Everything you read with an absolutely open mind alters something in you, be it your moral ethics, religious beliefs, intrinsic values or any other relevant stuff. The truth however is that the changes are mostly gradual and sometimes infinitesimal per time so that you probably won’t know it until it’s too late. Most people tend to believe they’re so mature and solid in their beliefs that those beliefs cannot waver under any condition. However, it has been observed that learning (conscious or unconscious) alters our conditions and ideas little by little.

A whole lot of prominent intellectuals that have walked the earth have proven time and time again that simple logic and religious beliefs are mutually exclusive. I used to think I could find a common ground, but I couldn’t find any. They are indeed mutually exclusive. It is perhaps the reason you would be able to observe marked differences in the lives of people who grew up in deeply religious homes but had their orientations completely changed once they got exposed to some sort of books or ‘contrary’ environments. It is vain trying to argue that religious positions/assertions are more believable than logical ones, and so it is not surprising that intellectuals with their finicky character have the tendency to scrutinize and analyze every form of belief or conviction logically, because, I mean, logic wins hands down most times, at least as far as the ‘normal’ human mind can comprehend.  A good number of these ‘sages’ believe neither in heaven nor hell because it’s simply not logical as it can neither be experimentally nor experientially proven. An intellectual’s mind gets so opened up that it begins to question everything that is not logical; that cannot be explained with the most simple analogies and terms.

A line I read in a book caught my fancy: “what you get from life is exactly what you deserve.” It had stepwisely logical points to back the assertion up, so I couldn’t argue much. And even if I did, the author wasn’t present to exchange words with me, so… However, as a Christian, I know there’s something called grace; which is unmerited favor and mercy.

According to the intellectuals, you can only be tempted according to your selfish desires; a completely selfless man cannot be tempted. It implies that something that you do not crave at all, something that hasn’t even crept into your mind cannot tempt you. Yes. It makes perfect logical sense. But in the bible, even Jesus was tempted by the devil. Jesus was a hundred percent God in the form of man so he was pure even while on earth, there’s no way a selfless man such as Jesus should have been tempted.

The prominent writer; late Professor Chinua Achebe in his classic book “there was a country” said that while he was growing up, his parents were deeply religious, but like most intellectuals, he was interested in knowing the world view of religion and the essence. He intended to achieve this the same way he would approach culture, traditions, literature, and language by scrutinizing and not judging. As time went by, Achebe claimed to have periods of doubt as he pondered and questioned the interpretations of religion. He made this statement; I struggled with the certitude of Christianity- “I am the way, the truth and the life”- not its accuracy, because as a writer, one understands that there should be such latitude, the desolation, the acerbity of its meaning, the lack of option for the outsider, the other. He also mentioned some other writers who struggled with this statement, such as; Dubois, Camus, Baldwin, Morrison etc.

Of course, if religion were approached the way Achebe approached it, there would inevitably be doubts, questions and confusion and as an intellectual, it probably wouldn’t make sense.

A couple of months ago, I stumbled on a Facebook page, the owner stated he has no desire to write a book because he believes books are going extinct and social media like twitter, Facebook, blogs and the likes are the new reality for reading and writing or in his words “the e-playground where readers and writers duke it out”. I agree with him. What is the point of torturing oneself to write a book when you can easily whip out your smartphone and type or upload whatever ideologies, opinions or beliefs you want out there? People are not going to buy your books when they can easily read what you have to say on social media; books are indeed dying a slow death. Technology has changed everything; including literature. Everyone passes their message on the internet, and it has become increasingly easy to access said messages in this modern age, so there is even a greater danger of reading all sorts on the internet without being able to discern which is of a good report or otherwise.

What is certain is that the coming generation would have it more difficult than we do now. They would be torn between religious theories and intellectual theories or simple logic. Unlike when people had to buy books to read all these theories, now all they have to do is open up their social media accounts and boom it’s staring straight at them.

I have never opened the Quran or any other religious book apart from the bible to read so I wouldn’t know what is written inside them but for Christians, we need to be careful, we need to guard our hearts and be discerning readers. God is a mysterious God and he cannot be questioned. If you are trying to relate the bible to simple worldly logic, confusion is going to be your best friend and you would likely lose your sense of direction.

Published by Segun Tinubu