The article of last week expectedly generated some feedback, particularly from the practitioners of Christianity, and some out of monomania wouldn’t want to engage in anything that discusses let alone challenges their comfort zone. While such is welcomed and highly commendable, it nonetheless has its inherent danger.
What aptly captures such fixation is the anecdote of a frog in the well and a sea swan. The frog all its life knows nothing beside the well. He lives, eats and does everything inside the well. In fact the frog has never experienced life outside the well. Thus, It believes the totality of the universe is the well.
There came a sea swan that found itself perching on top of the well. Looking down, it saw the frog and in no time conversation ensued between the frog and the swan. It was the frog that first asked as to where the swan has come from and the swan said from the sea.
The frog asked what is a sea? And the swan answered an expanse of water. Expanse of water, how big could that be inquired the frog? Very expansive quipped the swan. The frog could not fathom any pool of water bigger than the well it inhabits. It started jumping about in the well and asking the swan if the sea is as big.
Regardless of how much the frog jumped, the answer from the swan remained far bigger. Infuriated, the frog got annoyed and concluded the swan was lying. As far as the frog was concerned, no pool of water could be bigger than the water in the well. With such mindset of the frog, the swan can only shake its head as it did with that exhibition of sheer ignorance.
When the Professor asked the class who was right of the two? Of course the whole class chorused the swan was right, and the frog was wrong. The Teacher however countered that it was actually the class that was wrong. Both the frog and swan were right. Their standpoints were relative to their individual experiences.
This is about the same with our finite perceptions of things of this world, where we are all looking at the world with coloured glasses. Our perception is intrinsically relative. It is worse for experiences of the inner world, being different stages that Christ explained as His Father’s several mansions. Nothing in this world compares nor available to explain them.
In the Bible, 1 Cor 2:49, we read: “Eyes have not been, nor ears heard, nor have entered the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Similarly, there is a Yoruba parlance that says: “Eni ti ko ti de oko baba elomiran, lo ma so pe ko si oko to to ti baba ohun.” In other words, as long as a child has not seen the farm of others, the child will continue to boast no farm is greater than that of his father.
For umpteenth time, I have been insisting, the secret to worldly peace, harmonious life, even cordiality, among friends, associates, family members and in the neighbourhood lies in us as individuals, taking steps to understand each other. But if we choose to remain on our high horses and continually look down on the others, or refuse to accept people for what they are, wars, acrimonies, bickering and all kinds of man’s inhumanity to man shall continue to be the order of the day.
That we have never felt unsafe in the world we live in has to do with our refusal to accept our common pedigree. John 1 1-4 was very clear about it that we are all a projection of one Father-God. If the Ocean out of which we are all drops has no clan, race, ethnicity and other illusory things that we are allowing to divide us, how can we drops of the same Ocean truly have any?
Because of this amnesia, we have covertly induced wars among nations, inter-tribal unrest and all kinds of restiveness.
What is currently leveling every human across the globe is the Covid 19 pandemic. Before then, the Americans, particularly their President, Donald Trump, looked down on the other developing countries. The blacks were treated as slaves and their countries he had described as shithole.
At the heat of the pandemic, this same President of America who had declared Africans as personae-non grata was pleading for doctors, nurses and medical personnel to come and assist America from the same countries he had declared as shithole.
This candidly challenges human pride. Whatever we are, whichever knowledge or acquisition we may lay claim to must humble us. Any position, religion or philosophy that doesn’t recognise rights of fellow beings, freedom of association, of religion and essentially not recognising every human being as a projection of the same Father-Lord, he who refuses to see the handiwork of God in all happenings, whether good or bad in our perception is sinning against God-Who is behind all happenings. Certainly, He has not created the world and lost the control of it.
Ipso facto; From the tiniest movements to the mightiest disturbances in the Universe, all the causes and effects are all happening according to the Lord’s concurrence. It was indeed true what we read in the Bible that; No leave withers and neither flowers blossom without the sanction of the Lord. Coupled with this, the hairs on our heads are all numbered.
It might be instructive to remind us that whatever we are flaunting these days wasn’t known in this divide, up till few centuries past. This should set us thinking if the brainwashing has not been total. Study shows that it was one Henry Townsend who on the mission of the Church of England established Christianity in Badagry just in 1842 although, some Portuguese monks had earlier strayed into Nigeria around the 15th Century.
Notwithstanding, St. Peter’s Cathedral Church in Ake Abeokuta lays indisputable claim as the first Church in Nigeria. That Church building was completed in 1898 and still standing tall till date. That was just 122 years ago! 122 feeble years in the eons of human lives. How infinitesimal that is!!!
The question that should agitate the mind of any rational being is; What was the fate of our forebears, who never heard of Christianity, Islam or any of the imported religions and settled for Traditional worship, which we now ignorantly regard as paganism. Are we not creating a partial God for not remembering our forebears until almost 20 whooping centuries after the Messiah’s visitation to the world? This is in spite of the Messiah saying: He prayed not for the world but ONLY to those allotted to Him by the Father. In another breath, He said He knew His sheep and His sheep knew Him.
Could our forebears be sanctioned for knowing nothing about those religions that we doltishly believe are the all in all these days,? Could our great great forebears be held accountable for not embracing religions that didn’t exist in their time and didn’t get to their climate almost 1900 years after it was established?
