War. Slavery. Suicide bombings. Shady preachers cheating the poor and vulnerable out of their hard-earned money. No doubt about it, when mankind is at its worst, many times religion is hanging out above the stage of life pulling strings and causing chaos.
Yet, according to Nigerian-born Joachim Onyeakor in Did We Create God?, humanity yearns for an understanding of the one true universal God, creator of all things. It’s just that in that quest, individuals, countries, and religions impose their own beliefs, prejudices, lies, and just plain old nastiness upon the divine. In turn, it seems that God hasn’t created us in His own image: it is us who have fashioned God from our own reprobation.
For Onyeakor, evidence of this can be found throughout history. “How come Europeans who have introduced the holy books and Christianity into the African continent are not acting in accordance with the teaching of the religions and the holy books?” Good question, and Onyeakor explores the reasons, including economic imbalances, human rights abuses, and con games in his opinionated, muckraking exploration of the hypocrisies committed in the name of God.
Overall, Onyeakor is a deft writer with a conversational tone that makes for generally easy reading. However, the book suffers from trying to be too many things at once. At some points, it’s an interesting exploration of the mismanagement of religion around the world; at other times it reads like a memoir (with harrowing stories of the author in Nigeria). At still other times, the author veers off course to talk at length about Internet scams and identity theft. It seems he has three books rolled into one when a single book on a targeted topic would have sufficed.
Overall, the author has a commanding presence. With a skilled editing team to improve punctuation, grammar, etc., and help him gain focus, Onyeakor’s message could reach a wide audience of those disenchanted by (dis)organized religion.