Faith, Religion

Does juju really exist?

A traditional juju man or spiritualist.

Juju Man _ Getty Images

A few weeks ago I was strolling along Twitter boulevard when I came across an intriguing dare. Some dude was on a quest to prove that ‘juju’ or ’jaz’ did not exist. As busy-body Lagosians were wont to do, I stopped by to see what was going on.

This derring-do fella did not believe in the supernatural. He worships at the feet of empiricism, logic and the immutable laws of physics. He thus challenged any purveyor of juju to a public demonstration of juju power. He named a day, venue, time and backed his challenge with a N2.5m reward.

Oh, the comment section was hilarious! Nigerian Twitterati pointed this fella in the direction of certain towns and villages where he should proclaim his challenge. Town and villages where Merlin and Maleficient will be apprentices. Our man only needed to sign a waiver on his right to life should the existence of juju be, er, fatally affirmed.

It was all hilarious. But as intriguing as I found the challenge, I paid no serious mind to it. Twitter is full of folly and attention seekers. I forgot about the challenge.

But alas, this dude was not going away! A few days ago, I was once again ambling on Twitter when I saw that the challenge was still on. This dude is serious.

It turned out that no juju persons came forward to demonstrate ‘jaz’ and collect the N2.5m. So, our resolute chap sets a new venue and date. He invited the press. And the N2.5m reward was still on offer.

On a personal note, I found it disappointing that no ‘jaz’ men came forward to collect the money. No takers? Where was Kanayo O Kanayo when you needed him? Where were all my Bini flight lieutenants? Ikorodu oro people?  It’s tough in the land and N2.5m will keep the rain off a shoulder. It is decent money. And easy too. It’s not like the juju men have to turn the guy into a rhino or goat. It could be as simple as making him go mad for 10 minutes and eat faeces. It would be the easiest N2.5m anyone ever earned. Yet no one showed up. That is mighty disappointing.  It’s a bad showing for the spirit realm.

My closest encounter with juju was in the early 2000s when we were shooting the “Mama Na Boy” TV commercial for MTN. On location that day, the skies became dark and the clouds ominously heavy. It was going to rain. Disaster.

Some local guy in the vicinity approached us and said he could facilitate the hiring of a  rainmaker to keep the impending rain in abeyance. Jocularly, the agency broached the matter with the GM Marketing who was on location with us. The man was chagrined and regarded the emissary with pious rage. He was a saintly and contemporary chap. To this day, I couldn’t tell if the agency was joking or meant the recourse to the supernatural. But I was gutted at the missed opportunity to see a juju man in action. I could have befriended him and be richly sipping daiquiris all my life.

But maybe this dude is right. Maybe ‘jaz’ does not exist.

Or perhaps our man’s challenge is illogical.

But first, where do I lean? Do I believe in juju? Oh, I believe in the existence of the supernatural alright. I believe in the existence of the Almighty God, His son Jesus Christ and that douchebag Lucifer. It’s OK if you don’t believe in Lucifer. He believes in you.

Though our empiricist bloke didn’t affirm this, he exuded the vibes of an atheist or evolutionary biologist. Atheists deny there is a God or gods. Evolutionary biologists believe life began from non-life matter (abiogenesis) and evolved over millions of years to life form.

But how does one go about proving the metaphysical? For instance, proving the existence of God? How do you prove the existence of God without referencing the Bible?

Well, you can do that through logic. Through the principle of cause and effect and the design we see in nature. I’ll show you.

Proving God through the ‘Big Bang’

Cause and effect underpin science, history, law enforcement and many aspects of human experience. If A happens, it’s logical to look for or ask why it happened. The cause. The man is in jail because he committed murder. The boy drowned in the river because his body was denser than the water. Cause and effect is an undeniable law of nature.

So, to God.

According to the Big Bang Theory, in the beginning, there was nothing and then, bang, the universe happened. Call this starting point the “singularity” or whatever. The point is, bang, out of nothing came something.

At a superficial level, I don’t necessarily disagree with the Big Bang theory. After all, my Bible also told me “in the beginning…”

Now, we know the universe happened because we are here. I exist. You exist. The stars, the oceans, trees, animals; they all exist.

But we also know that for something to exist, it must have a cause. Something that created it. I am here because my dad knocked up my mom. And my dad existed because my grandfather knocked up my grandmother. The table I’m typing on exists because a carpenter made it. And the carpenter exists because, well, his papi knocked up his mami. Everything that exists has a cause, a starting point.

Be it “the singularity” or the “multiverse”,  whatever caused the universe to exist must be outside of the universe. Things in nature don’t create themselves. Water can’t create itself. Hydrogen and oxygen have to come together for it to exist. The engineers who created the TV are not inside the TV. If they are inside the TV, well, they couldn’t have created the TV, can they? It’s simple logic really.

