|By Jeremiah Ajayi|
Due to the extremist religious views in Nigeria, the freedom of expression and association of many Nigerians, especially the youths have been subjugated, for the fear of being condemned. The free thinkers, atheists, monotheists, and even pantheists in our beloved country do not feel the need to express themselves anymore as they know their fellow citizens are going to come for their heads if they express their non—religious or open-minded views.
Despite the belief of the majority in the existence of a deity in Nigeria, it comes as a shock that Nigeria is a breeding ground for several acts which entrenched religions condemned – ranging from corruption to homosexuality, to immorality, drug abuse among others. Hence, why are we deceiving ourselves? Why are we promoting a majority’s view that is in fact, not even the majority’s views? If opportune to be given a CCTV into people’s private lives, it will be most ‘exciting’ to discover that you will find the seemingly religious people amongst us, partaking in acts they publicly condemn.
Do not be mistaken, this article is not to attack anyone’s religious views or give scathing opinions on any religion or even encourage atheism. However, my point is to encourage us to be more empathic and accepting of the views of others. We should avoid piping down our religious opinions down people’s throats. Because your friend, acquaintance or even family member, practises atheism does not give you the right to discredit him as a person that would miss the afterlife or paradise. Diversity is what makes life interesting. As a respected figure in Islam, Imam Tawhidi asserted,
Your religion is not a constitution for the rest of humanity.
The next time you attempt to judge a person of another religion, consider the good aspect of such person’s behaviour and think of the positive outcome of your relationship with such person in future. When next you offer your opinion on any pressing issue, you should mix religious opinions with a blend of logic. Do not use your religion as a sole template for judging others.
The truth is that there is no truth!
The Christian is probably not right about Christ being the ticket to heaven.
The Moslem might not be right about the existence of Allah.
The Buddhist might have been living a lie all his life believing that there is an entity called Buddha.
What of the atheist? He may find out that at the end of his life race, that there is a being called God and He exists in heaven.
The above scenarios are also true for the other 4,200 religions in the world.
Thus, the next time you attempt to defend your religion without an element of logic in your statement, always ask yourself and reflect on this question: “What if this religion which I profess in turns out to be a scam?” Whether we like it or not, no one holds the key to the truth, we only have perceptions.
The other religion whose practices you condemn may turn out to be the true religion which guarantees the afterlife that you are obviously chasing. It is with this notion that we should approach life issues as humans.
It is the above question that should continually propel us to treat everyone right, fair and just irrespective of their religion views. Let’s be open to other religious practices, and be less judgemental or act in a superior position.
Before you became a Christian, Muslim, traditionalist or atheist, never forget that you were first a human. Humanity is our first religion.
What if your religion turns to be a sham?
I’d love to read your thoughts about this in the comment section.