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REVIEW OF THE CRISIS OF RELIGION: By Shelby K. Sherman

April 28, 2011
Shelby Sherman

American veteran Atheist, writer, and Ebon Mussing contributor, Shelby K. Sherman rates The Crisis of Religion by Adebowale Ojowuro — ‘Five-Star’

In his recent review of The Crisis of Religion by Adebowale Ojowuro — posted on Amazon.com — Shelby Sherman echoes his impression of the work thus:

I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated this wonderful, thoughtful book by Adebowale Ojowuro. The reader, be they atheist, agnostic, skeptic or believer should be impressed by the scholarship, depth, and wordsmithing that the author carefully conveyed to the reader. Adebowale pens eloquently and respectfully the questions that all of us should be asking about organized religion, and the thoroughly disappointing answers. The author shines a bright light on man’s seemingly insatiable gullibility and dissects the holy tenets of the religious writs, exposing them for what they are, damn lies.

This book goes beyond the typical rants that justifiably skewer the failed and ambiguous prophecies, the impossible virgin birth and the failed line genealogy of Christ’s divinity. It goes further than just gleefully pointing out the hundreds of inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible; it shows a certain passion, an anger and disappointment in the dishonesty of the religious stranglehold that infects the human race. Nowhere is this passion more evident than in the Lamentation for Africa, a heartbreaking but exquisitely accurate indictment of the failure of the Black inhabitants to avoid the trappings of religions foisted upon them.

This fine work should be on every Skeptic’s top shelf; it is a great triumph for Adebowale and certainly recommended reading.

This review is extracted from  Amazon.com

 

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Stains That Just Won’t Come Out

April 21, 2011

by David Ince

I think it’s the dream of many atheists. The use of the tool of logic to chip away at a person’s belief so that eventually they abandon faith and lean instead on reason. Often I hear atheists’ excitement when they make a religious person start to doubt. They believe that this is the first step to out and out non belief. I am quickly realising that this is usually not the case. I think it’s important to keep pushing people into looking at the logic of their beliefs, since many will never do so on their own. I personally find it fun and it can get people to engage in more critical thinking which is important in all aspects of life. Guy P. Harrison in his book, ‘ 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God’ does a great job in breaking down the fallacies in theists’ reasoning. However, I recognise that people can live with serious doubts for years without ever getting to the point where they accept that belief in a God is unjustified. I myself was a doubting Christian for more than 20 years.

I think the problem is that whereas many atheists see questioning a believer’s dogma as leading to the eventual collapse of their wall of faith, religious people tend to view the contradictions, questionable morals and scientific implausibilities pointed out by atheists like stains on a carpet. Stains that must be immediately removed. Doubts are not things to make them think twice about religion, they are nuisances that need to be eliminated so that they can get back to worshipping their God in peace.

Many of us know that getting stains out of a carpet is an onerous task. Blood stains are often the worst, they leave a deep colour and are extremely hard to cover up. Surprisingly, many Christians don’t see, until skeptics point them out, that there are blood stains all over the fabric of their faith. Stains seen through things like the order from God to kill the Amalakites, the numerous animals sacrificed whose burnt blood is “pleasing to Yahweh”, the negotiated sacrifice of Jephthah’s daughter, the plagues of the first-borns in the exodus story, the genocide of the global flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. All this on just the first half of the carpet!

Beyond these, there are other more subtle but just as persistent stains. There are logical contradictions in the gaps between the carpet’s threads that jump out at you when you look at the fine details. Contradictions that hold that prayers of request from believers have power to influence God but still insist God has a plan set from the beginning of time that cannot be altered by mere humans. When you step back a little further other contradictions enter your field of view, such as the one that holds that God is everywhere and has been with us from the beginning, yet is undetectable to us since he exists entirely outside of space and time. These stains may not be as horrible as those bloody ones but they are pesky little annoyances nonetheless.

On the surface, believers and non believers admit that regardless of their genesis all these stains are ugly, but Christians are confident they can fight them. They just know that they must be some ‘solution in a bottle’ that can work. So, they hurry off to the “Apologetics Hardware Store” to find the right concoction. There are many brands you can get off-the-shelf sold by popular distributors such as Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell and C. S Lewis. More recently Christians have been opting to order their ‘Apologetic Solutions’ online. Whatever the case, the believers always seem to have faith that pouring these neatly packaged arguments on the stains will make them go away like the magic of Oxyclean. But, just like the late night infomercials the cleaning agents never quite work as advertised.

One of the popular ‘apologetic solutions’ is known as “Might Makes Right.” This, the marketers claim can deal with most stains; the idea is that God can do whatever he wants because he is God. If God feels that a people should be wiped out who are we to question? Well, it doesn’t take long after application to realise that this one just doesn’t penetrate through the stain even though it’s a powerful concentrate. Having ultimate power does not make every action you take good. Might does not make right after all. So that’s a solution they always have to take back for a refund. Still, the Christians keep trying, but the frustrating thing is that rather than stains coming out, more and more stains appear in the process. If an apologetic solution removes one stain it inevitably creates another one, which we atheist are always right on hand to point out.

The fact is that the more we show them the stains the harder they work to get them out and this constant cleaning makes them more determined to keep the carpet. This is exactly the opposite response that the we atheist “carpet inspectors” are hoping for. It often takes them a while but eventually the theist will realise what we have been saying all along. “Them stains just ain’t coming out.” So we say to them, “Now you’ll throw it out right?” No! The stains suddenly change their character and become a part of the carpet that the believer admires. They tell us that every stain is a mystery and mysteries are beautiful. It is just amazing that whatever they do to the stains they never disappear. They say that the whole experience reminds them how weak and lacking in understanding they are as humans, but it illustrates how great God is in comparison. For, he could remove all those stains with just a simple wave of his hand and he of course will do just that, when he’s ready, in his time. They go on to remind us that indeed Jesus removes stains every Sunday at church. Doesn’t the priest say he removes from us every stain of sin? If God can remove sin stains he can also remove trivial stains like logical contradictions. From carpentry to carpetry, Jesus can make any living room perfect.

So, the end result is that their stained carpet will stay. Well, at least most of the time. There are some shrewd entrepreneurs that will watch the failed stain removals and offer the believer a quick remedy. They will sell the disappointed Christian a brand new carpet which they will guarantee is stain resistant. It could be a a Muslim “prayer mat” carpet, a Mormon gold plated carpet or the Adventist “seven day wonder” carpet. At first the believer feels great about having a new product that is stain free. Predictably, the euphoria doesn’t last as they soon realise that the new is just like the old. The colours may be different, the texture smoother but the logical contradictions are still there along with the same questionable morals. Still, many will keep changing their carpets all through their lifetime, some even change back and never get satisfaction. Hours cleaning and hiring experts but no results. It’s just stain after stain after stain.

So, what can the non believer do about this irrational love of stained carpets? Well, some have tried going the hard way. Recently the American Atheists have tried to pull the carpet straight from under the believers feet with statements like, “You know it’s a myth” or “You know they are all scams.” These no doubt cause pain when the faithful topple haplessly to the ground. The fall does bring some to face reality, but in other cases it creates animosity to those that induced the fall. So results are likely to be mixed.

