Whenever one’s religion is criticized, one instinctively become defensive, and attempts to defend their religion to the best of their ability. There are consequences, however, when one attempts to define others religions as “right” or “wrong”. Chinua Achebe, in his book Things Fall Apart, juxtaposes Christianity and the Igbo Religion to demonstrate how religion should not be judged as “right” or “wrong” because of the problems created when they are. Many instances occur in Things Fall Apart where the belief that one's religion is “right” or “correct” and other religions are “wrong” or “in-correct” creates problems for the people of the Igbo tribe, as well as the missionaries.
A prime example of the consequences associated with judging a religion as “right” or “wrong” concerns the treatment of twins in Igbo society. The Igbo believe that twins are evil, and if one gives birth to twins, they must cast them away to the Evil Forest. The Christian missionaries detest this heinous crime, and arrest anyone who commits it, as Achebe writes on page 174, “They [the court messengers] guarded the prison, which was full of men who had offended against the white man’s law. … These prisoners had thrown away their twins.” Because the Christians judged the Igbo religion as “wrong” or “incorrect,” they were influenced to remedy what they perceived as a dangerous situation, which led to a hindered relationship between the Igbo and the Christians, as demonstrated when the Igbo prisoners sing:
“Kotma of the ash buttocks,
He is fit to be a slave,
The white man has no sense,
He is fit to be a slave.” (Achebe 175)
Another example of the consequences of viewing religion as “right” or “wrong” occurs when the Christians challenge the Igbo religion because it is polytheistic. Achebe utilizes the phrase “false gods” many times when the missionaries speak of Christianity and why it is better than Igbo religion. One such example is present when the white men address the tribe after Okonkwo disowns Nwoye. Achebe writes, “He [The white men] told them that they worshipped false gods, gods of wood and stone.” (Achebe 145). The Christians belief that they are the “right” or superior religion will lead to Okonkwo’s death as he goes to the village ilo to attempt a revolution to disprove the these missionaries beliefs.
A third example of the consequences associated with viewing religion as “right” or “wrong” is observed in the treatment of the osu (the outcast) in Igbo society. Ironically, in this circumstance, the Igbo people are the aggressors, that is to say, the ones who be-rate another religion...