A baby is adjudged to have become a “true” living human only upon inhaling what is known by the Alchemist as Vital Life Force or Ether, also referred to as Nous, upon exiting the mother’s womb. In the womb, the baby survives on the mother. With that first time experience, the baby cries piteously in reaction to the uncongenial environment it has suddenly found itself. While the soul agonises its arrival into an inharmonious domain, the mother, father and relations of the baby rejoice at the new addition into the family.
The moment the baby is able to see, it rolls its eyes from one end to the other, marvelling at the huge and variegated manifestations that present themselves before its eyes. As the baby continues to grow, it thinks everything it sees has been brought about by the parents.
When he grows and becomes a thinking child, it dawns on him the parents couldn’t have created everything he has been seeing. This is because he could now discern other children and their parents laying claim to other houses and other things different from those of his own parents.
The next thing the child is confronted with is: who created all these? Since it is obvious they weren’t created by his parents and neither by other people in the Community they live, he starts imagining a Creator somewhere.
It is in the midst of such bewilderment that the parents enrol him in school and he is taken to Church every Sunday, if the parents are Christians. If the child is born into a Muslim family, he may be enrolled for Arabic lessons. Similarly, if the parents are Traditionalists or idol worshippers, the child may not have the choice initially, other than willy nilly toe the way of the parents.
All these, to a large extent, account for our life patterning. That is the family we are born into, our earthly schooling and the environment in which we are brought up – all will, to a large extent, condition the choices we would be making during our lifetime. This makes the realist to insist the freewill of man is conditioned and that we are not truly free in the real sense. More so, the setting of a totally freed individual and an omniscient God doesn’t gel.
How could it? Omniscience implies all-knowing. A Perfect God surely must be omniscient. That is, a Perfect God must know the three periods of time, being the past, the present and the future conjointly, for Him to be deemed as an Omniscient Lord. If He doesn’t, hardly does He qualify to be called a Perfect Being.
Where do we place our fabled free will in all these, if the Lord knows already the choices we are going to make and what will happen before it happens? To the fickle minded, one can be accused of schism, but should one be blamed for using the boon of better brain than that of the lower species? Psychologists have confirmed man is using less than 10 per cent of his brain’s faculty and the ideal man is the homosapien who uses his brain to the fullest. Indubitably, the true homosapien is yet to be born.
This matter of freewill shall be taken up extensively in future series.
In the meantime, it is safe to say that a good number of us settled for religion in our quest for the reason behind it all. Invariably, we have equally been luring our children into our religions as our parents did to us, hoping that religion will answer those questions we ourselves as parents haven’t been able to find solutions to. This is more or less “forcing” our beliefs on our offsprings in the name of keeping them on good tracks and the path of rectitude. Thumb up for the parents!!!
We must give big kudos to religion and the humanity that have embraced one religion or the other. This is for the good reason that religion has made us not to wake up and just hit the road, without remembering the Giver of Life, as we pray to Him daily. The reverse is the case with the beings of lower species. They are not given the grace to acknowledge, talk more supplicate to the Force behind all manifestations and the Power we regard, adore and worship as God, Allah, Chineke, Eledumare, et al.
This underscores the sine-qua-non of all Religions. The word Religion itself was an adaptation of the Latin word: Religare. The meaning of religare is to rebind or to rejoin. That is, religion at inception, was a means of rejoining us with the Creator.
Building on this, Religion could be described as a set of beliefs, passionately held by a group of people and often involves actions, rituals and rites. These beliefs, according to some religious sects, are often linked to supernatural beings such as God or a number of imaginary lesser gods or spirits.
Religion, in the real sense, was established essentially for two purposes. The first is to enable us live a life of true human beings through the observation of religious injunctions and chiefly among them is for us to love our neighbours as we do ourselves. Virtually all religions lay emphasis on the importance of Love. Whether the religion practitioners being the Priestly class are themselves fulfilling this basic religious concept of Love is a different kettle of fish altogether.
The other motive of religion is to serve as a catalyst to unite us with our Creator, while we are still living and as Christ said: The Kingdom of God is at hand. Another Saint was sarcastic about it when he said: Reliance on salvation after death is the finest form of self deception humans practice on themselves through of course the Priestly Class. If there is no salvation while alive, it won’t come after death.
