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Theresa Omoronyia: The Irony of Religion

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The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyrannyWole Soyinka

Isn’t it ironic that Islam which many Muslims agree is a religion of peace is used by many Jihadists, and even some governments like Sudan, to oppress others? Isn’t it ironic that Christianity which is a religion founded on the love of God through Jesus Christ, has been used by many Christians to hate, cheat, steal and kill? History is full of examples of that, the Crusades, the Inquisition, anti-Semitism, Witch-hunting/killing, etc. Even today in our own dear country we are well aware of people who claim to be Christians yet practise pure wickedness. In all cases, these people justify their wickedness with Holy Scriptures, encouraged by their clergy/leaders.

This article is not to condemn religion in itself but the people who use it as a cover for evil. The reason we continue to see such violations of religion is mostly because people are ignorant of what their religion teaches. So they listen to deceptive clergymen and women, who twist passages of the Holy Scriptures to satisfy their own ignorance and selfishness.

The Holy Bible put it nicely when it said in Hosea 4:6a, “My people perish for lack of knowledge”. The knowledge of what God wants liberates us from committing vile acts and thus glorify Him. I don’t think God is glorified when we hurt others in His name. I don’t think God is glorified when people are disgusted with religious attitude that causes injustice. On the contrary we make God look bad. People say things like, “If that is how your God is, then I don’t want to have anything to do with Him”. Is it any wonder that more and more people are becoming atheists now? They are simply put off by the irony they see among adherents of the different religions. Religion should be attractive, sadly its the reverse due to our attitudes.

So what is the way out? The story of the pregnant Sudanese woman,Meriam Ibrahim, facing death for being a Christian, gives us ideas. As painful as that story is, there is one aspect few people see: courage. Her courage, but even more amazing the courage of her Muslim defence team! Why would these men whose religious clerics have ruled that this woman be hanged for being a Christian, defend an ‘infidel’? These Muslim men have received death threats for daring to go against the ruling of the religious scholars, yet they persist. Why?

Knowledge
These educated men, lawyers by profession, who are used to defending and refuting claims, knew that just because a passage is in the Scripture it doesn’t mean it should be used arbitrarily. This knowledge made them to refuse the ‘wisdom’ of the clerics who are limited by their traditions and hatred. Slavery, murders, rapes, injustice, human trafficking have been perpetrated by criminals who try to assuage their guilty conscience with Scripture passages or support from confused clerics of all religions. Don’t be deceived friends, even the devil quotes religious passages.

So yes you may be tempted to do something that is against the fundamental principle of your faith. And the person telling you to do this may not look like the devil with horns and a tail. It may actually be by someone you respect or love. As long as what they are suggesting is contrary to what you know about your religion, you must reject it. Don’t forget to place any justification you are given in context, the wider picture. It may have been relevant many centuries ago with its peculiar customs, but is it relevant in the 21st century? Does it make sense to you? Would you want that to be done to you also?

Respect for others
Another reason why these Muslim lawyers are defending this Christian woman is because they respect her views. They don’t necessarily agree with her faith, but they definitely see her as a human being first. Believe it or not, we can agree to disagree, we can still live side by side even though we don’t see eye to eye on the same issues. Why do you hate another person sorely on the basis of who they pray to, how they worship, and their customs? Why judge a whole tribe or religion on the basis of a few criminals? Shouldn’t we be judged on the basis of our character instead?

Loyalty to ethics, not just any leader
Loyalty is good, but if misplaced, it can be a disaster. The reason some Germans participated in the Holocaust was due to loyalty to the Nazis. The reason Hutu Rwandans committed such horrific atrocities during the Genocide against the Tutsis, was because of loyalty to their Hutu tribe. The reason corrupt politicians and hateful clerics who plunder us and incite us to hate still get away with their crimes is because some people feel loyal to them on the basis of tribe, religion, political party, gender, etc. Like the Muslim defence team, we should be loyal to higher ideals of humanity first, then we can test if a leader deserves our loyalty. This moral compass will save us from blindly following leaders who are themselves blind and self-serving.

Courage
It takes courage to do what these men are doing. Each day, they walk in the realization that that could be their last day on earth, yet they choose to do the right thing. I wonder why these men do this, I wonder why the lady herself simply refuses to save her life by renouncing her religion. The answer is found in her statement,“I know I could stay alive by becoming a Muslim and I would be able to look after our family, but I need to be true to myself.”