Perhaps, the best thing we atheists can do is to invite the faithful to visit our homes and see our carpet-less abodes, with a framed message on the wall simply saying, “We are good without God.” We can let them know that despite what Disney may say, there is nothing magical about a carpet. In our homes, they will see that the floor may be hard and cold but we don’t have to worry about stains. We have no cushion under our feet to make us feel protected, nothing we can use to sweep things we don’t like under, but we have reason to believe that we are standing on solid ground.

This scintillating article is culled from Caribatheist Blogspot – No Religion Know Reason

First posted on Caribatheist Blogspot www.caribatheist.blogspot.com

RESTORING NIGERIA’S MISPLACED HONOUR

April 6, 2011

BEING AN ADDRESS BY ADEBOWALE OJOWURO AUTHOR OF THE CRISIS OF RELIGION ON THE OCCASION OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF YORUBA DESCENDANTS OF SOUTHERN AFRICA, HELD IN NELSPRUIT ON SATURDAY, 11th DECEMBER 2010 AT THE KABOKWENI CINEMA HALL

“For us in Namibia, the name Nigeria is that of a pillar of Africa’s Freedom and Independence. Nigeria is renowned for being at the forefront in the battle for Africa recognition in the global arena… I recall with a great sense of gratitude how in the past I visited Nigeria quite frequently as a freedom fighter…” – President Sam Nujoma of Namibia

These were the likes of motivating tributes and honours for which Nigeria is well renowned when I was growing up. Majority of you here today can attest to the truth of this piece of information. I have, after careful considerations, decided not to include any of the miserable and shameful media headlines for which the notoriety of Nigeria as a nation is now universally proclaimed; because, I do not desire to ruin the mood of several attentive participants in this occasion.

Adebowale Ojowuro

A thoughtful patriot who often reflects on the state of the Nigerian nation cannot help but notice the appalling status of national shame that has recurrently become apparent in our fatherland since half a century of its independence from colonial rule. The fact can no longer be denied that our national honour has been relegated entirely into mere paper accolades and praise songs of political bandits and capitalist criminals. Those excellent tributes, such as, “Pillar of Africa” or “Giant of Africa,” that would genuinely emanate from reputable leaders throughout the world, has now become a once upon a time honour that presently eludes Nigeria like chalk and cheese.

Fellow compatriots and distinguished guests, it is with great sense of humility that I stand here before you today to re-echo it once again into your ears that our country is disappointingly a backward nation; and this is a fact with which we are very much familiar. At this stage, however, after fifty years of self-governing, what we obviously do not know is the proper step forward.

During his lecture on Nigeria’s contribution to International Peace and Security on the 12th of October 2010, the High Commissioner of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to South Africa, Ambassador Mohamed Buba Marwa, re-echoed this fact yet again to all Nigerians resident in South Africa in a clarion call for policy proposals, aimed at getting Nigeria into the right direction. He affirmed: “Whatever perceptions that might exist about Nigeria; the real picture is much more complex. The 50 years anniversary presents the opportunity for a thorough interrogation and analysis that unravels the layers of what Nigeria has been, and to provide policy options in terms of the direction the country should potentially take, given its challenges and resources.” This is the call that has truly informed my preference for this discussion topic today.

As a matter of fact, the preferred topic for this occasion as suggested to me by the Hon. President of this great association is: “My Africa, My Pride: A Celebration of African Culture, Value, and Dignity.” (With emphasis on the Yoruba culture). However, on a second thought, I decided to change the topic discussion, because I perceive it as utter sacrilege and absolute disservice, should I stand before you all to paint deceptive pictures of what the African culture is truly not. This is not being cynical in my judgments, but I sincerely do not see anything worthy of celebration amongst the remnant of what is left of societal values and dignity in the Nigeria of today. It is irrational beyond absurd to celebrate a culture that is more and more becoming desolate and subverted in downright discontent by its own people.

It is common knowledge that our culture as Africans has terribly been battered and eroded by imperialist, and finally laid to rest through the able support of several credulous Africans to give room to the pre-eminence of foreign culture over our ancestral heritage. The true picture of what is left of us as a nation is sadly that of a failed cultural legacy. We are undeniably in sheer deficit of any revered heritage that we can truly bequeath to generations yet unborn as our edifying ancestral tradition.

Half a century into our independence, the case of the Nigerian nation is very much a tragic one. Regrettably, the story of our nation has been that of unrelenting disaster that’s grossly invested in worthless civil war, brutal military dictatorship, and callous religious and ethnic conflicts. The story of Nigeria in the last fifty years is that of sheer poverty and hunger, despair and total economic collapse in the face of enormous natural and human resources. Allied to these extreme levels of desolation are unimaginable colossal frauds in the corridor of power. And the end result of these outrageous official swindle is complete breakdown of the society that is today called Nigeria.

Beyond doubt, our development as a nation has plainly not progressed at an expected pace in the last fifty years. The remnants of what Nigeria now possesses as integrity is nothing more than what I would term as artificial and paper-reputation. I have again noticed the torrent of these cosmetic and misleading praise-songs as they flood several media publications throughout Nigeria during our recent golden jubilee. In the actual sense of it, these bogus compliments are nothing near authentic; rather, they represent misleading accolades of political bandits and economic parasites in their grand design to loot Nigeria dry of its oil wealth. The loose ends of these deceptive praise-songs for the present day Nigeria confine greatly in sinister massage to the inordinate egoism of our uncivilized leaders who would credulously succumb their extreme self-interest to the fancy of such cosmetic sycophancy. And in return would award over-inflated contracts in outrageous figures as rewards to these organized bandits of praise singers, for a job well done.

Our backwardness as a nation is not a secret to the entire world. The signs of our lack of development are also very obvious to us, and we know it like the midday sun. The evidence of our deficiencies as a nation, whether in matters of government and economy, education and technological advancements, social cohesion and lack of respect for state laws, or our chronic indiscipline as a people, and so on, is very much apparent to us and the entire world.

We truly know that the trouble with Nigeria is predominantly the failure of leadership. We are also very much aware of the fact that the recurrent failure of leadership in Nigeria has subsequently metamorphosed into failure of followership. And, for the most part, our lack of development as a nation has perilously hanged on a quantity of dubious and filthy conducts, which we have oddly modelled into our national life as acceptable norms. This is the major tribulation that now stares us in the face on daily basis in our country.

As Ambassador Marwa has rightly said, “Whatever the perceptions that might exist about Nigeria, the real picture is much more complex.” It is more complex to explain the peculiar characters that are typically of Nigerians in any position of trust, or in any place we may find ourselves? It is of enormous remark how vastly bizarre anomalous run in our blood. Our apt to steal state funds and manipulate conventional systems is second to none on planet earth. The same is our propensity to shady deals, fraud, and appalling crimes. It is sincerely more complex for anyone to understand how these oddities have taken strong root in our culture and in our bloodstreams.

