Deep Things with Sunday Ogidigbo: Cain and Abel

Sunday Ogidigbo

Jeffery Acher in his New York bestseller Kain and Abel attempted to situate the rivalry of the first biblical human brothers in a contemporary and capitalist context, inspired by the biblical account of the bitter religious rivalry that characterised the relationship between the sons of Adam, which tension led to the very first murder in the history of mankind, with Cain killing his brother Abel.

Unlike the Abel of Acher, who was all out to deal an economic sucker punch to Kain the banker, Abel of Adam received a blow on the head by the hand of his only brother who watched him bleed to death.

Only heaven can give an accurate account of the number of Abels whose lives have been cut short in the name of religion. We might need to wait for judgement day to known the depth and extent of the horror and brutality brought about by riots and full blown wars ignited by sparkes of religious conflicts.

Just recently, most of us received with shock and disbelief the story in Canada of how three sisters and their step mother were killed. This time, the killers were members of their nuclear family – parents, brother and husband. They called it honour killing, the court called it murder.

Some have argued that honour killing features prominently in the Law of Moses. For indeed in Moses it is provided that all form of sexual immorality is punishable by stoning until death. Also if one as much as blaspheme, the  parents and siblings must take the lead in stoning the blasphemer to death.

Jesus was condemned to death because the Chief Priests and the Pharisees said he blasphemed. Stephen was stoned to death for the same reason. Achan and his entire household were stoned to death for stealing things that were consecrated to God.

The killings that are carried out in the name of God goes beyond honour killing. Many are similar to that of Abel by Cain; religious differences.. Countless number of deaths are carried out the world over because of difference in religious views and persuations. The crusaders that rode through Europe and the Middle East in recent civilizations killed plenty as it were in the service of God. They were called crusaders, to others they are seeds of Cain.

Every generation has men like Cain, our generation  has its own fair share.  With the plorification of the many weapons of war and instruments of death one Cain can take out a thousand Abel or more by just one strike. Today we have many local, national and multinational organisation carrying on business founded upon the doctrine of Cain and serving as a umbrella for all in his image.

The other day in Norway, a young man killed fellow citizens all in the name of God. Space will fail us to chronicle deaths caused by suicide bombings and road side bombs, all in the service of God.

Some have argued that the war of terror is a religious war. Some other people have said that it is a war between Christianity and Islam. Intellectuals think that it is a war between the forces of God and evil. Political and Socio-economic commentators are of the opinion that the war is more of political and economic gains.

To some other people, the warriors are extremist and religious bigots. But I say this war is the Cain syndrome.

The sad part of all these is that  Law of Moses that is the bases of most of these killings have been abrogated. The Law of Moses – “the old testament” can be likened to the 1979 constitution. The New Testament one can liken to the 1999 constitution. It is extra-judicial to enforce the provisions of an abrogated piece of legislation or law. The Old Testament was where God used to be, the New Testament is where He is.

We saw the Pharisees bring a woman to Jesus who was caught in the very act of adultery. They invoked sections of the Law of Moses that provides that such a one should die by stoning. They asked him “what say you”? Jesus said “Not Guity” For the New Testament teaches and preaches forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.

This issue cannot be resolved politically or militarily. Jesus saved the life of the adulterous woman by changing the paradigm of those waiting to stone her. A total paradigm shift in all cannot however assure but we can like Jesus safe many Abels from going to the grave not just early but violently.

We as a people are becoming sedated by the continuous blood shed by the seed of Cain. We are getting used to people be blown to shred. The other day in Kaduna Officer Sunday was killed while attempting to detonate a road side bomb. He in good faith wanted to prevent the death a another Abel, became Abel. I read with pain and sorrow how most commentators call him names.

One thing we should all know is that, like the first Abel, the blood of all Abels are crying out and the blood of the innocent whose killer(s) are not known makes the land sick. May the mercies of God prevail in our nation.  May the soul of all Abels rest in peace.


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