Thursday, 26 March 2009

The God Business

"Faith is different from proof; the latter is human, the former is a Gift from God."

Blaise Pascal - 17th Century Philosopher, Mathematician and author of Pascal's Wager

As calm descends upon the land following the latest storm brewed and unleashed on Nigerian 'Christendom' following the news of RCCG's purchase of a private jet for its Overseer (see Newsweek profile), one cannot sit aside and not comment on the things we do and say, in the name of the most high.

It has now become apparent that the exponents of religion in all their guises, are increasingly under fire and predictable scrutiny.

The Pope, for his insistence in Angola, that condoms should not be used, even in the face of the ravaging spread of HIV-Aids in the African continent, coupled with his somewhat lame reaction to the paedophilia rampant amongst certain Catholic dioceses.

The Ayatollahs in far flung places, who some see as complicit in the current instability around the world and the current school of Pentecostal pastors, who seem to live in a different world from the millions of their followers.

I believe it is prudent though, to begin by stating I have no stake in either side of the argument and unlike some, I do not have the time or inclination to get all worked up about issues surrounding the choices that a religious body, polity or entity make. Do not misunderstand me, I have my ideas on the morality or lack of, on those choices, but I refuse to increase my heart rate, because, to paraphrase Fela: 'you will die for nothing.'

Some things I believe are self-evident, irrespective of the religion one follows. The central theme at least 99% of the time, is the existence of a Supreme Being and basically, that Being has passed down 'a way of life,' for the benefit of mankind.

Also, at it turns out, that Supreme Being also sends us a prophet to educate us on that way of life. The Muslims have Muhammad, the Christians have Christ and the Buddhists have Buddha, just to name a few.

Now, although I am not the most religious person in the world, I prefer to believe that the Supreme Being(s) in all the different ways of life listed above, want(s) man to live in harmony and move closer to him (or her....for there are those who believe that God is not male).

Bottom line, for man to prosper, he has to adhere to the tenets of his Supreme Being. These facts of mine, I believe to be indubitable and I hold steadfastly to them under the protection of creative license.

But getting back to the issue at hand, how is it that something so pure and so devoid of hate, handed down to us by a force most believe to be all-knowing and all-encompassing, has now been pummeled beyond recognition after a few centuries in the hands of Man?

Some enraged observers even ask how it is acceptable for certain individuals who purport to be men of God, to openly live above reproach and appear to gloat shamelessly in the process. Of course, those who make the mistake of putting that poser to a room full of Pentecostals, will most definitely feel the full force of 1 Chronicles 16:22 and trust me, it is a force frequently deployed and effectively too!

Some Muslims for their part, are prepared to be friendly towards an 'unbeliever', but if you dare to cross the line when it comes to the issue of God and begin to paint a picture he or she doesn't recognise, his comeback is firm and uncompromising; "La ilaha ill Allah".....end of story.

All we seem to do now is argue back and forth as to whose religion is superior and how our beliefs are the only ones guaranteed to get people to that cosy place in heaven. Jews, Muslims and Christians  all engaged in a constant bickering as to the concept of God, with each side resolute in their version of the 'truth'. It is a complete mess!

My overwhelming hope is that one day, we all begin to realise that God gave us a way to live our lives, but just like our foremost ancestor (depending on what you believe), we have managed to move away from that message and just like he acted in that 'beautiful garden', we have chosen to embrace reckless emotion.

We have taken his wish for us and turned it into all these religions. We produce emotional outbursts when anyone disagrees with us, vitriolic missiles are fired, sometimes fatally, in the direction of those who refuse to accept our way of life.

But this is my modest take on the issue.

God is Love and no matter how you spin it, he wants his people to live pious, clean and the type of lifestyle that will flatter and compliment him. That Man has decided to create the cesspit we currently find ourselves, is down to the fact that we have forgotten the role of faith and the critical issue of that individual relationship with the Almighty.

Religion is a private thing and if you do believe in God, I would like to wager that he will judge you on your  deeds and no extra brownie points will be given for bashing the other man's religion or lifestyle.

 If the Muslim decides to cover her body from head to toe and spend all of her (or his) money on pursuing the upliftment of Islam, as long as no resident rules are broken, it is not for anyone else to judge. Likewise, if the Christian decides to buy a satellite in the sky to ensure he can spread his message universally and whilst at it, decides to purchase a G5 or space shuttle to extend the spread of that message, so be it!

They are working to their belief.....It's their faith and it is between them and their God!


  1. You are too brillant!!
    If the church is buying a jet in the name of God, then am sure God will be the judge of WHY when he is in the sky flying high..

  2. Rightfully said.

  3. I happened to read Bob D's stance on this issue and am shocked at his reproach.