In Times Like This – An Open Letter to The Religious Leaders of Nigeria/Africa

Dear Religious Leader

This letter is written with all sense of seriousness after a careful consideration of the implications and the probable aftermath that it might likely draw out vigorous challenges from those that will feel terribly disturbed about the contents.

This letter is not written lightly but with due reverence to and an in-depth understanding of the issues at stake. The premise under which this letter is being written is founded on the general woeful state of the human affairs in Nigeria, Africa and the world.

The question that kick-started the idea of the letter was, in times like this what should the ladies and gentlemen of religious persuasion be doing?

This question arose because this writer is aware that the professionals in the religious institutions have or claim to have special concern for the social and psychological or spiritual state of their members.

Hence, with the social and spiritual state of Nigeria at its lowest ebb, what should be the attitudes and actions of the religious leaders to the problems?

Would it be to encourage and to call for more fasting and prayer?

Would it be asking the faithful to contribute more offerings, tithes and zakats?

Would it be to persuade members to attend more daily, weekly and monthly assemblies in order to hear more of the old stories over and over again?

And tugging at my heart was the question, how would this writer handle the spiritual state of Nigeria if he was a religious leader – a Priest, Bishop, Archbishop, Deacon, General Overseer, Pastor/Founder of a religious body, Imam, Ulema, Mallam, Dibia, Babalawo, Marabout, Marxist, etc.?

A Friend In Need  

This writer will like to be seen as a friend of the religious leaders and the intention of this letter is not to ridicule the efforts and careers of those engaged in religious activities. His desire is to see the members of these groups doing well in their chosen careers of leading people into a righteous or better state of living.

However, this writer is aware that even though some of you are sincere in your callings into this noble profession, there is that small possibility that you may be sincerely wrong in your conceptual framework and strategic approaches to organisation and delivery.

This writer is keen to find out the probable reasons why your impact on the people or on the believers is superficial and has not been capable of delivering the true rebirth of the souls of the dying or dead Nigerians back to life.

This writer is worried that maybe the foundation on which the religious bodies in Nigeria built their conception of God might be more illusory than real.

Could it be that the concept of God and the meanings ascribed to the manifestation of God’s power have been derived from myth, fantasy, legends or fables and not from observable or experiential realities of humankind?

Could the kinds of faith in God you championed and canvassed to the followers be counterproductive to logic and commonsense to the point where it enslaved the mind rather than set the soul free?

Could the strategy you designed for the proselytising of your faith and beliefs be enslaving the minds of the people rather than liberating them into the divine state of true freedom?

Could the hierarchical arrangement of your organisation be contradictory to the spirit of equality of mankind as revealed and taught by the ancient prophets and teachers?

And could the hidden motives for choosing this noble career be actually to serve Mammon, even though you use the name of The Creator of heaven and earth as a cover to deceive the innocents and the gullible?

This writer intends to draw your attention to the observable short fall between the claims of born again by the Christians or of the claim of a true Muslims by the followers of Prophet Mohammed or similar claims from other religious bodies and the high rate of unprecedented spiritual decadence in the societies.

He also wishes to draw your attention to the lack of linkage between these holier-than-though claims of the believers and the expected socioeconomic development and political harmony that should normally result in a country with such loud claims on religion as Nigeria.

In this letter we do not plan to discuss the philosophy of religion but to advise on how religious institutions can be used to contribute to the spiritual awakening of Nigerians and to promote the socioeconomic and political emancipation of Nigerian societies and communities.

For good or bad measures, religion and religious institutions are facts of life. We have all grown up to seeing them around for so long to the point that some of us have actually taken them for granted as a natural phenomenon or simply an ‘Act of God’ and no longer as the creation of the minds and hands of men.

This letter does not intend to go into the history of their formation but will mainly focus on the reality of their existence here and now and on how we can make use of them as instruments to change our people and our societies for good.

We are aware that the issues that pertain to faith and beliefs are too complex for laymen to unravel. They hover around psychology and the debate is still going on to ascertain whether psychology is an exact science or not. Notwithstanding the grey areas of the issue of religion, this writer, a strong believer in the infallibility of common sense, will not cease to encourage others to put into use the natural senses that nature bestowed on us. For he believes, it is only when the sense organs have been cultivated through proper usage that it can become alert to the environmental stimuli.

