here is no other area in life, where people read a book, ignore the context of the book and then decide that, what was said by and to characters in the book, is literarily said to them, applicable to them and and binding to them, except in religion.
Reading the scripture in this way ensures that it is read to believe and not to understand.
The result is that the believer ends up believing anything he reads in the book as word of God and use his reason for one purpose alone, to convince himself that what he thinks is the word of God because it is in the scripture, is in fact, the word of God.
Once this point is reach, the individual is a true believer, who will alway find reason why anything, no matter how unfair, unreasonable unjust and irrational, is the will of God.
Such an individual will go to any extent to explain why God does nothing in the face of evil and why evil done in the name of God is for good reason. The individual will have good reason why a prophecy, proved to be false , is in fact true. It is this distortion of rationality, truth, sense of justice as fairness, and objectivity of good, which religion as we accept it today, inflict, that I object.
Under the context, the will of God becomes anything that would ensure that the believer continues to accept the scripture as the word of God spoken to him.
The problem with this approach to the scriptures is that It ignores the context in which what one considers acceptable were written.
It does not allow room for critical analysis before any idea or statement is accepted as true and applicable to the believer.
It turn the individual into a believer in the truest meaning of the word. A person who accepts anything said to him in the name of God, without using his God given power of reason.
This is what millions of Christians and Muslims do with the Bible and Quran.
This two Abrahamic religions have cause More wars, killings and suffering because of the above way their adherents read and accept their scriptures. Today, the two religions are being used to exploit millions of people for the benefit of few. I believe this is wrong, and immoral and those who do it are evil men and not men of God.
If people did this in any other area of life, they would be considered either stupid or criminals. In fact, in some societies, they would be suspected to be mentally.
I have seen many Christians and Muslims , who were diagnosed as mentally ill, by psychiatrists, who did not take the irrationality of religious beliefs into consideration because what they said about life are delusional and showed evidence of serious thought disorder.
However, in religion, unthinking acceptance of words written in antiquity, is considered a virtue.
Believing words and ideas, without subjecting them to honest and critical analysis to understand the people the words were spoken to, the context in which they were said, why they were said, the wisdom it was trying to convey at that time in that particular circumstance is seen as wisdom.
Religion venerates those, who give no thought to how the world has changed in relation to what have happened since the scriptures were written before accepting its precepts, as good men. How can wilful ignorance in the name of faith be wisdom?
The irony, is that, What we refused I do with the scripture, is exactly what we have done and continue to do in other areas of life, which has accounted for all the progress we have made in science, medicine, technology, arts and others areas of life, Learning, understanding and it had results in innovations and making Good better and better best.
However, not in religion, where our tradition is to not improve on it. If we did that in medicine, we would not have discover anything and the world still be urging people to believe the ignorance and prejudices of the founding fathers of medicine as truth.
We would go to hospital and read medicine according to Hippocrates, Glen, etc and pray to God to treat our patients the way they did.
We would have limited ourselves to what they knew about diseases and subjected our patients to the same horror and ignorance. Why are we doing this with the knowledge of God? This is what the so called men of God are doing to millions in Nigeria and many developing countries and it breaks my heart.
It is amazing that while in other areas of life, people who find new ways to look at old problems, or, bring new understanding to old concepts, are celebrated.
In religion, they are called heretics persecuted and often killed.
Religion have, without exception, attacked all those, who have tried to inject understanding and knowledge to whatever it accepts as truth.
It has always felt threaten by those who see and understand, its folly, greed, ignorance and delusions.
From before Jesus to the present day, religion has been hostile to change, innovation and advancement of its often ignorant and irrational orthodoxies
At the same time, it has no qualms making use of advancements that has come from those who reject its ways.
The question has been and remains, why?
We now have evidence which suggest that the religious mind processes religious information in exactly the same way people who suffer from schizophrenia process all information.
What many 'religious people', I:e people who engage in Biblical literalism and are happy to be called believers do not understand, is that the time of the Bible and Quran was worse than the world today and that what we read in the Scriptures is attempt by the good and honest people of the era to make sense of it.
They had men who were doing evil and abomination, while claiming they were doing the work of God and men who knew they were charlatans, these were the true prophets.
There were evil kings, who wanted good men to sell their conscience and support them and when they refuse, they often paid with their life.
These facts tell us that believing in God or claiming to believe in God, does not turn all people into Good men and women.
What we know is that when good men accept religion, they become better men and when evil men accept religion, it gives them a cloak to hid their evil and they become even more dangerous as they are more difficult to identify.
I have wondered why the scriptures are read and understood the way it is read and understood and the only reason I have found is to control and exploit.
When Dutoronomy 18:22 'If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed' was written, Israel was full of prophets and men of God just like Nigeria of today and they were deceiving the people like they are doing today in Nigeria, except that it was worse and more sinister.
Good men of reason, who also believed in God, wrote as I am writing today, that some of the prophets are not what they claim to be.
It is often forgotten, that Jesus was killed by believers and pastors, overseers, Reverends, and priests. Men, who felt they knew everything about God by the virtue of their beliefs, personal convictions and over valued ideas about what they think they know.
Such men still exist today and they are amongst the people who own many churches and those who throng to churches and prayer houses looking for miracles, when they should seek knowledge and understanding.
These are men and women who pray, when they should work and believe, when they should understand, hold convictions that they are children of God, while anybody who does not share the same views with them are in the wrong and must be converted.
Their prophets and men of God are the those who predict the result of elections and see the future, but cannot see that houses they build without following government regulations, would collapse and kill hundreds. They are the charlatans of God, who exploit the sheep in the name of God. Indeed, they are the wolves in smart Armani suits and expensive kaftans and agabada.
Of course, the believers cannot see it because they have eyes, but cannot see, brains but cannot suffer themselves to think, and ears, but choose not to listen.
This is the tragedy of God and religion. A tragedy that has seen people give up reason in the name of God and believe they can make sense of the unknown, without engaging their thinking faculty and God given power of reason.
No wonder, a perplexed ancient good man exclaimed, my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
E O Eke is qualified in medicine. At various times he has been a General medical practitioner, Medical missionary, Medical Director and senior medical officer of health in Nigeria. He specializes in child, Adolescent and adult psychiatry and lives in England with his family. His interest is in health, religion philosophy and politics. He cares for body and mind.