And, since the universe is composed of time, matter, space and physical energy, whatever caused the universe to exist must necessarily be outside of time, matter, space and physical energy.

And here is the kicker. These attributes of the cause of the universe – being timeless, existing outside of space and matter and so on – just so happen to be the same attributes as the God of the Bible. Elohim. The I AM. We creationists thus argue that the cause of the universe is God.

Sense will not kill us, right?

But you can well argue “Hold up, bucko. I get it that everything that exists must have a cause, a creator outside itself. The universe exists and must have a cause. You say that this cause is God, Hello him. But since everything that exists must have a cause, and God exists, what caused or created God?”

My daughter has asked me this question. Many uninformed atheists ask this question. But it’s an easy one to answer.

Who created God? As we have seen, it cannot be another entity because you can then validly ask who or what created said entity. You can ask me what created A and I say B. You then ask me what created B that created the A and I say C. And on it goes. No matter the cause I give, you are within the right to ask who caused this cause. We’ll be stuck in a cycle of endless causes.

If we are stuck in a cycle of endless causes, then nothing can exist. Because everything that exists, exists at a point in time. And if there is no point in time, then there is no universe, no you and no me. But we do know that the universe exists.

It therefore stands to reason that this cycle of causes must stop somewhere. A Cause that causes all other causes but is itself uncaused. God.

Asking who created God is like asking “who is the bachelor married to?” By definition, a bachelor can’t be married. Similarly, by definition, an entity that creates all other entities can’t itself be created. Otherwise, we are back to an infinite cycle of causes or creators. And that is a logical absurdity. There must be a starting point for everything. God, the Uncaused Cause, is that starting point.

Proving God through Design

Evolution and abiogenesis are interwoven. Abiogenesis is the belief – not fact – that all life evolved from non-life organic compounds. That over millions of years, molecules randomly came together to create the complexity and design we see in existence. No God was necessary.

There are some big problems with the theory of evolution you should know about.

One, as a theory of origins, – how things started – it is curious that it never tells us where the non-life organic compounds that created life came from. Some have suggested “dark matter” and “quarks” as the primal cause. But as we have seen, everything that exists must have a cause. Where did the dark matter and quarks come from.

I suppose I don’t need to remind all ya that “dark matter” has never been detected or proven by science. I repeat, never! It is an unscientific and desperate attempt to do away with a sentient creator.

Second, it is a fact of natural law that like begets like. Animate create animate. Only consciousness can create consciousness. Thus, it is impossible for non-life matter to create living matter. Science has never seen this happen in nature. Not in one instance. And since humans have intelligence, emotions and desires, what created humans must also have similar attributes; intelligence and emotions. Like after like. God.

You with me, folks?

Third, we see so much design and purpose in nature that we know from logic and experience that where there is a design, there must be a designer. Watch parts didn’t come together to form a watch. Someone assembled them into a watch. Your jumpsuit didn’t happen to fit you nicely. Someone made it to. Where there is a design or purpose, there must be a designer or a purposer. Our everyday observations, the basis of science, confirm this.

We see so much “fine-tuning” in nature that there must be a fine-tuner. For instance, in orbiting the sun, the earth departs from a straight line by only one-ninth of an inch every 18 miles. If the orbit changed by one-tenth of an inch every 18 miles, the earth would be vastly larger, and we would all freeze to death. If it changed by one-eighth of an inch, we would be incinerated.

Ain’t that something? We just happen to be the right distance from a sun burning at 20 million degrees by accident? I don’t think so! It’s an amazing and deliberate fine-tuning. If the earth moved 10% closer, from ashes we came, to ashes we return. If it moved 10% away, we’ll all be frozen like Elsa.

Or put another way. When you eat a delicious pizza, the pig didn’t kill itself to make the sausage or the milk proteins from the cow coagulate itself to form cheese. Someone brought all these together to create the pizza.

Or take the human DNA. It is a marvellous piece of coding without Python, Java or C++. Over 3 billion pairs. If you stack all the DNA molecules in your body end to end, they would get to the Sun and back over 600 times. That is 100 trillion times six feet divided by 92 million miles. You think this brilliance and intricacy arose by accident? Fat chance. Man has never been able to create a plane that flies as efficiently as a bird or a submarine that moves as efficiently as a fish. That’s because a supremely intelligent designer made all these things. God.

So you can once again ask “OK, for the sake of argument, let me agree that there is a God that is behind all creation. But how does this prove this ‘God’ to be the God of the Bible?”

