Feature Article of Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Columnist: Dr. Samuel Adjei Sarfo

Of trust, faith and belief: You are toast if you have any

By nature, all human brains are lazy and have the propensity to follow without question. Thus, people prefer not to think; rather, they want others to think for them, to take charge of them and to control them….Tell them what to do! And even if people have to pay lots of money to free themselves of the arduous task of having to think for themselves, they will readily and gladly pay up. And I know this because I am a lawyer, and as a lawyer, I get paid good money for thinking for others.

And for us Ghanaians, our ability to think appears to have been terminated when all these light-skinned people brought us a big book detailing their relationship and dealings with their god and convinced us that God himself wrote that book! That was when we threw our own equally fake gods away and chose to trust, have faith, and to believe in the light-skinned people’s god. From then on, we found it needless to ask any questions about this god; and from then on, we began to see ourselves as demons and symbols of ugliness, and the light skinned people as angels and status symbols of beauty. But generally, to trust, have faith or believe in anything without subjecting the thing to sound inquiry is the first step to gullibility and a means of vulnerability. And anybody trying to convince you to trust, have faith, or believe in anything is after your money. Nothing else!

Now the only way to arrive at the destination of truth is through diligent search and inquiry. Truth is not discoverable by trust, faith or belief; it is the product of intensive search and perpetual questioning. Thus, we should re-orient the minds of the people to question-asking, not to easy trust and belief. Our school curriculum, cultural practices and religious predilections should testify to the ways and means of establishing the truth, not celebrate blind trust or faith or belief. We should teach our people that the person asking you to trust or believe or have faith in him or her without inquiry is asking you to throw away your reasoning, logic or thinking in order to be had. For without questioning or inquiry, we will forever become lobotomized idiots and easy victims drowning in the sea of deception.

And so trust, faith and belief....They are all words of deception which others use in order to gain advantage of us, to make us vulnerable and gullible. For indeed, any person who is trustworthy needs not urge anyone to trust him at all: He will do right by all manner of men anyways, no matter what others are thinking, or whether others are looking or watching. And he is going to focus on whatever he is doing without requesting or requiring trust from anyone. But if a person wants to pull the wool over others' eyes, then he will holler and plead and persuade others to trust him.....That primary trust is needed to soften their victims’ brains in order to make them susceptible to deceit.

And does it matter that we have faith in anything at all? How is a thing that truly exists affected by our belief or otherwise that it exists? Whether we have faith that a piece of object exists can have no impact on the thing’s actual existence. So faith is a redundant experience, independent of truth and reality. And if we believe that something exists that does not exist, then our minds are virtually damaged, and our faculties are merely hallucinating and making real that which is just fantasy. Then we have gone bonkers!

Same thing applies to the things we believe in. If we choose to believe in anything without empirical evidence, it could not be counted as any sign of our loyalty or commonsense or patriotism. The things we believe in, if they are foolish, or naive, are foolish or naive, notwithstanding that we believe in them; and if they are not true, well....then they are not true, and our belief in them merely makes us also foolish and naïve and untrue, if not altogether mentally disordered.

Thus, trust, faith and belief, if they are not based on reasoning, empirical evidence, or logic, expose us all to all kinds of vulnerabilities and gullibility, naïvete and foolishness, or even fraudulence. The person who is trying to dupe you will first rely on your trust, faith and belief to defraud you. And if your religious faith encourages you to trust, have faith and believe in your pastor or shaman or Imam, you should know where that is all leading………..into the bottom of your pocket, for the only purpose of all those who are asking for your trust, faith and belief is to make you let down your guard in order to deceive and take advantage of you.

Intelligent people are by nature skeptical, suspicious and inquisitive. They follow with their eyes and minds every charade going on around them in order to find out exactly what is going on. They try to explain natural phenomena and social occurrences in a very logical and reasoned way, giving no chance to superstition or bunkum. They are not in a hurry to conclude that a miracle is happening; rather they are looking for questions to ask; or they are producing answers to questions that have not even been asked. The skeptic observes a phenomena and considers it with an inquiring mind, trying to figure out what is truly happening.

On the other hand, the person that trusts too much, or lives by faith and beliefs, listens out for the most popular explanations, and will ask no further question. Such a person is stuck in the first gear of mental development, and such a person considers all thinking as conclusive, and further thinking as pejorative, or even pernicious or blasphemous. Such people are always thinking that to be righteous is to believe in all things the so-called prophets have said without questioning anything.

We must make inquiry, curiosity and questioning the mainstay of our new educational system. That is how we will become creative and innovative. That is how we can stand shoulder to shoulder with all these nations inventing things and selling them to us.

For our backwardness as a people has nothing to do with the color of our skins or the biology of our brain. It has to do with how we have been brought up, through our education, religion and culture to perceive the truth: To us, the truth is what some foreigners have told us of their own ancestors and their relationship with a supercilious God. Through trust, faith and belief, we have imbibed fiction which we regurgitate without compunction. That scheme of mental obnubilation is what has led us marching backward for several millennia.

But there is now a new opportunity for us to be vigorous and vibrant in our thinking. And that is what the present educational system, provided for us for free by the NPP government, should aim to achieve. We have to assemble the best of the philosophical principles all right, but we should not be afraid to question and inquire into any one of them. Even if God himself appears before us to tell us something, we cannot simply trust him or believe in him or have any faith in him. For indeed the purpose of our education should enable us to question God himself, if he were to stand before us, and not to simply trust, have faith or believe in him, whatever he may be!