In my own assessment, the core complexities that chronically afflict the Nigerian society today lie mainly in these three tribulations – Ignorance – Indiscipline – Faulty Governmental System.

  • The level of societal ignorance that resulted in the collapse of rule of law and moral values is exceedingly high in our national order.
  • Gross indiscipline that culminated in collective failure to uphold, in high esteem, the precious values of our civil rights and obligations.
  • And thirdly, our faulty federal system of government is too large and ineffective.

The recurring incidents of gross maladministration of the Nigerian nation by successive governments are lucid substantiations that practically betrayed the high level of societal ignorance that’s very much prevalent in Nigeria vis-à-vis the business of self-rule. We simply have no clear understanding of how to run a democratic state as at the time our colonial masters approved the system of government for us. Evidently, unto this day, we still do not have any clue as to how we can efficiently run a democratic state.

To several of our ignorant and uncivilized leaders in Nigeria, democracy is simply the opposite of what it entails. Democracy in our society means despotism, tyranny, absolutism, and official corruption; rather than being a system of government that provides for social equality. Democracy to Nigerian leaders is authority stealing, embezzlement, election rigging, political thuggery, economic sabotage, and the ‘share-money’ syndrome, commonly known as, “Egunje.” And to the Nigerian followership, democracy is simply the removal of brutal military dictatorship that gives room to free-for-all anarchism, societal commotion, ample disorder, and gross indiscipline that is totally devoid of any trait of social cohesion.

Our federalism is needlessly too large, except for giving employment to too many executive rogues to take charge of ample state funds. Thirty-six states in the federation means thirty-six Executive Governors and their Deputies, with their retinue of aids. It means 36 State Assemblies, 36 Speakers and their deputies, outsized senatorial seats, excessive state ministries and commissioners, and endless executive offices for political bandits in a country with such an outrageous level of corrupt culture. How then should we expect anything other than complete breakdown of society as in our present state?

The Nigerian national Coat of Arm adorns the most inspiring motto I have ever come across in the annals of human civilization: “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.”But, in practical demonstrations, this inspirational slogan has no real meaning in our society. The contrary of its valid sense is the case for Nigeria. Our unity is rapidly dying out due to the menace of recurrent ethnic conflicts, and threat of secession from differing ethnic groups on the indictment of government for gross oppression and marginalization. On the other hand, our faith is unbelievably delusional, blind, and utterly sightless to a very baffling fault. We have gullibly allowed the stronghold of organized religion to breed very awkward delusions in our subdued mind of reasoning, to the detrimental level that has made us to be so irrationally contented with not understanding the world we live in. All over our land, as I speak now, the way to God for the entirety of Nigerians is ridiculously dependent on adherence to the creeds of foreign religions. And, day by day, our peace is troubled by constant religious conflicts; where sectarian extremists recurrently murder one another over rival interpretations of religious dogmas. In short, our progress as a sovereign state has ineffectively witnessed very chronic retardation since the last fifty years of independence.

Fellow countrymen, self-criticism is the beginning of self-reform. In the wake of another general election coming up early next year in our country, there is no better time to unleash a great deal of outrage and criticism against a corrupt political class than now; except we are in total accord with the current state of our nation.

As is usual in any customarily corrupt culture like Nigeria, the likes of this outrage are easily distorted and labelled as nothing more than dismal and unpopular noise of disgruntled elements and political losers. Unfortunately, our position is very hard to defend and very hard to garner support in a society that’s deeply immersed in utter corruption and misconduct over the last fifty years. How pretty much rewarding it would be if dissenting voices begin to intensify against corrupt practices in the Nigerian political arena, as a prelude to sensitizing the voters’ choice in our forthcoming general election?

Fellow countrymen, you all will agree with me that the entire world has now entered into the New Age of Reason. Now is the time for us to wake up from the nightmare of unlimited disgusts that compelled several of us into self-exile on foreign lands. The time has now come for us to resolutely begin to take the bull by the horn, and wrestle the power to govern our dear native land from the hands of uncivilized people who have foolishly misused their position of trust in the last 50 years.

Now is the time for great multitudes of Nigerians in the Diaspora who have witnessed true democracy in action in the civilized world to begin to assemble their humble selves into mastermind alliance to foster true development for our nation. We need to sound the clarion call very decisively to our new leaders back home that we can no longer afford the misfortunes of political misrule in our society. The way forward for us is now.  Any patriotic citizen that truly loves Nigeria should, with all sincerity of purpose, encourage the masses to engage in collective reproach of the nation’s political leaders; rather than the ridiculous defence of our national failures that is usually common amongst our people.

Anything that all Nigerians in the Diasporas can do to weaken the stronghold of the old political brigades in Nigeria should be conscientiously done to flush these old crooks out of politics in our fatherland; and this in the end might be our greatest contribution to the progressive development of our dear native land. The time has now come for Nigeria to regain its lost glory as the “Pillar of Africa,” and begin to take giant strides that are comparable with the outstanding successes of the civilized world.

Here comes the big question: What hope is there for Nigeria? From my personal analysis of the current state of the Nigerian nation, the direct answer to this big question is that of a resounding yes. Oh yes! Nigeria can be back on its feet again as the ‘Pillar of Africa’ if we genuinely inculcate the foremost factor of nation building into our national life – discipline.

It takes a nation of disciplined people to embrace and uphold their native culture and religious identity in the uppermost esteem. That, you all will agree, we don’t have any more in our society. A nation of people with astute discipline will always cultivate a dignified respect for state laws, doing all things the proper way, and to the best of their ability; and this also is another chronic deficiency in our national life. In whatever tempo of change that life may bring at any given time, a nation of disciplined populace will always strive with grand dynamism in keeping a steady pace with the reality of life. The reality of life that seriously confronts Nigeria today is to wipe out the ills of our society. The foremost is to reform our mischievous and ill-discipline manners and decisively expel the utterly corrupt, greedy, uncivilized, old, and dim-witted politicians of past eras, completely from our political landscapes.

Go to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, etc, and see what their civilized leaders have done with their oil wealth in their respective countries. Go to Russia or Germany and see what their leaders have done with the money they are making from their steel products. Come to South Africa to see what on earth South Africans have done with Gold money. Very unfortunately for Nigeria, our case is awful and heartbreaking, as our oil wealth has all been stolen into several private bank accounts in Switzerland and other foreign countries.

In civilized nations like Europe, the Americas, South Africa, China, Japan, Korea, etc, their foremost culture is discipline; and this is the ultimate teacher that governs their everyday lives. As soon as we Nigerians make discipline our ultimate model, the high hope for our country will begin to restore in practical manifestations.

I thank you all for listening.

Your friend in reason

Adebowale Ojowuro, Author of The Crisis of Religion

SOCIETAL SHARED ERRORS

March 14, 2011

By Adebowale Ojowuro, Author of The Crisis of Religion

Adebowale Ojowuro, Author of The Crisis of Religion

“Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis. The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life.”  – Sigmund Freud

Professing dogmatic faith in popular superstitions and ancient myths handed down by our primal ancestors are shared errors that have incredibly retarded most of the world, especially Africa, from keeping a steady pace with global scientific, social, economic, and technological progress at a time when a swift focus in these areas is exceedingly crucial for the survival of the human civilization.

