In The Name Of God
Hi to all reading this. I'm trying to revive my blog which was born, lived and died (temporarily) with one post. My lack of posting does not equal to lack of writing, so I'm going to be posting some musings I had a while back. This piece for instance is almost a year old but I just had to share... Remember what ever I write is my opinion.. we all have a right to our own, but its pretty nice when shared.
I woke up this morning to the news of more killings in Gaza. I went online first thing to distract myself, hoping to see some good jokes on Facebook, anything to remove the image children lying dead on sidewalks they had probably skipped on. But turning to Facebook didn’t help. A friend had shared a post on my wall, you see, about a woman dying the night before- in a hospital this time not a sidewalk, in Nigeria and not because of any attack. This woman died because her husband, a Jehovah’s Witness refused to sign the consent form for a blood transfusion that could save her life, it was against his faith. God would condemn them he said. That was the second such murder I have heard this week- yes, I call it what it is, murder. The last one was of a Hindu woman in Ireland, a dentist moreover, dying in the hospital because the baby was dying in her and yet the law – a law passed by men on women’s reproductive rights- refused her the option of medical abortion. Ireland is Catholic, they told her, as if she hadn’t known that before settling there. They sound more or less like the husband mentioned above don’t they? Another incident comes to mind, a story narrated to us in 3rd year of undergraduate studies. Of a young girl gang raped in Somalia some years ago, then when discovered lying on the floor sobbing, her clothes torn. She was promptly dragged to the village square and stoned to death as it is believed she had brought “a curse” upon the village and God would condemn them if they didn’t do away with her. I remember our class cried outrage simultaneously upon hearing this story as we were no doubt expected to. In retrospect I see that as a classic example of seeing the log in another’s eye and forgetting the splinter in one’s own. You see, just that week, the a female pastor of a local church was being condemned over the radio and subsequently by all the lips which seek to pass on juicy gossip- her guilt was haven filed for divorce against a philandering husband. Yes we could see the obvious evil in stoning-to-death a girl who had just been gang raped, but our visions blurred, or perspectives differed at the right of a woman and a pastor for that matter to free herself from an emotionally abusive and given this era of AIDS- a very risky union with a philandering husband. At the root of it all is religion. Religion, wonder of wonders, has become a silent, justified killer. And I wonder what has God got to do with it?
Let’s look back at the cases of the two women who died in the hospital within reach of treatment. I recall a parable often retold during Sunday sermons of a man who was an “ardent” believer in God was upright and full of faith. As happens, a flood warning had been given to the locality where that man lived. And as an “ardent” believer he went straight for his bible and recited his psalms; Hundreds may fall besides me, tens of thousands all around me but I will know no harm, Thou shall protect and save me…
Well as he finished praying neighbor happened by and offered assistance to help this man to safety along with his family, The man replied “do not bother about me, my God shall save me”, another neighbor passed by now the water was getting high and this neighbor had a small raft and told the man to join him in the raft so they could get across safely, this man gave the same reply- “God is on the way to save me”. Finally relief helicopters had been dispatched to save those still in those flood regions and this man now standing on the roof of his sunken house denied the ladder thrown down by the helicopters. “God is coming to save me” he said once more… well this man drowned and when he arrived the pearly gates, it is said he asked the Lord “Why did you not save me?”
It is at this point of the sermon that we all- the congregation- shake our heads or snicker or just laugh outright at the ludicrous statement. Obviously the man expected a divine manifestation to swoop down and save him majestically. After all Elijah went up in a chariot of fire right?
I recall this story now, because like this foolish man, people today in this “modern” day. When blood transfusion was discovered, medical abortion taught to prevent unnecessary loss of lives, hospitals established, was that not God appearing much like the neighbors of the man in this parable to offer a way out? Yet we cling to our own interpretation our own ideologies of just how we ought to be saved jeopardizing the lives of others. Where is God in that? What does He have to do with that? It is a wonder if Christians read the same bible? The interpretations are so different, you see. A Christian for instance will see it as an abomination to criticize a “Man of God” who lives like an Ancient Roman statesman of his poor followers but that same Christian feels it is their right , nay duty to condemn others because their gay or Muslim, have stolen etc. I thought the bible verse read “judge no one” obviously there are exceptions. As Voltaire said; God made man in His image and man returned the favor. And so I call it murder, yes murder punishable by law, when in our arrogant opinions we do what we feel is right at the cost of another’s life.
