I was a little afraid to write this but as I sat reflecting on several occurrences and ideas that have crossed my path recently, I found that the title question kept popping up in my thoughts. I wondered if, like me, there are others who might be asking if the world is moving past God.
Every day, we are confronted with new scenarios and events that challenge our ideals, values and belief systems. We are jarred by stories in the media about situations that make us re-evaluate all that we think we know. We interrogate our view of the world – the ideas that have shaped our perception, either by education or personal experience, what society says, or even our faith.
These events make us question our sense of what is right and wrong, true or false, real or rhetoric. Let me share two things that got me thinking and asking questions within the last few weeks.
The Death of Osinachi
I didn’t know her personally; I had only seen her face and heard her name among the line-up of major gospel concerts. It was after her death I found out that she was the singer of Ekwueme.
Yet I felt great discomfort, particularly with regards to the circumstances of her death. I’ll be honest with you, I did wonder why God seems not to have saved her from the apparent hell she was going through, but I doused that thought as quickly as it had sprung up within the deep chambers of my heart. I discarded the thought because I sincerely do believe in the absolute goodness of God to us in every situation. I also don’t have all the facts, so I was reluctant to make a hurried judgement.
I have observed with interest the social media uproar in reaction to her death. There has been a lot of anger, directed particularly at the church. This is due to the religious stance on marriage and divorce, in which the institutions do not subscribe to couples divorcing. The anger many have expressed stems out of the fact that a woman like Osinachi, who was allegedly being brutalised within the confines of her marriage, felt compelled to stay, in obedience to religious doctrine.
People talk about how much God hates divorce. This is one biblical viewpoint that defines the stance of religion on divorce. Fair enough, you can’t be representing God and yet endorsing what He hates. I guess what many people now think in their hearts is now, “Haba, Baba God, try and be open-minded, should an abused person stay in a marriage and lose their life because they want to please you? Baba, what if divorce can be friendly and amicable, would you perhaps be less intolerant of it?”
The Bible teaches of a God who is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He is not man that he should ever change his mind or shift his position. So based on this revelation, we can safely assert that God’s position on divorce is final. How do we navigate the absolute will of God within the context of our flawed humanity?
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo’s Declaration for Presidency
This was received with mixed feelings by Nigerians. Many were relieved that prof had finally stepped up to put his heart in the ring, while others were sceptical as they didn’t feel there is much he is bringing to the table.
Professor Osinbajo is a pastor and also celebrated by many for his decency and ability to inspire hope in the hearts of many Nigerians who are grasping for little fragments, just to stay afloat each day. It’s clear his faith plays a large part in the optimism he carries for Nigeria, as well as in his shared ideas of how the country should be governed.
Yet I have listened to conversations where people have dismissed his declaration, by reason of the fact that they think he believes he is the man for the job because of his ‘God factor’. People in this school of thought are generally suspicious of leaders who ride on a divine mantle in their attempt to win the mandate of the people.
In essence, name-dropping God in your bid to move higher in life does not seem to have the same effect on people as it once did. Have people seen God finish? Or have His supposed representatives so bastardised His reputation that many have become economical with their trust? What could have gone so wrong that the mention of “God” automatically puts many people off?
What do these two occurrences and the general public’s response to them tell us about the place of God in modern society? Has God become an inconvenience to the growth and progressiveness of the world as we know it? What is the relevance of religious bodies in the daily lives of a people whose primary goal is to make it through the sufficient evils each day brings?
Personally, faith in God is the anchor of my life. I cannot imagine what my reality would be like if I didn’t have the strength and solace that comes from my relationship with Him. Nevertheless, life throws up these difficult questions which even the most hardcore people of faith need to confront at some point.
Is faith a dynamic experience that must be evaluated amidst the changing tides of our humanity? What, if anything, should our faith make of us in a world that exalts personal interest as the highest good?
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