Let me acknowledge the fact that publishing The Crisis of Religion has been the most fulfilling part of my life, as it has for several years been my foremost aim to echo my dissenting opinion concerning the ills and tribulations of religion in the society. My intention for doing this is to motivate the outbreak of secularism and common humanism throughout the length and breadth of Africa; a continent where the stronghold of organized religion has chronically bred very awkward delusions for the entire black race to be contented with not understanding the world they live in.

I wish to recognize it in good faith that a number of difficulties have attended my life from all prospects since the release of The Crisis of Religion into the book market. As numerous colleagues, associates, families, and friends could neither grasp nor welcome the purity of the motive that provoked me into writing against their religion. I, however, do not blame anyone of them for their alarming actions towards me, since I am very much aware of the naked truth that the entirety of Africans have strictly been tutored under extreme tyranny of religion never at all to question or reason with faith.

Imagine a country where a 33-year-old graduate of Mechanical Engineering, who calls himself a born-again Christian, does not have the least idea that Jerusalem and Damascus are cities of this world. Of course, this is not funny at all! Thus, in all, extensive population of my compatriots totally lack whatsoever exposure to any other line of critical thinking, except the dogmatic belief systems they have routinely been programmed to accept hook, line, and sinker from childhood.

The faith mentality has turned the bulk of my people into gullible belief engines who have never at any point in their entire life had the discernment to scrutinize the grossest absurdities that impose the reign of stupidity upon their land in the name of God; let alone considering the possibility of the precepts of the phantom of God, they so fanatically embrace, as being incredible con job that originated out of utter fallacies. Hence, I hold no feeling of resentment against anyone.

Nonetheless, I certainly do not think that moral justice allows for any group of people to suffer unfair discrimination, because they have chosen to correct the errors and ills of religion through the astute path of telling the people the cutting truth they do not want to hear.

Amazingly, in the midst of all the odds, I have had the resolute individuality and tolerant optimism to stand by my convictions. Through thick and thin hath the power of rationality and reason ably shepherd me, and well preserve the blotting of my inner conscience from the drench of arrogant self-deceit, hypocrisy, and vicious missiles of repression petrifying from the den of the faith merchants.

There is no God higher than truth, so said Mahatma Ghandi. Because, I truly know that my total disbelief in contradictory theologies of fictionalized gods does not in any way constitute a crime against humanity and the law of any land, I shall devotedly continue to echo my opinion against the despotism of faith to the entire world. So long as I still hold the liberty of speech as my bonafide civil right, I shall, with all sincerity of purpose, carry on stimulating humanity to the critical exigency of our modern civilization, which of course, is the crucial need to relegate religion to the back seat where it actually belongs. It is a fine choice in the right direction for humanity to allow for science and secularism to lead the way in our modern age.

The Crisis of Religion

The trouble with the world is the infamous tenacity of dogmatic believers to accept the bitter truth that religion is an apparatus of mental slavery, which is utterly suppressive of honest inquiries, and by all appearances hostile to human liberty. In short, humanity can no longer afford the dangling of its future hope perilously upon embarrassing belief systems that strictly abhor the application of critical thinking. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us all to repel this enemy of mental freedom in its entirety, to attain upright liberation from the shackles of dogmatic creeds that burden the reign of stupidity on all human minds in the name of God.

As the German Poet and Freethinker, Heinrich Heine, has aptly puts it, In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide… When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind, old men as guides.”

Moral Combat: Interview with Dr Sikivu Hutchinson

March 6, 2011

With the fresh release of her thought-inspiring title, erudite author of Moral Combat: Black Atheist, Gender Politics and the Value Wars, Dr Sikivu Hutchinson, among other things, discusses her inspirations for writing this relevant title, and how topical issues in the book can help our modern society. Sit back and enjoy the hot dialogue conducted by Echoes of Commonsense editor Nathalie Woods.

Dr Sikivu Hutchinson

 
Q: The title of your latest book is very succinct, and especially relevant to our Modern Age; why this book, and why now?

A: Because religion is still America’s national obsession, perversion, and most insidious global export and atheists are on the move. In the book I examine the implications of black Christian religiosity, skepticism, humanism, and atheism from an African American feminist perspective, taking on Christian fundamentalist fascism and the hijacking of public morality.  The so-called “New Atheist” movement has galvanized a broad cross-section of atheists who’ve been increasingly vocal about this.  However, despite longstanding traditions of secular humanism, skepticism, and Freethought espoused by such thinkers as Frederick Douglass, Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen and Richard Wright, Atheism remains a taboo belief system in black communities.  According to the Pew Forum’s 2009 “Religious Portrait of African-Americans” 87% of African Americans describe themselves as religious.”[i]  A majority of African American women go to church on a weekly basis and a majority of African Americans pray and believe that God absolutely exists.  Hands down African Americans are the most religious group in the U.S.

Moral Combat

Q: From your scholarly experience in Cultural Studies, what do you think are the factors responsible for African-Americans’ obsessive adherents to religious practices?

A: It’s important to place black religiosity in both historical and socioeconomic context.  Historically organized religion allowed African Americans to achieve a sense of community, identity, subjectivity, and human worth under the holocaust conditions of American slavocracy.  Those traditions have functioned as a form of insulation from both Jim Crow and de facto segregation.  Over the past several decades, conservative reactionary public policies have all but decimated social welfare in poor and working class communities.  In transit dependent, low income communities of color with limited job, education, health care, and recreational opportunities churches become a life line for some.  For example, due to the intractability of residential segregation in black communities the Black Church has provided social welfare resources from computer training, utility assistance, and prisoner re-entry programs to recreation.  Further, the intersection of institutional racism and global capitalism has stymied sustainable retail and commercial development.  In addition, Christianity has always functioned as a validation of white supremacy and white “civilization.”  This is why white Middle America has had such fascistic conniptions over   Obama’s covert “Muslim” identity. Initially, colonial law held that Christians could not be enslaved.  This belief and practice shifted with the institutionalization of racial slavery in the late 17th century.  So in many regards blacks’ adoption of Christianity was also compensatory; becoming Christian was a means of becoming moral, becoming human, and, in a twisted way, becoming de facto Americans.  Given these dynamics, for many black atheists, actively breaking with religious tradition means you’re surely going to hell!  According to writer Donald Barbera, “Probably the most controversial stance in the majority black community is the disbelief or disregard for a personal God…non-believers and freethinkers in the black community tend not to shout it out.  They are invisible in a sea of Christianity.”[ii]  This invisibility is partly due to the fact that the history of African American civil and human rights resistance is heavily steeped in Judeo-Christian religious dogma, which powered the rise of the Black Church.  Despite white Christian justification for slavery and domestic terrorism, African Americans converted to Christianity and utilized it as a source of succor, community and spiritual redemption. 

