Religion: A Belief in the Existence of God or gods By Enenim Ubon
Nigeria arguably is one of the countries with the highest number of religious adherents(mainly Christianity and Islam) and a small percentage of atheist. Yet in spite of this “Numerical advantage” in religious statistics we are steadily slipping down the ladder of failure as a nation and people. One sure thing is, non of the religions practiced in Nigeria remotely or openly approves of most (nor all ) of the atrocities perpetuated in this country, yet these crimes are committed by religious adherents.
In the spirit of yuletide messages of Christ birth and its significance flood everywhere and one begins to wonder if this messages mean anything to the senders and receivers of such. A trip round certain parts of the country on either a Friday afternoon or Sunday morning would clearly show how much Nigerians ‘love’ their religions. The question then is “do we practice what we preach”? Have we become a people who believe that we can be saved by a mere open show of religiousness? In our various places of worship we struggle to sit in the front rows, so we can be ‘closer to God’. We pray so hard with rivulet of sweat running down our faces yet we steal and rob others in a manner likened to criminals. We give gifts to the poor and needy often thinking it would save us from the judgment and punishment that lays in wait for corrupt and wicked people. Moral and financial laxity prevails everywhere and yet we are all religious adherents. We attend all manner of Presidential Carol services and CAN organized fasting and prayers, yet we are a “stiff necked people” with stony hearts.
If only we would “be doers of the word, and not hearers only…”[James 1:22], we would have long realized that for every evil done by one man to another a punishment lies in wait. Whether we stand in mid air to perform our acts of worship or pray with the tongue of angels, we are of “all men most miserable” if we cheat and steal from poor citizens to enrich ourselves and more often than not to an appalling extent. No matter how solemn we are during Ramadan or how swollen our eyes are during Easter,if we cannot “love one another like ourselves” our religious pretensions are just a show of shame that won’t save us from condemnation.
When we realize that God has a standard that cannot be lowered to favor anybody, no matter how highly placed ,we’ll match our religiousness with complete obedience. Until then we’ll keep failing as a nation and keep heaping coals of fire on our heads, no matter how hard we pray, fast and worship.
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