That’s the answer folks, we will need courage to be “true to ourselves”. Imagine how pathetic it is to look at yourself in the mirror and hate yourself for being a coward, too afraid to do the right thing, say the right thing, defend the oppressed, just because you don’t want your family and friends to disassociate from you? It was Shakespeare who said, “a coward dies a thousand deaths, but a hero only once.” And that is why these Muslim men defend this Christian woman’s life.

I believe like Chude Jideonwo’s book title, we are the ‘Turning Point Generation’. As our country slips towards anarchy, we have to wake up and rescue it before it is too late. It will be sad that with all our education, exposure, enlightenment and opportunities, we refused to unite to stop charlatan leaders from using our insignificant differences against us. It will be sad that we were too scared to confront deception and ignorance headlong. It will be sad that we bought into the lies, conspiracy theories and blame-games peddled by selfish leaders. What will make it even more sad is the disgust we would feel when we look at the mirror and see the pathetic coward who wasted opportunities to make a difference.

I don’t know about you, but I choose to be #UnitedAgainstTerror. I encourage joining protests, but there must be other ways we can unite to tackle our differences which are driven by suspicions, mistrust and bitterness. Any practical suggestions?

Photo Credit: forharriet.com
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Theresa Omoronyia is a trained business analyst and has degrees in Management Science and Computer Science. She lives with her husband and son. Theresa enjoys being with people and her passion is to help those who are hurting. Please visit her blog for inspiration and motivation at http://thesisterskeeper.blogspot.co.uk

I think everyone has unique attributes to make a positive impact in this world. I hope my articles encourage people to "think right, feel right and do right". Professionally I am a trained business analyst with degrees in Management Science and Computer Science. I am happily married with children. I blog at http://thesisterskeeper.blogspot.co.uk

31 Comments

  1. Commentrina

    May 28, 2014 at 10:43 am

    Theresa, I want to ingest what you’re saying…as I really believe the underlying philosophy…BUT I can’t reconcile this piece with the person who gave Mz Socially Awkward that patronising advice yesterday on Regina Askia’s article.

    • Theresa Omoronyia

      May 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      Thanks Commentrina for your comment and thoughts. I try to be guided by principles that may not always appeal to others, but which are borne out of truth, respect and more importantly LOVE. The Bible especially the New Testament are full of passages supporting that. A classic example is the Golden Rule of Jesus, which is the summary of all religious laws: ” Love the LORD with ALL of your heart…love your neighbour as you love yourself.

      This makes me see the good in people who may not necessarily be like me, but who also want peace & harmony. These concepts are evident in both this article and my response to Mz S.A yesterday. I believe there is good in everyone and we have to discipline ourselves not to cry “wolf, wolf”, every time we encounter differences. We also have to stop playing the victim or thinking there is a “them versus us” conspiracy going on. Until we change these mindsets, we will always react emotionally out of fear. And yes there might be evidence behind our fears, but very often it has been blown way out of proportion.

      Whether Muslims or Christians, Single or Married, North or South, Career Moms or Stay-at-Home Moms, …etc, united we stand, divided we fall. Like the rainbow, there is beauty, not threat, in diversity. 🙂

    • slice

      May 28, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      your comment to Mz SA missed making one crucial point. The issue not that there’s a meeting for married women. it’s that the meeting is for women but singles are excluded. last i checked single women are women. that was an error on their part. Once you clearly make that and accept that point, you can now say to her, it is entirely possible they meant no slight. just bad use of words. BTW, my church is organizing a women’s conference and ALL women are invited.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      May 29, 2014 at 5:23 pm

      Hello Theresa, good article and I’m aware this response is out-of-place on this page (as opposed to the relevant page which featured Regina Askia’s question). However, I need to say something here because when you wrote this above – “We also have to stop playing the victim or thinking there is a “them versus us” conspiracy going on. Until we change these mindsets, we will always react emotionally out of fear.” – I realized how much you missed the valid point I was making.

      Really and truly couldn’t care less if I tried, about this “them” or “us” factions that you’ve outlined. This is what I reacted to – the fact of single women being automatically excluded from events targeted at “women” in our worship community, which I found completely unacceptable. Here are the questions I posed to the organizers of the event (& I need to point out here that the average age of the organizers is probably something like 34years old for the collective group… just so you understand there’s no generational gap involved…) – if a woman’s married and hasn’t got kids, would she be invited a “woman”? Answer was yes. If a woman was married and is now widowed, will she be invited as a “woman”? Answer was yes. If a woman was married and separated, would she be invited as a “woman”? Answer was yes. So among all these categories, what do you think, Theresa, is the common denominator?

