Mom, it’s just a Headache, I will be fine.

She wasn’t having any of that, bring me my Purse she beckoned, Take this #300 and go buy Panadol Extra; you will not die by Malaria “In Jesus Name” Did she have to end her statement with that phrase?

Religion, once again; the scam of the 21st century.

Raised up in a bilingual family consisting of just Yoruba and English language speaking adults deeply rooted in the orthodoxical teachings of the Anglican missionaries, I was made to believe that the existence of the human race depended upon the decisions of the sovereign creator of the universe and all its inhabitants therein.

An early bloomer as such, I always looked forward to visiting church on Sundays, watching the adults take their kneeling stance during the Communion admonitions of their fates and playing around with my childhood friends on the church premises. For a young child, my excitements took the greater part of me, or maybe not. Maybe I was just another subject of religion as a means of peer socialization or an offspring of strict religious parents.

But, how did the church actually come to be? Why was there the need for religion, Why are African countries so ridiculed by religious bigots and what is the basis for the deep convictions of Africans in Religion – all these questions didn’t cross my mind till the latter stages of my teenage years. I felt brainwashed by the idea of extreme religious practices since my childhood and wondered why I was made to pass through those years, joining the religious lots in a fanatical journey.

Today, many communities see the advent of newer generation churches with different ideologies but with one ultimate goal of human participation – to make heaven when we die.  Religion has an ideology has taken over the natural behavior of an average African man in most developing societies and carved from their thinking a place to manifest, its unique self.

It is no longer a façade that our generation is not deeply rooted in the religious practices of our Parents unlike before we were born. We were born into another era of socialization, the “computer age”. We have grown more inquisitive about religion and why we are supposed to be deeply rooted in it. It’s of the belief that the reasons why the older generation are more involved in religious practices than our generation is because they were born into the era and advent of foreign missionaries but is this basis for their deep convictions in religion?

To sell a poor man lies these days, give him extreme religion and watch him remain naïve about its consequences.

I came across this saying by “Jomo Kenyatta”-

“When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.” 

Could this be the basis for why the older generation is still deeply much rooted in religious practices?
Last week Sunday, I was at a bar with a group of friends – the setting was outdoor with tables and a nice shade from the sun; we sat down to enjoy the serene feel of the environment amidst bottles of Heineken, we had worked all week long, we deserved a treat. Suddenly, a woman walked towards us and without much ado, she mustered “God forgive you all”.

Startled!

I rose to leave but I was shrugged by my close friend to stay, it was part of the cruise! She moved a little bit closer shouted out at the top of her voice, “You children are supposed to be in church but you’re all here drinking beer”; we couldn’t hold it in any longer, we all busted into laughter – not out of disrespect, but out of sheer will. To us, she was just another religious fanatic. You could go to church all day of the week without a good intention and you could as well stay at home all day of the week including Sundays and be highly favored in sight of the Supreme Being. Who was she to judge us?

In the society today, there is hardly any statement made by an average individual without a religious intonation to it, You’re at the ATM and the Machine stops working, the next thing you hear behind you is “The devil is a liar” – You’re sitting on a Bus and the driver swerves to dodge a porthole, someone is already on top of their voice screaming “Jesus Christ”. Religion is in everything.

Moreover, our society these days is filled with individuals walking the streets with misplaced priorities. There is hardly any concept of mankind living in Nigeria without the existence of religion as a phenomenon. There is religion in schools, offices, playgrounds, parties, politics, eating, drinking and sexual intercourse. Religion has eaten deep into our society. People now administer religion as a drug.

Nigerians take a dose of Religion daily – prescribed by our thinking!

Furthermore, the establishment of new generation churches has seen the rapid spread of a faux around the entire society. People now believe what they want to believe even when you tell them the effects of extremism on religion. It’s such a sad revelation that religion dictates the lives and norms of an average citizen in the Nigerian society.

Don’t follow the bandwagon. You can receive favor in the sight of God without much sentiments attached to the way you present your religion. Do not be defined by the physical rather, embody the spiritual part of religious practices. Nobody needs to know your business! You should not relate every issue of realism to religion. There should be a candid conversation between individuals without having to exhibit, a trace of religion.

Be you, Do You and live you!

Religion should not dictate your charisma, your versatility, your confidence and your everyday living.

Don’t be a hypocrite!

Stay true to yourself and God.

OP-ed pieces are opinions of the writer and do not portray the views of Volts Africa

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