By Douglas Anele

IF, as believers argue, Lucifer has the power to deceive people, it is possible that the evil one would deceive them into accepting as the will of God something which Lucifer himself actually intended. Most believers dogmatically maintain that God’s will is embodied in the scripture. But which one? Generally, people accept the book considered sacred in the society in which they were born, and out of that book they select the parts that suit their purposes, neglecting the others.

There was a time when the command: “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live” was one of the most influential texts in The Holy Bible. But nowadays, except for some deranged fanatics, most Christians ignore it. Pastors are fond of quoting those verses in The Holy Bible that would either increase their power over church members or encourage church members to be cheerful givers to the church. They hardly mention those texts where Jesus condemned riches or where he showed by example that true leaders must be servants. Human beings believe various things for several reasons. Some of those beliefs are based on evidence. For instance, if one wants to know when Nigeria got her independence, a well written authoritative book on the history of the country can supply the information.

However, when the matter is controversial, things become somewhat complicated, and the basis of belief becomes more tenuous. We tend to believe those things that make us feel good about ourselves, our ethnic group, and country etc, in spite of evidence to the contrary. The indulgent feeling of self- importance, individual or generic, is the source of religious beliefs and, hence, of most of our problems. Religion teaches that humans are special creatures made in the image of God and that all the acts of cosmological creation are centered on homo sapiens. Even the concept of Original Sin is based on man’s feeling of self importance. Indeed, the theologies of the three Abrahamic religions, namely, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are based on human conceit.

Adam, if the book of Genesis reports truly, must be feeling good with himself that Yahweh could orchestrate vast astronomical phenomena for his own pleasure. These religions assume dogmatically without good evidence, in regard to the doctrine of heaven and hell, that homo sapiens is the most important creature in the entire universe. Naturally, because all theologians are human beings, this idea has not really been seriously challenged. After the emergence of the theory of evolution, the uncritical glorification of humans mutated. We are now told that the mechanisms of evolution were deployed by God to achieve his purpose here on earth. At first sight, this theory appears to reconcile theology with science. But there are serious difficulties with this “reconciliation”.

Experts in the relevant scientific disciplines posit that life evolved on earth about 3.5 billion years ago, from simple, self-replicating   macromolecules, to the present species of organisms. But believers insist that homo sapiens were created by God in the fullness of time. I am not sure whether creationists have really considered fully the detailed information about the origin of life and the evolution of organisms contained in the biological sciences before positing that the earth and its contents are the handiwork of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and infinitely good God.

On the basis of the well-corroborated theory of evolution, one should suppose that it took the deity about 3.5 billion years to create all the celebrated mass murderers in recorded history, people like Josef Stalin of Russia, Benito Musolini of Italy and Adolf Hitler of Germany. If creationists were correct, why does the path of evolution, both at the micro level of molecular biology and genetics and macro level of species, seem to be the product of blind, but not completely random, processes? Gottfried Leibniz, a German philosopher, suggested that this world is the best of all possible worlds. I strongly disagree, because I can easily imagine a much better world than the one we have at the moment.

If God really has all the attributes conventionally ascribed to him, why did he spend billions of years to produce a world redolent with fantastic beauty and mind-numbing ugliness and evil? If I am omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and benevolent, the world I will create would be better than this one. I certainly will not create a world in which diseases and natural disasters kill thousands of people on a regular basis. The holy scriptures, because they were written by humans unduly glorify our species. For instance, The Holy Bible affirms that our bodies are “wonderfully and fearfully made”, the “temple of God”, in spite of the obvious fact that the human body is subject to a bewildering variety of diseases, and decays at death.

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