By Emmanuel Omale

From time immemorial, the minds of children have been shaped fundamentally by the societal convention, religious doctrine and indigenous beliefs. These conventions are fed to the minds of children to a level where mostly he or she has no mind of his own. A quick flashback to when we were young and we asked our mothers why we ought to pray, or who we were supposed to pray to. A typical Nigerian parent would greet that child’s curiosity with either a slap, or with crude shut up. Our spirit of curiosity was imprisoned by the societal conventions taught to us by our parents. But should we at this stage of relative maturity allow our minds stay imprisoned?  It is only fair that we question the status quo.

We do the best we can to sideline the reality of the abstract state of our various religion but we know deep down that a question should be asked. The question constantly permeates our mind, but we suppress these questions because we do not want to change or disrupt the status quo. Was it not said that the validity or true value of a concept, belief or theory is ascertained only when such theory is subjected to critical and rational inquiry? This therefore proves that for our religions to hold full sway in our hearts, we must subject it to the ‘why questions’: Why should I believe? Why should I pay homage to this status quo being the fact that we can’t see? I do not want to sound atheistic, but I so believe that until we can adequately answer the why questions without relying on the precepts or thought pattern of your religious leaders, then we do not really understand the nitty-gritty or basis of religion.

As men, we were imbued with the societal convention of our all-mighty-head of the family spirit. We were taught to stand at the nucleus of the family; we are the head of the family and presumed stronger vessels. And the females are made as a lubricant to our over-arched ego, cowering in extravagant respect, submissive to our every desire, giving up dreams, ambitions and passions just to fit into the society’s ideal wife material. But we have to ask why. Why our culture should put so much importance to the male child as against the female child? Why does she have to forgo her desires, dreams and passion just to make him feel more of a man? Why must she play the second fiddle and why must it always be about him? I don’t mean to be a man-hater since I’m also a male-figure. I only desire that females should try to emancipate themselves from the manacles put on their minds by culture, society and to large extent illiteracy.

In conclusion, as minds are being sharpened and shaped by education, it is only right we ask why. It would only be of sheer indignity to our minds as individuals to cower to the rustic teachings of culture. Culture is a very good concept and it is expedient that our culture be kept but it is of essence that we note that this culture was created by humans. In other words, they were not divinely inspired, but were created as a guide to our daily living and sharpening our relation with others. Thus, it is only pertinent that we subject this so-called culture to critical inquiry. The university is not a place we come to obtain a degree and leave with such ignorant beliefs, it is a place where our minds are also educated and taught to manage and control our environment, rationally solve problems and most importantly to probe the existing frontiers. We should therefore take some minutes an hour or a day and ask the ‘why questions’ because a life not subjected to rational inquiry would be a life tantamount to the rigid coldness of death. 

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