Q: There have been many contemporary critiques about the historical role of the Black Church in black civil rights struggle and black life.  What about the socioeconomic implications of black church affiliation?

A: It’s important to understand that black religiosity emerges from a culturally specific survival strategy. It is in many ways a form of dialogue with the unique paradoxes of American national identity. Urban black churches are a reminder that racial segregation is still very much the defining factor of contemporary American life. They remind us that the bromides of post-racialism and colorblindness are toxically false. They sit in silent witness to the race/class metamorphosis of “inner city” neighborhoods, memorializing the ritual turn from white to black and brown. They flatter the rich and damn the poor to dependence, testifying to the lie of American exceptionalism and the American dream. They provide a window onto how faith-based social welfare buttresses capitalism. In below poverty level communities with a church on every corner, commerce and “the sacred” are wedded as the antidote to ghetto “depravity.” So in communities of color, the business of saving souls continues apace.  The moral authority of religious culture (if not churches themselves) remains largely unchallenged, and the absence of flesh and blood black secular humanist institutions underscores faith’s racial divide.

Q:  What major commonalities do the African-American Freethinkers, Humanists, and Atheists share?

 A: In my research on African American atheists, freethinkers, and humanists across the country, several recurring themes emerge.  Many have felt the sting of marginalization and otherness, if not outright ostracism.  Many have found voice through atheist online networks.  Some remain ‘closeted’ due to convention and fear of social stigma. A small minority have “come out” as atheists in their real time networks and communities.  Black secularists on the East Coast are far more visible than those in any other region of the country.   Ideologically, black atheists are distinct from white atheists in that they emphasize social justice and human rights rather than just fixating on science and the separation of church and state.  Black women who identify as atheist and humanist exhibit strong feminist and anti-heterosexist world views on gender roles, the family, sexuality, cultural identity, and education.  Black men who identify as atheist and humanist generally support gender equity principles and hold liberal political views.  Virtually all hunger for greater political visibility and sustained real time community. Over the past two decades the Black Church has increasingly come under fire from black progressives for its homophobia, its failure to act on the African American HIV/AIDS epidemic, its sexist treatment of women, and its financial improprieties.  Many progressive worshippers have criticized these disparities and sought to change the church from within.  However they are distinguished from those who have made a definitive break with religious faith for secular moral and ethical reasons.

Q: What’s your view on same sex marriage; don’t you regard it as another immoral decadence that needs combating in a community of Freethinkers who are supposedly rational people?

A: Opposition to same-sex marriage is emblematic of the same fascistic heterosexist patriarchal regime that constructs women as territory and condemns the human rights of gays and lesbians as an abomination.

 Q: What is the story behind your disbelief in Orthodox theology?

A: I grew up in a secular household.  Both of my parents were activist, socially conscious agnostic/humanist in orientation, black-identified, non-conformist.  Needless to say our lack of religious belief or regular churchgoing was an anomaly in the predominantly black community that we lived in.  The majority of my friends went to church and professed a belief in God, however, with the possible exception of the zealot preacher’s kid who tried to convert me, I never felt overtly pressured to be religious by my peers.  On the other hand I didn’t know any other kids whose parents were explicitly secular, and I certainly didn’t encounter any self-proclaimed atheists in the community.  Door-to-door bible thumpers, Jehovah’s Witness,’ etc. were a regular presence and churches were an intimate part of the fabric of the neighborhood.    

Q: You approach your critique from a feminist perspective.  What are the specific pitfalls of religiosity and coming out as an atheist for black women?

 A: The challenges of achieving baseline skepticism in a traditionally religious, racially and economically disenfranchised community are especially onerous for women.  Constructions of mainstream African American female gender roles and social responsibilities are unquestionably linked to religiosity.  While black women fill the church pews, few of them are deacons, pastors, and Bishops in the patriarchal Black Church.  Of course, as “keepers of home and hearth,” black women are vital to upholding patriarchal roles and responsibilities.  If the Black Church, as an embattled institution, has had a “redeemer” it has been the perseverance of black women.  Thus, for many black women, skepticism, humanism, and atheism are dangerous frontiers that fundamentally threaten their sense of gendered identity and social mooring.

Consequently, when it comes to attitudes about traditional gender roles, gender-based assumptions about black female religiosity are double-edged.  While black male non-believers are given more leeway to be heretics or just MIA from church, black women who openly profess non-theist views are deemed especially traitorous, having “abandoned” their primary role as purveyors of cultural and religious tradition.  19th century Cult of True Womanhood paradigms of idealized pure white domesticated moral femininity still bedevil black women.  Shopworn images of black women faithfully shuttling their children to church and socializing them into Christianity are a prominent part of mainstream black culture.  Tired caricatures of bible thumping God fearing Madea esque black women abound in American pop culture.  And if being black and being Christian are synonymous, then being black, female, and religious or “spiritual” (whatever the denomination or belief system) is practically compulsory.  Insofar as atheism is an implicit rejection of both black patriarchy and “authentic” blackness, black women who would dare to publicly identify as atheists are potential race traitors and gender apostates.

 Q: What is the relevance of your book to the advancement of morality in the world, and where can readers find it?

A: The book assesses the social construction of public morality in America vis-à-vis race, gender, sexual orientation and class.  For the past several decades, much of mainstream public morality has been framed by the Religious Right’s millennialist values wars against social justice and human rights.  In this universe, being moral is all about taking rights away from others in service to a narrow nationalist racist sexist notion of what it means to be authentically American.  Chris Hedges and others have identified this upheaval as Christian fascism. In the book, I look at the unique cultural foundations of American public morality with respect to white supremacist notions of self and other.  If morality can be defined as defense against the amoral other then power and social control are easy to maintain.  The entire narrative of American progress and meritocracy is based on the inherent morality and inevitability of racial hierarchy.  Rich white people who control the majority of the wealth in the U.S. (and, yes, race is important here because the top 1% of the super rich are predominantly European American) have achieved this status through pluck, discipline, and persistence, i.e., moral grit.  So, if poor black people are implicitly lazy, shiftless, and lacking a work ethic, then not only are they lacking in morals but white folks who “bootstrapped” their way up through their own true grit and individual enterprise are by definition morally superior.  If women don’t allow their bodies and destinies to be violently controlled by the state, patriarchy, and organized religion (which are often interchangeable) then it stands to reason that they are immoral.  If gays and lesbians don’t allow themselves to be socially exterminated then of course they are immoral.  If third world peoples insist upon anti-imperialist self-determination free from the geopolitical rookery of the West then they must be against democracy, rationality, and human rights. The book defines morality in terms of social justice and the inalienable human right to social justice.  For example, I spend a considerable amount of time looking at how urban space has historically been deemed immoral and degraded.  The 18th century Jeffersonian rural ideal lives on in the homogeneity of the suburban ideal.  Racially segregated suburbs were originally conceived as an escape from the messiness and “pathology” of urban diversity.  Because of institutional racism and the systematic undermining of affordable public housing and equitable mortgage financing urban areas have always been marked as racially other.  The gentrification of historically black and Latino urban communities has made the picture more complex, but the ethos is still the same—black and Latino communities are considered to be pathological ghettoes/war zones where no self-respecting white person without a development deal or a brand spanking new renovated condo would dare to tread.  Thus, the book challenges and broadens mainstream notions of morality. It challenges the reader to move beyond religious dogma to fundamentally humanist questions of what it means to be a democratic society that assigns moral worth to the right to housing, a living wage job and an equitable education.   What does it mean to give moral worth to gay and lesbian humanity and subjectivity?  What does it mean to view reproductive justice and abortion as a moral right?  What does it mean to have an educational system that assigns moral worth to the cultural and social capital of people of color, granting visibility to the lived experiences, social history, and cultural knowledge of people of color in school curricula?  What does it mean to view the mass incarceration of black people in this country as an immoral miscarriage of justice and democracy, and as a betrayal of supposedly American principles?  These are the moral contradictions and issues that I surface in the book which I hope will be used as the basis for a progressive, activist vision of humanism.  The book is available at CreateSpace and Amazon.com              


