I recently heard a story about a family in my church. Apparently, the wife had failed to pass her SSCE exams in previous attempts. She decided to register for the exams but got somebody to “help” (A euphemism for impersonation) her write her exams. As “God” will have it, she passed her SSCE exams with flying colours. Filled with joy at this wonderful thing “God” had done for her, she came before God’s people to testify about the goodness of the lord. This is the kind of insidious story telling that threatens the very fabric of Christian morality and sadly, it permeates various levels of the society. Such “testimonies” lead me to ask the question, is the Nigerian god different from the God that superintends other parts of the universe?
It was very interesting to hear the minister of aviation, Ms Stella Oduah refer to the recent plane crash as an “Act of God” only for the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) to reveal that pilot error was responsible for the crash. Clearly we have confused self-inflicted ineptitude and gross incompetence with divine intervention. The things that the Nigerian god does are truly jaw dropping and beyond human comprehension. The Nigerian god miraculously protects reckless drivers. A flood caused by blocked drainage and houses built on canals is attributed to God. Who are we fooling?
During the build up to the 2003 presidential elections, Nigerians were greeted with posters from various politicians. Some of those contesting claimed to have received a “revelation” from the Most High and yet failed woefully at the polls. The Nigerian god certainly isn’t a god of his word. The same Nigerian god grants treasury-looting politicians success in their endeavours. The Nigerian god is also responsible for negotiating a disagreement between a seemingly clueless government and the self-serving Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). How can a nation built on such shallow interpretations of faith and falsehood succeed?
Common sense and reason has become an anathema to many people; often relegated to the background while a cocktail laced with religious bigotry, tribalism and other assorted debaucheries is served up for the populace to ignorantly consume. We have now relapsed into a state of intellectual limpness, the kind that ultimately leads to mortality. Hard work no longer begets success. Instead, all you need to do is to go for a crusade, shout “Amen!” to whatever words of “blessings” proceed from the man of God, and most importantly, sow a “seed of faith”. The pervasive influence of mediocrity contaminating the very foundations of faith.
In the words of the late Pope John Paul II, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves”. For us to make any meaningful progress as a people, we need not delude ourselves into thinking that we can manipulate faith to suit our person circumstances and achieve any kind of progress. Embracing faith even when it is most inconvenient gives us a stronger resolve to face the various challenges of life and takes us closer to understanding the mystery of God. We need to work very hard to forge ahead as a people. Without truth and reason, we run through the maze of life blindfolded and before we realize it, fall off a precipice.
Twitter handle: @corneliustama
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