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Saturday, 25 July 2015

Random Musings

Oscar Wilde once said that "there is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book, books are either well written or badly written." Muslim women have called Islam "a beautiful religion" despite its position on women as full blown second class citizens. Only a woman blinded by the dogma of religion, or who has never read the koran cover to cover, will defend Islam as a beautiful religion.
As children growing up in Nigeria, we were taught never to question authority. You were to greet those who were older than you, you could not call an older stranger or relative by her or his first name; such appellations were usually preceded by "uncle", "aunty", "brother", or "sister". All older people were wiser, and their words were to be accepted with neither question nor doubt. Was it any surprise then that we learned at a very young age to be wowed in the presence of priests and pastors to whom our parents, who we beheld with the utmost trepidation, kowtowed to? No! We were usually under five by the time we witnessed all these and our very impressionable minds had locked on to all we had been 'taught'.
It is not any wonder then that we also do not question those in political authority. We simply regard them the very same way we regarded our parents and priests. Our elected officials therefore have a blank cheque from us to loot us blind. The same leeway we give to our pastors to make false claims of miracles and signs and wonders, and also give them our hard earned money in the form of tithes and other means which they may devise to enrich themselves at our expense.
We really need to open our eyes and see religion and its representatives for what they really are: a drain to our resources, national and personal, and the slave master of our minds. We need to encourage our children to start asking questions, and we need to answer those questions, no matter how difficult they may be. If you do not answer, the question, you may stop that child from asking other questions, and to grow up to be like us and continue the cycle. If you choose to ignore the question, that child will ask someone else (let us hope not a paedophile priest) and answers may pour forth from this new source of whom you may not be aware. Let us bring up our own children and not have them brought up for us by, and in, religion. Let us open their minds to inquiry and critical thinking. Let us encourage them to ask (difficult) questions and endeavour to answer those questions.
Religion holds on to us via fear and guilt. We fear we may lose face, our social standing, family, friends, and even our livelihoods, if we do not at least profess to some faith or belief system. The guilt part is that which keeps us coming back to church. An example is the guilt attached to sex and sexuality. The Catholic church is guilty of spreading poverty and STI's in Africa through its strict rules on the use of contraception and barrier methods. Poor families therefore continue to have children whose needs they cannot meet, and unmarried couples, who are told to abstain from sex, but who will end up having sex anyway, will remain unprotected from STI's, especially HIV/AIDS. Does anyone feel this is justified? Is the Catholic church's desire to increase its membership an excuse to encourage poor families to continue to have children they cannot cater for? We have not even talked about the risks to the women who do not adequately space their children and who also have too many children, thus making subsequent pregnancies riskier. I may not have statistics, but it is clear that these policies of the church of Rome adds to the already alarming HIV/AIDS epidemic, and maternal and infant mortality rates, especially in sub Saharan Africa.
Religion is like a self-help book. They do not help anybody. They are just a way to separate people from their hard earned money. Do you know anyone who became a property tycoon after reading "Rich Dad, Poor Dad"? When was the last time you saw someone who beat depression after reading a self-help book? This huge market has books for everything one could imagine, but ultimately, the only ones who benefit are the authors of such useless books who are slowly and surely getting rich.   
If we cannot oppose religion for reasons I can understand, we could at least veer our children from its dangerous and deadly path. But I still think we should get up and walk away. And damn the consequences.