It’s easy, dude and dudettes. Think about this. In the Bible, different prophets living in separate communities over a 1,000-year period made predictions about Jesus 500 years before He was born. Over 1,000 prophecies in fact. And each of those prophecies was fulfilled! For comparison, the chances of one man (Jesus) fulfilling just 8 of those prophecies is one in 10 to the 17th power. That is 100000000000000000. That is preposterous accuracy! Inhuman even.

I don’t know about you, but chances are I’d rather believe the account of a book whose words have proven true time and again.

Yea, I’m a sucker like that.

But what do all these have to do with the existence of juju?

Well, if you’ve followed the arguments and agree that the God of the Bible created the universe and that the Bible is accurate in its account, then you must also agree that Lucifer and demons exist since the Bible also said they do. And those lot are the source of juju power.

At any rate, it was always unlikely for any juju person to accept our bloke’s challenge. Not in public glare. You want his neighbours to know he can kill them? Or his broke, down-on-their-luck friends to know he can ‘control’ people yet they are still poor? No, hombre. Some things are best kept secret.

Anyways, all juju men know that power pass power. And there’s a power that surpasses them all. That’s who you need to hook up with. Jesus. Can I get a hallelujah there?!

 

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Creative Writing, Religion

A slow death may not be a bad thing.

I don’t know about you but I enjoy dwelling in the land of the living. I’d rather not die. But that matter was long decided for me in a garden. It’s what happens when you stop to chit-chat with a snake. Your boyfriend was right there naked and you stopped to tattle with a snake. Not that I hold a grudge.

It’s a snake, for Pete’s sake!

But I’ve moved on. No point crying over spilt milk. Especially when the milk was mine. Especially when someone else spilt it. No, it doesn’t matter that I had the kettle on and the biscuits laid out. Not that I hold a grudge.

So, we are all going to die. No Fountain of Youth. No elixir against carking it. As I cannot, therefore, escape joining the choir eternal one day, I often contemplate the manner of my expiry. How will I die?

Will my death be quick, the phalanges of The Grim scything body from soul in one clean swing? A fatal car accident. A bullet to the head. Death without the chance to say goodbye.

Or will The Grim be devious and cut to the quick, but with the chance to put my affairs in order? Like cancer or ALS. Or will he discard the cloak and the scythe? Turn into a benign Angel of Death and rock me to eternal sleep. A coma. Or dying in my sleep.

There you go again, Jide, thinking these morbid thoughts.

I can’t help myself. Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most. But rest assured that I regard death and dying a serious matter.

I am, of course, a Christian. I believe in judgment after death. In heaven and hell. I believe that after I have cashed in my chips, I will appear before the heavenly host. Before whom my life will be played back in Full HD.

This is why I find it ironic many believe that their dearly departed are in a “better place.” If you are a Christian and believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, then you know that not everybody who dies is in a “better place.” There is such a thing as judgment and recompense. Actions and consequences. I don’t know what happened to Herr Hitler or Comrade Stalin in their final moments, but I’d be mad as hell to see them snug in Abraham’s bosom. I’d pull Pete aside and demand an explanation.

So, about that day. When I appear before the host and my life played back in 8K. Will the play back make for a pleasant and enjoyable viewing? Popcorn, hooting and a rousing applause at the end?

Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share in your master’s happiness.

Or will they cower at the horror show before them and look at me aghast?

Hey, Old Nick, one of yours I believe…

The possibility of spending eternity in the smoking section is hair-raising. That is why a slow death, even if painful, has an appeal. You get a second chance to make good with your maker.

A notion no doubt chagrining to the millions of Jews killed by Nazis in death camps.

I visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in 2019. It was the most harrowing place I’d ever visited. I tell myself I could still smell death in the air. My eyes misted at the sight of the empty canisters of the Zyklon B pesticides used in gassing the prisoners to death. I could still hear their screams as they banged and scratched on the door, the deathly fumes asphyxiating them.

I was traumatised when I saw the lab in which Josef Mengele, the “The Angel of Death”, performed his diabolic experiments on the prisoners. He was particularly fond of Jewish twins. He would inject dyes into their eyes — while they were alive — to see if the iris would change colour. Sometimes he would dissect them. Death at Auschwitz was slow.

Will I die a peaceful or agonising death? Only God knows.

As you would have guessed, I have not died before. But I like to think that the last thing on a mind in a slow and torturous death is anything but surviving. Our genes for self-preservation kick in and we fight for life. Think drowning man. Think straw. But still, a half-chance is better than no chance.

I am of course aware that many people are not religious, let alone subscribe to the Christian faith and its notion of heaven and hell. But no one believes they are going to Valhalla, Asgard or Sugar Candy Mountain, do they?

My father was rocked to sleep. He died a quick and painless death. No chance to say goodbye.

