Caveat: if you do not have an open mind, please do not read this article : ) I mean it. For it will make you angry. Very!
After reading from a chapter in my book, ‘Do Something!’, this young lady lambasted me on why I had to mix God and the motivational work. It was obvious that the mention of the word, God, had caused her to be distraught thus removing her mind and focus from the important message embedded in the work I read.
How did I know? Because I have also reacted in the same prejudicial manner in times past.
Although I have been sometimes reminded that the protesters are biased about religion as an institution, and not faith, I still have stubbornly decided to focus on religion as an institution as well for the purpose of this article.
I will start from the obvious cons, then proceed to ask a few questions that will enable us, as intellectuals, make useful headway.
We are familiar with the inter-religious clashes hitherto rampant in our society. This does not add smiles to any one’s face. In this case, religion, prima facie, might be hanged as the cause of social disorder. But is it really the cause?
When people mismanage funds, get away with it, and even proceed to do so-called thanksgiving services or erect church buildings, is religion to blame for such misappropriation of public funds? Or is it not the failure of law, order and justice that has given them such free lunches?
When the educational system of the nation is in rags and the missionaries or churches see investment opportunities – opportunities that will not only offer quality education but also yield good profit to the investors as well as foster development in the areas where they are located, thus reducing the number of students taking our money abroad. Is religion still a curse?
I have heard people suggest that religion makes people lazy. However, “Leave it to God” is just one of those statements that people use for laziness. Most of the people who use it are not that religious anyway. Let us not hold religion responsible for the lacklustre lifestyles people choose to lead.
Religious institutions rather encourage a person to be hardworking. In fact, several churches engender motivation and excellence as most youths can for once have an idea of an organization that works.
Many suggest that the ‘pastors and preachers’ prey upon people’s ignorance and exploit their need for life-changing miracles. But if the system were such that the health system was okay and accessible, would such ideas come up? The pastors and preachers are there as back-up, to do for the people what the government has refused to do. And I say that with a dint of hilarity.
And just when I thought I have made a case for religion I remember two events:
First, the open singing and preaching at Wuse Market, Abuja from 12 noon till about 12:30pm. Although everyone in the market seemed to be at peace with the said happening, I still thought it was a little out of place.
As I type this very sentence, I can still hear, from my room, voices coupled with songs at intervals, of Muslim faithfuls performing some sort of ceremony or the other. It has been on for a number of days – at least since the one month I have been in Nigeria. Young and old alike dancing and singing cheerfully at 11:40pm. Almost like the Christian version of night vigils.
One can easily blame the above on religion, but is it not the lack of law and order that gives them free hand to practice their religion the way they seem fit, not minding the adverse effect it might have on their neighbors who obviously have to endure this mental torture in an effort to grant the other freedom of expression.
In a nut shell, I would say, we begin to move forward the very day we learn to call our problems by their rightful names.
Feel free to air your frustrations on this piece and/or suggest ways you feel the writer could better the article.
@ikeamadi on Twitter.