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Miracles, mirror, smoke and illusions

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By Ezugwu Okike

Pythagoras was one of the finest mathematicians known to the old world. At the peak of his intellectual adventure, he assumed divine powers; founded a religion and collected followers. The fundamental article of his creed was the transmigration of the human soul. His religion taught that when a man dies his soul is born again through a lower animal. He once admonished – trenchantly — a disciple of his who spanked a dog saying that as the dog yelped he heard the voice of his dead friend.

He knew that to be indisputably seen as divine, he needed to pull off a miracle. Without a wondrous spectacle, the skeptical people of Samos would only look upon him as another overlaboured victim of metaphysical philosophy. He knew that he needed to do something.

He informed everyone that he was traveling to the Underworld and dropped into an underground room. While he so hibernated, his mother and collaborator recorded everything that happened in his absence. He returned from the “underworld” and recounted all that happened while he was away, to the speechless amazement of everyone.

The following morning the news went into town. Pythagoras was not a human being. He was supernatural. He was the son of Apollo himself. His religion flourished incredibly. He had a limitless throng of vegetarian followers who trusted him with everything including their wives. Centuries after he was dead, people still worshipped his spirit .

I was not surprised in the least when different clips of different pastors healing one skillful actress surfaced online. A childhood incident led me to early realization that most church miracles are staged. In a local Assemblies of God church the holy Spirit opened a door — deliberately locked to demonstrate the awesome power of the visiting pastor. The congregation were told to close their eyes and threatened with Gahazi and Lot’s wife. They opened their eyes and seeing the door open flung themselves into a general convulsion of praise singing. Despite the threat of blindness and endless calamity, an intrepid boy had opened his eyes and noted that the holy Spirit was our shockheaded neighbour.

Daily, we hear the swindle about the blind seeing and the cripple walking. But these fortunate crippled and blind persons are always absolute strangers. They drop into crusade grounds from the blues and afterwards vanish into thin air. Tracelessly. The truly crippled and blind persons you and I know and fling coins at on daily basis never get to benefit from these rampant miracles. They always never get to have enough faith.

Humans have not changed a dot from the days of Pythagoras. The passage of time has had no effect on our native credulity. Every religion, before and since Pythagoras has been founded on a tissue of halfwitted lies and legends. Even the African tradition religion was reinforced by jealously guarded mendacities. The masquerade was an an ancestor who emerged from the ant hole. My great grandmother, Oyima Ezugwu Nwa Ada, died piously believing that the okpa she cooked was eaten by spirits.

Is it not high time Africa relinquished this myth worship and thirst for miracles and worship only in the new and all-powerful shrine– the shrine of science?

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