The Godfactor


Ulysses (Latin) or Odysseus (Greek) saw his ears without a mirror when he challenged the instrumentality of the gods to his leading the Greeks to victory over the Trojans. Before his very own eyes, the sea-god, Poseidon, had sent a mighty snake to drown the soothsayer who was about revealing the trick behind the Trojan horse. But that was not enough for him to accord the gods their pride of place in the Greeks deceit and defeat of Troy. Consequent upon this, he was barred from seeing his native Ithaca, his beloved wife, Penelope, and his lovely son, Telemachus, for as long as it will take him to learn his lesson. At long last, his prime lesson was communicated him by Poseidon, which runs thus: Without gods man is nothing. The celebrated The Odyssey by the legendry Greek poet, Homer, has all of that. You could look it up!

This story was not meant to get you entertained, nor was it an attempt to make a haphazard summary of The Odyssey. The intent is, however, to pass that singular message across: without gods man is nothing. For the Greeks it was gods because of their polytheistic orientation, but God is proper to the Christian and contemporary monotheistic bent. So, without God man is nothing. And the Psalmist will forcefully drive down this fact when he questions that: What is man that you take care of him, mortal man that you are mindful of him? (Ps 8:4).

Since the rise in humanistic thought, religion has been put on trial and has remained docked because the count-charges increase by the day. It is secularism that is pressing charges against her, with, first, calling for a division of society into ‘secular’ and ‘religious.’ The jury granted that and now we have secular and religious societies – the one excluding the other in her concerns. And it is mostly in intellectual houses, such as the university, that these notions are nursed and injected into society, beginning from the poisoning of the minds of students. It was as a professor in the university that Karl Marx described religion as the opium of the people, and it was equally as a professor in the university that Friedrich Nietzsche announced in two of his books (The Gay Science and Thus Spoke Zarathustra) that God is dead.

Now, in school we get to meet and study ideas that are anti-religious, and most of us buy into them; losing faith as it were. Quite unfortunate. On a personal basis, what do you think about God? Inasmuch as we need to be critically on some religious demands, but is our dishing a treat of reckless abandon to religious experience and expression worthwhile?

And you mustn’t be a Christian to believe in God, since the idea of God as that Supreme Being in whom we move and hold our being is not restricted to Christianity. In Islam, for instance, he is Allah.

To walk with God essentially involves an appeal to, and the acceptance of his will, and the clearest way of doing so is by internalizing the Zen Buddhist teaching of ‘what is, is’. Yes, there are certain questions whose answers would never come; certain things are just bound to be; many problems cannot be resolved – just get used to them.