– The Sun News
RELIGION

Philosophising religion and Nigerian nation (2)

Prof. Nathan Uzorma Protus

“To God be the glory for answering my prayer through the use of three different bottles of your oil. I am a contractor, but for some years now no single job came my way. I have been struggling to make ends meet, all to no avail. I discovered that my job was locked up spiritually and so many men of God confirmed this yet they were unable to unlock it. The one that pained my heart most was the case of the job that my very good friend brought and was willing to give it to me but later gave it out to another company that is not my equal at all. At that point I knew something was wrong. When I got the oil, I did all you asked me to do. After the prayers, I noticed that my office became a busy place like before. The truth is that I am doing very well right now and God answered my prayer. I am most grateful to you my brother.

– Mr. Alex, [email protected]

“I never liked reading your column for no reason. I never knew that I could find my freedom via what I hated. My apologies please! My testimony is simple; I was married for 16 years without having any child.

My husband was not worried at all and he asked me to go and sleep with other men, if I was too desperate to have my own baby. He meant it, but I thought he was joking initially; I did not obey him. As a leader of a big Pentecostal church, I felt he was joking. I never knew he had a serious problem with his manhood in the early stage of his life. He had a dream where a young spirit lady used hot iron and pressed his manhood when he resisted her sexual offer and when he woke up it became weak. This happened at the age of 23 in 1988. He married me and was called into the ministry, yet the problem was there. After 10 years of marriage, I discovered that he could not perform at all. This situation made me cry unto God and made me consult many men of God for solution, all to no avail. He suggested that we should adopt a child; I rejected it and trusted God, until one day a man gave a testimony of what your oil did for him in our church and I decided to contact you. You asked me to order three bottles of your oil and I obeyed and did the prayers associated with it. God answered my prayer, my husband started performing and the low sperm count disappeared. Today, the lord has blessed me with a baby boy. Glory be to God…” (Anonymous)

Again religious leaders should practice what they preach so that others will emulate them. It is unfortunate that every religion claims to be superior to others. According to Bertrand Russell, “since all religions disagree, none could be true.” But I think every religion teaches the same thing in the field of morals. According to Arnold Toynbee, “there is no one alive today who knows enough to say with confidence whether one religion has been greater than all others.” According to Huston Smith, “religion alive confronts the individual with the most momentous option this world can present.

It calls the soul to the highest adventure it can undertake, a proposed journey across the jungle, pears and deserts of the human spirit. The call is to master reality, to master the self.” Toynbee once asked, “Who are… the greatest benefactors of the living generation of mankind?” In answer to this question Huston Smith says, they are “Confucius and Lao-tzu, the Buddha, the prophets of Israel and Judah, Zoroaster, Jesus, Muhammad and Socrates.” In the Nigerian case, if the Christian and Moslems have been preaching and practicing the ways of life of Muhammad and Jesus, there could not have been religious conflict and riots witnessed so far.

In our nation Nigeria, religious violence and killing in the name of God is the fear of tomorrow. Are we still interested in the teachings of our religious leaders? Have we not failed them by politicizing religion? Irrespective of all these seeming intractable problems and hopeless situation, compounded by failure in virtually all spheres of national life, a critical observer and the Reformer would still want to know if at all we still have not failed the Gods of our various religions. “Allahu Akbar, Lai illa-illa-allahu,” the Muezzin calls the faithful to prayer and to bloodshed. “Jesus is a mighty God, my God is not a poor God,” the pastor goads the Pentecostal and the born-again to a brand of Christianity that defies the sedate worship of the Orthodox, infusing fires of radicalism and zeal into the once docile and dogmatic Christendom. Noteworthy, you may say, but the result in Nigeria is mayhem, bloodshed and colossal loss in both human and natural resources.

The craze for status in Nigeria has led to the corrosion of all our moral and social values. Ritual killings, embezzlement of public funds, bribery, corruption, siphoning of vast resources, ethnic/tribal unrest, violent crimes, armed robberies, cultism, mushrooming of churches, craze for miracles, signs and wonders and other forms of immorality have become the order of the day. It was this situation that made the Greek philosopher Aesop to admonish thus, “Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.” Brothers and sisters, there is more to the truth than just the facts. Yes, our political class has become devourers, the priesthood a symbol of affluence at all costs, the result of this misplacement of values is a nation of inconsistencies and extremes, where nothing is sacred or hallowed, even the name of God. I want to ask like the late evangelist Sonny Okoson did ask about 30 years ago, “which way Nigeria?” A big question that has not been answered!

Why won’t it be a big question when, even as at then, Nigeria was not adjudged the most corrupt country in the world? Why won’t one concernedly ask such when, unlike 20 years ago, our railways, the Nigeria Airways and our expressways are now a write-off and general electricity system a begging situation? Or is it about food and water resources or general security that one won’t ask?

This place has matriculated into the best place to be a criminal in Africa. Criminals rule as governors. Ex-convicts are in some positions of integrity and authority. In Nigeria, thieves are given places and titles of honour both in churches, mosques and in society. In Nigeria, there is nothing money cannot do. It is the new god firmly emplaced in our conceptual temples. The way we worship money smacks of primitive acquisitive propensities. “If e no be me, na who God go bless,” summarizes the way we approach religion. The sacred has departed from our land, a situation that made the Reformer to conclude, “Some people are alive only because it is illegal to kill them.”

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Tokunbo David
Tokunbo David

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