A well-primed sense organ is like a camera or microphone that can readily pick up stimuli of sight or sound respectively without any extra effort. The frequency of use of the senses aids the depth and dimension of its efficiency.

The central coordinating centre of the sense organs does not need any help from mankind to perform its jobs. Just as the stomach does not need any extra assistance to perform the digestive function of reducing solid food intakes into liquefied forms. The brain was designed to combine and to manipulate different stimuli as it manufactures the thought processes.

Thinking comes naturally as long as the senses are allowed to do their job of seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting. All that the brain requires is to allow the instinctive sense of curiosity to prevail and the natural desire to know to be dominant.

Unfortunately, this natural phenomenon of the senses is not seen as very necessary in the matter of belief and faith. When the senses are used at all, they are narrowly focused on the selected history and popular myth and legends of faith. Other historical materials are not permitted to interfere with the clerical accepted versions of the recorded religious knowledge.

It is this overbearing protection of the faithful from perceiving other sensory stimuli that breeds intolerance and bigotry in some religious organisations. The covert denial of freedom to practitioners of religion that cleverly disallows their senses to taste freely other foods of faith; to smell freely other religious perfumes; to hear freely other religious thoughts; to feel freely other bodies of truth; and to see freely other religious practices are the roots from which hate, bigotry, intolerance and prejudice are bred.

It is not our intention to prove whether one religion is true or false. As far as we are concerned, we know that every religion either indigenous or foreign tries to address the following questions of life:

  • When and how did life begin?
  • Who or what is the author of life?
  • What is or what should be the relationship between the creator and the creatures created?
  • How should the creatures live in such a way as to enhance their common wellbeing, wealth and happiness?
  • What happens when the creatures die?
  • Is life immortal or final after death?

These are the issues that every religion tries to answer. The books written by the founder of each religion or the reports of the witnesses to the founder’s life and daily activities or the reports of the scribes commissioned by the founder to write the books or the interpreters’ versions of the reports or the second or third-hand reports of hear-say witnesses are all directed towards answering the questions of life as logically and as humanly possible.

Now, let us focus our sense organs on the Nigerian environment, the premise of our concern and curiosity as we collect necessary stimuli and common everyday information of the spiritual, economic, political and social states of affairs in the country.

What Time Is It?

This is a time of great tribulations in Nigeria and in Africa. The multidimensional nature of the aches, suffering and deprivations of all kinds afflicting the people of these regions are beyond description.

In the recent past, this writer was a keen follower of news and current affairs on television. But of recent, the news stories and pictures have become too gruesome and too unbearable to behold, too distasteful and too uncomfortable for my listening pleasure.

Many times since this writer came into spiritual consciousness he has asked those around him how it is possible for any sane person to find pleasure in the following?:

  • The news of senseless mutilation of fellow human beings in wars that have no meaning or noble goals;
  • The pictures of hungry and malnourished fly-covered babies, children, women and the aged from every corner of Africa;
  • The stories of robbers – armed robbers, political and bureaucratic pen robbers, business baron and contract robbers, and
  • The sordid activities of multinational trading robbers in different forms and guises as they perform their ignoble acts of bringing ruin and death all over Africa.

Similarly, neither can the following bring peace to the mind:

  • the news of the ravaging menace of HIV/AIDS viruses in different parts of the continent;
  • the news of the bondage of debt that binds Nigeria and most of Africa in an unwholesome yoke to the international financial and banking industries that specialise in usury and blackmail;
  • the news of the global injustices that hide under hideous international laws and under the rights of nations to pursue unethical national interests;
  • the news of the clever egging and hedging of the people of the poor world under the small prints of World Trade Organisation, International Monetary Fund and World Bank’s agreements that were covertly designed to keep Nigeria and other poor countries in the lower pile as fodder in the furnace of the Global Economic Order; and
  • the news of the activities of local and international arm dealers, business moguls, international fraudsters, intelligence secret agents of United States of America’s CIA, British MI6, Russian KGB, French DGSE and others that are keener than ever to divide Africa among themselves as they covertly sponsored political instabilities and as they ensure there is never a united front or any common purpose and actions among and within African nations.

