Religiousity and willful disdain for commonsense

Olufemi Oluwaseye

It is an obvious irony that the most religious nations on earth, are by far, the most troubled. We can’t entirely put the blame on their religious beliefs, because the normal effect of religion on any society is supposed to be the production of higher moral and spiritual values for them to live by. There is no religion that set any standard lower than that accepted as normal by any given society. In fact, most religions set such high benchmark for morality, discipline, chastity, forbearance, and humility for their followers, that they hardly ever move close to fulfilling all obligations. A religious society should easily be the best society. But that is far from the case.

All religion have a major flaw. And that is its penchant for discouraging it’s adherents from using their common sense. In fact, once you subscribe to any spiritual doctrine, you could as well do without most part of your brain. Because you would be required never to consult it in taking major decisions henceforth. Religion teaches followers to think contrary to popular beliefs, to believe in what cannot be seen, and to count all those that don’t agree with them as unfortunate. Some religions even attempt to count those that have contrary opinion to theirs as infidels and filth who should be done away with, or at the best, killed.

All religion is hinged on “faith”, which in simple terms means, believing what can’t be seen. All religion creates avenue for a working relationship between mortals and divine, with the main aim of becoming less and less natural, and more and more spiritual. This is wher the real problem starts. Because there are no physical means of verifying spiritual experiences, religion confuses an already confused world by churning out instructions from deities on a daily basis, many of which only turn the world upside down. Since obedience to the hiher authority is non negotiable, whatever spiritual instructions the ‘gods’ give automatically becomes law. The problem is, we can’t tell when the gods would demand an action that would set the world on fire, as has been the case many times.

A religious man is taught never to use his brain. So, fanatics are born. Like robots, they obey the last order to the letter, never minding to sift sense out of nonsense. It is not their fault. Religion also teaches that every act of disobedience to divine orders would attract eternal horror, the worst punishment ever imaginable, while simply obeying, no matter how insane the command seems, would also attract everlasting rewards, also in wildly unimaginable proportions. The easier option always seems to obey. Moreover, religious people have no choice, anyway.

The afterlife, the phenomenon of rising after death, to reap rewards of obedience to divine instructions, is the cord that binds all religious people to their faiths. The problem again, is, the gods don’t think like mortals do, so we can’t be certain of how exactly we need to please him. Most times, the things that would make the world a better place could displease ‘him’, while being a nuisance to man and animals may be ‘his’ delight. To enjoy an afterlife of bliss, a religious man would simply choose toplease his god, even if it means causing untold pain and anguish to his neighbours.

Just recently, a sudanese woman was sentenced to death for swapping religions. Unfortunately, her former faith forbids that. The gods would have none of that. The punishment for those that do that is death. While in prison after being sentenced to death, the world rose in her defence. She was lucky her case got on the news. Very many others have been slaughtered to appease the gods. But I was surprised when I watched an interview on CNN. The poor woman’s brother was asked what he made of the whole case. He non challantly claimed he wouldn’t mind stoning her to death himself. Surprised, the interviewer asked why he could imagine such wickedness against his own sister. He shrugged his shoulder and said: “should I offend my God because I want to save my sister?”

It was Pastor Tunde Bakare who famously said “when Muslims approach the mosques, they remove their shoes, and when Christians approach the churches, they remove their brains”. The statement may not be entirely true, but it is not far from the truth. Except that it’s not Christians alone that don’t use their brains in worshipping God. Almost all faith are guilty. I was once at a barbeach where a religious sect was celebrating a naming ceremony of a baby. It’s their custom to release a live ram into the sea, to be drowned. Such callousness. The gods that could be so heartless as to demand such inhumanity towards animals, would soon upgrade it’s appetite for human life. That’s not to state that thousands of innocents souls die every year in religious rituals worldwide. Are these gods taking us for granted?

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