The bombing of Gaza on the other hand, I wonder, is it not history repeating itself for our failure to learn from it? For as long as history can tell, men have killed, died in the name of God. And yet we never learn, but make religion out to be a justifiable reason for murder. Crusades that enabled England seize land and loot people in the name of God, Jihads that justified the killing of innocents in the name of Purification, and more recently, Terrorism that trains little children to sacrifice themselves in suicide bombing as long as the kill as many of the “unholy” along with them. We have never learned it seems to draw the line between what faith is and what religious doctrine teaches, or differentiate between dynamic cultural norms and the primal teachings of revered founders of faith. It seems as time goes on, What Jesus said, What Muhammad wrote down somehow becomes betwixt such that what “people who walked with Jesus did” And people who saw Muhammad said have the same value.
I believe it happened like this: Jesus said “Trust in the God at all times for everything” Paul (not necessarily the saint) who heard this teaching, felt that to prove his trust in God it meant he was not to go to a local doctor for treatment but pray for his healing and if it were God’s will it would be. Those who had never seen Jesus but know of him only through Paul, continued this practice but now attributed this practice which arose out of what Paul felt to Christ and years and generations later, a woman dies though she could have been healed because of what someone felt- not necessarily because of what Jesus said!
Another example shall we? Muhammed may have written “Shun unbelievers and denounce all who are not of the faith” Now Adamu who had read this and believed interpreted “shun” to mean “get rid of” So he did just that and taught his children to hate all things not of Muhammed and “get rid of” them, so his descendants haven been reared on this belief that might or might not have been what the Prophet Mohammed himself may have meant carry this “getting rid of” doctrine as fervent act of faith. But is their faith in the teachings of the Prophet or in the interpretation of Adamu? This is what decade after decade has become so meshed it is almost impossible to know what exactly it is we are revering.
I said almost impossible, because I believe- yes it is MY belief not taught to me or preached- that each of us has in us that ability to differentiate faith from Dogma if only we WOULD. If one wills it, dares to reason a bit and study the holy books not to seek verses to condemn other with or justify themselves with, but just study to understand why it is those words converted so many, moved people to believe, why those words have survived so long- If one should seek the faith rather than be content with the doctrine they have been taught.
I refuse to believe -and I think I am correct to refuse- that a multitude of people will believe as the Jews bombing Gaza do that it is as their God wills. Nor do I believe that Islam condones the bombing of churches in Nigeria. What people feel spurred by political, cultural and economic factors should be set apart and isolated from what their faith is. Religion is becoming a sorry excuse for the evil and wrong we do. Like a child caught stealing and excusing their actions by saying “the devil made me do it”. Just that in this case a group bombs a church and says “ Allah said it should be so” Really? What has God to do with it? And when did The Supreme ever need our meager human efforts to wipe out His own Creations? If he made them, flaws and all, shouldn’t it be up to him to “get rid of” them if he sees fit? After all there so many natural ways to die aren’t there?
Seek the faith, and when you find it you will wonder, where did the doctrine come from? What has God to do with it? It is my opinion that everyone, every single human being who has ever thought about it, recognizes the existence of a Supernatural Deity, a force- And Almighty. Forget what the Atheists say, when they miss death by a shallow breath or experience some all-to-convenient coincidence they acknowledge that Someone did something, The problem it would seem is the belief in the “Christian God” or the “Muslim Allah” or the “Hindu Karma” etc. Because it is impossible to forget that the “Christian God” has so often encouraged the oppression of women, turned a blind eye to everything from historical Slavery and Colonial Abuse to present day homosexuality and child abuse in the church, all the while, this God has condemned and rejected others. The Muslim Allah has permitted mass killings, suicide bombings and child marriages that do more harm than good. And Hindu’s Karma never seems to get the job done. So though we may all know deep in us, the knowledge of the Almighty, the options we are presented with do not fit the bill, and so some choose not to believe, while the rest find that which they feel makes most sense, the God for which they were tailored to serve or that which is tailored to suit their needs