I have a problem with religion. I don’t understand it. It confuses me; limits me and makes me feel guilty about almost everything. What is religion? What is its significance?
Among the several religions in the world, Christianity makes more sense to me. It is followed by the African traditional religion. Mind you, I didn’t say these religions make sense to me. I said they make MORE sense to me than the others.
I am a Christian. Although that is debatable. A friend in one of these Charismatic churches once told me we Catholics are not Christians. But I have some problems with Christianity; and I would like to share them.
It is written in the Bible that, God created man in his own image. And then the ‘owners’ of the religion claim God is white. Of course, the Bible makes us understand that Jesus Christ was born in a part of the world where only whites were inhabiting at the time. So it makes perfect sense that God is white.
So my question is, Do Black people not fall within the category of the word “man’? And if they do, then I think there is something fundamentally wrong with the notion that God created man in his own image. This is because, there are many ‘images’ – if I may pit it that way. There are Black people, Asians, Latinos etc. unless we want to argue that God has many ‘images’. And that would be a weak argument in my opinion. I had this debate with a white friend some years back and he cautioned me that my argument was getting very close to blasphemy. I had to stop, lest I end up in hell fire.
One other thing my mind refuses to fathom is the menace of sin and why humans would be punished for committing certain sins. The Bible tells us that there was a great war in heaven. The arch angel Michael and other angels fought Satan and his followers. The result of the war was that, Satan and his followers were cast unto the earth. The earth which was and is the home of humans. Mere mortals with no power whatsoever were cursed to live with one of the most powerful beings in the entire universe; who had the guts to wage war against God – the creator of all things and most powerful being in the entire Universe. “…woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath because he knoweth that he hath a short time”. Rev. 12:12.
And the way the devil has sworn vengeance against God is by using his powers to influence man (a powerless entity) to commit sin. And if man then commits sin, he would be punished for it. The punishment won’t be for a day nor a month, or even a year. The punishment would be for eternity. What I don’t understand is that why during the war in heaven, where the devil fought with the arch angel Michael and other several powerful angels who had powers of immense magnitude failed to kill Satan, but rather forced him out of heaven unto the earth. The earth where powerless men lived; to be tormented and forced into sin by the devil. These humans who have only will-power to fight the devil, will be punished by fire for eternity should they succumb to sin. How is this fair?
The powerless human is to be at war with the devil and his minions and all their influences from the moment they could distinguish between good and bad till the day he or she dies; whiles, to the best of my knowledge, the powerful angels who are soldiers of God, were at war with satan for only a short period. How is this fair? But what do I know? The Bible tells us a day unto man is like a thousand years before God and vice versa. Maybe the war in heaven lasted for thousands of years.
I am however aware that the Bible also tells us to pray and ask for forgiveness and our God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. But my Sunday school teacher told me that, the Bible tells us God knows the thoughts in our minds and the desires of our heart; and that we can’t keep consciously sinning and think we can trick God into forgiving us all the time.
An innocent human born on the first day has already sinned even before being born and would burn eternally in a sea of fire if he doesn’t get baptized as a Christian. This is because the infamous Adam and Eve – apparently first man and woman respectively, disobeyed God. I dare ask if the price of the iniquities of the ancestors is to be paid by the descendants? How is this Justice? The very fact that you are born unto the earth, (a decision that didn’t involve you; but rather God and partially, your parents) have already made your soul impure and would most likely lead to your eternal damnation if you are not baptized and you don’t receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal savior.
Male humans, are fundamentally biological beings who respond automatically to what they see. It’s biological. It cannot be helped. Male humans will automatically respond to beautiful women. Yet, when a male human watches a woman lustfully (mind you, men have no control over this), you have automatically sinned and you are sentenced to eternal torture. Humans are biological beings, as I have pointed out already. There are a number of processes that one cannot do without and have no control over. An example is sexual arousal. When humans hit teenage, certain biological processes leads to the release of certain hormones which compels the humans mind towards sex and attraction of the opposite sex. Just to point out again, humans have no control over these processes. But we are taught as Christians to fight against our very nature and avoid sex until marriage.
I must explain that, the years between teen age and the age humans marry today, is averagely twelve (12) years. The human is therefore supposed to fight against their urges for twelve years before they can have sex. Not everybody is fortunate enough to find a suitable partner for marriage. Some people therefore are not able to get married their entire lives. Humans are in addition to fighting the devil (sin) all their lives, supposed to fight their own sexual impulses for life. An alternative to having sex with a partner is the act of masturbating; and that too is sin. Why put all these feelings inside man if they are not supposed to act on them. My question is “were humans created to suffer?”
But there is hope for humans after all. There is eternal happiness after death. When we overcome all these temptations and fight against our very nature our whole lives, we get to go to heaven to meet our maker and rejoice with him forever.
Only recently, I had a conversation with somebody and this changed my entire expectation of going to heaven. Of course, hell is not a favorable place at all by any standard and the earth also would pass away after judgement.
In my conversation, with the devout Christian, I got to know that when we all get to heaven, we are going to spend every moment in the presence of God. I thought, “yeah, that’s a good thing.” But then he went ahead to say he loved music a lot, and that he always sung music. He concluded this conversation with the words, “…after all, we will all be singing and praising God every moment in heaven.” This was confirmed by every other person I questioned.
We would be spirits when we get to heaven. We can’t feel hunger or lust or any other mortal desires. Our every thought would be to praise and worship God. My plans of doing all the things I couldn’t do on earth when I go to heaven was thrashed. No eating of any food I couldn’t eat on earth. I can’t even start a relationship with that girl I liked so much but couldn’t approach. I can’t do anything, except praise and worship God for all eternity.
What is religion? What is its significance? Why was man created?
I end here. My white friend would tell me all these thought running wild in my mind are blasphemous; which would probably damn me for eternity.
“Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. I have been blasphemous in my thoughts, in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do….”
Image source: http://dailytimes.com.pk/opinion/08-Dec-16/blasphemy-in-indonesia