The social revolution of Nigeria we are proposing shall definitely take its bearing from the ideas and thoughts of Yeshua (aka Jesus) the simple teacher of Galilee. In my humble opinion, Jesus was the father of social revolution on planet earth. It is a pity that Paul the Apostle succeeded in watering down his ideas into something totally different and unrecognisable.
The Good News of Yeshua
Flowing under the thick layers of sensational reports of miracles and other extraordinary events recorded by the Gospel writers, one can still find the core teachings of freedom and the principles and mechanisms suggested for the establishment of a totally new social order on planet earth.
H. G. Wells in A Short History of the World captured very succinctly the gist of the teaching of Yeshua. He was spot on when he writes,
“It was not merely a moral and a social revolution that Jesus proclaimed; it is clear from a score of indication that his teaching had a political bent of the plainest sort. It is true that he said his kingdom was not of this world, that it was in the hearts of men and not upon a throne, but it is equally clear that wherever and in what measure his kingdom was set up in the hearts of men, the outer world would be in that measure revolutionized and made new.”
Wells goes on to say:
“Whatever else the deafness and blindness of his hearers may have missed in his utterances, it is plain they did not miss the resolve to revolutionize the world. The whole tenor of the opposition to him and the circumstances of his trial and execution show clearly that to his contemporaries he seemed to propose plainly, and did propose plainly, to change and fuse and enlarge all human life.”
A discourse on religion and social revolution does not mix very well. It is a dangerous territory for any writer. We have tried not to be flippant in this discourse but we know we have said more than enough to draw anger and venom from some quarters. Religion can be a hindrance rather than an asset to the goal of a social revolution.
We have observed that most religious people have been conditioned to accept the status quo of the world as given, and to live happily with their deplorable human conditions as the act of God. In such a situation, the natural need to ask fundamental question about why they are suffering and wretchedly poor would have died in them a long time ago. They would have been taught to look forward to the Hereafter and to forget about seeking any comfort here on earth.
Also, they would have been encouraged by their religious leaders to endure the man-made social, political and economic predicaments of their environment. With such a complacent attitude, a truly religious person will be the last person to get involved with anything that promises a radical change of the social order. He or she would rather wait for the Second Coming than soil his/her hands and religious garments to seek redress for political injustice, social inequality and economic slavery.
This is the reason why the very few awakened members of humanity have succeeded time and time again in taking the horde of humanity on a roller-coaster ride.
The Dogma of Paul the Apostle
However, it is my considered opinion that Paul, the ideological founder of the Christian religion, must have been executing a divine plan. From hindsight, it is now obvious that humanity was not ready for the liberating ideas of Yeshua at that time.
Therefore, my proposition is that heaven must have allowed Paul, through his peculiar kind of philosophy and doctrine, to build a shell around the simple teaching of Yeshua for safekeeping until the time is right.
This writer has found Paul’s philosophy on the meaning of life and his interpretation of the Good News of Yeshua completely out of tune with the revolutionary ideas, teachings and revelations of Yeshua.
In order to understand fully the teachings of Yeshua on freedom, equality and justice, Nigerians must endeavour to dig deeper and if possible to bypass the sweet-nothing coatings supplied by Paul.
The philosophy or the doctrines of Paul that gave a prosperous but powerless life to the gigantic religious edifices of the Christian world could definitely not have anything in common with the teaching of Yeshua that threatened the foundation of the religious institutions of Jerusalem.
Paul’s doctrine in which all power-loving psychopaths, such as Monarchs, Generals, Popes, Bishops, Fat Cats, Politicians, Bankers, Usurers, etc., of the world have found pleasantly comforting couldn’t be the same teaching of Yeshua that threatened to tear into smithereens the entire ungodly social order of the Roman Empire.
The social and economic philosophy of Paul under which every slave-merchant, every slave-owner, every racist and every supporter of economic, political, social and sexual inequalities have found a soothing shelter couldn’t be the same teaching of Yeshua that promised fundamental equality, freedom and justice to all and everyone as the bedrock of his Good News.
The inspired and necessary corrections of the age-long Paul’s misinformation and misinterpretation of the Good News that started in the 15th century during the European Renaissance have not ceased. In fact, the efforts to revive the good news of equality, freedom and justice to all mankind greatly intensified from the 17th to the 19th century.
Most of the revolutionary thinkers of that period like Thomas Paine, Friedrich Nietzsche, Pierre-Joseph Proudhun and many others that the religious world have viciously maligned are surprisingly the few thinkers that understood the deep spiritual context and the fundamental meaning of the teaching of Yeshua.
In characteristic fashion, the reigning powers of the world and the self-appointed guardians of our spiritual welfare have done everything they could to discredit the works of these uncompromising thinkers.
In order to fully understand the core philosophy of Yeshua and the salient message of his Good News to the world, Nigerians, particularly those in the Diaspora, shall be advised to spend some quality time with these authors among others. The aforementioned writers have tried in no small way to correct a host of misinformation popularised by the Christian religion that grew out of Paul’s misinterpretation of Yeshua’s teaching on freedom, equality and justice.
