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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Different Countries, Different God

Nigerian Christians literally have double standards when it comes to the way they worship their god in Nigeria, and in the developed countries of Europe and North America. Like I have mentioned before, going to church for the Nigerian christian is mandatory. Absence from Sunday service will generally attract an investigation from one's peers - either a phone call or a visit. The sabbath day is literally kept holy; no work or any other activity should supersede church attendance.
The opposite is the case for Nigerian Christians living in developed countries. Working on Sundays is normal in some of these countries even though it is generally set aside as a day of rest. There will therefore be no nosey neighbours calling on one to find out the reason for missing church. Even those who do not want to go for any other reason, which they dare not raise in Nigeria, do not need to fear any unnecessary intrusion by busy bodies into their lives; they could simply tell the white lie of having to work on a Sunday, depending, of course, on their occupation.
The other aspect of this hypocritical double standards of an "unchanging god" is in the mode of dressing. The Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Mountain of Fire and Miracles, MFM, and Deeper Life Bible Church, all with branches in many developed countries are known for their strict dress codes. Females are not allowed to wear trousers since it is seen as male clothing and therefore against the teachings of the bible. This law is strictly adhered to in the Nigerian branches, where many congregants have been refused entry into church for indecent or inappropriate dressing, including but not limited to skirts deemed too short because they do not cover the knees or in some cases do not reach the ankles, wearing perforated or slim fit jeans trousers, blouses and tops that do not cover women up to the neck, and shirts that accentuate men's upper torso musculature. Women are also actively encouraged to cover their hair and many successful businesses have been built on the supply of women's hats, scarves and other head coverings. The god who frowns on women wearing trousers in Nigeria suddenly condones this in Europe, the excuse being the cold in some of these countries. Church attendance is also suddenly excusable due to work commitments, forgetting the admonishment not to forsake the gathering of the brethren.
Whenever I try to bring up such double standards, my interlocutors are quick to blame the devil for putting such mundane thoughts into my head. They also emphasize how god looks at the heart and how we are supposed to worship god in "spirit and in truth." They quickly forget their brethren in Nigeria who harass their fellow congregants if they do not dress appropriately. They also tend to forget that their Nigerian brethren, when they immigrate to Europe or North America also adopt the standards that they meet in those places, while leaving the Nigerian 'standards' at home. If they could be so blind to their own hypocrisy, why should it surprise anyone that they continue to hang on to beliefs which do not hold up to minimal scrutiny?