Opinions Fri, 16 Feb 2018

Our evolution into religious hypocrites

The greatest advantage of the scientific approach to truth is that it has universality, uniformity, objectivity, empiricity, acceptability, predictability and veracity. Thus, one does not require any faith and belief or cultural viewpoint or religious perception for one to understand the fact/s being proffered. In the scientific approach to life, you see whatever is going on “fiili fiili” and you need no extra senses to apprehend it. In this context, there is no need for any spiritual heehaw.

On the other hand, one does not really need proof of anything to have faith or belief in that thing and begin hallucinating about it. One who has faith that somebody will come from the sky to make all things right does not need to understand that there is no abode in the sky anywhere, or that those who had accessed the farthest corners of the universe have never encountered any living being anywhere.

But that person will not necessarily be lying if he or she claims he has seen that personage, together with his angels, descending from the skies at the blast of a thousand trumpets! Faith and belief are the first frontiers of all schizophrenia: There are people who will swear to you that they have seen ghosts, witches, demons, devils, leviathans, goblins, elves, succubus, incubus, dwarves, unicorns, leprechauns and even angels. And all these people will not be necessarily lying; but in the psychotic context, seeing is not believing.

In 1983, after getting into a coma for six whole days at the University of Ghana hospital, I clearly saw my mother and sister hold my hands behind my back while at the same time blocking my nose and pouring medicine into my throat. But my throat was also somehow blocked; so I was suffocating and dying while they were pouring the concoction into my throat. I could swear to you that the experience happened twice to me and long after I recovered, nobody could convince me for years that this was all hallucination.

But I was told that I stopped breathing twice during my state of comatose, and was given up for dead. And if at the age of twenty years, I were naïve, I would have blamed my sister and mother for being witches. But unlike many people, I don’t have the foolish faith and belief in spirits to make damning judgment of people about what I see about them when I am hallucinating! Not even when at the brink of death.

Faith and belief are like hallucinogen or barbiturate or opium to the mind, randomly forming phantoms and fantasies which the persons of faith and belief have consciously or subconsciously induced all by themselves. Indeed, one who imbibes faith and belief imbibes a drug akin to Flakka which is more powerful than heroin or cocaine, which makes possible to the senses palpable phantasmagoric visions of dragons and monsters and witches and wizards. That is why those who see things which appear to them at the heights of their religious experience are not just lying; they see what they see all right, but the problem is that they cannot comprehend that they are hallucinating.

Ironically, with faith and belief, it is accounted for one as total righteousness merely to be gullible and vulnerable, to believe in the improbable or impossible or even the contradictory and the incongruous: That God has written a book containing all his ideas; or that God selected some people as his prophets and gave them a special tympanic membrane with which only they can hear his voice; or that God, the creator of the universe held a meeting with himself and appointed himself as a sacrifice to himself to pacify himself of the sins of his own creation; whereupon he had sex with a young virgin who gave birth to him who grew up and preached and performed many miracles.

And finally, that this same God inflicted human sacrifice upon his own son who was also a personification of himself by having the wicked Romans crucify him on a cross; whereupon he resurrected his own sacrificial self and transported himself into heaven where he sat on the right hand side of himself.

And to cap it all, that all these profound events happened over two thousand years ago after which this God has gone totally silent, never uttering one more single word to be included in his book! How so strange!

And it is possible to maintain these extraordinary ideas because through faith and belief, incongruity and incredulity within the scriptures are designated as some sort of mystery which makes those who question them blasphemous, apostates or heretics.

But there is no litmus test to quantify one’s faith or belief, and therefore these notions and perceptions are purely individualistic and vary from one person to another. In this instance , even where two persons attend the same church or mosque, the degree of faith and belief of each will differ, and no two persons’ commitment to the creed or dogma could ever cohere to the exact amount of faith or belief of any another: While one will kill or die for his faith, another will not even blink an eye to save the creed or credo; and while one will use his faith and belief to advance his corruption and wickedness, one will be in genuine fantasy and induced hallucination to make his mental faculty merely static.

From all the above, we can see that the only genuine universal standard for the human experience ought to be automatically the scientific standard since it is sheer chaos to define anything by belief or faith, or to establish any quantifiable or verifiable standard for these phantom notions.

All these notwithstanding, the propensity for our people to succumb to faith is shockingly amazing, probably because of all human endeavor, the act of thinking clearly may well be the most difficult. That is why people will pay huge sums of money to others to think for them so that they can then avoid thinking for themselves. But even if people outsource all their thinking and engage others to think for them, they can still survive if those thinking for them should decide to teach them the right and lucid things. In other words, there is little or no damage to anyone if those thinking for them exercise fiduciary trust in behalf of these minions.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for Ghanaians and other citizens of the world as far as religious faith and beliefs are concerned. Thus, it is far more accurate to say that after the population have outsourced their thinking to others, they are misled to become mere sheep or puppets in the hands of rogue religious masters and fake prophets and teachers who take advantage of their vulnerabilities to fleece them of their money and power and resources.

This stage of the phenomenon is so gross and complete that if these so-called teachers and prophets were to bet with anybody that they could make these followers clean their floor by licking it with their tongues, more likely than not, these teachers will win the bet: Their followers will gladly lick their floor clean with their tongues. After all, we know for a fact that in some so-called Pentecostal churches, uttering gibberish in prayer frenzy has become a sine qua non for salvation and proximity with the deity. If the founder, when founding the group, had told the world that he could make gibberish an article of faith of his followers, he would have won the bet against those who doubted him……so total is the mortgage of the intellect in exchange of fake spiritual uplift.

And that is sadly the full extent of the psychological evolution of these devotees that outsource their thinking. To some extent, they could plainly see clearly all the fakery going on but choose instead to condone it and to conform their behavior to it because that co-option is easier than all the hard work required to expose the fakery. In some respects too, they become the beneficiaries and part-owners of the phony establishment, and will do nothing to upset their investments and privilege.

And that is where the overall effect on the society is truly felt: That we have people pretending to believe stuff in which they actually do not believe….People whose pretensions permeate the social fabric and contaminate everything they come into contact with. These will steal huge sums of money from the government and people, receive and give bribes, engage in sexual promiscuity and intellectual dishonesty, while they profess faith and belief in one religious order or another.

And here is where the total psychological damage becomes complete, to the extent that we have a whole population baptized in conscious and self-induced indifference, following after doctrines in which they pretend to believe, and adopting the fakery and extending them to their national lives: Because their religious leaders are duping them, they also turn around to dupe the government and anybody else.

In conclusion, the evolution of faith and belief is the rejection of the scientific approach and its substitution with a pattern of make-believe that leads to mass mental delusion and psychological disorder. And even where the torch of lucidity finally shines on the devotees, they still stick to the falsehood of the faith and use it as a license to advance their own corruption and shenanigans. In the end, we have a country of hypocrites, liars, thieves, mountebank, charlatans and thespians; and we have a people whose stock in trade is to be religious hypocrites, sanctimonious personages and aficionados of fakery.

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