      I never, ever want to be that person identified as playing the victim. However, I will also never stop speaking out about silly things like this which segregate females. And the group I normally see encouraging that segregation tends to be married females. Still, your points on the other page are appreciated and taken on board so we’ll just agree to disagree on this subject. My main thrust here is to clear up that unwanted tag you’ve applied above (i.e. the “them versus us” conspiracy theorists).
      Enjoy a nice evening.

    • Theresa Omoronyia

      May 29, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      @Mz S.A, I thank you very much for your comment. I appreciate your honesty and getting things off your mind, it’s a beautiful thing. In answer to your comment, I must admit it was difficult marrying the points raised in this article and my comment left in response to yours yesterday. I gave the “us versus them” answer as a general rule of thumb because it’s so easy for us humans to fall into that trap.

      I know because I have been there. Even in my church, there is this subtle “whites versus blacks” thing going on. Among the blacks, there is “Nigeria versus non_Nigerian” thing going on. It is so easy to fall into this clique wahala, I tell you. It takes efforts and a constant renewal of minds and efforts to work together, and tear down walls we so easily put up. And it usually because we tend to feel at ease with people who we share similarities with. But that stifles growth and learning which sometimes from the most unlikely sources.

      I don’t see you as a person who has a “victim mentality”, your comments on BN certainly don’t portray you as such. :-). And I think you should challenge what you think is wrong in your church, after all we are called as iron to sharpen each other and look out for each other as Watchmen/women. I think your church was wrong in that regard esp since they had called it a conference for WOMEN. I hope they learn in future to be more inclusive. But please remember these sisters may just be ignorant or stuck in their ways, don’t let them steal your joy dear. BTW I enjoy the perspectives of all, married and single. Sometimes you want to hear something different from babies and husbands! 🙂

      Have a pleasant evening sister.

  2. Olive

    May 28, 2014 at 11:29 am

    First, Sad that no one has commented. This article speaks volumes. We are so consumed over our differences that have been preset by our leaders and backgrounds, that we forget to fight for justice and peace. We as Nigerians have no sense of empathy at all! Religion is good, and it provides us the wisdom to be intellectual. Sometimes we abuse it and become so fixated on the idea of being ‘religious’ than being wise and gracious to all men.

    • Theresa Omoronyia

      May 28, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      @Olive, you are very right. Our selfish leaders know that as long as they keep us divided, we can’t unite to challenge them. It’s the ‘Divide and Conquer’, game and it works as long as people are ignorant. While we squabble over insignificant differences, they meet regularly to loot our commonwealth. Shine your eyes Nigerians!

  3. nikky

    May 28, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    You make it sound like jihadists and Christian crusaders or people who carry out atrocities in the name of religion are mostly following charismatic leaders who lead them astray by their misinterpreted version of whatever the said religion is supposed to preach. Following this logic you chose to ignore explicitly written texts in Islam or Christianity that gives them justification for their actions. Waging a holy war against infidels is explicitly written so is stunning adulterers and women who are not virgins. Aside from these scripture supported violence there are also parts that supports showing love and tolerance to your fellow man and even unbelievers. It’s not a matter of misinterpretation at all, the Koran and the Bible are quite bipolar in their stands on a lot of behavior. Because these texts are seen as holy they can’t be revised or updated to meet our current “civilized” world, therefore religious people continue to live by the parts that either agrees with their humanity or inhumanity some just totally give up on religion altogether. My whole point here is that religion is and will continue to be one of those many tools that we use to not only divide ourselves but also to do good and evil and until we realize that we are human beings first before even understanding the concept of God and consciously choosing to follow a particular religious path either because of our parents or because it feels right. Either way we can consciously choose to do good even when our religion, family, friends or even tribe say otherwise.

    Sorry for the long story.

    • Theresa Omoronyia

      May 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      I admit religion has been used as a tool for oppression, but it has also been used for great good. Just like a kitchen knife can be used for food preparation, it can also be used as a weapon to hurt others. It all depends on the person who is using it. If a bad person uses it, they will justify their actions with it, but a good person will use it to help others.

