RELIGION: A BLESSING OR CURSE

What if you were born an ATHEIST, or a THEIST? would you still profess your RELIGION? What if you believed because you were first told? “nothing is bad, nothing is good; we only perceive them that way”. All call God, all are replied; who knows God? ~ WOLE PROSPERO

That above, is a paragraph from a poet; but it embodies my whole idea on religion. It encapsulates my whole view on religion. I once asked a man who’s a Christian. “What if your parents were Muslims, would you be a Christian today?”….. his reply, is one I won’t be sharing. But this conversation with this man burgeoned.

He is Nigerian man from the Igbo tribe, who did have gods that they served traditionally. So, I went further to ask him; “what do you prefer? Christianity or the African (Igbo) traditional religion?”. He tried to tell me that all are the same. I don’t know if some part of me believed him. But I told him, in African traditional religion, forgiveness isn’t much of a virtue. You might die if you covet another man’s wife or property. The Igbo gods were quite strict and disciplined, if you may add. They did operate on fear, the citizens feared them greatly. But the Christians do believe their God is a merciful one, that will forgive all your sins once you give your life to Christ.

In my conversation with this man, (a native of the Igbo tribe, Nigeria) he said that the Christian religion to some extent contradicted the Igbo tradition. He also said that the gods of the Igbo tradition helped maintain law and order as compared to the current situation we have now. He cited an instance of when traders left their wares at the market and left for their farms; and persons who came to buy, will pick the items they came for, drop their money and leave. He said, these were because they believed if you stole and someone cried to the gods, you would be severely punished. He further stressed that the Igbo tradition believed in the elements of the universe, which is Light, Air, Water, and Earth (this takes you back to Avatar, if you’re a fan of animation). Saying that the four days in Igbo viz: Eke, Nkwo, Orie, Afor; represented the elements of the universe and had different purposes.

I listened with all attention, as I travelled through time……through the tales of this man. He said, now cases are being judged in favour of the wealthy. He said even the judiciary is now flawed, as the last hope for the common man has now become the last hope for the wealthy man. He said, before Christianity; if someone was being judged; he would take off his shoes, making sure his feet is touching the earth raise his hand to the sky and then face the sun and swear. And the effect is seen occurring rapidly.

After the conversation, I wondered if civilization had brought more harm than good. I know I enjoy the mobile phones, computer games, ease of transport; but then gimme the ol’ time.