians have revived the worship of abandoned idols in various towns. The youths are mostly culpable. Nonetheless, they are not alone. Some influential and wealthy men sponsor those jobless youths into neo-paganism. Probably those well-to-do men entice the youths with money, food and drinks to revive the idols. By so doing, they renew the demonic source of their wealth. In the Capital Territory of Anambra State, a certain Police Officer of high rank sponsors the youths in his town into idol worship by providing them with assorted drinks and food. He bought masquerades, knives and an open bus for them to carry out their nefarious activities in the town, which include fighting against the Church. Regrettably, he recruited none of them into the Police Force. None did he sponsor in the University. Could you believe that his children are all schooling overseas? What a deception! Idle youths, are you blind? Idol worship is not an employment. Masquerading is not a job. Shine your eyes! Do not be deceived by the opulent elements in our society whose interest is in ruining your personality and your future. Where are their children?

The truth must be told. God exists whether you believe or not. He is the maker of heaven and earth. The great Philosopher Aristotle calls Him 'the unmoved Mover.' The Igbos call him Chiukwu (the 'i' is silent). The Hausas call Him Ubangiji Allah. The Yorubas call Him Olodumare. The Germans call Him Allmaechtiger Gott. The English people call Him Almighty God. In short, there is God. The Simple Catechism of the Christian doctrine asks: Who made you? The answer is: God made me. Second, why did God make you? Answer: God made me to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him here on earth and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. No more, no less. A popular musician many years ago sang: "I want to know: Who made the earth? Who made the sun? Who made the moon?" The Psalmist says it all: "When I observe the heavens, the work of your hands, the moon and the stars you arranged, what is man that you are mindful of him, mortal man that you should care for himů. O Lord, our God, how great is your name over all the earth!" (Psalm 8:4 - 10). My dear God, I have defended You enough. Therefore, remember me in your Kingdom!


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