“Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for it; die for it; anything but live for it.” – C.C. Colton
“Many have quarrelled about religion that never practised it.” – Benjamin Franklin
Nigerians are a funny lot. We have a natural propensity to trivialise germane issues, while we place premium on issues that don’t count.
I logged in to facebook only to be greeted with a post titled: “SHOCKING!!! EL-RUFAI ACCUSES JESUS OF SLEEPING WITH MARY MAGDALENE”. I was taken aback. Like most Nigerians, I was angry. But unlike most of them, I actually took time to trace the comment back to the source. After reading and re-reading the tweet that had generated so much controversy, I was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the cry of blasphemy that most Nigerians had taken up was greatly exaggerated and a mere show of ignorance and extremist traits. I was also convinced that some platforms, forums and blogs need to be scrapped totally, because in their desperation to gain more followers, likes or visitors, they have done Nigerians a great disservice.
Like I told some people, I don’t like Mallam El-Rufai at all. And my reason is personal and one that I will not want to explain now to avoid over-flogging issues. But I will not because of my dislike for him join people to slander him for what he has not done or take his word out of context to achieve whatever goals.
The kind of dust that was raised as a result of that tweet is one that could only be raised by religion. I saw some people posting and commenting with just two facebook friends and 0 twitter followers that I was convinced they opened accounts with facebook and twitter just so they could participate in the discussion. I read what some people posted and had to ask myself if God had PA. Some even went as far as giving ultimatums for the man to offer apology or he will die. Warriors of God!
I engaged some people in polite discussions on facebook while I replied some people that threw insults in kind. But I have actually had enough time to think about the issue, and I’m convinced more than ever that at the rate we are going, and with the kind of dust we raise religion-wise, we would be the architects of our own destruction. Many people read the title of the misleading post, and immediately started cursing, abusing and throwing insults. They never bothered to even check out the tweet itself, and when they discovered it wasn’t even tweeted by Mallam El-Rufai, they changed their song, and refused to acknowledge that they were wrong.
I also had to wonder if the people who actually read that tweet passed comprehension in secondary school or they were just bent on being mischievous. The comment was tweeted by a writer and popular blogger, Ogunyemi Bukola, Zebbook and retweeted by the Mallam. The tweet read: “If Jesus criticized Jonathan, his aides will claim that he slept with Mary Magdalene”. That is what caused all the brouhaha.
My problem with these people is that unlike the Mallam and Zebbook who had to bow to the conflicting opinions and tender public apology for peace to reign, these people will actually not agree that they are wrong. And the discussion and arguments will continue for long without them realising that their ignorance and extremist views have made them ready and oblivious tools of slinging political mud.
I wonder how many of those people who have taken up battle-cries actually live the life expected of a “child” of Christ or a Christ-like life. I wonder how many of them even attended Church last Sunday. I wonder how many of them even know where Mary Magdalene’s name is in the Bible. And I wonder how many of them will even go if the trumpet sounds. Little wonder, Charles Spurgeon said, “When you see a man with a great deal of religion displayed in his shop window, you may depend upon it, he keeps a very small stock of it within.”
Nigerians must start trivialising minor issues and stop ‘fighting’ on God’s behalf. The man who tried to ‘help’ God in the Bible, Uzzah, God killed him. Let God fight his battles and let us not declare as enemies whom God still views as a friend.
There are far burning issues that should arouse our interest. Issues that have to do with how we are governed. Issues that deal with how they are stealing us blind while we go to war on trivial issues. We must not allow ourselves to be played like pawns on their big board of chess.
Remember the words of Voltaire, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
God bless Nigerians!
Ogunjimi James Taiwo