I’m Nigerian. Like many Nigerians, I grew up in a very religious background. As others (who have lived in Nigeria) will confirm, it’s a very religiously diverse nation. We’re very intense in our beliefs. We pray to our deity, and continuously hope to be kept safe. Most times, we have what I call “drive through” order for those in which we believe. We rely on them to protect us, protect our families, grant us our daily bread…in fact to make us overnight trillionaires and those we consider our “enemies”, poor.
However, many of us have not studied the origins of these religions. We follow what sounds convenient, we don’t question our spiritual leaders, we actually treat them like demi-gods. Curiosity and search for actual truth is sometimes met with retribution. Those who find a “contradiction” somewhere, are considered as evil. Those who have attended college and taken classes such as philosophy, geography and so on, which challenge our beliefs system, did almost everything in our power to avoid such classes. It made us cringe. Too scared to awaken our curiosity. Doubt is answered with fear. Logic is discouraged.
Okay! I’m just really curious here.
Look, if you aren’t following (whole heartedly) what your religion teaches, why start? Why pretend? Why waste precious time and countless lives? Yes, countless lives. Are people not being killed today in Nigeria because of these religious disagreements? Scratch your head with me for a second. I want to understand your thought process. If your deity can allow you to pretend to follow, what does that say? If it looks bad, why do you pretend? Do you really believe, or are you just following a habit that has been instilled in you because of fear? Will you hate me for asking these questions?
The Christian man believes he knows the only way. The Jewish man believes he is one of the chosen ones. The Muslim man believes everyone else (who’s not Muslim) is an infidel. Orisha worshipers believe in their deity (until someone else comes from another continent with their own decorated story). The Buddhist believes he’s found the light. All these various religions and it’s followers will provide you with “substantial evidence” that their faith has changed their lives in extraordinary ways. What makes yours special? Have you died, seen, and come back (with evidence) to show us what really is true? These are thoughts that have secretly run through your head too. Be honest.
Where am I going with this? I have studied, very intensely, the religion I was brought up in. It’s origin, the surrounding religions of it’s time, and the similarities between religions of those ages. I’ve watched it destroy people’s psyche, and I’ve watched it build others’ up. The deeper I delved, the more similarities I found. The story of how, China’s greatest teacher, Confucius’ father was concieved, has a very similar tone to what one very well known religion tells us of how it’s deity was also conceived (although the Confucius story is around 500 B.C.). The story of the poems written by Pharaoh Akhenaten (husband of queen Nefertiti) to his sun god, sounds very similar to “songs” written in a very well known text. And Akhenaten’s poemms were written many many years before these “songs” were written. Many of these religions stem from the same golden age stories; many of them want one thing. To make the world a better place. Not much difference at all. With texts written with human hands, we justify killing our neighbours. Heck, we torture ourselves and endure suffering. Pause for one second…if you really have respect for your deity, you owe it to them to be honest with yourself.
Learn to accept people for what they believe in and who they actually are. Follow, if you may, but follow with your eyes open. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Just know that anything that sounds forced and fearful may have a red flag. Why are we threatened with suffering if we choose otherwise? With how religious Nigeria is, where’s the change? Humans will always be humans. Religion or not. But please stop, stop, stop judging others. Let people follow what they have chosen. And you, allow what you have chosen change you for the better.
Make up your own conclusion…