Valladolid, pronounced Val-la-de-lid, is a city in Spain where the renowned explorer Christopher Columbus died in 1506. To honour Columbus, a great monument was built in this city. A remarkable feature of this monument is a striking statue of a lion at its base where the Spanish national motto is engraved. The lion is sculptured in a way that it stretches out its paw to cover one of the three Latin words that have been part of the Spanish motto for centuries before Columbus.
Before Columbus embarked on a journey of a great discovery, the Spanish had prided themselves as having reached the outer limits of the earth where no world more exists. Accordingly, the Spanish national motto was “No More Beyond.” Interestingly, one of the three words in this national motto covered by the stretched paw of the sculptured lion at the base of the monument is “No”. This leaves only two words visible- “More Beyond”
In this beautiful art, Spain sends a message through a monument that there is “More Beyond.” Before the very eyes of many Spanish who had thought that they had arrived, Christopher Columbus, proved that there is indeed “more beyond”. In many ways more than one, the mindset of the pre-Columbus Spain is resurfacing in our time. It rears up its head in the glowing atheism among a section of Nigerian youths trapped in a false technological excitement and religious reconversions and renunciations.
Certainly, there are reasons to be optimistic about science and technology, but both have proved over and over again that they do not have answers to every problem. Science is progressing just as human knowledge is advancing. If we have learnt anything from history, it is simple: today’s science is tomorrow’s error or ignorance. Consistently, science reminds us of Whig’s interpretation that history is ever moving towards a greater perfection that would never be reached. As technology invades the functions of man, there is a growing enthusiasm that all problems are solvable and religion is not needed. However, diseases and phenomena like death have defied science and will continue to do so, because there is more beyond.
We cannot lay all the blames of the glowing atheism on the altar of scientific optimism. When we redirect accusing fingers inwards, we would quickly understand how religion, be it Islam or Christianity, is contributing to atheism. Faced by an evasive globalization which disrupts indigenous institutions of governance and moral, Islamic fundamentalism has created horrifying religious doctrines that can force one to do away with the religion. In the face of many social injustices, many Christians who view a religion as a problem-solving tool are developing strange brands of Christianity too. On the bewildered laps of preachers with lust for money, undisciplined muscles and unbalanced sexual hormones, Christianity has been weaponized for economic and sexual exploitations.
The cumulative effect of these religious abuses is a growing disenchantment towards religious hypocrisies. The younger generation is inclined to think that religion is a scam. They renounce religion, burn Bibles, castigate every religious leader, ridicule religious institutions that trained them and march on the street with a pride of I-am-done-with-it. Yes, the fool says in his heart, there is no God above, but Columbus has shown us that there is more beyond.
Above all, the Spanish mentality is alive in the power rascality of African leaders. All apologies to Napoleon Bonaparte, no one can sit on the bed of kings without catching from it the madness of destruction and overconfidence in one’s antics. This is where the leadership in Africa is stalled. The thought of being a power-broker or loitering freely at the corridor of power like some party boys do, creates a false sense of I-have-arrived, that is, there is no more beyond. Absolutely, power is a time-bomb in the hands of maniacs. It is surprising how people grab power and immediately transform to mini-gods, avoid calls, frown faces, abuse people and act like there is no day called tomorrow.
When I read updates of those hired to defame people on social media in the name of politics, I shed tears for a generation which does not look beyond. Is it the atrocities of cultists who cut people to sizes? They walk like the world ends here. But how do you convince a driver who refuses to wear a seat belt on the excuse that he has been driving for years that another person can cause an accident for him? No, you only wait for him to crash to learn that there is more beyond.
When Mohammed Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay, retired early from boxing, he was asked his next move in an interview. He replied that his next was to prepare to meet God. Yes, he really lived as a spoken poet and an activist doing the preparation. Ali was called the Greatest, but he knew that there is more beyond. If gold can rust, what will iron do?
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© Felix Uche Akam: The Dragnet: 30.01.2022.