Sunday, August 30, 2020

Towards a Civilized Society - MSGR. PROF. J. B. AKAM

 Twenty-five years after the almost written and simplified work entitled "Towards Christian Unity" by Most Rev. Dr. Francis Arinze (now Cardinal Francis Arinze); a large number of Christians in Nigeria are still looking at the whole issue of Christian unity with askance. In that noble and timely book, the author, citing the Second Vatican Decree on Ecumenism, foreshadowed this unfortunate situation: "Many Christian communications present themselves to men as the true inheritors of Jesus Christ; indeed, all men profess to be followers of the Lord, but they differ in their minds and follow different ways, as if Christ Himself were divided." Stopping the evangelization of non-Christian territoriesThis vast and heart-rending disunity is not according to Christ's will that prayed, "that they may all be one" (Jn. 17:21). In itself it is not just an evil. It is also a humiliating embarrassment and an unwelcome barrier to the evangelization of non-Christian territories

One of the accidents of history though providentially allowed is that the time of evangelization in Africa came only after Europe was already divided into various camps from a religious point of view. These camps ranged from Anglicanism in England under Henry VIII in 1534, Lutheranism in Germany under Martin Luther in 1524, Zwinglianism in Switzerland under Zwingli, Presbyterianism in Scotland under John Knox in 1522 Robert Brown's Congregationalism in England in 1600 and John Smyth's Baptist Church in Holland in 1600 One finds both of those divisions existed between the 16th and 17th centuries.

However, for us in Nigeria the Gospel message reached us in the nineteenth century. And his message has been brought to us by already fractured peoples on both political and denominational grounds. There is then a urge to wonder if the early missionaries were giving us "a divided Christianity?" And if so, can Christianity in Nigeria only survive through rivalry? And if not, why did we in our respective religions become "unmoved movers?"

What disturbs one 's mind is that those who gave us the Faith of Christianity have made massive strides toward peace. They are not where they left us any more. Rev. P. V. A. Nwosu made no slimming remarks when he wrote: "It is however tragic that while the majority of the Christian world pursues the cause of Christian unity with honesty, commitment and prayer, many people in our country are either fanning the embers of disunity, or at least paying lip service to Christian unity" (Trinitas, February 1990, p. 4). Who can blame whom?

In this job, it is our wish to send out distress signals to all Nigerian Christians. The various strata within of religion should be careful If a "copyright reserved" exists or not, Christians should recognize that if all members of the Christian denominations are actually Christians, then they can all be for Christ;

And if they are for Christ, they are incompatible with true discipleship, disunity, hatred, competition, distrust, envy ... Whoever fans of Christian disunity shed crocodile tears if such a one talks of being mistreated by X or Y. For without Christian unity there will never be a bright future for Christianity in Nigeria. Christians can have different voices but as a choir they can sing!

On the Book

Mons. Prof. J.B. Akam loves Nigeria so much that he is not willing to sell Nigerian unity on the altar of religious fanatism. In this work, therefore, he appeals to all religious groups for empathy, tolerance and constructive dialogue. Yet he takes a skeptical view of the biblical injunction: "Turn the other cheek ..." and explores carefully the possibilities and drawbacks of such an order. If after getting the first "twai" on your right cheek you don't know whether to strike back or turn the other cheek, then read this article!


Big fish can make large hole,

Little fish may create small hole.

Let perch the kite,

Let the perching eagle.

Maybe little a-- live big and small in harmony,

Live, and work!

Tolerate else

And alter not the other by intimidation.

Accept him as he is

Grant him freedom of conscience.

Does not condemn,

And you're not going to be judged.

To God is the supreme arbiter

Wait for time to harvest

When wheat is inside the barn

And the cockle retire in the kitchen.

May not always be correct!

Reason is better than may!!


"While only a few can create a strategy, we can all judge it." (Athens pericles, * 430 a. C.)

Are we in a closed, or open society? And what do these two expressions mean, by the way, and what are their features?Can a society be closed and open simultaneously? Which societies are open in our country, and which ones are closed? Who is primeval, and who is civilized?

Such reflections gave rise to this booklet in which, in the first instance, I addressed three outstanding philosophers – Plato, Henry Bergson and Karl Popper, three of whom represent ancient and contemporary philosophers, and in the second instance a global view of Africa. Certainly in this later segment a large number of countries would find themselves well represented. In countries where there is crazy rush for something international, where people are exposed and vulnerable to the invasion of multiple cultures, where people from "civilized" countries learn how to shoot others in cold blood, how to bully the minority, how to bring about religious , political, cultural , linguistic, ethnic and tribal discrimination; In countries where it is not only a matter of the survival of the fittest, but also of the survival of the mediocre; in countries where knowledge is regarded as pride, where development is at least stifled with a lame excuse, where political rolling stone is not gathered, where prosperity is strangled and morality is promiscuous; in countries such as these we desperately need a change of mind! The body is now "civilized" but yet the mind is primitive! In such nations, the body has achieved a high degree of artificiality – the mark of technology – but with those of the "stone age" the mind still rubbing shoulders. Can we really be relaxed when pushed into a round hole by a square pin?

Uche J. B. Akam


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