He continued: An illiterate cannot be a scholar at death and similarly a man who lived his life on crime while in the world cannot turn to Saint at death irrespective of prayers offered them both during burial. Whatever we intend to be after life, we must be practicing it while living because the so-called death is just a change of appearance.
What really happens at death is a separation of the soul and mind from the body and the body merely undergoes a process of metamorphosis in the sense that all the five elements the body is made of, being earth, water, fire, ether and air, return to their kindred elements, through cremation or lowering into the soil.
The mind itself doesn’t belong to the earthly plane per se, but the causal plane where it must return to with all the impressions of the previous lives. Ditto the soul: deathless because it is of Divinity, the soul will reach back to the bosom of the Creator, provided it is free of sins and shorn of attachment for the earthly field. If it is not, certainly the soul can not merit the bosom of the Creator and as Christ admonished, no re-admission to the unsullied state of the Supreme Lord, without the wedding garment.
Whether any of the religions we have in the world today is still able to fulfill the latter purpose and for which all religions were at the outset set up to promote, is for the readers to judge by themselves as we spread out facts on all the main religions of the world, because of the unfettered freedom that one is not under any oath as the Priests are, to defend their religions with all the imperfections. We are thus in a no-holds-barred voyage irrespective of whose ox is gored.
In the world today, there are countless number of religious movements, but research has shown all of them are offshoots of the 12 main worldly religions. These prime religions in alphabetical order are:
Of the 12 religions, three, viz: Christianity, Judaism and Islam, are mainly known to the people of the West. They are regarded as Abraham religions because their founders or major figures descended from Abraham. The expanse world was barely known then, hence People took what was happening in their divides as the be-all-and-end-all. They couldn’t imagine life happening elsewhere.
Because of this limitations, little did the writers of the Bible, Quran, Vedas, Adi Granth and other scriptures acknowledge that life existed long before their religions and that the Word of God was taught elsewhere as the only way to God.
Jesus acknowledged this when He said: I have not come to erase the laws, but for the fulfilment of them. Who gave those laws to the world before Jesus?
We must, nonetheless, acknowledge the tremendous advantage of Religion because without it, the world might have run out of control. Irrespective of the perversions introduced into different religions by the challatants and latter day Pastors, that have turned religion to merchandise. It was essentially through religion that the world’s populace have come to know what is right and wrong. What is immoral and what is righteous. After all, we are not all morally inclined.
Unquestionably, parents have tried in their own way to guide their children along the righteous path, but since children cannot live with their parents all the days of their lives, religions took over from the parents and have continued to guide the conduct of man through countless homilies. Thus, it would be unfair to say religion has not positively impacted on our lives patterning.
This discourse is aimed at examining the impact of religion in shaping our lives in the earthly field and also to what extent religions are faring in uniting us with the Creator. We are to assess and determine by ourselves which of the religions we know of anywhere in the world still teaches or have idea of the primeval lofty aim of religion that is uniting us with our Creator.
We must however make it clear that the facts contained in this discourse are far from being exhaustive and neither all inclusive. Albeit, if we spend our lives inquiring about the true religion, it is a life well spent instead of being led astray. This is provided we continue to practice Love all along our search.
Readers are therefore encouraged to expand on this review and form their own opinions. To rely on the opinion of someone else presents us as slothful. Surely humans are not born to vegetate. Ipso facto, slum mocking is not true living.
We will be evaluating from next week the extent some of the religions go, if at all, in uniting us with the Creator, but the takeaway this week is: Religion is a necessity. Without religion, man is scarcely better than a wood that has no feelings. Nonetheless, if we are displeased with the mode of worship or antics of the latter day Pastors that have turned religion into instrument of commerce and to oppress their followers to no ends, the fault is not with the religions and neither the Pastors, but the gullible followers who sheepishly follow religious leaders, who themselves are veritable victims of the mind. It all sums to the blind leading the blind.
Ramadan Kareem to the Muslims!!!
. Aare Oyefeso is a businessman and philosopher based in Lagos.