By OLATUNDE OLAYINKA AYINDE

The love of god is a concept Christian evangelists sell very poorly in Nigeria.

From time to time, I get accosted by part time preachers and evangelists who want to sell me the love of Jesus. Sometimes when I’m not busy and the preacher looks like he/she has the cognitive resources to undertake a meaningful discourse, I engage.

The opening moves are often the same. I have been a door to door preacher myself. So I know all the moves and steps and the supporting verses.

So I systematically remove the legs on which the arguments stand one by one with basic logic and humour, pointing out inconsistencies and absurdities and introducing scriptures they are usually coming across for the first time. Trust me, it can be frustrating when you’re holding a bible and someone holding just a smart phone is showing you weaknesses in your pitch.

Then comes the interesting part. When everything else fails, the threats then begin. The Jesus that loved you unconditionally a few minutes ago would burn you in everlasting fire and mete out every imaginable punishment on you, not because you’re a thief or a liar or a murderer. But because “you have not accepted him as your lord and saviour.” And it is the same guy who sold you the love of Jesus a few minutes ago who is selling the threats and wrath.

This is where it stops adding up. Unconditional love. If you don’t love me in return, you burn in everlasting fire. I point this out and almost always, I get more threats. Then I know we’re done. I wonder how they manage to remain human. Because someone doesn’t buy your own version of religious virus, you begin to wish him all the calamities in the world. But since we know it’s all kindergarten threats. We just smile and find something more useful to do.

The next time I meet another one, I’ll let him know that the fear marketing strategy doesn’t work for everyone. If we argue sensibly over beer and isi ewu for a year, you have a better chance of convincing me. Of course, you’re paying. Shebi it’s you that believes I need the love of Jesus? Ehen, put your money where your mouth is na.