From the Renaissance period down to the Age of Enlightenment, thinkers have managed to scratch holes in the shell of obfuscation supplied by Paul. And the ensuing rays of light streaming into the darkness of humanity have been reviving and bringing back to the world the true spirit of seekers of knowledge and truth that started earlier in Greece.
Nigerians in the Diaspora should take advantage of their sojourn abroad to do justice to the volumes of materials produced by these unusual individuals of the last two centuries. It is a fact that Nigerians at home are still under the shadow of oppressive religious misinformation but those Nigerians living and suffering abroad should be able to free themselves. They must take advantage of the unique opportunities for research and the easy access they have to diverse materials on history, philosophical thoughts and sciences on the true meaning of life.
It should be mentioned that what the printing press did for Europe during the European Renaissance, the computer and the internet shall do for Africa and the world in this Millennium. In the battle for the freedom of the defenceless people of the world, nobody should doubt for a moment the power of the computer as a fast purveyor of information. We must take advantage of the Computer Age and its offer of free knowledge that can give birth to a new way of thinking and ignite momentous and earth shaking ideas that will completely revolutionise our world.
Intellectual and Spiritual Awakening
It should be noted that mankind can be awakened to either a godly state or an ungodly state of existence. Awakening can be either spiritual or intellectual or both.
When awakening is spiritual, the awakened is motivated by divine love and when it is intellectual, self-love dominates. We can therefore cautiously suggest that it must only be self-love that drives the intellectually awakened members of our world to institute, support, protect and maintain the kind of heinous values that are currently ruling the so-called civilised world.
We could not agree less with Herbert Reed (1953) when he writes in his condemnation of the western civilisation,
“Our civilization is a scandal and until it is remade our intellectual activities are vain.”
Intellectual awakening is the type that manifests itself when a person seeks knowledge with the sole intent to acquire power, fortune and fame in order to dominate and to own or hold down others of his/her kind.
This is the type of ungodly spirit that created the royalties, marauding colonialists, racist and apartheid ideologues. It is the same ungodly spirit that created slave hunters, slave merchants, slave owners, sweat shop employers paying slave-wages and other ruthless capitalists.
It is also the ungodly spirit behind the atrocities of the blood-sucking bankers, artful-dodger auditors, fiddling-finger accountants, heartless lawyers, con artists as advertising and sales gurus, and voodoo economists.
This category of people are those who are awakened purely and simply to an ungodly state of existence. The motivating force behind their material successes is of a satanic anti-human spirit.
This is the ungodly spirit that the social revolution of Nigeria intends to overcome. It is not going to be an easy battle but heaven shall be our guide and light. Unless this foul spirit is driven out of the centre stage of our world, it is only a question of time before our extinction, as a human race, would become a forgone conclusion.
However, it is much easier for the intellectually awakened to progress to the level of the spiritually awakened than for the intellectually challenged. To achieve this revolutionary transformation, the intellectually awakened must change the premises of their knowledge acquisition from seeking power over others to seeking power over self; from seeking high political and career positions to seeking spiritual growth and development; and from seeking fame and fortune to seeking love and peace.
Whereas the intellectually challenged have the emotional display and superficial characteristics of spirituality but they lacked the knowledge of its meaning. Since the intellectual component and the true essence of their being have not been awakened, they attach more importance to the ornaments and symbols of spirituality. They will hold the symbolic performances of the rituals and ceremonies of worship more highly than the lesson the rituals were supposed to teach.
Neither do they desire to seek understanding on the reasons why the religious rituals and ceremonies were commanded in the first place. They are very comfortable to hide under mysteries, miracles, and superstitions as valid explanations for the grey areas of doctrine and faith.
Invitation to Partake in the Social Revolution of Nigeria
At this stage of the social revolution, we do not expect a multitude to understand the jigsaw of the revolutionary puzzles. However, we shall seriously recommend that those who are interested in the social revolution of Nigeria should first be ready and willing to wash themselves clean in the rivers of knowledge flowing freely in the lands of their sojourn.
We will give all the praise and glory to the Almighty Creator if only 36 Nigerians in the Diaspora drawn from each of the 36 States in Nigeria are awakened to the message of the discourse. This number is more than adequate for the social revolution of Nigeria. We sincerely believe that there are 36 Nigerians out there already designated by the creator of life for this important assignment.
If heaven has chosen you to carry the message of the social revolution to your state of origin and local community you will know when the spirit of truth touches you and sets your soul on fire.
As you ponder over these issues let the words of John Stuart Mill guide your thoughts. In his works On Liberty and Utilitarianism, Mill writes,
“The initiation of all wise or noble things comes and must come from individuals; generally at first from some one individual. The honour and glory of the average man is that he is capable of following that initiative; that he can respond internally to wise and noble things and be led to them with his eyes wide open.”
The issues we are raising are both spiritual and intellectual. When a soul is set on fire it grows and matures. It is similar to what happens to a pregnant woman. She needs not inform her neighbours that she is pregnant but as the growing foetus develops everyone that can see will know that the woman is pregnant with a baby.