      Please don’t think I am someone living in a bubble. I know what it means to hate and be angry because of injustices and pain inflicted by others, even those of my own religion. I know! But I have chosen to seek the TRUTH about my relationship with God. It is this relationship with God which makes me, the person holding the knife (religion), to use it either for good or bad.

  4. Theresa Omoronyia

    May 28, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    @Slice, I accept your point and I see clearly now :-). I think the church should have specified it in the advert that it was for married ladies only. All the same, let’s forgive them, people in the church are error-prone too. I hope all parties resolve this issue and not let resentment fester. it’s not worth it.

  5. Adesuwa

    May 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    @Nikky, no need for apologies, your write up was excellent. Theresa, you need to read the BIBLE and QURAN before you write this kind of piece because of its sensitivity. There are explicit statements in the Quaran and Haddith that justify terrorism, oppression, pedophilia etc. This is not a matter of misinterpretation or the muslims reasoning. If anyone has to reason or question an explicit statement or text in their “holy book” used by all under that faith, then they need to question their faith.

    • Theresa Omoronyia

      May 28, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      It is because of the sensitivity of religion and how it can be used for good or bad, that I chose to write this article. I used the example of the Muslim defence team of the Christian lady to show that we are people first before belonging to different religions.

      And yes I have read the Bible, and I have listened to debates by Muslims and non-Muslims. My conclusion is that most of us want the same thing: peace. But that can only happen when we respect each other’s view. I also want to urge us to look at the examples of good Christians and Muslims, not only the criminals who use it to commit havoc. Thanks

    • BBB

      May 28, 2014 at 4:52 pm

      I would like for you to quote the part of Quran that Justifies Terrorism & Oppression.

    • teniola

      May 28, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      The problem with us people is that we don’t take time to educate ourselves. You say the Qur’an has explicit versions supporting terrorism, bring out this verses, so the world can read and point out. These holy books, Bible, Torah, Qur’an, were all writtem centuries ago in languages other than English. At times, in the process of translation, meaning is lost and moreso when context is missing. The Qur’an is not man made, it is the words of Allah has revealed to His Prophet. The hadith on the other hand, is a recollection of what people remember of the Prophet, is deeds and words. The basis of sharia is Hadith, and it is a known thing that some hadiths are just pure fabrication. Adesua, please don’t just recommend the reading of the Qur’an and Hadith, please read it yourself, better still google it. Don’t read to judge, read to understand. Am a Muslim, and since all this weird negativity started, I have picked the Qur’an and googled Islam on a number of subjects. I also read the bible, when my Christain friends argue, I research on it, to know the truth. People need to calm down, put sentiments aside.
      “Allah forbids you not, with regard to those fight you not for faith nor drive you out of your homes, from dealing kindly and justly with them; for Allah loves those who are just” (Q60:8).
      Sorry, for the long write up

  6. Ami

    May 28, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    This was much needed.
    I believe tribe, country, sex, colour, religion any thing that can help people distinguish themselves from another group of people can be hijacked and used to carry out atrocities if ignorance and intolerance is wide spread, Because human beings ( even loners) need for companionship and need to feel they belong. You will be amazed by the atrocities people will make themselves believe is right just to cement there sense of belonging. On the small scale think secondary school clicks.

    The problem is people also have a sense of self reservation and because you are better together as a group than an individual, they also try for group preservation. All is well and good until you start placing your priority above others, and believe you inhibit a space above all others.