What about

  • the news of the role of the self-centred elites of Nigeria and Africa that knowingly collaborate with all those who have vowed to keep Africans as slaves on lower than minimum global wage, on lowly social and economic conditions, on exploitative trade relationships and on lopsided economic arrangements that disadvantaged Nigeria and Africa;
  • the news of the obvious cultural enslavement that prey on the attitudes, beliefs, superstitions and fears of the known and unknown that are regularly stoked up and promoted by religious institutions on behalf of Western and Middle Eastern powers; and
  • the news of the ongoing spiritual bondage being weaved on the souls of Nigerians through the kind of religious practices that disallow believers from reflecting more critically about the negative effects of the global and national institutional structures that contribute to the economic wretchedness, social deprivation and political miseries of fellow nationals?

It is indeed a very hard time for Nigeria and Africa because of the convergence of the conventional global economic wisdom on the illusion of the efficacy of the Global Economic Order to mitigate favourably on behalf of the poor and downtrodden.

It is again made harder by the willingness of the Religious Orders to ply their trades within the parameters delineated by those behind the American designed and sponsored Global Economic Order.

Moreover, the overbearing focus of the religious institutions on the hereafter while the ‘herenow’ is allowed to crumble away into fatal neglect and eventual extinction is a contributing factor to the hardening of the immoral philosophy and unjust institutional arrangement in place for the practice of a heinous and ruinous global political economy.

Nigeria is currently under the grip of religion and all the societies and communities are over saturated with religious organisations and establishments. These institutions possess tremendous power of control over the followers.

As a result of the clever marketing strategies of religious wares and the unverifiable promises of heavenly glories, most of the institutions are swimming in fabulous liquid cash. And some have acquired colossal assets in land and other valuable properties.

Through this process, the religious leaders have acquired  enormous political and economic power over the flocks to dictate and control their private affairs. It is not uncommon to hear that the managing director of a big company or even the President of Nigeria listen more to the ‘spiritual advices’ from religious leaders than the educated professional advisers.

Only God that knows how many official engagements or travels have been aborted at the last-minute; how many government or company projects have been unilaterally cancelled; and how many days and weeks of going without food because the religious leader advised the political or business leader against them. This is a demonstration of raw physical and psychological power over people and nation.

Unfortunately, we noticed that some leaders of religious organisations in Nigeria are in control of such power over men, women and properties. With such power, methinks there ought to be accountability.

At the moment there is none. The religious leaders are only accountable to God. The mere uttering of the phrase, ‘Thus says the Lord’ or ‘the holy books said so’ or ‘I’ll put the curse on you’ is enough to silence and cower into fearful submission any would be dissenter or agitator among the flock who has the effrontery to demand for openness in the affairs of the religious organisation. There is no doubt that religious institutions in Nigeria are in control of direct economic power, direct social power and indirect political power as well.

The rumour mill was rife with stories of the spectacular activities of some religious leaders in the times and reigns of ‘President’ Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha as they assisted, in a non-spiritual way, to support those seasons of infamy in Nigeria.

One may posit that, if these particular religious leaders caught conferencing with the ‘President and Head of State’ of Nigeria were truly in the business of truth and in the business of seeking spiritual health of the nation, by the access and one to one relationship they enjoyed with the two demagogues they had the power to make suggestion that could have influenced the course of event in Nigeria during that demonic era.

But of course, the personal mission of these religious leaders both in the past and as at now have never been spiritual but economic. The access they had to the political leaders was used merely to feather their economic nests as they amassed wealth and properties and lived like the monarchies of a theocracy.

Mr and Madam Religious Leaders, this is a difficult time indeed for the innocent and the pure at heart. It is a time when the poor can no longer put their trust on those with gorgeous and exclusive ‘holy’ apparels who claim to be in the business of God affairs. It is a time when those who shout the loudest about their claims to having a direct access to the throne of heaven are found to be lying to their teeth. It is a time when the poor in spirit and the wretched in material possession have no succour whatsoever even in the houses designated for the worship of the Creator of heaven and earth. Dear Religious Leaders, these are difficult times indeed for the members of your congregation.