However, if a woman does not want to become pregnant, the safest protection is to avoid sexual intercourse. Similarly, a soul that chooses to remain in darkness will be naturally against the idea of seeking knowledge. The knowledge of the truth of existence is the fertiliser of the soul hence it is the only effective means of bringing a soul to the spiritually awakened state.
Just as the male sperm fertilises the ovum and results in a bouncing baby, knowledge also possesses the power to fertilise the soul and bring it to the awakened state of the Reborn.
In case you are very comfortable with your present state of life, please avoid knowledge at all cost. Particularly, living knowledge of the type that issued forth from the pens of thinkers we mentioned earlier on.
Those revolutionary writers shall definitely cause a revolution or a complete change in your life. The ideas they developed have the power to refashion and to restructure your values, beliefs, perceptions, attitudes and life goals.
Please be warned! Those awakened thinkers are dangerous to your present way of life.
A Revolution of the Mind
In conclusion, the social revolution of Nigeria shall begin when there is a revolution in the mind of individual Nigerian. It was Pierre-Joseph Proudhun in What is Property?, who gave a concise explanation of what such a revolution would achieve. He writes,
“when our ideas on any subject, material, intellectual or social are completely transformed because of observation which we have made, I call this movement a “revolution”, if there is merely a widening or modification of our ideas, this is only “progress”.”
When a Nigerian receives a diploma or a degree from a Higher Institution we can safely say he has made some progress since his basic ideas of life have been modified or widened. It is only when he or she starts to make personal observations of his/her environment and begins to analyse values and the premises of values that his/her ideas can be completely transformed through reason and reflection.
It is only through the processes of observation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis of various opinions, ideas, hypothesis, and facts and figures obtained by scientific experiments about life in general that a revolution of the mind can occur. This is what this writer is canvassing at this stage.
Public demonstration and industrial strike can never translate to a social revolution. Social revolution cannot be attained by arson, bloodshed and riot. A social revolution must start its simple journey from within the mind and soul of each person. It must start with a simple living idea based on the observed need to radically change a prevailing bad social situation for the better. Social revolution cannot be rushed. It has its own internally generated momentum and traction.
When a race or a people is ready for a social and spiritual revolution, it is heaven that raises up men and women to articulate the idea and to canvass it to the team that heaven has designated for the revolution. Let us learn and be informed by the history of our world.
There is nothing that is happening now that is new. Heaven is the custodian of knowledge and heaven is the one that master minded our creation. It is heaven that keeps the timetable of our existence. If heaven is saying to Nigerians today that enough is enough of our foolishness, none of us can say otherwise. If heaven has planned to create new hearts for Nigerians and to write new programmes into them based on the values of divine love, none of us can stop it.
This period shall call for humility. Let those who think that they know rethink their positions. Let us be open-minded as we squarely face our pathetic state of ignorance. The spirit of truth, the only true teacher of our Age, is more than ever ready to teach every soul that is seeking a rebirth into a new life.
Time to change the Nigeria’s toxic, sickening and deadly social order
It should be expected that some pragmatic and intellectually awakened (but not yet awakened spiritually) Nigerians will be eager to caution and to demand: If you are proposing a fundamental change of the social order of Nigeria, what are you going to put in its place?
This is a good question. But before we give an answer, can we equally ask our brilliant political experts and social engineers to confirm or to contradict whether, is it true or false that the present social order in Nigeria is toxic, sickening and deadly?
We all need to resolve this simple but fundamental dilemma about the existing socioeconomic and political structures of Nigeria before Nigerians can move forward to the next phase of the social revolution project. We need to ask ourselves:
- Is the present social order in Nigeria satisfactory to provide for our collective welfare?
- Is it capable of building, supporting and sustaining a sane and progressive human society?
- Is the present social order worth defending and keeping intact, as the deluded patriots among us are demanding?
- Can the present social order produce anything noble apart from corruption, dishonour, dehumanisation, moral gangrene, spiritual decadence, economic bankruptcy, political disharmony, ethnic rancour, and social decay?
If our experts cannot give appropriate and positive answers to convince us otherwise, then what are we still waiting for? Let the demolition work of the present toxic social order of Nigeria begins in earnest.
The Nigerian intellectual giants, prominent experts and self-acclaimed eminent personalities must refrain from underrating the human spirit and/or underestimating the untapped human potentials. We can never know how high a person could jump until he is forced to deal with a deadly existential obstacle on his life path.
I think, the only challenge facing every Nigerian at this moment is the need to remove the timber of intellectual and spiritual ignorance blocking our senses. We need to allow powerful light of true knowledge to stream into our minds. This is the only way, I have found, that can set the mind and soul free to pursue its natural duty as a creative spirit.
Let each of us work hard at setting our individual minds and souls free. This is the only work that concerns each of us. The soul is the master designer, master builder and master beautician. The awakened soul of each Nigerian, as soon as it is allowed to soar and to roam the universe again, shall know what to do and what role to play in the architectural design and civic construction of a new uplifting social order for Nigeria.
May the spirit of truth, the only true teacher of our age bless and enlighten you further.
In The Spirit of Truth
Sam Abbd Israel
A Concerned Common Nigerian
26th JULY 2002
(An edited extract from The Social Revolution of Nigeria)