Over 13 years ago, a boy growing up in Northern Nigeria saw a scene that, even as a boy, puzzled his little mind. Earlier, he had watched Al-Jazeera and saw the crisis in the Middle East, the troubles between the nations of Israel and Palestine, and the pictures were gory. But what he saw and heard on the street that day had a different look. He saw young and old men holding the American flag and chanting words of hate to that country. He saw Nigerians, who had little knowledge of the true story or any story for that matter, Nigerians as young as him, and even younger, chanting, wishing death and pain to that oppressive country. He was very young then but he knew what he saw had nothing to do with the pursuance of truth, the love for justice, or the call for a peaceful world. He had just seen the face of religion in Nigeria and it wasn’t attractive. He had just seen that religion in Nigeria has degenerated to a slavish state where the identity and relevance of her adherents are hinged on the identity and relevance of its region of origin. I was that boy.
Over 15 years ago, a boy growing up in North Nigeria lived in a slavish world. His mind was not his. He watched and heard stories of the almighty power of the Israelites, why they can never lose any war, why whatever they do is right and why he has to support them irrespective of the demands of commonsense. He was not directly told to support them but in his mind stood structures that made sure this thought was the destination.
So, when he hears or sees that the nation of Israel has issues and is in a battle with Palestine, their neighbor, he took sides and envisioned how the Palestinians are evil for simply attempting to fight the children of God. He had no knowledge of what is happening. He can’t even locate both nations on the map but he felt, that by virtue of the religion he was born into, Christianity, any promotion of Israel in the good light, irrespective of available information, is divine and good. He didn’t know religion in Nigeria has been regionalized or the scam embedded in Religion. He was naive. I was that boy.
On September 11, 2001, two hijacked planes flew into the Twin Towers of The World Trade Centre, crashing the place, killing 2996 people and injuring over 6000. The culprit was later identified to be Osama Bin Laden, a long term enemy of the US, who was aggrieved by the actions of the United States of America in the Arab world. He was declared wanted and his face was all over the place. He was ranked first on the list of the World’s Most Wanted Terrorists.
His group, Al-Qaeda, the most deadly terrorist organization in the world at the time, tried to cause more trouble and destabilize the peace. That was 16 years ago and I watched and saw jubilation in some quarters in my abode. I saw the gory faces of religion in Nigeria. People just died…innocent people but there were some persons wearing dresses with the face of the murderer who did the thing. They showered him praises and wore designers with the face of the new mentor. Just a few really cared. Just a few of the foolish ones saw the need for silence. And these were Nigerians, not Arabs. The only relationship there was that he attacked their enemy.
These are the results of enslaving yourself. The only reason physical slavery is necessary is that the mind of the slave is not yet captured and lost. The only reason people are enslaved through chains and hard labor is that their minds are yet to be chained, broken and they still think independently and act accordingly. The moment the mind of anyone is no longer their own, the moment they can no longer think for themselves, the moment they permanently beg a superior for direction and guidance, they no longer require that physical form of slavery. Putting physical chains on them becomes unnecessary because they will no longer challenge or fight you in any decision-making process. Why? Because you have their minds! This is because the mind controls the body and whoever controls the mind controls the body. In this case, the body of the slave is just a tool in the hands of his master and he’s given the illusion of control. That is what religion has achieved in today’s Nigeria.
In Nigeria, our brand of religion made it possible for Christians to support whatever thing was done by the government of Israel while the Muslims support the Arabs irrespective of the logicality and correctness of the argument. Many Christians do not care about the truth of the matter and their ‘home country’ must be supported irrespective of what is good, what is logical, or what is Christian. So, while the Christian professes the Christ-like love, his love ends where that of Israel begins. He doesn’t care about facts. To him, Israel can do no wrong because they are God’s chosen people.
And hating any action committed by their government, irrespective of the morality of the actions is not Christian. The Bible didn’t say this (directly). Jesus loved the Gentiles. Christ didn’t support this sort of truth and neither did his apostles. Maybe the wicked Yahweh influenced them. The Nigerian Christian hates the Arabs. Among the Muslims the feeling is mutual. Donald Trump just recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and both religions are already battling here. I’d be surprised if the Muslims don’t stage a protest today. Hopefully, it will be less bloody.
The Nigerian Muslim is closer to the Arabs than his fellow Nigerians. He is closer to people far away from him, who may not even know of his existence, than that next-door neighbor. He is closer to a foreigner in the faraway Middle East than a brother in the same house. It is easy for him to defend their lies than defend the truth on the lips of his neighbor. He preaches peace to everyone but will trounce that sermon for a celebration of a disaster in America and Israel. He is more connected by Religion than by blood and environment. Like his Christian counterpart, he is not interested in the fact of the matter, he is not interested in who is suffering, and he is not interested in who is innocent.
By default, once you are from the enemy religion, you are guilty. You don’t have to support them to be in his bad book. You don’t have to speak for the armies of these countries to be in his bad books. You simply have to exist. Religion in Nigeria made this possible. His mind is no longer his but I can bet that, like his Christian counterpart reading this, he will deny it all. He will deny he’s been a slave to injustice by viewing religion slavishly. But even the house nigger is still a slave.
Most times, these emanate from ignorance. Even with the available data online and offline, the typical Nigerian Christian thinks Israel is a Christian country. Tell him that Israel has more Muslims than Christians and he will boil in disagreement with you. Tell him Israel’s religious majority is Judaism, at 75%, and he will see you as ignorant. Tell him Muslims are about 17% in Israel and watch him frown that face. Tell him there are only 2% of Israel’s population who are Christians and he will end the argument.
The data is online. It is everywhere but he doesn’t care. The Nigerian Muslim also thinks everyone in the Arab world is a Muslim and some even consider Arabic an Islamic language not knowing the language existed thousands of years before Islam. The practice of Religion in Nigeria has divided the country and made support for evil possible. It has broken the country’s strength and appointments for important roles are scrutinized for religious coloration. Appointments are also given based on religious colorations and even elections are in that light. A Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian ticket cannot win an election in Nigeria. It has to be mixed because the people ‘know’ they are not free of that religious bias.
So, do you want to remain a slave in the dungeon you built for yourself or you want to walk out of that shell? Do you want to keep supporting evil because it is perpetrated by a brother in the faith or you care about fighting all types of evil? Do you want to emancipate yourself from the mental slavery your understanding and interpretation of religion got you? Do you want to stick with that gory face of religion in Nigeria? Are you better off a slave or free spirit? Will you protest because the POTUS recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel? Why do you want to protest? Why are you two arguing? What fact do you have at hand? Is it that being a slave is fun? Let’s be honest. You built this slave ship yourself.
It was you who decided the nations of Israel, Palestine, America, etc., are sinful or good. It was you who decided to support the killing of that Palestinian boy by the Israeli forces. Christ didn’t force you to accept that. It was you who decided to support a Terrorist, Osama, when he attacked innocent people. Al-Qaeda didn’t force you to. You had a choice. You are an independent entity and your morality and commonsense should be in your hands. The reason you supported all these atrocities is that you love to be a slave to evil. You are an evil thing. Stop pretending. You can kill if given the chance too. You allowed Religion in Nigeria to make you a slave. But are you ready to take back control? Are you ready to repent?