This writer is of the opinion that religious leaders and the laymen and laywomen of religion can no longer close their eyes, minds and other senses to the physical, moral and ethical decay in our societies while eulogising fairytales about the gains and pleasures of heaven. This writer sincerely believes that the inability of all religious people to focus attention on the physical problems around them is simply a renege of responsibility and a refusal to use the intellectual talents nature bestowed on us for our welfare and general development.

The time has come when religious organisations need to review their objectives and remodel their institutions in order to be relevant to the needs of their community. The human generation in existence should be the principal focus of worship and not the retelling of tales of bygone ancestors. This is the time to reconstruct worship to mean the satisfaction of basic human needs and the promotion of spiritual development of the current generation as the principal aims of religious organisations.

This writer was moved as he meditates over this matter and wonders quietly that supposing he was a priest, shouldn’t I be asking myself what am doing wrong? Shouldn’t I be asking why the faithful followers in my assembly have failed to produce the flowers and fruits of righteousness? And if I am not doing anything wrong and if I have diligently followed the dictates and injunctions of the holy books and the traditions of the ancient holy men shouldn’t I be asking, why are there no evidence of blessedness to all men and women in my community? Why is peace in the world more than ever before in short supply?

Could there be something wrong somewhere? Isn’t there a need to look at the ancient claims again on which religious practices are built? In the light of the revelations in science, history, philosophy and contemporary environment, isn’t there an urgent need to review the ancient premises of religion? Could the fabulous claims made by apologists in the inerrancy of holy books and the true purpose of the books have been misunderstood, or misinterpreted, or even could they have been outright misinformation?

I am sorry this writer is yet to find answers to this conundrum. This writer believes sooner or later some keen observers worried about the observable contradictions of the religious claims and the observable spiritual decadence on the ground would be raising these issues as an intellectual concern. The spiritual, social, political and economic degradations that shock the senses all over Nigeria are strong enough to give some food for thought to anyone with common sense.

The nauseating human decadence seen all over the continent of Africa is shocking enough to warrant unthinkable question. This writer shall urge the religious leaders, and the laymen and laywomen too, not to shirk away from reflecting deeply on these matters as they allow the common sense to do the natural job nature assigned to it.

Please do not close up the senses. Unless they are left wide open to alternative ideas and suggestions on the issues of faith and beliefs, Nigeria and Africa shall remain downtrodden and in bondage forever.

Also, common sense dictates that the time for some fundamental changes in our perception and practice of religion is long over due, if our nations and our race are not destined for premature extinction.

There Is A Need For Holistic Change

There is no doubt that if Nigeria as a political arrangement was ever going to fulfil its avowed duties of protecting the social security, promoting the economic welfare and assuring full happiness based on justice to the citizens, the religious institutions must definitely have a role to play.

The overwhelming power in the hands of this institution should not be allowed to go to waste or continue to be used for frivolous activities, as it is currently the practice. In order to make the institutions of religion relevant to the aspiration of the present generation, there is definitely a need to link the ancient concept of God with the vast array of knowledge garnered by mankind in the last 500 years.

Religion as a body of knowledge on the creator of heaven and earth can no longer close its eyes to the pile of revelations in science that have revolutionised the world to its present form.

The various laws of nature (God) that physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and mathematics have bequeathed to mankind can no longer be denied. We need to begin to acknowledge these scientific revelations as true testimonies of the immense wisdom of God or Heaven.

Serious scientists like Isaac Newton, Renê Descartes and Albert Einstein have duly acknowledged the power of heaven in their discoveries and inventions. It was Albert Einstein that said, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”.

We have no reason to diminish the prophetic status of these modern seers. Just because they do not speak in the gloom-laden tone and doom-anticipated manner of the Middle Eastern prophets should not disqualify them from being heard. There are still many laws of creation yet to be discovered. Let us accept these discoveries whenever they come as part of the ways and means that heaven has chosen to speak to our Age.

The current religious obsession and the over rated concern of associating hell with punishment and heaven with reward need some review in the light of our collective experiences as human beings particularly in the last 100 years.