REF: [i] “A Religious Portrait of African Americans,” The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, January 30, 2009, 1. 

[ii] Donald Barbera, Black and Not-Baptist: Nonbelief and Freethought in the African American Community, (Illinois: iUniverse, 2003) 22.

The Crisis of Religion: Interview with Adebowale Ojowuro (Part 2)

February 10, 2011
Radical Author of The Crisis of Religion spits fire again: To close one’s mind adamantly to reality and continue to deny the obvious, even in the face of all the evidence, is an appalling disease that’s exceedingly beyond insanity. This is the chronic sickness that terribly afflicts the people of faith in all corners of the world, beyond what the psychiatric specialists can cure.”

Adebowale Ojowuro

We here bring you the concluding part of our interview with African Atheist and author of the latest release and flaming hot book – The Crisis of Religion: The Feral Excesses of the Gullibility of Man.

Interview conducted by Echoes of Commonsense Editor Nathalie Woods. 

 

Q: In the last chapter of your book, you called for the return of Africans to their ancestral religions. Shouldn’t it have been more consistent with your mission if you had called on your people to abandon religious practices as a whole?

A: Of course, I critically perceive weakening the stronghold of organized religion in the lives of majority of the people as being the most important human obligations in our modern age.

Q: Why then the call to a return to ancient devotion; isn’t that a contradiction of your stance against religious practices as an Atheist?

A: It isn’t a contradiction at all. We need to have a starting point with the case of the African nation, because our own situation is totally different to that of other races of the world. You see, if I really want to control your life now, the most effective way for me to do so is to strip you naked of your inherent powers and infuse you with mock clouts. That’s exactly what foreign religions have done to Africans. It is undoubtedly true that several other races of the world have invented their religions out of their culture and traditional beliefs. Africans remain the only race in this world with no known religion that’s connected to its own cultural heritage and values. We are the only nation of people on planet earth with no form of identity we can truly call our own anymore, except our dark skin. It is certainly reasonable for Africans to equally uphold their indigenous faiths, rather than being perplexed servants to foreign gods.

The Crisis of Religion

Q: Is it now the case of Africans and foreign religions? 

A: You may tag it whichever case you like. All I know is that it’s undesirable to undress a nation of people stack naked of their cultural heritage. It’s especially funny how little children are compelled to study Arabic in West Africa so they can recite the Koran off-head and practice Islam devotedly. Show me any land in the Middle East or Asia where Africans can ever have the equal privilege to teach their children a fragment of African indigenous values? Of course, they will chase us away with machetes and guns. Not even the Indians in South Africa will allow any black Africans into their homes to come and compromise their faith in Vishnu with teachings that are unfamiliar and strange to them. Through my long years of reflection and extensive investigations into comparative religion, I sincerely could not identify any difference (outside of the several stages of reformation) between our ancestral faiths and all the dominant religions that now control our lives, because they are all works of fiction. The Biblical God is just another full strength fiction like all other gods known to mankind in ancient mythologies.

Q: How will Africa’s return to ancient practices help collective advancements in the continent?

A: The Chinese or the Japanese will tell you how their steadfast belief in their culture and tradition has aided their advancements in the world. How can a society that does not believe in its own, make any tangible advancement in life? Assuming God truly exists, isn’t it a shameful thing for Africans that the way to attain his kingdom is preposterously dependent on adherents to the dogmas of interlopers? If petty narratives have become the desired object of our happiness in Africa, do such paltry narratives not greatly saturate in the ancient Zulu Kingdom, the ancient Karnem-Borno Empire, the Yoruba and Edo Kingdoms, the primordial Kikuyu and Ashanti Kingdoms, and so on?

Q: What are the questions you’ve raised in your new book regarding religious practices?

A: Atheists, Freethinkers, and Sceptics of all ages have continually raised several pertinent questions regarding the deceptive foundation of dogmatic beliefs in the world; the bulk of which theologians have obstinately ignored, suppressed, and even distorted. I’ve also raised several critical questions on the pages of The Crisis of Religion in an attempt to fix reason firmly in her seat. In whole, I presented more than enough evidence to prove that religion is a cartload of pious fraud; and therein call an obvious bird that walks, swims, and quacks like a duck, by its real name.

Q:From all indications, religion is growing at an explosive rate in Africa; is that not a clear signal that people are not interested in Atheism, Freethought, Secular Humanism, or any other alternative to religion? 

A: Our world has obviously been under the stronghold of organized religion for millennia of years, and dogmatic belief has been deeply entrenched in peoples’ lives through all tactics of religious programming. The general assistance of our institutions of learning, which specialize from elementary level of education to tertiary education in raising gullible belief engines for different facets of religious sanctuaries, as well as training professional preachers in the proficiency of telling lies and preaching fallacious theologies to humankind has helped the advancement of religion at a very alarming rate. However, the touchstone of rationality and reason is fast signalling the inevitable end of dogmatic faith in our modern age. More than ever before, it appears people are rapidly straying away from the misfortune of dogmatic beliefs and are now coming back to the undeniable reality that the elation of rationality in our modern age is much more comforting than the ecstasy of fantasy and delusion. This wind of change will soon engulf Africa as well.

Q: But the faith of the believer is not always based on the support of any empirical evidence; it is, on the contrary, based on a superficial need to believe.

A: Of course, you are very correct! That’s the greatest tragedy in humankind’s history. To close one’s mind adamantly to reality and continue to deny the obvious, even in the face of all the evidence, is an appalling disease that’s exceedingly beyond insanity. This is the chronic sickness that terribly afflicts several people of faith in all corners of the world, beyond what the psychiatric specialists can cure. When it comes to this hag of superstition called faith!  Ooh… people don’t want to reason with it at all… It’s a virus that theologians have bred into this world through core processes of devout indoctrination from childhood. Frankly speaking, the gullibility of man is extremely sickening beyond the pale.

 Q:  Do you see a solution to this problem?

