By George Ugwumba

There seems to be a boundary to what one should know and what one should not know. This unseen boundary confines one to believing, rather than questioning. Isn’t it odd that in all forms of religion KNOWLEDGE is actually the original sin instead of IGNORANCE?

Somewhere in Nigeria, sleep paralysis is termed a “Spiritual Attack”. This thinking is aided by the Christian belief in exorcism… hence the solution would be fasting and prayer, which in most cases the individuals ‘attacked” contracts out the prayer by paying a good amount of money to their Pastors/Prophets. In this 2020, a grown man still believes that his misfortunes in life is orchestrated by a certain kinsman who conjures evil spirit to his detriment.

Imperatively, I do not have problems with ignorance, as no man can make claims of knowing it all. However, I have a problem with the religious version of ignorance, which utterly shows the unwillingness to learn, the conscious effort to ridicule question and the constant inability to sustain the ethos of reasoning. Little wonder why Prof. Onyemaechi argued that “the untrained mind lacks the patience to analyse anything. Whenever such minds are afraid or excited, they embrace simplest explanation that does not allow them to think, so to escape that and still pretend to reality, they embrace rumours and unexamined positions”

Issues concerning religion leaves me wondering how reason-resistant Nigerians can be.They hold tenaciously to the teachings of these religions in such a way that it stirs dissatisfaction in their minds when you raise questions or interrogate their beliefs. How else can you tell Nigerians that these “Men of God” are benefactors of their ignorance? How can sleep paralysis be peddled as a spiritual attack for more than SIXTY decades now and nothing has been done to disprove it? It has been recycled in such a way that it is now accepted and embraced as norm… such ignorance is the new excellence our society upholds.

Why are we pretty much satisfied with the simplest of explanations concerning our very existence in life, especially when it has a religious prelude? That a full fledged man swallowed hook line and sinker that the reason behind his set back financially was that he didn’t do church wedding. He went on to correlate his children’s examination failure to the said wedding, and this message was accepted because it came from a man of God. A man who perhaps sent his own children to one of the best schools in his state.

Ask critical questions about tithe and watch them declare you an Anti-christ, expose them to books that will most likely enlighten their minds… they will vehemently refuse it. Question the actions of their men of God… they will remind you of “touch not my anointed”. Logically make argument with them… they will tell you “do not add or subtract” from the bible. How else can one engage these fellows? Yet, these fellows are so willfully ignorant that most of them do not know that the Bible they read isn’t complete, the original version have been altered and edited to fit in to their narratives.

The effortless proliferation of religion has continually created an illusory mindset of “Thy kingdom come”, which has ultimately left a blank space on the mental map of an average Nigerian. Successfully, they have recreated and perfected their fraudulent peddling of thy kingdom come that it can not be hoarded again, like wildfire it spreads, our institutions are caught up in it, in such a way that these institutions are now anti intellectualism, accepting ignorance as the new excellence.

A certain Governor at a time efforts are made to flatten the curve on Coronavirus pandemic, pledged his allegiance to the Bible, that his state (Abia) won’t be hit with the virus because it is the only state mentioned in the Bible… the rest is humour. How about the repulsive doctrine of not taking drugs and total refusal of blood transfusion? These are few among the list of questionable religious doctrines.

How can Nigerians hate questioning so much that it affects our national life? A lot of things need to be unlearned, questioned and answered. firstly, one must emancipate himself from mental slavery and perpetual fear instilled by these men of God… fear is the greatest weapon in religion’s arsenal and it uses it to it’s fullest. We are like a caged bird trapped for far too long, our minds conformed to mediocrity and yet we know we can get lost to the beauty of the unknown.

My people, break out of your comfort zone! Life caters only for the rebellious soul and you can only rebel by questioning.

 

(c)  George Ugwumba 2020