The two World Wars that were fought in the twentieth century ought to have convinced mankind that heaven and hell is within our reach to create. These two wars showed the ability and capability of mankind to create hell on earth. Adolf Hitler’s ‘holocaust furnace’ that shocked the sane world should help mankind to understand that the creator of heaven and earth, adjudged as just, benevolent and merciful by all religions, cannot be associated with the thinking mode of Hitler.

If what Hitler supposedly did was abhorrent to our sensibilities, then for goodness sake can the creator of heaven and earth be in the business of creating a more terrible furnace than that of Hitler?

There is a need to give this issue a good thought. We need to free our minds from the kind of fear of hell that some religious leaders have continuously stoked up and sustained as a means to keep their followers from straying away.

The time has come to promote the idea that it is possible to create heaven on earth just as it was possible to create hell on earth. The simple teacher of Galilee that shook the then Judea to its core actually gave the world a constitutional assignment of designing the kingdom of God on earth.

The spiritually awakened thinkers from different parts of the world have given this assignment some quality time and wonderful ideas have been suggested to guide our generation in the actual establishment of this kingdom. This is the time to promote the search for the suggested hidden ideas wherever they are stored on planet earth.

The religious institutions must get involved in the search for these hidden ideas on which the world shall build the prophetic kingdom of God on planet earth. Let our overriding concerns from now be on how to bring paradise to Nigeria; on how to construct the foundation of this kingdom of bliss; and on how to share the role and responsibility among Nigerians for the realisation of our paradise in Nigeria.

However, In order to bring this project into fruition, the inherited archaic methods for the organisation of religious worship shall need some special attention and modernisation.

The idea of eloquent preaching, theatrical sermonising, weekly assemblies, night vigil prayer meetings, Bible or Koran school and other religious cultures that seem to be totally against freedom of expression for individuals and of equality among believers and non-believers would need to be looked into.

The cultural packages of religion that seem to be against the development and emancipation of every living individual to its true potentials as independent human being with a free will cannot be of use in the project of creating heaven on earth.

The present religious systems that seem to be, in all intents and purposes, designed to make worshippers more subservient and more beholding to the psychological manipulation of the religious leaders will definitely require some serious tinkering.

As it is now, the present system does not seem to believe that worshippers have a free will and if they do have, the system does not believe they can be trusted to use it rationally.

Hence the great effort being undertaken by religious leaders to quarantine worshippers of one religion or even sect of a religion from the influence of other religions/sect can be easily understood.

The expected changes in the religious institutions that can make a far-reaching contribution to the establishment of the kingdom God in Nigeria shall entail,

  • a shift from parroting ancient unverifiable mythologies to studying modern recorded factual history of mankind;
  • from silencing curious inquirers that are seeking enlightenment about the nature of God with mystery and secret to promoting intelligent debates and rigorous researches on the science of creation and on the nature of God;
  • from using fables and myths to explain issues that pertain to the meaning of life to using philosophy, science and human experiences as tools for the unravelling of all issues that concern the meaning of life; and
  • from using the narrow history/fable of people of the Middle East as the absolute manifestation of the truth of God to using a broader history of the Peoples of the world as verifiable diverse materials on the manifestation of the majesty of an all-embracing and a non-discriminating God.

These are the changes that can lead Nigerians out of the woods of this type of religion sponsored by imperial powers from both the West and Middle East for cultural, colonial and mental domination of Africa.

A New Dawn

This writer sincerely believes in the ancient prophecy that a New Dawn of life is approaching on earth, a new exciting period that shall usher in to the world a new heaven and a new earth.

It is a fact that every religious organisation in one form or the other has been praying and looking forward to the glorious birth of this New Dawn.

Although the conception or the understanding of the shape of the New Dawn or the processes that shall be fulfilled before its realisation has varied according to the richness of the mind or the depth of the imagination of the illustrator. Yet, at the back of the mind of every believer is the hope that one day he or she shall surely either here on earth or hereafter in heaven see the birth of the New Dawn.

