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Let us create God in our best image

Samuel Adjei Sarfo1 Samuel Adjei Sarfo, Author

Sun, 18 Feb 2018 Source: Samuel Adjei Sarfo

On the question of God, I am finally convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that he does not exist, neither has he ever existed nor lived nor died at any time. If he indeed exists, he like all things that truly exist, would be uniformly described by all and be seen as being the same by all, and his image in our minds will not be as metamorphic and so much in flux as he now is.

Besides, he wouldn't be so differently conceived within every society and even every mind and every epoch. He wouldn't have been used for all conceivable purposes, whether good or bad, and be seen as being everything and nothing at the same time. Therefore, the noblest of the gods is a handiwork of man: Ra, Isis, Horus, Osiris, Artemis, Anubis, Zeus, Apollo, Poseidon, Odin, Buddha, Krishna, Vishnu Yahwe, Jesus, Allah, Satan, Cronus……None of these existed or exists. They are all gods created by humankind.

For a thing that exists has uniformity in its description. God does not exist because he cannot be uniformly described. Essentially, what is a godhead to one person is a dog head to another. And as evidenced by the confused cacophony of the prophets and their acolytes, virtually all of them are at each others' throats in amazing hatred, poised to assert that their god is the most superior of all the gods, and to look for all artful means to conquer, plunder, enslave, rape, torture, murder and obliterate those others and their gods in order to have a singular monopoly over the very notion of who, what, where and how god is.

As, Colonel Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899) aptly puts it in his lectures online, whenever any god is created by any people, he tends to be in the spitting image of his followers personifying their strengths and their weaknesses and their fears, if not their gross banditry and abject greed. And wherever any god is created, a long line of his priests also emerge, demanding that they are fully fed and clothed by the people or else they incur the wrath of the gods they themselves have created.

From the very beginning, these so-called gods has remained the figment of the human imagination and the butt of the human fantasy. He was a necessary character in the fiction of the human mind concocted at the inchoate stages of our civilization when the human spirit was struggling to comprehend order in the patent chaos within his environment. But with the far-reaching understanding of the mysteries of nature and the secrets of the world, the place of god has now receded, at least in the enlightened societies, and will continue to recede in the face of the mounting evidence proffered by science of his non-existence.

All the foregoing facts notwithstanding, we may, for the sake of order and discipline in our own society, create for our own unique purposes a mighty God, particularly if we conclude that our society is so full of corruption and indiscipline that we need the myth of the godhead in order for us to establish some degree of homeostasis. But the God we create need not tie his apron strings to any strange God from other peoples or from other civilizations and cultures.

Long before we got to know all these light-skinned gods we have borrowed from the foreign nations, we had already found our own equally fake ones in the mountains and rivers and trees. These we quickly jettisoned for those of the strangers. We might have reasoned correctly that the gods of the strangers were probably stronger, cleaner and more organized, requiring less blood sacrifices and less mess. That is why we might have sent our own gods packing back into the mountains, the rivers and the trees.

After all, every god, wherever, whenever or however he is found, has evolved in concordance with the intellectual and social evolution of the society that created it. From the beginning, the Egyptians had their gods to whom they built the huge temples and pyramids. These gods were smithed into one and conflated with the Medianite gods and called Yahweh who, through the horned prophet, demanded too much blood sacrifices of both humans and animals.

The Greeks and the Romans also created a pantheon of gods to represent their senses and sensibilities, and actually confined them on Mount Olympus, from whence they called upon them to meddle at will in the affairs of humans. The Babylonians developed the idea of the after-life which they originally inherited from the Egyptians, adding the notion of the devil as the perpetual opponent of God.

If we assume that Jesus was a real historical figure, then we could even argue that like Buddha before him, he tried to sanitize all the crisis and chaos going on in religions and attempted to make love and service to humankind the centerpiece of his mission on earth. Whereupon he was captured by the leaders of the established religion and crucified…

In this context, the overriding trope of the new religious faith was man and his duty to his fellow humans which he must selflessly perform without the expectation of any reward whatsoever. Unfortunately, humans have soundly rejected this latest functional religion, being still concerned with their fate in the after-life. For this purpose, they continue to create their own gods of fire and brimstone to whom the ancient ones were known to have sacrificed their sons and daughters and all kinds of animals.

Now as we speak, some people define their god and give him or her multiple hands or heads or eyes or ears. Others select their god from nature: whether they be trees or rivers or mountains. To others, the god is nameless or imageless, or can simply not be construed or described. Thus, God has become all things and everything and essentially nothing to everyone and anyone, and he only remains what he is in the usually toxic minds of his worshippers.

