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Religion will kill Nigeria if not tamed, says Soyinka

Religion will kill Nigeria if not tamed, says Soyinka
January 13
08:07 2017

Wole Soyinka, a professor and playwright, has warned that religion may bring about the downfall of Nigeria if it is not tamed.

Reacting to the recent spate of religious killings in Southern Kaduna, Soyinka wondered if religion has been more beneficial than detrimental to Nigerians.

He made the comments on Thursday at the presentation of ‘Religion and the Making of Nigeria’, a book written by Olufemi Vaughan.

“If we do not tame religion in this nation, religion would kill us,” he said.

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“I do not say kill religion, though, I wouldn’t mind a bit if that mission could be undertaken surgically, painlessly perhaps, under anaesthesia, effectively sprayed all over the nation or perhaps during an induced pouch of religious ecstasy.

“However, one has to be realistic. Only the religiously possessed or committed would deny the obvious. The price that many have paid, not just within this society but by humanity in general, makes one wonder if the benefits have really been more than the losses.

“Can one think of any landscape without religious architecture?” the Nobel laureate asked.

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“For both the monk and the cleric or spiritual leaders, it is simply no longer sufficient to say this or that form of conduct is not permitted by this religion or the other. Or those who do this or that are not true believers of this prophet or that avatar or sage for the simple reason that others, who dissociate themselves from conduct, which universally is condemned, are themselves declaring themselves partisan of their own in contradistinctions to others.”

Soyinka further noted that the “innocent” are usually the victims of religious confrontations and strife, adding that religion has been a “disaster” for the African continent since time immemorial.

“What, however, concerns the rest of us – no matter the internal wrangling, rivalries or controversies within any religion – what concerns us is that the innocent are often those who pay the highest price.

“Religion in the history of this continent has been a disastrous venture, a disaster in many zones and continues to be even so today.

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“In this very nation, in Southern Kaduna, over 800 souls were brutally extinguished suddenly while the issue of grazing land versus farming is unquestionably part of the conflict. It is equally undeniable that religious differences have played crucial role in the conflict.”

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