Beliefs; Yours Or Mine?, By Bamidele Ademola-Olateju

Two things happened last week and those two things plunged me into deep thoughts. One, the chaotic American withdrawal from Afghanistan, and two, the reaction on Facebook to politicians on opposing side, who attended Yusuf Buhari’s wedding. Underlying both situations on a broad scale are two things: beliefs and anger. Beliefs and anger are destroying the world.

I want this to be short. This update will dwell on belief very briefly. Beliefs are shaped by cultural and social norms. Belief is not only about religion, it is what we consider to be true, a fact. Beliefs shape our lives and help us navigate a complex world because it affects what we think about ourselves, other people, and society. Beliefs cannot be tested, it is not concise. It is not even clear, it is only held with confidence.

I, Bamidele believe in the enormous potential of Nigeria and its people. What is that? Even among my friends, not all of them hold this belief. Does that mean I am right and they are wrong or vice versa? I was raised to believe in the Christian God. Can we say with clarity that the Christian God is different from the Muslim God or the pantheon of gods in Yoruba cosmology or the Indian multiple gods? Is religion not a belief taught early by parents and shaped by experiences around us? All of us were born with a clean slate without preconceived beliefs. Because we are born to find meaning in existence itself, we are naturally inquisitive. Our parents, the environment we are raised in, give us answers, which our young, impressionable minds absorbs and are molded by it. From the religion we adopt to our behaviors, our upbringing play a huge role. For example, I have a firm, almost inscrutable belief that waste can lead to bad karma because many in the world do not have enough to eat. I did not develop this on my own, my mother literally deposited it in me. I believe it is one of the reasons I’m fat 😁 because I don’t allow food to waste. Now as an adult, I’m struggling to change that but I have not been successful. Would you as an Igbo man be a Christian, if you were born and raised in Sokoto? Would you, a man born in Birnin Kebbi have been a Muslim if you were raised in Gboko?

I can safely assume that 99% of Nigerians believe in God with extreme confidence. I do too. However, we hold this belief with high degree of confidence but without clarity. What do I mean? None of us can say where we come from and where we are going for sure. It is all a matter of belief. That is why, the appointment we have with God is often the cause of anxiety and extreme fear. All us will like to postpone the appointment if we have the power. If given the choice, we will even cancel the appointment.

Religion exists because we are afraid of where we are going. No one human being has that clarity even if we all have the confidence that we are going to heaven. If we are confident, we will ask God to let us die now. How then do you think your religion and other beliefs you hold are superior to mine? Think!

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