Albert Einstein’s eminent successor, Stephen Hawking on May 11 began a journey to
Case 1: In
Case 2: A 24-year-old graduate with second-class upper was diagnosed with breast cancer. She informed her mother who then told her church prophet. Prayers, fasting, vigils, alms giving, holy mount pilgrimages were immediately ordered. Her daughter was never allowed to go back to UCH for chemotherapy that was sufficient since the cancer was still very young. The man of God strongly objected since it meant the mum was doubting the power of the Almighty. It was when the girl’s breasts turned into a rotten pair of plantains that she was returned to hospital and, died. While her body was still warm in the grave, the man of God visited the bereaved family, prayed for them and said the death was God’s will, if not it won’t have happened.’ If I were God, I would spit on that prayer and damn him for murder.
Case 3: Mid-nineties, in
The problem of the expressway churches in every nook and cranny of the country is not essentially in their mushrooming, it is in the way they barge into our minds and corrode the roots of our thinking with what they preach. They start with fear. And fear like HIV is very polite and diplomatic, its effectiveness is in being unassuming, going on easy till it shatters your immune system and leaves you gullible to all sorts of senseless teachings and practices. ‘Come and thank God for your life, many slept yesterday, but couldn’t wake up today, that you woke up is not your doing but… or: ‘ I know one man who did not pay his tithe for only one month his son became ill, he sold land and properties to pay hospital bills, he son still died.’ Or ‘repent now, tomorrow may be too late.’ Without enacting fear and promoting its negativity as a normal state of mind – fear of eternity, of hunger, of curses, of tomorrow, fear of enemies, real or imagined, fear of God – no religion would prosper. Fear is after all, the masterpiece of the evil one.
In the north, a shepherd boy with a small stick (saanda) can order around thousands of cows with big-horns on their heads like PhDs. In the expressway churches, anybody with a pocketsize Gideon bible in the hand can tell tens of thousand of ‘educated’ people that 2+2 = 13 has been revealed as the truth, they will jumped up and scream Ameeen and begin to dance around! Reason and scientific thinking are no longer a matter of fact. Instead of the unrestricted and diligent exercise of the intellect to problems, we are told solution is in praying for divine intervention, we are told we are in end times and so earthquakes, cyclones, AIDS are fated. We can do nothing. Weirdly, Christianity no longer calls itself a religion, it is a way of life. So every time on any day you turn on your TV or radio, in the buses, in the offices, markets, on the Internet, a preacher is there retailing some messages or emails of mental bacteria. Little wonder there is an outbreak of mediocrity all over the country. Whereas in serious countries, they are building heavens and making lives better for their citizens, in Nigeria we are bringing about hell rationalising it as why we have to go to heaven.
Ask kids what they want to be in the future; many are now answering ‘pastors.’ Why? ‘To do miracles and save lives.’ Not the miracle of space technology or medical saving of lives. It is a la the expressway jamborees. One pastor justified September 11 saying the World Trade Centre was like the biblical
Young African minds eager to be the next Einstein or Hawking must start by rejecting their being made sheep that the religions constantly find fulfilment in doing. Sheep is an animal with a challenging intellectual deficit. Have you seen how they cross busy roads? Young minds should aspire to be goats. A goat believes in itself. It is smart. It does not take no for an answer that is why it always seem constantly disobeying. It is never satisfied with the status quo. Through the Enlightenment,
Einstein said of his deep religious childhood: ‘through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression. Mistrust of every kind of authority grew out of that experience…’ What a genuine goat.