By Agba Jalingo
There was a time in this life that before any young person in Africa could say ‘toto’, you would look forward, backwards and sideways, to be sure there was no adult near you and you call that name in hush tones. Today, young people can shout toto from the rooftop without retribution. They have overcome the fear due to a combination of reasons.
In like manner, there was a time when young people were afraid of questioning anything that had to do with religion, religious texts, church, priesthood and pastorship. We were told that asking those questions, no matter how pressing they were bothering our conscious minds, amounted to faithlessness in God and could potentially lead us to hellfire. We were told not to use our thinking faculties once anything concerned the so-called, “things of God.”
But the human spirit is irrepressible. It never gives us. Like water flowing through sharp sand, if you block it from one side it will definitely find its way out through another side. The curiosity of the younger generation has accelerated this irrepressibility. They are no longer satisfied with the meals our parents were served by foreign religions.
The democratisation of information by social media has exorcised fear from this generation and given them a potent weapon to ask the forbidden questions. And because of a lack of logical and coherent answers to these troubling ponders, those who held them down for millennia through fear of dying in hell, are angry that their flock are breaking the barricades and leaving their chains. This generation believes in God. They love God. But they seek a better way of serving this God. They are bored, sick and tired of your repetitive dogma.
The failure of the age-long religious recipes to nourish and grow our spirituality and the continued deterioration of societal values in the face of skyrocketing religious activities are providing the imprimatur for the resurgence of a search for a better God that will be responsive to the issues troubling this generation. They are no longer ready to tolerate and honour you and swallow every gibberish you utter because of the prefix attached to your names or your fallacious claim that God sent you. They want something more.
Dominant religions in Africa have failed to satisfy this longing. Rather, they have exploited and manipulated an entire generation of our people into collective amnesia, while demonising any other way of searching for that spiritual fulfillment. Once it is not their way or method, it is wrong. That effrontery is now facing massive obstruction.
As the hypocrisy of these foreign preachments keeps unfolding from yonder with their flimsy shifts in doctrines, our people are increasingly hurting their oesophagus from the swallow and are ready to square up. And make no mistake about it, this will only grow louder. Only two things will happen, you either provide logical answers that are consistent or you let my people go and find their new God. It’s only a matter of time!
Merry Christmas to you.
Citizen Agba Jalingo.