“Cogiti ergo sum” says Rene Descartes. In other words, I think therefore I exist. If we can but think and for once stop behaving as the lower species that do not have the boon of a thinking faculty, we will come to the understanding that God has a way of drawing His own to His Court. Ironically, out of inferiority complex or call it vestiges of colonial mentality, we have refused to research deeply about the practice or worship that sustained our forebears. We rather opted for the easy way of adopting the imported religions. Would it then not be the height of naivety and utter intolerance, to condemn people of the days of yore and adherents of religions different from ours?
Investigation revealed that the Yoruba people which traced their root to the Mid-East had for long settled for Ifa Divination, which was brought along with them to Ile Ife, where they first settled in Nigeria. Ifa was a byproduct of the Kaballah and Kaballah is till tomorrow an integral part of Judaism.
Judaism itself was the religion of Moses, while Abraham was on record as the founding father of Judaism and particularly behind the Covenant that makes the Jew to claim special relationship with God, leading to the belief that the Jews are the chosen people of God. We don’t want to ruffle feathers otherwise, we would have made it know that both Christianity and Islam religions have a tinge of Judaism. We hope we will have time to discuss those religions outside this shore in details.
For now, we appear to be restricted in this country to both Christianity and Islam scriptures, whereas, if we had arrived unto the world as Chinese, Japanese, even Indians, we may never have set eyes on either the Bible or Quran, just as we might not also have seen nor read their numerous scriptures viz: Vedas, Adi Granth, that of the Jains, Sikhism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Confucianism, Taoism, the Grail message, Rosicrucian: Unto Thee I Grant et al. Although we are not obligated to read all these scriptures, it stands to reason that a whole without some parts cannot be be regarded as complete. In effect, our knowledge of the subject of religion would always remain partial thus deficient.
Still and all, are we saying the people of those countries who have adopted religions or mode of worship different from ours are condemned? If we had allowed such a thought to cross our minds, we are grossly mistaken! We might even be the one poised to face condemnation.
Therefore, when next we are impelled to fight or kill for our beliefs at the drop of a hat, we should please remind ourselves of the metaphor of the swan and the frog cited above. The drift of it is: The total picture of the world is beyond any earthly being. Were it not so, Christ wouldn’t have said: Perfection belongs to the Supreme Lord alone.
To strike at the vastness and unfathomable nature of the Supreme Lord, Jesus Himself said in Mark 13 vs 22 to wit: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not the Angels in heavens nor the Son of man but only the Father knows.”
Therefore, when next someone comes preaching the end of the world to you, ask him to show you his pair of heels. What is important is for us to continue to live in a manner of readiness to meet the Lord in good standing and that could be anytime.
Apologies for lack of enough space to discuss some of the parables of Jesus this week. The feedback I started with deeply eroded the little time we have, as I am trying hard to reduce this weekly message to a reading of not more than 10 minutes max, since it seems we find it challenging spending little time on the most important aspect of life, while we have no qualms devoting two hours or more watching football or our make-belief movies. What an irony?
I will be concluding this week by still maintaining that nothing is wrong with any religion, not even with the practitioners, because it is not their faults, if we choose to deify the priestly class at the expense of the Creator, or if we subsume ourselves to people who themselves are veritable victims of the senses, as some of us are. Neither the fault is in our Stars according to W. Shakespeare for choosing to be hirelings.
. One of the readers sent me a clip with a request that I should share it with the readers of this weekly message. In deference to him, I am furnishing the clip below unedited to wrap up for this week.
Your message is a MUST read for me every week. At times, I read it severally. It is assisting us to x-ray all religions, and embrace the truth in them. You will find the clip below insightful. Grateful if you can share it as I just did. Thanks immensely.
It was never the intention of those that have been oppressing Africans to see us educated. Since the Bible enjoins servants to be obedient to their masters – the slave drivers love this, it is not that they want to Christianise the slaves, but that the Bible would be a weapon to make them slaves FOREVER.
They forget that God Himself freed the Jews from Egyptian bondage.
The so called bible that Emperor Constantine put together in 325AD was in contrary to Rev.22:18-19. What Constantine put together was for his State, and not the Christian world. His own Ephesians 6:5 reads “SLAVES”, whereas KJV reads “SERVANTS”.
Slaves don’t get paid, whereas servants get paid for their services.
Bottom line here is for Africans to THINK and behave like Africans, and NOT slaves of Europeans (at home or in diaspora). This is not asking Africans to worship idols – but to worship Christ not the way the Europeans do, for they worship MAMMON. It high time we did away with their names, which they made us believe to be Christian names. There is nothing like Christian names – that is balderdash. Africans still bearing foreign names are only reflecting mental slavery.
No one asked us to abandon our language and culture. We yielded to their “politricks” much more easily than in many cultures or colonies. After all, the Brits colonised India, they went to China, Persia (Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Constantinople, Turkey today and Kemet today’s Egypt). All these lands retained their cultures but not sub-Saharan Africa. Now is the time to change the narrative. Nothing is too late, impossibility is nothing.
Elder Bola Oyekoya.
Above is food for thought for the religious bigots and people with slavery mentality until I come your way next week.
. Aare Oyefeso, a businessman and philosopher, lives in Lagos.