  7. Truth

    May 28, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Theresa I get what you are saying,religion also is one of Nigeria’s biggest problem, for I rather worship a creature like my ancestors, than dash my hard earned money to enrich a human being like me. If I want I can pray to my creature, I don’t need anyone to do it for me, after all they are not better than me, we are all sinners before God; and this is what most religious people forget. In the case of their current nigerian bred youths being the ones to change naija, I am skeptic about that . I believe that the traditional rulers are more to blame than the actual politicians we appoint, I mean it is the trad rulers that the people usually listen to more than the politicians. I have also witnessed that so many Nigerians,especially the youth have a weak mentality when it comes to morals, integrity and ethics, for most it is free for all money fast mentality, get mine through all means mentality. Most nigerian youths sell their integrity and ethics to the highest bidder, so with such polarized misfortune when it comes to our youths what makes chude and u believe that this generation can change things, when we are still bowing to failed leaders as honorables and so on. I believe in a better nigeria, but I believe that the youths must change the way they think and start considering their futures and not just looking for a few change to “oil” their palms. nigeria has no great leader for one to aspire to, no national museums or anything that we could point at and say this was what our leaders in the past accomplished for the people. A perfect example of what nigeria is represented by the unity fountain!which should have water flowing every second and should be one of the main attraction in nigeria! especially our capital! but no, there are weeds and no water and it looks like hopes went and died there. So in actuality that fountain after all represents nigeria. Nigeria could be a tourist heaven if packaged and cleaned, but no our leaders and busy appoint this committee and than and nothing comes out of it. I remember my first few months in nigeria I went to ministry of environment to inquire about getting data on the land sliding issues in the eastern and western part of nigeria, and what I was told was that ” you are no longer in America, we don’t have such facilities;” I was shocked, abi this na ministry of environment, where else am I suppose to get the data I need to do my research, but the lady laughed me and told me that it would better if I go my self and collect the data I need personally from the land sliding sites. I realized that for a country that Prides it’s self in being the giant of Africa, there wasn’t even a national research laboratory, so I decided to go on my own and try to gather the data I can. Four months later in abuja after I had relocated to nigeria, I convinced some of my sorority sisters to come visit nigeria as see if they could find business opportunities to start up ( we did find a lot) and perhaps see naijas potential for world tourism, and three bravely came, and one with her brother. I took them to a suya place to go eat. Acquainted some people and two days later one of the guys texted my oyinbo guy friend inquiring how he was doing and ish and then after a few chats he started telling his horror story about being a graduate and looking for a job for the last 5 years after youth service, and then asked my friend if he could give him some money, ” find something for the boys nau, make man well body . ” My friend was confused he asked me if we borrowed any money from the guy ,and I said no, we even paid for their food that day, so he asked what does this guy think I am, a bank. I was so shocked the next day to hear that the same young man had called again asking for money, and I just told my friend to change his SIM card. I noticed one thing through all this guys begging, he thought he found a perfect target he could charm some money from, and there is this ” dash me ” mentality that is in Nigeria, that helps I ruining the integrity and morals of the youth. A few days later we found some land and asked for help to clear it for our future business venture, and some locals came. We made it clear that this was volunteer works and that we I’ll provide food, transportation if needed,that by signing up, that they will not be paid. A few days later when the clearing was done,these kids waited to be paid, we told them that when one volunteers for something, that it’s done for free, and out of the goodness of their heart, but one guy told us, that this na naija and there is nothing like volunteer for free. I was amazed, but also realized another problem in our nigerian society, which is that our youth are not being thought what it means to be selfless and work for the goodness of the community and the people. For many nigerian youths, everything has a price, and that my friends is a shame, it shows not only that the parents had failed to teach simple morals and ethics, but that the community also had failed these young ppl. I went to visit my uncle who works as a high corrupted government official ( yes he is one of the kleptocrats I despise) and as he chatted with some youths( btw if your are old enough to be president I.e 35 yrs old, you are not a youth)’ and as they were about to leave he went into his briefcase and gave each of the five youths ten thousand naira as taxi fare and to buy themselves some treats and I saw how they hailed and praised him, and that is when I realized that most of these nigerian youths raised in nigeria had become a lost corrupted generation just as their leaders in government. So when it comes to seeing nigerian youths as a changing generation then I pray for the hopeful but delusional Nigerians. I believe that if Nigeria ends up changing for the better, that it would come from a people of descent who was not raised with the corrupt mindset most nigerian youths have, but was raised outside and educated of the shores of Nigeria.

    • Truth

      May 28, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      *creator not creature

    • Wazobia

      May 30, 2014 at 4:38 am

      Wow, I can relate to your story! Sad, but true. I have had similar experience with even with family members. Most young people in Nigeria have really lost all moral and ethical values all because the adults in the society never even had “morals or values” to begin with. Sad for a society!!!!!!!!

  8. Adesuwa

    May 28, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Teniola, a few verses supporting violence below
    Quran (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.” According to this verse, the best way of staying safe from Muslim violence is to convert to Islam (prayer (salat) and the poor tax (zakat) are among the religion’s Five Pillars). This popular claim that the Quran only inspires violence within the context of self-defense is seriously challenged by this passage as well, since the Muslims to whom it was written were obviously not under attack. Had they been, then there would have been no waiting period (earlier verses make it a duty for Muslims to fight in self-defense, even during the sacred months). The historical context is Mecca after the idolaters were subjugated by Muhammad and posed no threat. Once the Muslims had the power, they violently evicted those unbelievers who would not convert.

    Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” “People of the Book” refers to Christians and Jews. According to this verse, they are to be violently subjugated, with the sole justification being their religious status. This was one of the final “revelations” from Allah and it set in motion the tenacious military expansion, in which Muhammad’s companions managed to conquer two-thirds of the Christian world in the next 100 years. Islam is intended to dominate all other people and faiths.

    Quran (9:123) – “O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness.”

    Quran (9:30) – “And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!”

    Surah 76:19

    Allah promises fresh youths to Muslim men. And round about them shall go youths never altering in age; when you see them you will think them to be scattered pearls.

    please take a look at your world, iran, iraq, somailia, libya, eygpt, afghanistan, syria, pakistan, palestine, 9/11, london underground bombings, nyanya bomb blast, chibok, killing of a soldier on british streets, etccccccc. Are all these wars and attacks stemed from purely mad humans or they are following teachings of their religion. None the less, there are very good people who are muslims and they are verses to support peace, BUT there are verses to incite violence as exihibited everyday in the world.

    • teniola

      May 29, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Thanks, am so happy you took the time out to find these verses. Really enlightening! But remember I said earlier, meaning can be lost out of context, what incident occured before Q9:5, notice it says, so when the sacred months have passed away, then…. During the fasting period, the muslims were taunted and slayed too. but the fasting month is very sacred, and even when a person kicks you repeatedly, your reply is am fasting. Back to context, in the bible there is a verse that says women shouldn’t wear men garments, and vice versa. My friend is catholic, and in some parishes, some people tell her not to wear trouser to church, trousers are her only pair of long garments, her skirts and gowns are always very short. Now when they tell her this, our standard reply is why? And then the above verse comes up, then we sermonize you on how back then, men and women wore long gowns and so no cloth item is specific to a sex. Recently, I read an article on dressing decently, and the lady talks about the verse and she contextualized it, saying the verse didn’t mean dressing per se, but behavioral patterns. My point, the meanings we derive from readings are different and we have to put into factor that incidents led to revelation of every verse, and somethings come after each verse. You translate according to what lies in you.
      “Verily, the (human) self is inclined to evil (Q12:53)

    • ami

      May 29, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      @ Adesuwa, If one chooses to cherry pick verses from the Quran without the full contest they were written in, you will likely misunderstand the message. I am assuming you are reading to understand and not just to pick verses to attack people with. To do this you need to complete the message that was communicated and also research the period those revelations where made. When you quoted chapter 9 verse 5 you forgot verse 6. ” |And if any of the disbelievers seek your protection then grant him protection, so he may hear the Word of Allah and then escort him to where he can be secure that is because they are men who know not.” I hope with the this verse following the one you have quoted you can begin to understand the complexity of the message been communicated.

      When you site examples like Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Palestine, 9/11, london underground bombings, nyanya bomb blast, chibok, you forget that there grievances are not just against strictly on a religious divide, and is more of a power and resources distribution struggle.

      Even though I believe your understanding of the verses you quoted are incomplete, None of them support the unrest in the examples you have given. I will give you a breakdown
      Think Iran: The state is not be friendly to unbelievers, but Iran unsettling is more than that, it involves different religious factions, tribes, liberals and conservatives in the same religion wanting different things.
      Iraq: Minus the Saddam Hussein oppression for years and American invasion. Again the problem here is along religion fraction and tribal lines.

      Libya: they had a tyrant who oppressed them, rule for many decades. They overthrown him and now have tribal tension and struggle for power.

      Eygpt: Again corrupt governance for years which was overthrown and now the grab for power is back on.

      Afghanistan: Again the problem here is along liberal and conservatives rule.

      Palestine – Again can’t be settled solely against religious lines, It is a fight on land, resources, water, e.t.c but religion is the common divide between the disagreeing parties, so support has been offered along religious lines.

      9/11, London underground bombing, nyanya bomb blast these attacks might have been carried out by people of the same religion but the victims could not be lined up as solely “non believers”.

      So please stop generalizing and looking deeper into events before throwing general comments around.