Even religious leaders in our society define God by different configurations, with some emphasizing his vengeance, or his ability to know the future, or his ability to confer wealth; or his ability to kill their enemies or to forgive their irresponsible acts or even to help them travel overseas. So the godhead has already become a permutation of exactly how these religious leaders choose to present or represent him, and none of them has presented him in any single, uniform image, except insofar as how the god is used to advance their own selfish interests or political agenda.

But we can surely create our own God of utility and praxis: Some imaginary albeit patently black being that truly reflects our image, values and conscience as Ghanaians. This is because our experiences are very different indeed: For a society that is so corrupt and greedy, we need the God of extreme honesty and tireless patriotism...one that will strike us dead if we are corrupt and greedy; one that will encourage us to refrain from ethnocentrism, to love and respect our neighbors and to preserve the environment.

For a society that lacks so much discipline, we also need a God of great discipline and hard work, one that we have manufactured by ourselves for ourselves and of ourselves, and refined or adapted and adopted to suit our own unique socio-economic circumstances.

But that God need not impose any draconian demands on us, or ask us to feed the rapacious appetites of his priests and prophets. He needs not ask us to serve him; we will ask him to serve us. We need not even pay anything to those who will choose to deputize for him; we will keep our money for ourselves without thinking of the plight of these deputies.

Our concern should rather be for each other; and we will invest in one another and create opportunities for ourselves, paving the way for universal humanist peace and love, for the emergence of a new generation whose concern will be for the progress of this land, for the flora and fauna of the soil, and for the preservation and proper use of our resources, all in our advancement of the human condition....right here on earth.

We will not need to listen to the dreams and hallucinations of those ancient prophets and nomads; but we will dream our own dreams and empower our own imagination to advance our own ambitions and mission and visions. Because we will compel the God of our own imagination to write our laws in our hearts and turn our bodies into his temples; and our children will also prophesy things and create things and reveal to us those novel ideas that will help make our own world a super-world and our own people supermen and superwomen.

By the edicts of our self-created God, we will eschew the fantasy and laziness that emanate from the expectation that somebody is going to return from the skies to remake our world. We will abandon the foreign faiths and beliefs that have made us slaves of other cultures and followers of other faiths, the hewers of wood and drawers of water for those who despise us….. We will be our own masters and mistresses of our own God who we will in all conscience follow in devotion, being nobody's subjects of their ancestral dreams and hallucinations.

For we have been slaves to other people's notion of God and savior and redeemer for more than two thousand years. Our minds have been obnubilated by simplistic faiths and senseless beliefs which have from the very beginning, given us no progress and no confidence and will surely send us directly to the abyss of extinction.

We are borrowing our notion of God from nomadic people who wandered aimlessly in the wilderness until they all perished. We know also that the few that remained went into captivity and were pretty much obliterated from the surface of the earth. We know that their prophets were murdered, and all those dreamers who wrote the new testament which we profusely quote today died a bloody death; they neither inherited any kingdom they dreamed about, nor any happiness they spoke about. They died still waiting for a kingdom that never came. And so exactly why should we also be caught in this cult of death and perpetual waiting?

Our times are differently wonderful, and great are the creative forces that are moving our beautiful world. If the writers of those wishful thoughts found in the so-called holy books had been lucky enough to have inherited our present world, they would have mistaken it for the kingdom of God of which they incessantly spoke, for their times were the periods of savagery and barbarism wherein kings cut off their subjects' heads for a song; and where the cruel and unusual punishment of crucifixion was commonplace; where stoning sinful others was a collective civil duty; and where the destiny of many humans were tied up with the basic instincts of their savage kings who in turn killed them like houseflies. So exactly what are we doing still imagining that we are under any obligation to think like them; or to worship God like them; or to make commitments to any god like them?

Our times are indeed differently wonderful, and great are the opportunities and talents we have to transform our world. And therefore our God must also be differently wonderful. If we fail to create our own God under our unique circumstances and fail to worship him through the precepts of honesty, discipline, hard work, patriotism and charity, we would find, much to our chagrin, that our lives will have no real meaning, and that we have wasted our moneys and resources on the deputies of strange gods who sold us vapor for gold, and fooled us with the concept of a phantom god who receives everything and anything and yet gives nothing to anybody.

Samuel Adjei Sarfo, J.D., is a general legal practitioner in Austin, Texas, USA. You can email him at sarfoadjei@yahoo.com.

Columnist: Samuel Adjei Sarfo