After several prodding from friends and acquaintances, I finally agreed to have my own Facebook page. As with other social networking sites, Facebook has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, you could reestablish contact with long-lost friends or make friends with new faces or befriend their friends. And then there are the nutty and naughty enclaves that are nestled within the network.
On any given day, I am invited to join any of the groups that populate the site. At other times, I am invited to be a fan of a known, unknown and or a shady celebrity or politician. It has been more than four months since I first came onboard, still, I can barely find my way around the site. With a million-and-one function, I am barely familiar with six.
Taken as a whole, Facebook is a good place to be: a good place to hang out if you have the time and the disposition for non-physical interaction. Recently, something caught my attention. Amongst my African friends – especially those based in the continent – Facebook is fast becoming a medium for self-promotion, for grandiose statements, for keeping and for settling scores, for venting their frustrations, and for shamelessly espousing their religiosity.
There are those who want you to know they consort with the rich and famous. Or that they themselves are indeed rich and famous. And even though most of the pictures are ordinary, artistic and envelope-pushing, others bother on pornography. (I am not against adult pornography.) Also, some people are so brave they announce their sexual-scores, make it public if and when they divorce, get dumped or dump their lovers.
Some members reveal matters that should otherwise be off the public space. I am not against such revelations, though. I too have an Amebo and voyeuristic tendency. In fact, Facebook has allowed and is continually allowing people to shed their shy and bashful skins and personalities.
Of those who make their intimate matters public, the religious zealots and the religious perverts are the ones getting on my nerve. There are those who want you to know they live next to God, have the key to God’s living room or that they’ve just had dinner with God. These are people who act and speak as though they have God’s direct phone line; they act as if they are destined for heaven, while the rest of us are destined for hell.
If God exist, he must be a frustrated fellow. At the very least, he must be truly frustrated with Nigerians. If he exists, he must be thinking “none of these thieves, liars, rapists, politicians, and Muslim and Christian leaders will make it into my kingdom.” That’s more than 10 percent of Nigerians over the age of 35. Personally, I cannot imagine any Nigerian politician or religious leaders making it to the kingdom of God if one exists. Even so, something tells me Nigerians will find ways to con God.
Look, if you ever find a group of people who are smarter than Africans, especially the Nigerians, please let me know. Consider their relationship with gods and the supposedly bigger god. The almighty God! How many Nigerian Muslin or Christian do you know that does not combine the Traditional African Religious belief with the White or Brown man’s religious doctrine? Simply put: they hedge their religious bet.
On and off Facebook, I know people — people whose sentences are couched in religious terms even as they commit some of the most atrocious infractions. The most brazen are the so-called born-again. And then there are the indolent who think God will come to their aid. They won’t struggle and do the things necessary to succeed, yet, believe that God will make all things possible. They think that by shouting the name of God a million times, attending Church services and by going to choir practice or Bible study, that God will favor them.
Recently, when the Nigerian government – by way of the JTF – was bombing, killing and maiming their own people, some Nigerians were praying to God to intercede in the crisis. How foolish can that be? Yar’Adua prayed before sending soldiers to kill mothers and children in Ijaw villages. The JTF members themselves prayed before violating the Niger Delta territory. And in fact, those with economic interests in the region were praying to God for the government to succeed in wiping out fellow Nigerians.
MEND – Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta — and their partners should have abridged the security and the convenience of the presidency and some vital buildings in Abuja. If this had been done, we would have known if God listen to anybody. You see, people in power suspect there may not be a God and so they kills and maim and destroy and still go to bed feeling peaceful.
It is difficult to persuade religious nuts that nothing will come to pass if they don’t do the basic things necessary to be successful at school, work, and home and in their personal relationship with their friends, family and loved ones.
We see people yakking and yakking and yakking about God and about Jesus. How hilarious! Life is simple and straightforward as illustrated by the words of my SeneGambian friends: “You may pray for rain and for good harvest, in the end you must still intelligently cultivate and farm the land.” Sadly, as the level of poverty has risen in Nigeria, so has the level of religious zealotry, inanity, and gullibility.
As an atheist, I don’t particularly care for deities for religion or for spirituality. It is possible there is God; just as it is possible there is no God. We simply don’t know. There are no concrete proofs for the existence of God. There is nothing wrong in believing there is a God, just as there is nothing wrong in believing there is no God. All we can do — the best we can do — is to assume and believe there is a God. It is a matter of faith. And not everyone wants to dabble into matters relating to non-provable convictions.
Who am I to say there is no God; and who the heck are you to tell me there is a God. Quote the Bible and the Koran as much as you want; pour as many personal testimonies as you want; and point to the heavens as much as you want. You still do not have concrete evidence as to the existence of God. And I too do not have infallible reasons to offer to counter your system of belief and creeds.
Rabbi Menachem Mendel once said that “For the believer there are no questions; for the nonbeliever there are no answers.” And really, that is good enough for me, and should have been good enough for many others. But no; religious nuts are bent on shoving their creeds south of my perineum. They suffer from religious grandiosity.
Religious grandiosity, as James Hicks, in 50 Signs of Mental Illnesses puts it, “You may become preoccupied with religious salvation. You may feel as if you are in a state of glory and enlightenment. The words of religious books seem to speak clearly and directly to you. You may feel compelled to spread the message of God. You may begin to prophesy.”