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BEYOND BORDERS

Changing our story, but do we really believe in God?

June 10, 2019

By Sulaiman Momodu

beyoud

(beyondborders.column@gmail.com)

How do we change our story from trials to triumph? How can we change our pains into gains? How can we turn obstacles into opportunities? How can we turn our mess into a message? How can we turn tests into testimonies?

After a break of about a year, it is certainly a good feeling to be with you again. Do you want a life-changing experience? Or are you interested in having a different perspective on life? Do you want to experience the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding? Welcome to Beyond Borders.

Incidentally, if this is your first time reading this piece of writing, this column takes a look at issues beyond the borders of tribe, religion, race, and countries. No issue that negatively impacts the peace and development of individuals and nations is beyond borders.

Essentially, this column will talk about things as they are – the reality – with a committed sense of objectivity. This basically means if you are a criminal, this column will call you what you are, a criminal. If a so-called man or woman of God is fleecing the people, the column will talk about it: you can’t serve two masters by exploiting people for your selfish gains. If a member of parliament is a rogue, this column will say it. If a government minister is corrupt and thinks he is master of the people, this column will never hesitate to tell him or her to find something else to do because politics should be an opportunity to serve the people. If a former president has derailed, it will be highlighted. If those in power are obsessed with double standards, it will be pointed out. This column will highlight issues at local and international levels and will discuss why we have issues in our individual lives, families and nations from the perspective of the Word of God, as well as proffer solutions.

It is important to point out that this writer is not interested in partisan politics and certainly not interested in the vanities of this world. It is significant to note that we came into this world with nothing and we shall return to dust with nothing.

In today’s piece, my focus is to take a brief look at our belief in God and why we have millions of people who are atheists. Now my question – do you really believe in God? Yes? No? Not sure?  If you believe in God, is your belief strong, nominal or do you believe in God because you want to be seen to belong to a faith family?

Having practiced journalism in Sierra Leone at a time when it was absolutely dangerous to do, and having worked in a number of countries, including in Geneva, Switzerland, my greatest achievement is making a conscious effort to find out more about the Kingdom of God.

My country Sierra Leone is unquestionably endowed with natural resources and is no doubt a “God-fearing” nation. The question? Why are we called a poor country, something I personally consider a misnomer? And why do we keep on experiencing tragedy after tragedy after tragedy? What is wrong with our way of doing things?

In my desire to get better insights into the Word of God, I am delighted that for start I am doing a degree course in Theology, that is, faith seeking understanding. Again, my interest goes beyond my own belief. My interest is to also understand about what other people believe and how we can share the same space with love, tolerance and respect.

It is interesting to note that every religion claims to be the truth and most of the major religions in the world have sects with each religion and each sect claiming to be the truth. My position is that there is absolutely no need for arguments. People should believe what they want to believe. Come to think of it, God gave us a free will. Without choice, “yes” would have no meaning and no value. Yes, we can share our belief with others, but we should never force them to believe what we believe. People have the freedom to say “NO”.

By the way, have you ever heard the name Christopher Eric Hitchens (now late) ? Born on 13 April 1949, Hitchen was a British-American author, columnist, essayist, orator, journalist and social critic. He began his journalism career in Britain in the 1970s and later moved to New York. Among other things, in his controversial God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (sometimes stylized as god Is Not Great), the Anglo-American author and religious critic makes a case against organized religion. The publication of God Is Not Great somewhat made him a celebrity in United States, his adopted homeland, where he took on the role of the country’s best-known atheist.

In November 2010 in Toronto, Canada, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, publicly debated with Hitchens at the Munk Debate on the motion: “Religion is a force for good in the world”. Mr Blair, who believes in God, was arguing in favour of the motion.

Let me once again provoke your thinking. Do you really believe and love God with all your heart, mind and soul? Or does your behaviour as someone or a nation who believes in God contributing to people becoming atheists? To be continued. Please join me again next week.

About the author: Sulaiman Momodu is a former editor of the Concord Times newspaper. He also reported for the BBC during the Sierra Leone civil war and has years of experience working for the United Nations peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. He is currently a student of Theology.