A: If a case of insanity has gone beyond what the psychiatric specialist can handle, what then is more? As Christopher Hitchens has correctly asserted during the Munk Debate, Religion is a real danger to the survival of (human) civilization… it will be the death of us all, the end of humanity.”  However, the cure to the faith mentality greatly lies in the therapy that only the larger corporate group of Atheists, Freethinkers, Humanists, Agnostics, and Sceptics, etc can offer – Critical Thinking. The big challenge is for the rational community to develop a way of extending the application of Critical Thinking into the day to day living of the entirety of humankind, and promote it practice across all facets of life. If we can achieve this colossal feat, even the self-styled prophets and professional preachers whose stock in trade is to preach absurd theologies to others will begin to see the detrimental ignominy of their professional trades in the society.

Q: Do you see a better world without religion?

A: Oh yes! Without religion, I see a better world that gives autonomy to humanistic liberty. I see a world that’s invested in rationality and reason. I see a better Africa that’s not immersed in superstition and ignorance as gullible zombies. More importantly, I see Africans boldly using their innate strength and ability in the service of their vision just like their contemporaries in the western world. I see a better world without religious intolerance and conflicts; I see a better world without suicide bombers and the acts of killing in the name of God.

Q: But do you see this happening anytime soon?

A: The world has now become a global village, so the possibility of radical change in faith is just there. It’s good enough that this whole revolution against religion has actually instigated from the descendants of the very same people whose ancestors repackaged dogmatic faiths into all corners of the world.

Q: I don’t seem to get that fact?

A: Well, what I’m saying here is that some few hundred years ago, Isaac Churchill came to us as a missionary of the ‘Christ Missionary Society’ to introduce his repackaged Jesus to our ancestors through the Anglican Church. Our forefathers believed his words, and his evangelism spreads across the four corners of our land. And now comes Jacob Churchill again through the British Humanist Association, saying, “Nope, our ancestors lied to your ancestors. Jesus is no longer the saviour of the world, here is the evidence from the text itself, let’s rationalize it together. Common Humanism is now the real thing.” Any sensible person should listen to Jacob Churchill and judge the case he has presented based on its merit.

 Q: Why then are people not accepting the new world view based on its merit?

A: It’s a gradual process. Things don’t just happen overnight. Mind you, theologians and professional preachers have done great damage to peoples’ psyche, and this damage still persists. Just watch it, one little thing will trigger the end of faith in our new age. Maybe a radical Pope will one day wake up to his conscience, resign his office, and cry out to the world, “Hey! I’m fed up with being head of this universal deceit.” Then again, if people also solve their social problems, the quest for fantasy in blowing one’s mind through dogmatic faith will diminish in the world; and this is the candid struggle that discerning African leaders must wage against organized religion to liberate their citizens from the bondage of core dogmas.

Q: What are the stories behind your disbelief in God?

A:  You see; an entity that required the belief of all demanded that the evidence of it be equal to all. As I have carefully detailed it in the Preface and First Chapter of The Crisis of Religion, my genuine interest to serve the true Almighty God actually led me into the path of penetrating search for Him. Despite my painstaking efforts in wanting to believe in him and serve him devotedly, my incisive search for God disappointingly revealed such shocking detail that he’s a bogus God that doesn’t exist. The deceit to turn human judgments into divine commands is the hit in the highest point of all spurious impositions that makes religion the most dreadful scam the world has ever known.

Q: If you say there is no God, where then comes the power that controls the amazing order in the universe?

A: Mother Nature, of course! In fact, every proceeding in this world has happened the same way we would have expected life to come about if God does not exist. The fact is undeniable today that the death of ancient gods did not in any way affect natural phenomena such as lightning and rain; neither did the death of Inca and Ra stop the sun and the moon from shinning unto planet earth. It is evident that our universe and everything in it would be unaffected by the demise of the Gods of all earthling religions.

Q: Why do you say religious practices are invented out of fraud?

A: It is very evident to those who have taken the trouble to undertake comparative studies of religion that the religions we now call false were once true. You see, all the Sacred Scriptures that alleged their origins from divine source are altogether a bunch of blatant forgeries and fantasies in relations to nonexistent Gods. For example, the story of the Biblical global deluge of Noah is a direct plagiarism from the Epic of Gilgamesh; the same with the story of Mithras and Jesus. The question that repeatedly arises in my mind is how this hag of superstition called the word of God has conquered the universal intelligence of humankind and surmounts it into the path of continual foolishness?

Q: What is the meaning of life to you?

A: The answer to your question is a bit too long for me to relay in this interview; but I captured my viewpoints as regards the meaning of life very clearly for everyone to understand in the sixth chapter of The Crisis of Religion, under the heading, Reincarnation vs. Resurrection. It’s a very explosive chapter that I would recommend its reading to all, regardless of one’s religious conviction.

The Crisis of Religion: Interview with Adebowale Ojowuro

January 30, 2011
Adebowale Ojowuro

Prominent African Atheist and author of the new release and flaming hot book – The Crisis of Religion: The Feral Excesses of the Gullibility of Man – laments in this interview: “All Africans are perplexed servants of foreign gods.”

Interview conducted by Echoes of CommonSense Editor, Nathalie Woods.

Adebowale Ojowuro, the radical author of The Crisis of Religion bears out his mind on a number of controversial issues regarding religious practices and politics in his native land – Nigeria. The erudite writer is very resolute in his conviction that religion has done more harm than good in Africa, he ignites yet another controversy by suggesting that the proponents of organized religion are undeniably responsible for the global economic recession and extreme poverty in Africa. “When it comes to the core troubles that recurrently afflict us in Africa, religion is the commander-in-chief, never at all the solution.” Echoes of Common Sense editor Nathalie Woods spoke with him about his provocative book “The Crisis of Religion: The Feral Excesses of the Gullibility of Man.” Have a splendid read!

Q: What’s your mission for writing The Crisis of Religion

My clear-cut mission for writing The Crisis of Religion is very frankly stated in the preface of the book. The foremost is to weaken the stronghold of organized religion in people’s lives; most especially in the lives of Africans. The fact cannot be denied that the fanatical flame of the faith mentality has dangerously engulfed the entire black race, breeding very awkward delusions for us to be contented with not understanding the world we live in.

Q: How do you plan to achieve this critical mission

It’s a colossal task, especially in a world that been under the dominant authority of religion for millennia of years. Nonetheless, I plan to follow the process gradually. As things stand now, all Africans have naively become perplexed servants to foreign Gods – the Arabian, Hindi, and the Jewish Gods, etc. Therefore, the first phase of this vital mission is to make the verification clearly evident to naive people of faith that the foundation of their core belief is grossly illicit and detrimental to the development of any civilized society, because it’s intrinsically founded upon chronic fallacies. This is exactly what I have convincingly done within the pages of The Crisis of Religion. That’s the core task of my mission – to expose those deceptive make-ups that formed the basis of dogmatic faiths – in that, such exposé will gradually stimulate people into embracing rationality and reason as a replacement for dogmatic belief system.

Q: Why are you opposed to religious practices

My reasons for opposing religion are very enormous; it’s practically not possible to itemize them all in this interview. I stand passionately in opposition to religion today, because it restricts my right and ability as a human being to think rationally and apply the power of my sensible judgments in the service of my vision. 

