Despite my increasing revulsion for religion and the many religious zealots around, I must commend religion on its grasp of the mind—including that of some of the most intelligent people and those who call themselves moderates.
Surely, religion is the only tool which can make the smartest person in the room fail to use reason and if you want turn a good person into evil without objection, just employ religion. It works everywhere, try it in North Korea, Israel, Iraq or Nigeria and you will get the same result.
In today’s religious communities, there are two obvious groups of people—the fundamentalists and the moderates—and many enlightened persons who for reasons of comfort, indoctrination and a hope of a better afterlife cannot question their faith automatically become moderates.
The moderates believe in many of the 21st century governing principles such as democracy, rule of law, human rights, women rights, gender equality and the many others—all made possible by the increasing notion of secularism and not by any efforts of religion. In fact, religion has always been the main antagonist to the development of these worthy principles.
Since most of the above beliefs sharply contradict some of the required behaviour expected and imposed by the two main monotheistic religions-Islam and Christianity through their Holy Books, the fundamentalists who claim to live by the true meaning of the words find the moderates who are regularly compromising not any better than the unbelievers.
And the moderates somewhat sees the fundamentalists as those unchanged by contemporary development—and as those reading the texts with no amount of flexibility, eventhough flexibility or elimination is not an option when it comes to the religious texts.
So there is this central tension between these two assemblages of believers who are in one sense the same people, following the teachings of one Holy Book—and in another, they define the internal inconsistency and the extent that one is ready to go to accept the barbarism of their Holy Books.
Few weeks ago, a Member of Parliament in the West African democratic country-Ghana boldly suggested in parliament during a Bill deliberation that ‘adulterous women’ should be stoned—and that this punishment which is being used in many religious States who regard themselves as ‘States of God’ should be adopted in Ghana.
From every angle of the country, he was met with attacks—and both the religious and non-religious condemned him for his suggestion and ‘supposed’ contempt of women. His fellow parliamentarians struck him down and I can perfectly imagine the isolation he faced until he later came out to apologize for his ‘not 21st century’ statement.
Here, there is a clear consensus that, stoning of anybody—be it a woman or a dog to death should not be part of our civilization and we must treat with gross contempt, any attempt to have us consider this.
Stoning of women or any person is barbaric and has no place in our development—I am yet to meet anyone who would disagree with me on this but in Islamic literature, it remains a legal form of judicial punishment in United Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Qatar, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Northern Nigeria, Aceh in Indonesia, Brunei and Pakistan—also in several other countries which practice extrajudicial stoning.
Though the infamous Sharia Law is based on the Quran, the hadith, and the biography of the Muslim prophet Muhammad, the Quran does not mention stoning, this barbaric act in the many Islamic communities takes its roots from the hadith—an authorative text in Islamic religion.
Who amongst us will jump to condemn the practice of stoning in the many countries that hold on to it, inspired by religion or directly influenced and defined by religion?
I am sure a Christian reading this may be saying; that is for the Muslims to deal with—and that is why I am not a Muslim. But the Christian God in the Bible unequivocally asks that Christians also kill adulterous women—not directly by stoning but that is a viable option.
Deuteronomy 22:22 says “If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die.”
It’s not only adulterous individuals who deserve to be killed either by stoning, poisoning or any means a person chooses according to the Christian God, anyone who decides to worship any other God should also be put to death.
Deuteronomy 13:7–11 says; “If your brother, the son of your father or of your mother, or your son or daughter, or the spouse whom you embrace, or your most intimate friend, tries to secretly seduce you, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods,” unknown to you or your ancestors before you, gods of the peoples surrounding you, whether near you or far away, anywhere throughout the world, you must not consent, you must not listen to him; you must show him no pity, you must not spare him or conceal his guilt. No, you must kill him, your hand must strike the first blow in putting him to death and the hands of the rest of the people following. You must stone him to death, since he has tried to divert you from Yahweh your God.”
And per the Christian Holy book, this is God’s words—I have tried to find any sort of obvious evil difference between what the Ghanaian parliamentarian said which was widely condemned and what God has said in the Bible—which no Christian dare openly condemn it.
Even the moderates who may have objections to the above verses and the many others in the various Holy Books cannot openly condemn or suggest that, these verses should be read ‘symbolically’ or are not the true words of their God.
Any attempt to employ a ‘symbolic’ reading or elimination of some of these cruel verses in the Bible has already been blocked by God Himself in Deuteronomy 12:32 “Now as to everything I’m commanding you, you must be careful to observe it. Don’t add to or subtract from it.” Now who dares to cough or say it’s not God’s words?
My point is; what is fundamentally wrong is wrong and the person who is saying it should not be used as the determinant of wrong. If a member of parliament says it and our thinking faculty tells us that it is wrong, why does all of a sudden our thinking faculty becomes faulty because religion says the same thing?
Killing an adulterous woman by stoning, lynching or whatever means is unacceptable—and it doesn’t matter even if a God is reported to have said that, it is unacceptable, wrong and barbaric—and should be openly condemned, especially by those who call themselves religious moderates.
Skipping it or behaving as if it does not exist is not the same as condemnation. And this religious barbarism which cannot be eliminated clearly shows that, religion has no important place in today’s world—it has lost the battle to reason and humanism…