As I was heading to the Pub (beer parlour) to have some drinks with a few friends; a group of young people stopped me. After exchanging pleasantries with them, a young woman among them asked me; Sir, have you been saved?
For a moment I thought my life was in danger and so, I looked around to see if there was, may be, a lion lurking to pounce. Satisfied that I was safe, I said to the questioner, please I don’t understand your question.
But, instead of offering an explanation, she fired another question; ‘do you believe that Heaven is real’? It became clearer who they were, so I asked; are you Christians? They nodded and quickly stated that they would want to share the word of God with me.
Then I said to them, I hope this discussion won’t take a long time because my friends are waiting for me in a Pub. One of them quipped, Sir, don’t you think sharing the word of God with us will benefit you more than going to the Pub to drink some beer with your friends.
I was a bit irritated, then I responded as follows: don’t you ever think that you can blackmail me. I know that's how you blackmail your congregations into donating their life savings to your Churches by quoting Malachi 3:8 (why do you want to rob God?).
Besides, I am not obliged to listen to you. I am just been civil by stopping and listening to you in the first place. And so, no amount of blackmail would induce me to accept whatever you intend to say, unless it makes sense to me. Moreover, I have my own religion, which I haven’t bothered you with it.
They subsequently apologised and tried to explain-away the issue of blackmail. But being the Christians they were; they asked, if you don’t mind, what religion do you practice?
I replied; my religion is Ome N’ala Igbo (Igbo Traditional Religion) and we believe that Heaven is real. And as for the first question; I still don’t understand what you mean by; have you been saved?
Then, another person volunteered to put the question, rather, in the form it should have been asked from inception. Have you accepted Jesus as your lord and personal saviour? I replied, no! He asked why? I said because, like I insinuated earlier, I am not a Christian.
Another person interjected; everybody has to accept Jesus because he is the way and nobody goes to God except through him. I said it’s untrue; however, anyone that accepts Jesus as his saviour automatically becomes a Christian since that’s one of the pillars of Christianity.
In that case, what would make you not to accept Jesus as your Lord and personal saviour; he queried? I answered because Ome N’ala didn’t ask me to do so. He probed further, but your Ome N’ala accepts that Heaven is real and so, how do you aspire to go to heaven?
Actually, Ome N’ala says that Eligwe (Heaven) is where Chineke (God) resides. It doesn’t say anybody would be going there. By now, my young interrogators were a bit frustrated with my answers and thus, they chorused; according to your religion; where will you go after death.
Well, after death I will join my ancestors. Where are your ancestors they asked? They are spirits now. They continued; if they are spirits and you accept that God is equally a (holy) spirit, don’t you think they may have encountered God? I said to them that it is possible.
Again, they asked, don’t you think that the encounter between your ancestors and God could be a form of your ancestors rendering their earthly accounts to God. That is also possible, I acknowledged.
Then he asked; have you considered the account that you will render to God if you are to die today?
Yeah! I always have that in my mind but let me ask; being a Christian or doing what God wants; which do you think God would prefer? I know you won’t be able to answer this question because your (Christians) only interest is ensuring that people accept Jesus as a saviour.
But I doubt if you care what those people do when they are not in your Church accepting Jesus as their Lord and personal saviour.
There’s no doubt that once an individual truly accepts Jesus as a saviour, it will draw him nearer to doing the will of God. The same is applicable to other religions, except those religions that teach people not to worship God, assuming there’s such a religion.
Anyway, I do ask for your permission to end this discussion so that I can join my friends at the Pub. One of them joked, I guess before your friends consume all the beer. I responded; exactly.
On a final note he added, Heaven is real and I would like you to partake in the good things that our lord Jesus Christ promised those that will make it to heaven.
Like what I asked? He replied, Jesus said in John 14:2; “in my father’s house there are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you”.
If there are mansions in Heaven, roads paved with gold, etc. and you believe so, then, what are you still doing on earth? In fact, if I were in your position I would have flown to Heaven and be free of earthly problems.
For example, in today's World, if it is not inflation today, it is deflation tomorrow; or the disappearance of Malaysian airline; or the menace of Boko Haram and ISIL; or racism and so on. So, why would anyone be on Earth if he has the opportunity to be free from these earthly problems?
In fact, that’s the difference between some of you Christians and some Moslems. Those Moslems who believe in the reward of 77 virgins in Heaven, bomb themselves in order to fast tract the process of receiving the reward. You should be like them.
At least, the Christians and Moslems can trade their rewards when they get to Heaven. For instance, since some Moslems were promised virgins and no mansions and the Christians have mansions and no virgins; the Moslems can offer their Christian counterparts some virgins in exchange for some rooms. After all, the virgins will be housed.
If at all anybody will go to Heaven at the end of the day, those Christians and Moslems that expect to see mansions and virgins over there will be highly disappointed. Of course, there won't be properties or flesh and blood in Heaven. Everything would be done in spirit.
However, it’s only a moron that will believe the existence of mansions and virgins in Heaven. Perhaps, these rewards were offered to dissuade Christians (Pastors) from worshipping riches but God, so that the riches will given to them in Heaven. And for the Moslems, so that they will stop defiling 9 year old girls in the name of marrying virgins.
Obviously, the weaknesses of Christians and Moslems are what have been offered as rewards to them in Heaven, if they worship God on Earth. As for me, I don’t need any inducement or blackmail to worship God. I worship God freely.
In addition, I don’t have any intention of going to Heaven; after all I am not a virgin, which is one of the criteria that will take one to Heaven, according to the book of Revelation. More so, Jesus said in Matthew 5:5 – the meek shall inherit the earth.
In truth, I am not the only person who doesn’t want to go to Heaven. Some Christians like the Jehovah witnesses believe in paradise on earth. They always quote Revelation where it is stated that only 144,000, i.e. 12,000 people from the 12 tribes of Israel that will go to Heaven.
Finally, looking bewildered and out of questions, one of my young Christians said to me; the meek is a person who will always turn the other cheek; I hope you know that?
Yes; I always turn the other cheek but not to those who would take the cheek out of the meek.