Q: Could you briefly shed some more lights into other reasons you have for opposing religion

My other reasons are the horrific acts of evil that several people of faith have committed in the name of religion; including the self deceit that goes along with religious practices; and the extreme fallacies that are deeply rooted in those Holy Scriptures that give authorization to theocratic scammers to perpetrate pious trades in all corners of the world. Go to Nigeria and see how the religions of Christianity and Islam have become very perfect tools for countless Nigerian fraudsters to swindle and fleece the wallets of the gullible majority in their land.

Q: Do you think it’s fair to refer to all religions as con jobs, because Nigerian scammers have hijacked it for selfish ends in their own country

No, no, no! If you think it’s because of the Nigerian case, you mistook my point. What level of incredible con job could be more fraudulent than the scam of indoctrinating little kids into dogmatic beliefs? How else can anyone understand the programming of infants into believing that certain books that give account of ancient people in the Middle East were written in the handwriting of God himself; and to doubt or disbelieve the obvious absurdities in these books is a wilful sin that’s punishable with everlasting torment in a fiery furnace? The end result is that, long before these kids could know how to read and write and think logically, they already believe the fairy tales in those story books to be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Even when they have genuine doubts about its authenticity as they grow up, they are just afraid to raise any question. They must simply believe or face the wrath of God in everlasting hellfire. Tell me, isn’t that an ignoble con job?

Q: Do you see your mission succeeding in Africa, especially in the face of high level of ignorance that’s prevalent in the continent

It’s not only about the case of complex ignorance, what’s most baffling is that it is increasingly becoming impossible in Africa to find any intellectual whose views have not been distorted and twisted out-of-order by religion. This is one of the aspects why I labelled theologians and professional preachers as incredible scammers. The high level of unemployment, poverty, and diseases that’s day in day out afflicting the black continent is another factor that has glued the adherence of Africans to religious practices. When people are hungry, they tend to hold this inverse belief in their heads that it is only God that can provide those foods for them in a factory that Okonkwo has established with drug or fraud money. The gullibility case in Africa is outlandish and very pathetic, and organized religion has really taken advantage of our wretched situation. I think if one persists in preaching the rational message, just as the Bhagavad-Gita, the Bible, and the Koran have been shoved down the throats of mankind repeatedly for millennia of years, perhaps, rationalism will begin to sink into people in Africa; because many of these people of faith have terribly experienced fatal disappointments with their faiths.

Q: How do you mean the people of faith have experienced terrible disappointments within their respective faiths

Well, the answer is not far-fetched! It’s just that people cannot think straight at all. Otherwise, the urge should be on the rise for theology to be eradicated from our learning institutions, because it’s the study of downright lies. It’s a practical example of how education has destroyed factual knowledge in the world. If you go to a country like Nigeria, my motherland; of course, you will not be able to differentiate which one is the greater narcotic between religion and illicit drugs. The evils of religious conflict emanating from devout madness, sectarian intolerance, ignorance, hates, and the acts of killing in the name of God are the insanities that now confront the so-called people of God in a country of countless number of churches and mosques. The present day Nigeria, under the dominant authority of organized religions, is a nation where anyone cannot differentiate the least disparity between the characters of the churched and the unchurched, the godly and the ungodly; which clearly portrays the disservice and numerous crises that dogmatic beliefs have burdened upon Africans. Discerning people can see these abject disappointments.

Q: What’s the reaction of Africans to your book

Majority of South Africans are receiving my message with liberal minds, and I think Secular Humanism will make significant advancement into Africa from this region if extensive awareness campaign is sustained. However, the job will not be particularly made easy by majority of church operators flocking into South Africa from Nigeria in the last couple of years to establish their lucrative religious trades in all corners of South African cities.

Q: I’ve recently read an article you posted on your facebook page – ‘Restoring Nigeria’s Misplaced Honour’ – where you lambasted successive Nigerian leaders without exception as “uncivilized”; don’t you fear you may be arrested if and when you go to your country

Haaah! They dare not arrest me! You see, as Thomas Paine once wrote, “The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government.” How can anyone arrest me for performing my civic duties? You’ve read the article, right? Do you think you’d be arrested in Britain for writing such a good stuff? Of course they dare not arrest me!

Q: And if they did?

That would be a grave mistake on their part, because they would have had no legitimate case against me, for the simple reason that I have plainly proclaimed the truth about our so-called leaders.

Q: I fear you may be arrested, given the long-standing record of human-right abuses, oppressions, and despotic tendencies that are prevalent in Nigeria

If they arrest me unjustly, that would be an abject betrayal of such uncivilized manner that is now the subject of our discussion.

Q: What’s your opinion regarding the Tony Blair vs. Christopher Hitchens’ recent topic for debate – “Be it resolved, religion is a force for good in the world”

The two eminent debaters were very articulate in their presentations. But I totally disagree with the points that Mr Blair advanced about religious charity. I honestly cannot see how religion can be a force for good in the world, simply because it engages in charity works with bloody hands.

Q: Apart from Islamic extremists, the modern-day religions don’t kill anymore

Who says they don’t kill! Go to Nigeria and see the evidence of killing in the name of God for yourself. That’s when you will know how core dogma has made people become pretty much insane. The faith mentality also kills the human brains and minds from functioning properly.

Q: In a nutshell, you don’t agree that religion can be a force for good in the world

Not in this world, perhaps in their own imaginary world in heaven or hell! However, let no one rule it out completely;  religion can definitely be a force for good in the world, but it moderators would, at least, have to give up three things. The first will be to renounce all supernatural claims, as Christopher Hitchens has rightly said. The second would be for all religions to insert the annotation at the head of their respective Holy Scriptures that, “All literary works and characters contained in this book are plainly works of fiction, except for some detached historical facts.”  And the third, of course, is for all religious organizations to release into the global economy, those enormous resources they’ve been holding redundant in their vaults; only then can religion be a force for good in the world.

Q: Isn’t that a bunch of unrealistic condition

I am yet to see anything that can be so detrimental to global economy and, in fact, human survival in this modern age than this huge diversion of scarce resources – cash – by religious organization. What is there unrealistic in asking for redundant monies to be injected into an active global economy that’s fast dwindling? You’ve heard Tony Blair telling the whole world during the Munk Debate that the proponents of organized religions came together to use their influence to facilitate the cancellation of debts for poor African countries. Why didn’t they just pay off those debts on our behalf, just as they say their Jesus came into this world to repay their God on behalf of humankind for the sins he did not commit.  Religion moderators are basically the architect of the current global economic recession the whole world currently suffers.

Q: Where can people find your book

The Crisis of Religion is available on several online bookstores around the world – Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, Fishpond.com in Australia, Kalahari.net in South Africa, Kalahari.co.ke in Kenya, Kalahari.com.ng in Nigeria, NbcIndia.com, Infibeam.com, TheNile.com in New Zealand, Ibs.it in Italy, etc… The Kindle edition is also available on Amazon.com.

Interview to be concluded…

Read more…