      Sorry for the assay

  9. Vashti

    May 28, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Watch this movie ‘Et On Va Ou Maintenant’ by Lebanese Director Nadine Labaki. Although it is meant to be humorous, but really sheds more light on the issue of ‘selflessness’ ‘love’ , and ‘respect, for your neighbour which is what is lacking in the Nigerian society and religions. The Christian and Moslem women in the movie were united and wanted peace. They were tired of loosing their children, husbands, sisters etc all in the name of religion, they stood together to keep the village from violence and war. One particular scene that was very touching was when one of the christian women lost her son during a gun raid between christians and moslems while he was out with his cousin she was devastated, but would not allow his older brother to take revenge so she buried her son in the family well and held the older son hostage at home so there won’t be reprisal attacks.

    • Theresa Omoronyia

      May 29, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks Vashti, I haven’t watched it, but I looked it up on Wikipedia and I was amazed at what women could do. Our world can be a better place if we would concentrate on our similarities instead of our differences. I also liked how the women, who knew their husbands would revenge against an accidental death, chose to proactively remove their weapons.

      I am convinced that women are agents of change, we are more emotional as mothers and daughters. I pray all women realize this and work together to stem the rising insecurity in our land.

  10. Tosin

    May 28, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Good topic to explore, especially as religion seems to be a big organizing and energizing force in this city, on this continent. I think religion is a start, just to help people live better.
    Nigeria is like focused on two religions, out of the possibilities, and our Social Studies taught us too little about the other one, so too many people know just their own.
    I believe in respecting religion, but not in fighting for God. God can fight for itself, himself, herself.
    BokoHalal.blogspot.com

  11. Adelaide

    May 28, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Funny how Peace reigned In Africa before introduction of foreign religion..no discrimination.

    • Ami

      May 29, 2014 at 12:11 pm

      Please what is your definition of peace. Where the Slaves shipped from Africa capture by foreigners or sold to Foreigners by Africans. How do you think this Slaves where captured through peaces. Abeg.

  12. Halima Wukari

    May 29, 2014 at 12:36 am

    This comment is for Adesuwa and Adesuwa alone….So the Quran has violent verses. Hmmm, there is none so blind as she who will NOT see…..”Kill those who are not Christian or Jewish: You must kill those who worship another god. Exodus 22:20
    …………………………
    Kill any friends or family that worship a god that is different than your own. Deuteronomy 13:6-10
    …………………………
    Kill all the inhabitants of any city where you find people that worship differently than you. Deuteronomy 13:12-16
    …………………………
    Kill everyone who has religious views that are different than your own. Deuteronomy 17:2-7
    …………………………
    Kill anyone who refuses to listen to a priest. Deuteronomy 17:12-13
    …………………………
    Kill any false prophets. Deuteronomy 18:20
    …………………………
    Any city that doesn’t receive the followers of Jesus will be destroyed in a manner even more savage than that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Mark 6:11
    …………………………
    Matthew 10:34-36 – “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
    35 – for I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
    36 – and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.”
    …………………………
    Luke 12:51,52 – “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division;
    52 – for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two, and two against three…”
    …………………………
    Luke 22:36- “And He said to them, “But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe
    and buy one.

    • Theresa Omoronyia

      May 29, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      I know you said the verse is for Adesuwa alone, but I feel compelled to respond. 🙂
      First of all i admit there are ‘violent’ passages in the holy Bible and some of the ones you shared seem to give evidence of that. Before I continue, you quoted two passages wrongly.
      – Exodus 20:22 CORRECTLY reads thus: “Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.” There were no Christians in the time of Moses.
      – Mark 6:11 CORRECTLY reads: “And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
      But I understand the passage you are referring to is Matthew 10:15 where it says,
      “Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” This was in reference to Jesus sending His disciples to go and preach to neighbouring towns. He told them to freely give, just as they have freely received, and to do good to people, heal the sick, raise the dead, drive out demons… (Matt 10:5-16) But He said if people refused their message of repentance, they were to shake the dust off their feet as a testimony against them. It would be more bearable for Sodom & Gomorrah on the day of Judgement because they didn’t have anyone preach repentance to them, compared to the towns that heard but refused repentance.

      That said, all the other verses were quoted correctly, but like the commenter ‘ami’ said, we need to understand the “complete the message that was communicated and also research the period those revelations where made”.

