This is not written by me!! Find time and read it. This is written by a blog reader Kelvin Ohiri.
Have you ever taken your time to ask why am I a man or a woman? Why didn’t I choose my gender? Is it possible that I was somewhere and made the decision before being born? These may sound childish but they hold a vital answer to the bigger picture.
Before now I could not answer these questions, yes at least not until I became a scientist. One may ask are there scientists in Nigeria? Sure there are. You are meeting one right now.
I began my early life as a catholic, following in the footstep of my mother and elder siblings. My father at the time was a traditionalist and was indifferent about Christianity. Soon I would become an altar boy and get very close to reverend fathers. I now was in love with God and the euphoria of heaven. I even wanted to be a priest myself.
In December 2006, I went to a Sunday mass as Catholics call it and I had an epiphany. I heard a priest say something quiet controversial. He said ‘let’s live our lives as best as we can and serve God, so when we die if there’s God well end up with him and if there isn’t God we would have lost nothing’. My eyes widened. I could see the skepticism in the priest. The doubts all over him. Like Donald Trump would say to the reported from fox news ‘I can see the blood coming out all over her, from her eyes and everywhere’.
After the mass, I approached the priest and we had a long conversation. What I realized was the priest was no less an atheist as I was. He was just passive about it and continued playing along. Afterwards I’ve spoken with two more priests who’s names I won’t mention here and three pastors. I also had a private session with an Islamic imam in Ibadan two years ago.
When I began my atheist activism late last year, a few people asked me what I have to gain. Well, I swore an oath to myself to know the truth, teach the truth and preserve the truth. Something I picked up from my almamata. Everyone deserves to know and understand as much as the can. They need to access the right information. Ask questions and be clarified. The very fact that you are not allowed to ask questions during a sermon is rather military-like. We are to accept the teachings and doctrines hoot line and sinker without a single doubt. That is unacceptable to me.
Every week I’ll answer puzzling questions that may have struck your mind at some point but you may just have shoved it under the carpet and said ‘only God knows abeg.’
One more thing, I want to appeal to everyone reading this to be civil and not use an offensive approach towards my views.
Today, I will set out to answer the creation question, the question of if I say there is no God so who made us, how do we exist?
Let’s start from what we know, we’ll gradually work our way to what we don’t know. What we know is an account from the bible where God created the universe, day and night, separation of rivers from land, sea creatures, birds, wild beasts, and then finally Adam first then eve.
The order of creation is no coincidence. Take a look at it, the bible says it happened in seven days. And each day held a unique event. I might have occurred to you that the bible is an old book. The writers who claimed inspiration from God obviously only knew the preexisting technology around them at the time. For instance, you don’t hear of aeroplanes, helicopters, cocaine, smoking, gay marriage, internet, television and the like in Johns prophecy or anywhere in the bible at all. The writers obviously had some crude knowledge of science and knew the simple food chain so they could easily say that’s the order it came. For instance, if a goat eats only grass, its only obvious that the grass existed before the goat, else how would the goat feed? So, the land had to be apart from the seas for land animals and sea animals to exist independently, smaller animals had to come first, and so on, in the same logic the man had to come before the woman. Well that’s rather controversial just like the controversial ‘hen and egg who came first question.’ Anyway, that’s not my point, my point is if the writers knew what we know now that story would not be as oversimplified as it is. It’s noteworthy to add at this point that even the Catholic Church accepts evolution.
Straight to my answer, I’ll start with how do we exist?. How does something exist? Think about it for a second. The first thing that comes to your brain is someone must create it. Good, but that’s not all. One day, I watched my cousins’ play, one of them took onions and chopped it, the other took garri and mixed it with the onions, soon they added salt and pepper, and then sugar and water. Now, they dished it in a plate and left it on the table. By the time my sister returned, she saw it and thought someone made it and tasted it, and liked it and started eating it. Then it struck me. To her, I mean my sister someone intelligently designed the food because it tasted good and she was only present at the prepared state. Same as we. Since we’re only present now, now in the preparation process we are so quick to think that a marvelous God intelligently made us and as such we are good. That is not a truism. There are two ways we can exist, by intelligent design or by chance. Yes, chance. Is it a wonder that voila you are a Nigerian, an Igbo or Yoruba or Hausa, tall, short, dark, in a rich family, or male or female? It’s all chance, it’s a geographical accident. In fact the very fact that you’re a Christian or Muslim my largely be because of your geographical location.
If we were made intelligently then why would we have vestigial organs? In other words, why would we have organs like the appendix, which are useless? Which were useful at some point in our evolutionary tree.
We share so much similarity with animals because we evolved from them. Here I’ll take my time to explain Darwinian evolution. One may ask why we humans are not evolving into some other creature or why are there still apes since we evolved from them. Evolution is a rather slow drift that takes millions, even billions of years. Picture a goat that lives in say Victoria Island and had five kids. Suddenly the goat is moved to Mushin and has to live in a slum. Now, survival of the fittest comes to play and its kids may have to struggle to survive. If two of them dies, the other three would now possess genes for better survival. If for instance, there are wolves in Mushin who are their predators, and wolves can’t see the color white clearly, the three kids if they discover that when the run to an area painted white the wolf leaves, they would likely give birth to white goats. That’s evolution, now where it gets extreme is where say in Mushin all food is kept in high places to avoid the goats from reaching them say on their fences. Now, the goat would try all it can to solve the problem and if it can’t, his kids, a few would like develop either height or longer necks. That’s evolution. Note, that if there are other goats in Victoria island, and in paradise, they would remain normal goats and have no need to evolve. Evolution occurs out of pressure to survive and the selection process is non-random in the sense that it selects better traits for survival. One may ask if black men are more evolved that white men. Well, that I don’t know.
It may be hard to accept that a gorilla was once your cousin.
Next time I’ll go much further to the beginning of the existence of matter.
**** About the writer.
Kelvin Ohiri is an atheist activist and scientist. He has been involved in various research involving blood chemistry and hemoglobin. His curiosity on religion has led him into deep research into history and theology. He believes that religion has deterred rational and creative thinking in Nigerian youths and advocates for a better approach to life centered on self-development, creativity, and self-actualization. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a master’s degree in protein chemistry and enzymology from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org