When Your Knowledge Makes You Deny The Existence Of God By Hamza-Afeez Onireke

When Your Knowledge Makes You Deny The Existence Of God By Hamza-Afeez Onireke




Prof. Stephen Hawking lived his life as an atheist. Although, he surmounted the insurmountable and was widely recognised for his great contributions to field of science especially in the areas of Applied Mathematics, Theoretical Physics and, of course, Cosmology. As a staunch unbeliever in the existence of God, or any supernatural power, on many occasions, he publicly proclaimed that the idea of science has no relationship with the spiritual cum divine reality of life. Evidently, in 2011, when narrating the first episode of the American television series, ‘Curiosity’ on the ‘Discovery Channel’, he declared that: “We are each free to believe what we want and it is my view that the simplest explanation is there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realisation. There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful”. End quote. After many decades of battling with motor neuron disease (also known as Amyotropric Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)), he gave up the ghost on March 14, 2018 at age 76. Sadly, the first class alumnus of Oxford university would best posit as an example of, in Yoruba sayings; ‘ADORÚN MÒ OOTÓ’ (The one who knows the truth only after his death!).
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Let me take you down the memory lane, during my undergraduate days, when I was in 200L, there was a course we treated. It was ‘HIS 221, Philosophy of History and International Studies’. Here, we examined some philosophical concepts about the study of history in its actual relationship with human existence. The grey areas included ‘providential determinism’ which means Hands of God/Divine Intervention or you can call it God’s preordainment over the entirety of man’s existence in space and time. The course went further to explain causality/causation in History. (Whatever happens to man; is it as a result of man’s actions or destiny which has been preordained by God? Others were mono or multi-causation as the case may be)…The rest is a story for another day. Perhaps, this is not a history class. The underlying message or the philosophical conclusion of this course is that: ‘Man is solely responsible for the consequences of his actions and inactions and no divine force(s)—no matter how heavenly positioned—is/are responsible for all the deeds of man throughout the period of his existence. Simply put, ‘God is not the cause of life and death and as such, the course of human history is unarguably determined by man himself and not God’.
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Meanwhile, there are other arguments by some theological scholar like Augustina in his ‘Theory of knowledge’ who maintained that faith and knowledge are regarded inseparable. His works contained in the “City of God” where he developed a Christian conception of history as something preordained by God. In other words, the process of history, he put, was God’s fulfilment of His purpose on earth. This theological assertion was met with strong criticism by Thomas Aquinas and Albert Magnus. The former made his proposition known as distinction between faith and knowledge therefore ended Augustina dogma of unity between faith and knowledge. He was of the opinion that experience is a source of knowledge and in order to acquire that, no need for power from God or supernatural.  Albert, who got his inspiration from Aristotle held that, the study of natural phenomena and human activities can be perceived and understood through the use of senses and reasoning. Thus, an emphasis on practical experience through empirical experiments would best suffice the theory of knowledge and man’s life as against the theological explanations.
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Be that as it may, I sat myself down and had a deep thought on how to assimilate the concept of the course, distill the real from the unreal, select and marry the palatable teachings of the course and divorce the sensitive ones. Here, I firstly understood the mindset of the lecturer then the desired goal of the course in itself—the scientific nature of history. So, I gave to it, what it deserved and I did not let the underlying impression of that course jeopardise my faith—a strong believer in the oneness and existence of God. I passed the course, kept my faith intact and I moved on.
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There are some books on management and politics which I bought. ‘The Mafia Manager’ and ’48 laws of Powers’ authored by Mr. ‘V’ and Robert Green respectively. I believe majority of you must have read one, if not both, of the books. Albeit,  if you are a belligerent, vulnerable-minded, psychopathic and an ill-emotional person or an atheist, non-devout Muslim or a weak-Christian, or you possess some trait of accumulating worldly avarice in a remorselessly way; then be ready to stay away from these books and many others like them. Sincerely, I’m not badmouthing these works of revered authors, and truly, some certain parts of the books are, certainly, relevant, but; if you’re indecisive or (psychologically impotent), the unsavory parts of these books will harm your humaneness and prepare you for undue brutal life ahead. Also, your psyche would be robbed and the spirit of rugged (or heretical) individualism would bewitch you and you may end up your life as the likes of Stephen Hawking or Benito Mussolini (and other atheist and usurpers).
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Unlike some other people, I’m a person that is drowned in faith and I have a foothold of religious steadfastness. If not for this very reason, I would have derailed from the righteous path long ago as a result of some of my literary explorations and educational exposures. What did I do? I read the contents of these book or materials or listen to lectures as the case may be, extracted the areas I could term with (that do not negate the sacredness of my faith) and rejected the extraneous (misleading) ones. So, if you know you can’t leveraged your faith for knowledge acquisition, you must be very careful and selective of what you consume as knowledge.
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Before I go, I remember a friend who studied in Umaru Waziri Polytechnic in Kebbi State, Nigeria. When recounting his encounter with one of his lectures–a very brilliant one–who studied on scholarship in one of the greatest colleges in Eastern Europe, he said that, the lecturer, who was a devoted Muslim before furthering abroad, came back home only to known as a staunch atheist. The lecturer had been brainwashed and robbed! That’s a sorry case anyway.
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To this end, it is my advice that we should not trade our faith for knowledge acquisition. There are thousands of professors of philosophy and other sciences related courses who double as pastors and Imams. Knowledge acquisition should not dupe us of our faiths as the there’s clear evidence that—no matter the validity and empiricism of scientific research—God is in total control of all the affairs of man here on earth and the afterlife. So, don’t go astray all in the name of acquiring knowledge and always try to, LEARN, UNLEARN AND RELEARN.

Hamza-Afeez Eniola Onireke.
eniolaonirekay@gmail.com.

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