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Featured Post: God is not a punctuation mark!

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Today’s featured post by Taiwo Asiwaju is bound to challenge the way you use God in your everyday speech. Don’t forget to share the post and drop your comments. If you’ll like to feature your post, send a mail to Happy reading.

I recently decided to stop including “God” in statements when I’m really not referring to the person of the Creator. “God” comes in when what we aim to express in question is a subject that is beyond our control, or as a filler at points of vocabulary paucity. This mental lexicon is characteristic of the vast majority of Lagosians, and I daresay Africans, because the acceptance of the existence of a God spans across practically every culture.

A good example – one Sunday afternoon, making my way out of an eatery, I ran into an acquaintance. Without my asking, she spilled out to me that she had just left an ATM where after punching in the wrong PIN thrice, her card was seized. This is in keeping with CBN regulations – we all know this- she inclusive. But in the way of women, she was still anxious. I smiled in solace and she sighed saying “Well, it’s in God’s hands.” Really? But how? Just like that? I lost all sympathy for her immediately. Go and retrieve the card from God’s hands, why don’t you.

Yet another – a Monday morning, walking along my campus corridors, I came across two ladies  chattering  excitedly. As they advanced I was able to hear what was being said by one of them “That topic always comes out in exam oh! And you know nobody likes reading it? That’s how God works!” I marked her face. That’s how God works? The omnipotent has a preference for which topics you are examined on? So, perhaps he has topics he’d rather mortals didn’t bother learning? 
With all freedom of conscience, I make a narrow guess what range of figures the IQ of such individuals falls into.
Though these cases might seem harmless and I might have come across as a cynical observer of society, let me give a more spectacular example of how this lingo has revealed a crack in our mentality as a people. Two years ago when the then-Minister of Aviation Stella Oduah, on remarking on the fatal aeroplane crash that claimed numerous innocent lives infamously said it was an “act of God”.  Act Of God!
Why would God act this way? Does the awareness of the sovereignty of a God clearly not reveal a lack of sense of responsibility? Surely she started by using “God” as a punctuation mark in sentences of more mundane things. She was probably one of those students who when asked how their exam was,would reply off their spine ” We thank God oh!”
This is not a theological discussion. I myself believe in God and his involvement in the affairs of men. Heck, I am thankful to Him too when I’m through with an exam or challenging situation. What I propose is that we be more deliberate in the way we include “God” in our sentences. Try doing without that ‘punctuation mark’ for a week – you might find yourself being more mental about your choice of words, and your logic of conversation more lucid. You might even develop a healthy respect for the person of God along the way, as the good book even teaches not to mention His name in vain.
Lastly, if nothing else, when speaking in public (not in religious circles) you would not give yourself away as a shallow thinker,speaker and average Nigerian, and not irritate the ears of those who aren’t so easily disposed to such concepts. In the board rooms “God” is not reckoned with.

“God” is not a punctuation mark.   

Taiwo Asiwaju is a self-styled social critic on a quest to minimize mediocrity in his immediate environment.
A veritable ambivert and natural leader, he is a firm believer in excellence. He currently studies at College of Medicine, University of Lagos.

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