The imperative of religious tolerance



Carl Marx had said that religion is the opium of the people. In this world, there are various religious faiths through which man supposedly communes with the Creator of the universe. This supernatural being is called God by some religious faiths, while some other religious faiths call him some other names.

From time immemorial, man is conscious of the fact that there’s a supernatural being that created the world and everything that dwells in it. This supernatural being created life and death. He created the mountains, seas, oceans, rivers and all living things.

This supernatural being causes living things to sleep and wakes them up. This supernatural being created all human beings on the surface of the earth. He makes men with the same colour of the blood, even though with different blood groups and genotypes.

Despite the fact that there are different blood types and groups, one thing is common; all human beings on the surface of the earth have the same colour of blood regardless of race, colour and creed. Is it not amazing that all animals, especially human beings have the same colour of blood whether they are black or white? Is it not amazing that the supernatural being made all human beings with the same number of legs and hands? Is it not bewildering that the creator of the universe made man in different colours in various parts of the world, yet they all have the same features?

When one thinks deeply about this supernatural being it lends credence to the fact that only compound fools think that there’s no God or whatever name that your religion calls the creator of the world. Only compound fools who are referred to as atheists that would think that human existence originated from whatever evolution. If human beings originated from evolution, then where did the evolution itself originate from?

The truth of the matter is that there is a source from where everything living and non-living originated from. Man wants to return or meet this supernatural being after earthly existence and that was the origin of religion. Thousands of generations before the present generation bequeathed to us with the present religions that we are practicing even those generations of yore could not say with exactitude that their modes of communication with the supernatural being or creator of the world were approved by the creator himself.

In the present world, the majority of the inhabitants practice the religions that they were born into. For instance, most Christians practice Christianity because they were born into it. Most Muslims practice Islam because they were born into it. It is only a negligible percentage of the adherents of these faiths switched religious faiths on their own volition.

Religion has become the most divisive factor or tendency in the world today. Religious affiliation has polarised the human beings, with man killing fellow man to propitiate or please the creator of the world. It’s common nowadays to see professors and even the most educated human beings being influenced by religion. No human being on earth today determined or decided which part of where he/she was born. The place one was born predominantly influenced the religion he/she practices today.

Therefore, if man does not control his existence on earth, why should man kill fellow man due to religion? No human being can say with certainty that his/her own religion is the right or true way to God, only the dead can answer such a question.

This writer was born a Christian and still practices Christianity. I used to hold tenaciously the belief that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. But with maturity in age and experiences of life, I do not think so again. If Jesus Christ is the only way to God as a portion of the Bible wants Christians to believe, what about those before the birth of Jesus Christ? Were they condemned to eternal damnation because they were created before the biblical birth of Jesus Christ?

Why should a man kill a fellow man to please the supernatural being? Since the supernatural being created all human beings, did God give some religious faiths the mandate to kill other religious faiths for blaspheming or disobeying Him? In the first place, why should God create human beings who will blaspheme or fight against Him? Is God too powerless to delegate the killings of mere mortals to fellow mere mortals? I do not believe what the Bible says that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.

Good Muslims and other religious faiths across the world will meet God after death if they led a good life here on earth. What causes religious upheavals and divisions across the world is the belief by adherents of one religious faith that their religion is the only right way to God against others.

In Africa, all religious faiths were imported by the missionaries centuries ago, none of these religious faiths originated here. Before the arrival of these missionaries, there were Africans who were conscious of the existence of the supernatural being. Are we saying that none of them met the expectations of the supernatural being throughout their existence on earth?

For those striving and killing millions of fellow human beings in the world in order to achieve one religion on earth, will there be peace in the world if one religious faith exists? Assuming there is only Christian or Islamic faith in the world, will religious killings abate or will human beings still be killed for not practicing that one religion very well?

Why should God or Allah create infidels or unbelievers, send them to the world and mandate non-infidels to kill those infidels or unbelievers? Do infidels or unbelievers believe that God or Allah also created non-infidels or were infidels created by another supernatural being? It’s foolhardy to kill a religion in order to please the supernatural being who never in the first place mandated you to kill innocent human beings He created. When a human being blasphemes against the supernatural being, leave the punishment to the supernatural to mete it out by Himself.

Of all the inventions of mankind, man has not been able to create the tiniest object which can breathe. Man has done wonders on earth, yet man has not been able to create any living thing even smaller than an ant with blood in it. That shows the sacredness and sanctity of human life.

What you cannot create, don’t kill in the name of criminality and religion. No mortal knows the right and appropriate religion which has God’s approval. Practice yours and let me practice mine. Religious extremism is when some religious faiths insist their religion is the only true way to God. We must imbibe the virtue of religious tolerance for peace to reign in the world.

Maduako writes from Owerri, Imo state via [email protected]