Sunday, 31 May 2015 12:45

Do We Need God? (Part 1)

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Written on visits to China and South Korea

Isn't it amazing what this world is doing in the name of God? And who is this God in whom most human beings have such a trusting faith and in whose name man had done murderous things under the sky? It is not farfetched to hypothesize that wars had been waged in the name of God. The Crusades were a series of hostilities in which WesternEuropean nations fought using the propaganda of religious expeditionary wars. The first crusade organized by Pope Urban II of the Roman Catholic Church had the stated goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem. The Israeli 6 Day War was waged in defense of Judaism. Indeed, most of the conflicts of man were rooted in religious beliefs, including but not limited to battles of antiquity, Iraq War, and World War I&II. The civil  wars in Somalia, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Nigeria all had a religious connotation. The God we need is the Good God in whose image man is made. He is a kind God because he is in us and we are in Him.  Can we need God and still be unkind and cruel to people made in God's image?  war

The boko haran suicide bombings of Christian churches and mass execution of defenseless Igbo children and adults dwelling among them, is a religious war fought to establish sharia law. All through history, twins had been sacrificed as recently as yesterday to appease some gods or as offering to ward off evil or gain fame or riches. Wasn't the Arab slave trade started in pursuit of the will of Allah, whereby conquered peoples were given the choice to pray facing Mecca or go the way of the sword? Then, the Europeans shipped millions of black slaves in the name of God who allegedly called upon them to save the unbelieving "hearts of darkness" from perdition at the gates of hell. Perdition is defined as damnation, loss of soul, or final spiritual ruin.  Not everything man believes God says is true and not every god ought to be called God, just as not everything that glitters is gold.

Why do humans need God as a matter of urgency? Dozens of Chinese men and women I met on the streets of Guangzhou, China's largest and most industrialized city, have very  little to say about God.  When I asked how they see the God my father served for 60 years in the backwoods of Nigeria where he planted mud churches and pulled down idol shrines, the Chinese tell me they do not go to church, do not owe allegiance to any divine being, and do not feel gratitude to God as many Nigerian Christians and Moslems do. As I sat in restaurants with many young Chinese, I noticed they did not pray before or after putting food in their mouths. They did not even thank any deity for their jobs or promotions. Then I press on with "Do you believe in God?" Their answer is: "Of course, everyone believes in God." And when I am getting ready to go into the "nitty-gritty" for details, they are ready to walk away, leaving me in a muddled mixture of defeat and despair.  To the Chinese, a discussion of God is a waste of time. Development is of utmost significance.

By the way, who exactly is this God we hear so much about? The Jews call their tribal deity Yahweh; Muslims believe "there is only one God, and His name is Allah."  To the Igbos, God Is the Almighty Chineke or Chukwu.. Almost all tribes on earth have some deity they have come to recognize as Higher Power, Spirit, or Supernatural Being. What surprises me is that most people do not behave as though they have a god and cannot tell exactly what type of life the god they worship or believe in expects then to lead.  It seems that most of the believers in Jesus are imperfect people who need salvation or Someone to perfect their imperfection and make their incomprehensible world a bit more comprehensible. The followers of Allah (Muslims)  are imperfect beings alleged to be purveyors of terrorist acts responsible for the destruction of New York Twin Towers, blowing up of airplanes full of passengers in the air, and killing of Boston marathon runners. I'll bet my little life that the Ismalists have reasons to justify terrorist acts as being must-perform duties predestined, preordained and predetermined by Allah who takes great pleasure in human agency. A would-be jihadist and martyr just waits for the summons from Imam who is considered Allah's mouthpiece. How many beheadings and stoning, rapes and massacres of defenseless people have Muslims carried out in the history of Islam?  A god that destroys life is no more than an idol because if that god continues destroying lives at the rate he is doing there will be no man left to worship him.

Is God anthropomorphic and in possession of human faculties and failings? The Christian God is said to know, to remember, to have anger and repentance. Somewhere in the Christian Bible, God is said to be God of war, to have fierce and consuming anger and had threatened to destroy a whole nation in a hot and waterless desert and to create new races from rocks. Yet, He is portrayed as the God of the unrighteous, the fatherless and destitute. Somehow, this God is said to choose the tribe of Israeli for two reasons: first to reveal His character as Father of All; and second, to demonstrate that He cannot be God in the absence of mankind.  Stated in a different way, GOD  CANNOT BE GOD  OUTSIDE THE AFFAIRS OF MANKIND. The original worshippers of the Christian God (igbos' Chineke Nna  Anyi) include imperfect men and women. These are Rahab the harlot, King David the warmonger and adulterer who slaughtered Uriah to marry Uriah's wife Bathsheba; King Solomon the world-class playboy/womanizer who had to have 1,000 women; Moses the murderer; and Abraham the liar who abducted an only son from his 90-year-old mother and attempted to sacrifice the 12-year-old on a mountain in obedience to  a nameless deity that called him out of idolatrous  Ur. In direct ancestry of Jesus the Son of God were 8 cases of incestuous relationships between close family members.  Did we forget Jacob who tricked Uncle Laban into parting with herds of cattle and two abducted daughters? As long as man is inexorably, inescapably, unalterably, relentlessly, unavoidably, and inevitably evil, he must need God? Though we profess we need God, God needs us more than we need Him because He needs to save and protect us from ourselves, from destroying ourselves and the earth.

For what purpose does God serve mankind? Hasn't God been unfairly accused of taking responsibility and undue credits when positive things happen to us and shun blame for such unfortunate things as death, disease, poverty, boko haram slaughter of innocents, and other misfortunes?  A misfortune is defined as bad luck, hard luck, disaster, calamity, hardship, trouble, or adversity. If God is anthropomorphic and we are made in His very image, does it absolve us from sins and wrongdoings. And can there be sin in the absence of God? Sin is defined as doing what a real God hates. The real God passes the Litmus Test of kindness. A false god fails the kindness test because he is wicked, heartless, hurtful, ruthless, cruel, callous, and murderous   Here is a closing poem, no pun intended.

Evilness means acts perpetrated against anyone such as rape, murder, slavery

The government that robs the treasury, leaving the nation desolate, has wickedness

Badness signifies bumpy roads, waterless homes, dilapidated infrastructure

Sinfulness is every wicked act of unkindness committed against any child of God

Unkindness means acts of violence, torture, starvation, rape, anarchy

Should you do any of these things, you are intrinsically evil

Evilness is when your god is an invention and your faith is inherently erroneous

For you, the need to know God is importunate

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James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.