      All the Old Testament passages (Exodus and Deuteronomy) you quoted were laws made at a time when the Israelites were about entering Canaan. They were admonished to avoid idolatry because it would lead to their destruction at the hands of other nations. It was a sin God Almighty particularly hated because HE is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5). So they were commanded to deal with anyone who would even tempt them to worship idols, whether they were friends, family or priests (false priests). Later on, we see how the Israelites disobeyed and went on to worship other gods and even sacrifice their children to them. Ignoring several warnings made by God through HIS prophets, such as Jeremiah, Elijah, Elisha, etc, the Israelites were destroyed by Babylon, the Assyrians, etc.

    • Theresa Omoronyia

      May 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      Regarding the New Testament passages you quoted, we must again look at the matter clearly. First of all, the sayings were made by Jesus Christ, who Christians call the Messiah. His life is one that everyone, Christian or non-Christian, will agree was one of love, peace and humility.

      Why then would Jesus make these utterances especially the ones where HE said HE has not come to bring peace? This seems contrary to passages where HE talked about peace: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. ” – John 14:27. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace… John 16:33
      I believe Jesus Christ was referring to the division (suspicions and mistrust) that would occur in families, societies, friendships, as a result of belief in Him. When a person becomes converted and decides to follow the teachings of Jesus on love, justice for the oppressed, treating other kindly, etc, it is easy for that person to be hated and inadvertently cause division especially if he/she belonged to groups or families where oppression, lying, cheating, killing, etc was encouraged.

      The last verse on Luke 22:36- “And He said to them, “But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one.”
      Again it is wise to look at the person of Jesus. He advocated peace, and was humble to the end. Even on the cross as He lay dying, He preached forgiveness for His killers. And just before that, when guards came to arrest Him, He rebuked Simon Peter who attacked a guard and healed the injured ear of the guard. That doesn’t paint Him as a person who loved violence.

      Still, Jesus talked about selling a robe to buy a sword, right? It is instructive that at the time He was telling His disciples this, it was late and all the markets would have closed. Besides it was almost close to His arrest anyway and He knew the disciples would not have time to go and sell off their robes and then get a sword. So what did He mean?
      Many people have attempted to give reasons for that passage, you can find some answers to that on Google. My response is this I see that passage as one of metaphor, which is so often used in the Bible. The word ‘sword’ is often used in the Bible to denote the word of God:
      “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”-Ephesians 6:17 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12.
      But Peter, who apparently thought Jesus meant literal swords, used his to attack one of the guards that arrested Jesus. This was not the first time Peter would be oblivious to the sayings of Jesus. He had tried to prevent Jesus from his coming death in Matthew 16:22-23, but Jesus rebuked him.

      The word ‘buy’ as used in the Bible many times suggests exchange. Like when it says in Matthew 13:44-46 that the Kingdom of God is like a treasure and like fine pearls, the merchants who find them, sell all they have to buy the treasure. In summary, I think Jesus was trying to tell them to desire the word of God (sword) more than any prized possession. And when our prized possession or even family/friends stand in the way of Truth, we are to sell them and buy (exchange) them for the word of God.

      I better stop now, but please feel free to send me an email via Facebook, if you want more answers. Thanks all the same, have a pleasant week. 🙂

    • Onyi

      June 2, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Adesua was wrong to bring out passages where violence were mentioned in the quran, without reading the whole quran ( the events leading up to the part and after) , just as you are wrong for just bringing out quotes about violence in the bible without bothering to read events leading up to that part in the scripture and after, and please i don’t know what bible you read, my bible says in deuteronomy 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. It doesn’t say “kill any false prophet” just as you put above and for the rest of the scriptures you put up there i don’t know what version of the bible you saw that. Please read Theres’s response. In essence all i’m saying is correct her next time just as teniola and ami did above and not going to the bible to just bring out verses abt violence. And please i strongly suggest to everyone especially Adesua, that if you dont understand what a passage in the Quran or in the bible says, don’t come here and just copy and paste what you see esp if that isnt your religion, And about what Theresa said, i agree that we should be humans first before choosing to act. Also we should not judge people based on their religion and people should not use religion as an excuse to justify their violent and negative actions. Let us not abuse our religion. United we stand divided we fall.

  13. Omar

    May 29, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    @Adesuwa does of your kind are the reason violent is everywhere today. We quick to complain about Islam and defend Christianity….Have you ever thought if a Jew leave in our mixed or Nigeria is made of three religions,Islam,Christianity and Judaism…When a Jew man refuse to buy from you because of his belief you will take it personal because your tradition is design to hate and you think its his religion.

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