‘The people bow and pray to the neon god they make’. Those words in Paul Simon’s song Sound of silence, leave me questioning, ‘Did we, hopeless people, create god?’
In the midst of our pain, uncertainty, and fear, we made the all-powerful father up in the skies to watch over us. Why then, one may ask, did man create god? Camille Paglia opines that human life started in flight and fear. When man became conscious of himself, he found himself exposed to nature, not
in the form of flowers or beautiful waterfalls, but in the form of diseases, predators, earthquakes, hurricanes and landslides. All these filled man with fear. Since fear is reciprocal, man ended up in societies, in search of security and certainty. However, still in the communities, they
experienced natural calamities that partially devastated them. Religion therefore arose to lull this punishing elements. The partiality of the punishment birthed the idea that maybe there is a god above that controls chaos. Had he not been there, we would all be destroyed. It also became necessary for man to keep liberty from turning into licentiousness. Jean Jacques
Rousseau writes that man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains. Camille Paglia supplements that when man found the taste of freedom to be intolerable, he looked for things to
chain himself with including government, laws, religion, and gods. Like other social constructs, god serves to ensure social order. Colonisers always carried their religion with them. In most cases, religion superseded colonisation. This is because the religious tenets carried the sway and interests of the colonisers. It is arguable that Christianity made Africans susceptible to slavery and servitude. This is because the social order it actuated made the European conquest easier. Most religious leaders still exploit their believers to their own benefit, and politicians use it to gain
God and religion have a singular affinity for the poor and afflicted. Indeed, there are more churches in the slums than in the rich estates. Karl Marx affirmed that religion is the sign of the oppressed creature. Man, with nothing material to hold onto, holds unto the gods they make.The gods in these sense offer hope and solace. Karl Marx construed this to mean that as long as the oppressed have a god, they will never fight for the comfort that comes from the material possession. The hopeless will always hold onto their gods, instead of working to change their situation. They will sleep in mud houses, while their heavenly father sleeps in mansions of gold and pearls.
We are all alone, and we have known this for quite some time. That is the reason we went to the moon, which was once revered and worshipped, to find it deserted. Perhaps God is dead like Friedrich Nietzsche wrote. In those old days he could rain down food on thousands of starving Israelites, in the Second World War, he could not even save them from Hitler. Millions of Jews died in the
concentration camps, and only the allied powers saved them. God could not even rain down food on the starving Ethiopians in the 80s. Maybe they were black and he is white, and black is the allegory of evil.
Given the postmodern era we live in, sentiments in the Bible skew hate than the Third Reich regime. History is full of singular events that genocide and slavery were committed in the name of a superior and noble being. Revered texts in the Bible explicitly advocate for hate and violence against a person of divergent views. It is prudent to treat the bible as it deserves, after all those are writings of a civilisation: it should not even be superior to the Norse and greek Mythologies.
Black people bow to an alien god, Allah and the Christian god. They are yet to realise that their world was stolen for centuries while they closed their eyes and prayed to the Christian god for decades. Muslims on the other hand have not yet realised that they are committing acts of terror in the name of a god given to them. The social order however profits those who created it, at the expense of the ignorant.
We could all be gods.
Owning the universe and living for an eternity. We cannot achieve this, if mythical creatures took our endgame. The death of god will be the rise of humanity. We could make our own heaven, save ourselves, take responsibility for ourselves and make real progress. If only we believed in humanity. Believed in a religious consciencness where each and everyone showed compassion, honesty, love, kindness, no greed, no jealousy, oneness: doing good not because of the rewards or fear, but because that’s what it means to be human.