Take it or or leave, it, Nigerians are among the most religious people on the face of the planet. But the prevalence of evil in the midst of these religious activities has left a huge question mark on our spirituality. This explains why many have called for the intensity of religious practices in the country to be soft-pedaled, and possibly examined, at personal levels, for truer ways to worship the maker.
Many have stated, in Christianity for example, that religion leads to a dead-end in that, it keeps the individual bound to a code of do’s and don’ts, which he can never satisfy, and also prevents him from accessing the help he needs from the Maker of the Universe.
But that’s not all there has to be.
To surmount the mountains that face our nation, we need to adopt a new religion – not necessarily as a replacement for the current crop of practices that abound in our social space, but one that shines through every page of our entire belief system.
Mind you, this has nothing to do with helping man find a better relationship with his maker here on earth. It is far from that. My concern here is not about improving the creator-creature connection. Rather, I am persuaded that religion can help our society get out of the present cultural, social, political and economic crisis.
Now, follow me closely.
Religion—the belief, worship and, most importantly in this context, fear of a celestial being – could be the solution to Nigeria’s manifold struggles, because most of the problems in our society are artificial, and morality has clearly failed, as it evaporates in the face of pressure.
I grew up hearing—especially in Social Studies classes—about how Nigeria and other African countries are blessed because of the rarity of natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes in the continent. But today, one is tempted to doubt these claims because in spite of the supposed natural blessings, our societies are among the worst and poorest in the world. It is almost as if we have deliberately created our share of problems, perhaps, to level up.
After a few years of asking hard questions, I have come to the conclusion that without a religion that emphasises fear in the human conscience, our problems as a society are bound to hound us longer than expected. It is a fear that reminds us of consequences. In most traditional African societies, deities are still feared till today – even more than our security agencies.
There is only one reason why this is so: fear of consequences!
The interesting thing about the presence of the fear of a Celestial Being in man is that it is capable of keeping him from engaging in self-destructive conducts. The code of instructions of religions draw wisdom from past experiences of men. Religions warn us to desist from certain human proclivities; the gods know what awaits those who indulge in certain ‘ungodly’ or forbidden practices.
Consider drug abuse, for example. The abuse of drugs has done great harm to many in our society. Addiction to drugs does not happen overnight. It starts with the less powerful and harmful substances, and then progresses. As the satisfaction for a particular type wanes, the user will desire more. The desire for more satisfaction leads to an increase in quantity, and eventually, an upgrade to far more powerful substances.
The cycle goes on, till it becomes a matter of slavery. The stage that got Reggae legend Lucky Dube to since I’m a liquor slave. For this individual, religion, even taken blindly and without the promise of the life of hereafter, would have saved his life here, and after, perhaps.
This also applies to Nigeria as a country. There was a time when Nigeria was wealthy. Under the Sani Abacha regime of 1993 -1998, for example, $1 was exchanged for as low as N22. At a time like this, it was no big deal for some people to take a little more home. But the problem here would always be that greed grows, so when harder times came and the resources were reducing in value, the children of greed had matured into gluttons and giants.
Today, the country faces an uncertain future because its citizens did not know when to put an end to stealing. The two biggest religions in the country, Chrisianity and Islam, are against stealing in any shape or form. If only we were, at least, religious enough to obey from the beginning.
The religion we need in our society is the brand that gives us a sense of fear; a fear that is anchored on the principle of cause and effect. It is a fear that reminds every individual of consequences for certain behaviors. We need that spiritual motivation, or fear, to do what is right for ourselves and the society.
In this single religion, once the physical results of our deeds are helpful, directly or indirectly, to ourselves or the society, we are saints, and qualify for the bounties of the afterlife.
Do you agree with the writer’s opinion? Let’s hear your perspectives in the comments section.