Blaming God For Our Actions

By Omari Jackson

We live in an increasingly difficult and dangerous world. The anxieties of life, political necessities, uncompromising efforts to find solutions, and the failure to accept responsibility for our actions, have increased the uncertainties of our time. In addition, violence -in every form - revolutions, insurrections, armed rebellions, robbery, rape, etc., have all become features of a world losing its sense of direction. What's happening to our society? Where can we turn to for lasting peace and contentment?

Even religion does not seem to possess rightful and consoling answers to the increasing madness. At their worst performances, clerics increase our hopelessness by absolving wrongdoers of personal responsibilities for their actions. Very often, they have pointed fingers at God. "It's God's will" has been their slogan. Clearly, a thoughtless and desperate proposition to find favor from politicians.

And in the case of military adventurers, they believe that their missions are God-ordained, and these have been supported by the clergy, who has sanctioned barbarism and glaring human rights abuses which are in direct opposite to the qualities of God. However, the beat goes on.

Ordinary people become the pawns of reckless adventurism, and sooner or later the victors realize that they possess no magic solutions to the mounting problems that they help to bring about. What follows, normally, is poverty and destitution.

After seven years of calculated social disorder, a cleric has said that the Liberian nightmare was an act of God. During a stopover in Monrovia, recently, Mr. Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam (U.S.) was quoted by the STAR RADIO (Monrovia) as saying that God used the seven years to bring Liberians back to Him. The blood of all those murdered, massacred, and butchered, he said, would purify the Liberian nation. As we have seen, it is easy for justice to be perverted, by making others responsible for otherwise preventable actions.

Consider this! In 1993, an unemployed black man in New York, Colin Ferguson, gunned down six persons and wounded 19 more on a commuter train from New York's Penn State to Hickeville. Ferguson was seen as a hero by many, including Nation of Islam disciple Khalid Muhammad. At a rally, he described Ferguson as "brave" and driven by God. "God spoke to Colin Ferguson," he declared. However, Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan publicly denounced Khalid Muhammad for supporting Ferguson.

Ironically, it is the same Nation of Islam leader Farrakhan who told Liberians, that the U. N. estimated number of over 300,000 Liberians murdered, massacred, and butchered, died by the act of God, to bring the nation back to Him. But every careful reader of the Holy Quran knows the repeated declaration, preceding every sura (chapter) of the Quranic verses that Allah (God) is merciful and compassionate.

The manner in which the Quran describes Allah's (God's) mercy and compassion, provides the irrefutable proof that He is neither responsible, nor involved in the reckless brutality that mankind inflicts on itself.

Nevertheless, there are many who share the conviction that God was responsible for the Liberian genocide. Interestingly, one of those is the Liberian president Mr. Charles G. Taylor. He told the BBC's Elizabeth Ohene, after his impressive election victory, that events in Liberia were acts of God, who used him to accomplish them.

In fact, shifting blame on others is not a new phenomenon. It is as old as mankind's beginning. When Adam violated God's instruction and was confronted, he was quick to point fingers at his wife. But, instructively, God did not absolve him of responsibility. So, Adam was as much responsible for his actions, as we are today accountable for ours. Why, because we are free moral agents, capable of making independent decisions.

Isn't it an irrefutable fact, that since we don't have the ability or the perfection to do what is legally right all the time, governments make laws to protect the strong and the vulnerably weak? What is the essence of the constitutional provisions of do's and don'ts, where the guilty is punished, and not absolved from responsibility? It may well be argued that man's desire for fame, power, prominence, and just to become somebody, is the foundation for his reckless brutality.

Even today, defenders of the late president Samuel Kanyon Doe, (may God feel sorry for him), cannot excuse his actions. Our laws do not exonerate the guilty, and punish the innocent. And we should not excuse our leaders and blame the merciful and compassionate God.