He’d been feeling poorly and decided to go to the hospital. It was nothing serious. A cough. A weakness in the joints. He was 71 years old and only needed to see the doctor. So he went to the hospital with my mom.

At the hospital, he realised he forgot to bring along his hospital card. The card was needed to pull up his records.

The house was a shouting distance from the hospital so my mother volunteered to go back home and get the card.

When she returned a few minutes later, my dad was dead.

He had died in his seat in the waiting area. He leaned his head against the wall and was gone. Everyone thought he was sleeping.

I am the first of five children. I got the call a few minutes after he’d died. It was on a Monday morning and I was at the office. A male voice came on the phone.

“Hello. Is this Mr. Jide Alade?”

No. Not if I owe you money.

“Yes, it is,” I replied.

He mentioned his name. He was the doctor. It was a small privately-run hospital. He started to say something but my mother came on the line. She had snatched the phone from him. She was hysterical and incoherent. I only caught “bàbà é ti kù!” (Yoruba language for “your father has died!”).

I asked her to calm down. But unlike the meme, she couldn’t keep calm. She kept blurting my father’s name. The doctor came on the line and gave me the address of the hospital.

Oh, my father!

I drove to the hospital in a daze. Three of my father’s friends were already there.

My mother clung to me and sobbed. If only she had not left him alone! If only she’d been more sensitive. If only…

The body was released to me to take to the morgue. The hospital didn’t have an ambulance at hand.

We put the body in the back seat of my car in a sitting position. Two of his friends sat on either side of him. My father’s head was slung to the side. He looked like he was snoozing. Yet he was dead. It was unearthly. As I drove to the morgue, I kept looking at him in the back mirror. Hoping he would wake up. Hoping it was all a dream.

Then one of my father’s friends said to me “Jide, when it is my time to die, I want to die like your father. A quick and painless death. I don’t want to be sickly. I don’t want to cost my family money or cause them anguish. I just want to go, like that. Like your father.”

Thanks, man. That was sure comforting.

But his words stuck with me. The appeal of a quick, painless death.

Those words would re-echo last year when my friend died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Right before my eyes, he withered, his motor neurons and muscles atrophying. I witnessed the degeneration of his muscle movement. First the speech. Then swallowing. Then walking. I saw the huge burden his sickness placed on his frail wife and on his 10- and 8-year-old sons. They grew into adults overnight.

He had always invited me to his hometown at Christmas to savour some choice bushmeat and palm wine. When I finally went, it was to bury his body.

See you finally came visiting. Told you the bushmeat was scrummy.

The words of my father’s friend would re-echo when my sister died during childbirth and was buried with the unborn child. I was there when they cut her open and brought out the lifeless baby to be interred with her.

Those words would re-echo seeing my father-in-law vibrate uncontrollably from Parkinson’s disease. Weeks ago, he was so distressed, he expressed his desire to die and be rid of the affliction. My wife and sister cried.

I am 47 years old. How will I die? A thousand cuts or rocked to sleep?

A quick and peaceful death is awesome if you are certain of where you’ll be spending eternity. But if you are unsure, you might want to be poured out slowly. Painless, I hope.

How will I like to die? Why, like Jacob, of course!

“When Jacob had finished giving instructions to his sons, he drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last and was gathered to his people.” — Gen 49: 33

NB: This post was written for the Medium Writers Challenge with the tag of “Death.” 

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Faith, Religion, The Future, Uncategorized

Psst…aliens are here. Attracted by 5G

nypost

“Psst…have you heard? 5G tech caused Covid-19! It’s a ploy by the New World Order to get us chipped. Remember 666? The mark of the beast? That’s the end game!”

 “Psst…the 2004 tsunami was caused by a secret underwater nuclear test by India.  US and Israel scientists were involved.  

“Psst…Diana was killed by the MI6 on instruction of Her Majesty so Diana won’t have an Arab child for Dodi Fayed. Imagine Williams and Harry having an Arab sibling!

“Psst…Malaysia flight MH370 was shot down over the Indian Ocean to prevent top secret information exchanging hands. There was a spy onboard carrying sensitive information.”

How I enjoy a good conspiracy theory!

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Faith, Religion

When your time comes…

 

Oh, for goodness sake, here comes this retard talking about death in January! We’ve just danced, sang and wined into a new year and this Dufus has to remind everyone we’ll check into the wooden Waldorf one day. Idiot! I shall not die but live to testify of the goodness of the Lord!

Well, I can’t help myself, can I? It must be the harmattan. Besides, what type of friend will I be if I don’t remind you that you will expire one day? I hope that day is a thousand years away, when you are full of years, wizened and lost all appetite to curse me.

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