[January 22, 2017]
This is my first write-up of the year, and obviously it is a controversial one. I hardly write on religious matters especially in a country like ours where almost everyone has religious dogma; with some killing in the name of religion. Alas! We are dying! Just because we do not want to be seen as anti-religious individuals, we have been playing the silence game. But religion has gone wild and haywire! But as usual, many will not see this picture. Why? They are religious! Religion has taken over, as everything that happens is given a religious view.
Just as the world continue to watch countries like the United States, Russia, United Kingdom, China and a few others, it is obvious that they are disappearing out of sight when it comes to development. But then I asked myself, are these countries this developed because of their prayers or religiosity? Has God made them so enviable because they attribute everything to him and call on him during difficulties? Not at all.
Tell me a country that is more prayerful or religious than Nigeria. You need to count the number of churches and mosques in your neighbourhood, then compare your figure with the number of schools, primary health centres, and companies. You need to see lined-up programmes of most churches, they are ‘always’ in church. While most mosques are ‘always’ holding one programme or the other. “God, make our country better” is one of the most common prayer among Nigerians, some even fast to quicken God’s answer. Do not get me wrong, all these are great, I’m also one of those Nigerians who do these.
Upon all the aforementioned, here we are realistically tagged underdeveloped. We are looking up to the less religious/prayerful states for help. Even countries where a large population do not believe in God are more developed than us. When those countries were busy working, making plans and executing them, we were praying. Now, they are finding their paths, we are still praying – “O God, make our county better.”
Some churches and mosques generate more revenue than most companies. Pastors are richer than Professors and Doctors. Congregations see their Pastors as middlemen between them and God; as if God cannot be approached directly. To religious leaders, all their congregation owe the state is to pray for those leading. They see politics as a dirty game, and as people in white linen, they should not pursue political agenda. But they are quick to trade blame or criticise policies of the ‘dirty’ ones.
China has by far the highest percentage – and even then not quite half – of convinced atheists out of all the world’s countries. Despite this, they are the most developing state in the world. But a prayerful Nigeria is crawling.
For the sake of being on God’s side, some are killing those who do not believe in their religion. Funny enough, they kill to ‘make’ heaven! Intolerance has become the watchword of some religions. Religiosity is being seen as holiness; they have missed the road!
So what? Stop being prayerful? Oh! No!
What options? Development is a worldly process. We have to pay the price for greatness, and obviously, being religious or prayerful is not the price for greatness. When the children of Israel were faced with the Red Sea, they called on God. God told them to move forward not minding what was before them. Here we are faced with difficulties, and being so blessed with resources is God’s way of saying “You have what you need to move forward, move forward.” But Nigerians are still busy praying. What then happens when too much prayer hinders you from hearing from God?
Religion is a creation of men, not God. God has no religion. True religion is neither rules-based or ritual-based, it is a relationship with God.
Despite the media war against him, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. He rode on to power with the punchline – “Make America great again.” But he is not going to start with prayers or urge Americans to organise crusades. He is going act! Prayers get answered only when you have played your part, then you commit the rest to God. For Nigeria to be great, everyone must contribute in action as much as they contribute in prayers. The former should come first. There must be a balance between both; or rather preferably, the former overshadowing the latter.