FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, September 9, 2018
[email protected]
UK
THE SINS OF RELIGION AND THE DANGER OF MIXING IT WITH POLITICS

s President Buhari overtly, through his appointment of predominantly northern Muslims, and covertly, through the military, Boko Haram and Fulani militia, pursues his islamisation and northern domination agenda in Nigeria, I wish once more to draw attention to religion, which provides the orthodoxy for the convictions that inform and drive the attitude and polices of the present government.

No doubt, Nigeria, particularly under Buhari has become a place of suffering unjustifiable injustices and monumental dysfunctionality, with a military that find justification for extrajudicial killings and detain citizens without trial, executive that remains corrupt and selective and not transparent with its war against corruption and, legislature that is devoted to ensuring that its members will not be prosecuted for the crimes they have committed and plan to commit.

I have never read of such unashamed pursuit of selfish interest and base values in Morden times. The sad irony, is that almost all the people involved in these crimes against Nigeria and Nigerians are religious. They either attend churches or Mosques.

I will like to say that the fact that Someone claims he or she is a Christian, has been born again, or a Muslim, does not mean that he or she has become a better human being.

Such a person has simply accepted a set of beliefs, which alter the way he sees himself, others, the unknown and what he believes God thinks about him and others.

The person has an altered mental state, which leaves him with the conviction that the way he has chosen is the best and often the only right way to live life. He also believes that his view of the universe advocated by his religion is the truth. In his mind, religious dogma equals truth.

He may not have improved his understanding of life and the mysteries of the the transcendent and unaware that he had only exchanged one set of systematised beliefs for another, like exchanging Islam for Christianity, Sunni for Shia, Catholicism for Protestantism, or McDonald for KFC.

In this way, religion gives a false sense of certainty, well-being and knowledge to those who mistake belief for truth and conviction for understanding.

Most believers believe, whatever is written in their religious book is the truth and, that believing them, is what God wants all to do.

They arrive at their conviction by making two false assumptions, which are: that dogmas they believe are the words of God and that what their religion teaches is the truth.

They do this without any evidence that would withstand objective scrutiny.

They fail to correctly appraise the fact that all the words of God were written by men and that scriptures are works of inspiration.

This is the mistake of believers and often the tragedy of religion. Such systematised belief system helps believers cope with what non-believers would cope in a different way.

Religious beliefs can leave believers adamant and bigoted towards those who do not share their beliefs and convictions. It may give some believers a sense of superiority.

Changing religion is like exchanging one pair of shoes for another, without understanding that shoes are made of the same materials and serve the same purpose, and refusing to accepting that choice of shoes is simply expression of preference and does not reveal a deep understanding and origin of shoes.

Of late, I find Religion intriguing to say the least, especially when I come face to face with the way it exploits and impoverishes the ignorant, vulnerable and gullible leaving them puns in the hands of religious and political leaders. '

To be held to rigid rules of justice for the sake of others and develop the feelings and capabilities, which have the good of others for their object is a good thing, which religion advocates.

But to be restrained in things not affecting their good by mere displeasure, develops nothing valuable, excerpt such force of character as may unfold itself in resisting the restraint'. John Stuart Mills. This to my mind is the sin of religion.

I often wonder between violent and prejudiced Islam and aggressive and pompous Christianity, which is worse.

Religion in the form we know and practice in Nigeria is undergoing extinction. It is a remnant of ancient attitude to life, which has been challenged by enlightenment.

Religion has evolved into various forms of social activism, which seek common good, peaceful coexistence and better sustainable world.

Today there are people who are passionate about saving this planet, animal rights and equality of all. All these are values that made their entrance in the world through religion.

Therefore, any religion that continue to seek to advance its aims, objectives and world view through violence as Islam does or aggressive evangelism and financial exploitation of the ignorant and vulnerable as some evangelical and Pentecostal Christians advocate, will fail.

We live in a world that has extracted from religion equality, justice, rule of law, respect for individual liberty, tolerance of differences as the ingredient with which to build societies, where any form of religious beliefs can coexist peaceful with all, including those who consider such religious beliefs irrational.

The continued advocate of a role for religion in the way it was brought to Africa, is like advocating a role for moss code in a digital world.

Enlightenment has improved on the morality, which religion advocates with violence and intolerance. There is now a better understanding and way to do the will of God. Indeed, as the Bible predicts, knowledge has increased and the wise has used it to fashion a world God Himself will be proud of.

I always ask myself, if God and his family, including female children visit the earth today, which country of the would would He the Almighty choose to reside?

Would God choose Saudi Arabia over Germany? Will God choose Afghanistan and Pakistan over England and France? Will God choose Nigeria, Iran, and Sudan over Australia, Switzerland, Canada and Japan?

Religion has never created a free society, which guarantees the right and liberty of all in spite of its claim on morality and goodness. It creates environment for the festering of superstition, ignorance and irrational beliefs.

It convinces people of things whose existence cannot be proved and empower them to value thoughts over reality and dogmas over reason in the name of faith.

It preaches the existence of angels and witches, ideas which owe their origins in the dark and ignorant period of human human existence.

This is the danger of mixing religion with politics and using it as instrument of social transformation and change.

Religious morality is great and reasonable, but it is often advocated in ways that divide societies and discriminates against people because of who they are and or ideas they hold in their minds. Religion is indeed a hypnotic, which is why Nigeria and the rest of Africa are still asleep.


NEWS SECTIONS