The conditionalities to be fulfilled to qualify a believer for admission into the new heaven or earth under preparation have also varied as are the number of religious organisations in circulation at a particular time. Each founder of a religious organisation has his or her own peculiar and particular interpretation or understanding of what believers should do or not do if they desire to be accepted into the kingdom of the new earth and of the heaven.

At this moment in time, there is a need to reconcile the different interpretations of this prophecy. It is apparent that every religion makes a strident claim to be the only way or the safest way to the new dawn. How can this writer or anyone prove that everyone is right or wrong in this sacred affair? It is possible but it is not necessary to prove anything of this nature.

But since the claims made by religious leaders of peace, blessings, love, joy, etc and the reality on the ground are contradictory one is tempted to ask, could it be that a lot of the religious institutions currently in place are corrupt versions of some truth that heaven gave to mankind in the past?

The only process open to mankind to verify the truth of any religious institution is to look at the recorded history of the world and compare the claims of religious institutions with the fruits they bear both now and in the past. To do this effectively we can use the litmus test given to the world by the teacher of old Galilee that says, “by their fruits ye shall know them”.

This writer, having looked at the past of mankind and having reviewed the history of some religious organisations, Is inclined to submit that any religious institution in its historical past that engaged in the shedding of blood of fellow mankind under any circumstances has surely tilted away from the path of the truth of love and from the truth of peace.

If the pursuit of love and peace among mankind is the foundation on which most religions was built then we can safely suggest that any organisation that got itself enmeshed in any kind of war either in the past or now has definitely veered away from the revelation of love and peace.

Bearing this proposition in mind, this writer will suggest that the kind of religious environment that supports the culture of hate, war, fear, ignorance, intolerance and culture of mediocrity among followers shall need a complete revamping if humanity desires to achieve the goal of the birth of the New Dawn on earth.

In this direction and if indeed we are serious about seeking knowledge, truth and freedom, let the religious leaders start by turning their assemblies into schools of serious seekers of knowledge.

The churches, mosques and other religious shrines have the resources both financial and human for the organisation of literacy programmes in the interest of the illiterate members. Churches, mosques, shrines, etc. can invest their bulging financial resources and other assets in the building and equipping of modern libraries where the faithful followers can be encouraged to worship in knowledge and truth.

Let us reorganise the Sunday Church services, the Friday Jumat worship and other religious assemblies around broad learning programmes using seminars, symposia, workshops, classroom teaching, etc. to introduce worshippers to every subject under the sun.

The current teaching method of eloquent but shallow preaching that uses the skill of sophistry based largely on the narrow history of a particular region of the world rather than logic that borrows heavily from the knowledge of a broader history of mankind in the exposition of the truth of life should be allowed to wither away.

A new age is breaking forth and it should be expected that the archaic methods designed for the Dark Ages shall be allowed to die a natural death.

In every religious assembly

  • let the leaders begin to prepare for the task of grooming teachers of general knowledge of life rather than priests that specialise on a narrow knowledge of life.
  • Let the leaders encourage a climate that supports intuitive scientific approach to learning and research rather than a climate that encourages pedantic regurgitation of mythical history of the bygone ages.
  • Let the religious leaders encourage dreamers and idealists in their assemblies rather than the current fixation on the conservation of ill-fitting traditions that seem not to be helpful in the liberation of members into a true life of the reborn and the awakened.
  • Let the religious leaders acknowledge the role of change as a fundamental principle to the goal of the New Dawn. We must accept the truth that change is the foundation on which life revolves and that without the changes of renewal, of rebirth, and of regeneration, life on earth shall definitely come to an end.
  • Let the religious leaders begin a new exploration of the truth of existence regardless of where you think you are in the journey of life. There is an urgent need to review all the popular concepts of God in vogue. The truth of what we mean by God is out somewhere there even in the misty clouds of legend, myth, fable, exaggeration, colourful overstatement, and brilliant allegory. But we must be willing to be humble if we desire to search for the truth of life. We must endeavour through the search for the truth of life to allow the spirit of truth to purge us clean of all forms of false fabrication that have become the fundamental truth of some religious faith today.
  • Let us study the history of our faith from the perspectives of the critics, the atheists and the believers as well. We need to recognise that any form of truth that cannot be challenged by exploring its many other dimensions because it has been accepted by followers as absolute is dangerous to the goal of the New Dawn.

