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Towards religious tolerance, peaceful coexistence

Whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Judaist, Hinduist or Buddhist, this book relates to everybody. Although the author mentioned other religions in the book, in Nigeria, we are faced, once again, with the running debate of finding the thin dividing thread between Christianity and Islam, the two most popular religions in our land. Of course, there is a marked difference between the two, but if you read this book, you will find out that it is possible to view both as similar to the other.

In trying to assert himself that we all serve the same God who does not discriminate, the author comes across as a man of God imbued with vision and imagination. Because of its depth and objectivity, this is a book I will recommend to all Christians, Muslims and adherents of other faiths. With his deep research, the author is telling us that our God, whether you are a Christian or Muslim, is a God of peace and not that of confusion.

I strongly believe that this book will make a tremendous impact in this country because Pastor Takuro has demonstrated his courage to change the society through knowledge. And to put the message across a larger audience, the author embellishes his writings with real-life images and stories as you will find in the book. Apparently, the essence of this book is that God created us in His own image.

Just one image. And this image must reflect the virtues of God in our lives, individually and collectively. On page 63, he said: “Everyone, be it Christian, Muslim, Judaist, Hinduist, Buddhist must do a lot of soul searching and have a new orientation of tolerance and rather let their conduct and lifestyle point people to God.” If we all accept this, then why is there trouble in the land? Why do people kill in the name of religion? Anywhere religious intolerance rears its ugly head, it leaves blood in its trail. Is this what God approves? The answer is no. With happenings in the country today, this book – ‘Is the Kingdom of God for a particular religion?’ – is timely and instructive.

The 66-page compendium is divided into 13 chapters and each chapter tells a compelling story: that God does not support violence. The author’s use of references and quotes from the Bible and Quran enlightens the reader and validates his position. The author tells us that extremism is wrong because no religion – ancient or modern – encourages the killing of human beings for whatever reason. To drive the message home, the concept and doctrines of various religions, their similarities and striking differences were examined.

Chapter 1, which serves as the Introduction to the book, clearly shows that there is crisis in the world because “Everyone wants to show that his or her religious belief is superior and should be the accepted norm.” In Chapter 2, the author tells us what every candidate must do to qualify for the Kingdom of God.

So, if you want to enter the Kingdom of God, buy this book to get details. In Chapter 3, the author takes readers round the world, examining the teachings of some major religions. He tells readers that there is no religion which preaches violence. So, if violence has been introduced into religions, it is not from God. In Chapter 4, the author displays his mastery of the doctrines of Christianity and Islam, examining their similarities. The central theme of this chapter is Peaceful Coexistence.

In other words, to enjoy global peace, all men should live in peace. In Chapters 5, 6 and 7, the author dwells on the bone of contention among adherents of various religions; examples of people and entities who embrace peace & the need for people to be united. A particular reference was made of Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who allows his Christian workers to practise their faith without hindrance or victimisation.

“I personally believe that this is one of the reasons for the abounding grace and mercy of God on all the undertakings of Alhaji Aliko Dangote because he allows and encourages freedom of worship and religious tolerance. Naturally, both Christians and Muslims in the Dangote Group Christian Fellowships and Mosques respectively pray for him regularly, freely and without prompting”. Also, the determination of the author to lead by example is shown in Chapter 8. For years, Pastor Takuro has been giving money to Muslims to celebrate Sallah.

How many Nigerians can do this? From Chapters 9 to 11, the author dwells on how God punishes those who disobey Him; how to stem the tide of violence and 16 steps to achieving religious tolerance. Chapter 12, the longest chapter in the book, gives readers the good news of how the world has come to realise that good relationship is better than religious intolerance.

Chapter 13, which is the last chapter, is a clear demonstration of the power of God over mankind. This chapter enjoins us to do good always because, according to the author, “Only God knows those who worship Him in spirit and truth and He will receive them joyfully into His kingdom when the bells toll”.

The author encourages us to “fear God and keep His commandment” but since Nigeria is our immediate constituency, do Christians and Muslims fear God in this country? The author strongly believes that “the recent spate of wanton destruction of lives, properties, division, schisms, threats and sectionalism, all in the guise of propagation of religious belief, cannot be traced to any religion”.

So, if God does not support violence, then those fuelling violence don’t worship the only living God we serve. The author reveals in the book that no religion is evil but perpetrators hide under Christianity and Islam to commit atrocities. I am a Christian but I strongly believe that every day, our country is sinking into religiosity to the detriment of godliness. Every Friday and Sunday, you see people in mosques and churches but their hearts are far from God.

That is why the economy is retrogressing because anything you do outside the laws of God will never work. Many people do not know this. The population of Israel is eight million. Christians represent two per cent of this population (about 160,000). Muslims are even more in Israel because they represent 16.9 per cent. Jewish constitute about 76 per cent. Then, we have others like Samaritanism, Baha’iism, Druze, and Paganism.

So, Israel is not a Christian nation but an Israeli is an Israeli. The nation comes first because the government is ever ready to use instrumentality of state to defend and protect an average Israeli anywhere in the world and whether you are a Christian, Muslim or Judaist, an average Israeli believes in one God. I am sure you also know that Israel does not have a written Constitution.

But, what do we have in Nigeria? We claim to be close to God but many Nigerians observe this in the breach. This is the time for us to reorder our value system spiritually. John 8:32 says: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. Obviously, it is not only the truth we know that will set Nigeria free but “the truth we do”. I want to thank the author for this soul-lifting book and I recommend it to everybody.




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