Religion is defined as ‘a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny’ and world occurrences. In their attempt to make sense out of the universe, humans seek the help of unknown forces behind the natural and physical world. Hence, humans found religion in an attempt to understand and manage their environment for their own good. By closer encounter with these forces, humans began to grow in social and scientific knowledge, to appreciate natural laws and to codify and apply these knowledge in their social adaptation and environmental management of their resources. This was how the Egyptian cum Chinese temple monks and many of the priests in the medieval era of Catholicism (Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei et al) invented many of the scientific laws and technologies used today in the manufacture of phones, cars and gadgets we enjoy today.
Few weeks ago, a Nigerian Catholic priest founded the miracle of turning cold water into hot water by praying, another Nigerian pastor in Zambia abi na Zimbabwe found the miracle of praying money into people’s bank accounts. ‘Who no like beta tin?’ Many Nigerian pastors are reported to have healed the sick, raise the dead, even ‘dead’ the raised. Now many Nigerians troop to pastors in expectation of spiritual protection and miracles. Pastor abeg perform miracle so that someone will dash me his car, so that I will hammer 1 billion naira from my 45k job, so that my disease will heal withoutdrugs, so that my enemies will die, so that so that so that…
At the same time when Nigerian pastors pray for miracles, some European Indian American Chinese non-religious guy is conducting a research that will enhance the seed germination, maturity and multiplication for feeding more hungry people in the world or a new transportation technology for the world. The Nigerian pastor performs his miracle without establishing or sharing the technique as contribution to generalizable knowledge that can be utilized for development everywhere in the world. The non-religious researcher establishes his scientific method for food multiplication to be used to feed the present and coming generations. The Nigerian pastor prays to buy the phone which the non-religious ‘guy-man’ works to manufacture.
Religion and belief in God are noble since they express our sense of humility, responsibility, gratitude and dependence onthe God that has made it possible for us to be and to do. Adherence to social teachings from religion facilitates peaceful coexistence in the society. However, in genesis, that same God on whom we depend, gave man the command to dominate the world and use it for his own good. And man can only dominate and manage the world for his own good when he understands the world.
Miracle is an extraordinary manifestation of divine intervention, and I believe that God still does miracles. However, if we will always call on God to do for us what oyibo governments can do and has been doing for their citizens, then our Nigerian ‘god’ must be different or even weaker than oyibo men who provide for their citizens what our god has not provided for us despite several prayers and sacrifices. We are made in the image of God with creative potentials which we have to harness for a better life here on earth, so that when we die, we can tell God that we carried out his genesis commandment by using our intelligence to create things for the human society.