The New Dawn is expected to usher in the kingdom of God on earth. This kingdom shall be one that supports the freedom of thought and expression. It shall be a kingdom of kings and queens that will have no covert or overt provision for slaves or masters. In other words it shall be a kingdom of equals and of partners.

In this kingdom it shall not be sacrilegious to review the revelation of God in the light of human understanding in a particular generation. It should be mentioned that a revelation of God that is pronounced in words and sentences is definitely bound to be fraught with errors. The words and sentences the visionary chooses to express a divine matter will instantly corrupt the full essence of the spiritual or intellectual revelation.

Mankind is yet to discover the perfect words that can fully express divine feelings accurately and without ambiguity. As men and women in the business of divinity, we need to acknowledge the basic truth that it is extremely difficult to put revelations of the divine experiences into words that can convey the real meaning of what the visionary has in mind.

From the works of prophets recorded in several holy books, revelations seem to come to mankind like a silent motion film. The observer of this divine film can only understand the film by recourse to the knowledge of things already known. If the intellectual level and knowledge of the visionary is low then the selection of words and sentences to convey the observations shall be equally low on the scale of cerebral intelligence.

And bearing in mind that the human nature from time memorial has not changed. The way mankind sees, hears, feels, tastes, and smells has remained same since the time of creation. The ancient sages and prophets are therefore not particularly different from the modern men. Except, they might have had more time to meditate on divine matters since there were less social and technological distractions in those days than we have today.

Let us for instance use our experiences as a nation to understand the world of the ancient people whose revelations some of us are fanatically convinced cannot brook any reflection apart from those that were handed down to us over the generations. This premise of knowledge is definitely outside the law of uniqueness that dictates that each of us is not expected to perceive sensory stimuli in the same way.

Let us look at the coverage of news and events in Nigeria today through the eyes of the newspapers. We shall notice that the same social or political event often attracts diverse coverage, as per the number of editors involved.

We shall discover that each editor or reporter often slant the story of the event in line with the objectives the editorial board set out to achieve or according to the personal prejudice or bias of the editor.

The angles of the story that are highlighted are those that are relevant to the editor’s circumstances or cultural or religious or social background. There is nothing wrong in this behaviour whatsoever. It is in line with the laws that fashion us as human beings.

What is wrong is when the editor or reporter deliberately and knowingly routed the story in blatant untruthfulness to promote some hidden motives or nefarious agenda.

Let us recognise these human differences as part of the beauty of creation. History has confirmed that each race, each generation and each epoch of life has bred its own prophet.

Let us leave out self-pride even in our zealot claims to the knowledge of and the one-to-one relationship we enjoy with God.

Let us desist from downplaying and ridiculing other beliefs and faiths on earth.

Let there be mutual respects for each other’s claims with respect to issues that pertain to heaven and God.

Let us learn to share our common and uncommon experiences in the journey of life as we accept the limit of our human capacity to capture the full essence of the power, force, energy and love of that which is called Allah, God, Abassi, Chukwu, Ogene, Olorun, etc.

It is only by acknowledging the above stated truth that Nigerians can begin the real task of building a New Nigeria of kings and queens that will eventually usher into our world the Kingdom of God on earth.

May the spirit of truth open our spiritual eyes to see the breaking of a New Dawn on earth and in Nigeria.

May the spirit of truth give each of us the gift of humility to seek understanding about even those things on which we currently claim the title of expert.

May we be rich in the wisdom that heaven bestows on every sincere seeker of the truth of life.

And may we also have the grace to serve this generation with our souls as we devote our skill, intelligence, passion and love to the true task of spiritual emancipation as well as social, economic and political freedom of Nigerians and Africans

 In The Spirit of Truth

SAM ABBD ISRAEL

samabbdisrael@msn.com

One response to “In Times Like This – An Open Letter to The Religious Leaders of Nigeria/Africa

  1. Pingback: The Lord’s Prayer Re-Presented: Explanatory Note IX – Doxology | SAM ABBD ISRAEL

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