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Sunday, 9 August 2015

Still Going To Church

It is another Sunday in Nigeria, and although the churches would be mostly empty by this time (6pm Nigerian time), there are expected to be a sprinkling of worshippers in various churches either having some meeting to deliberate on church matters, or making those extra supplications to god for that most pressing need.
I can imagine what life would like tomorrow, back to the hustle and bustle of life, and especially that of Monday mornings. But for most Nigerians, it will be business as usual: civil servants, including the police and other law enforcement agents, demanding and accepting bribes to look the other way while major life threatening infractions take place, healthcare workers compromising and manipulating the system for personal financial gain, and teachers colluding with students to obtain undeserved grades. All the exhortations to emulate Jesus in church today will count for nothing during the week as most Nigerian christians will inevitably do the opposite. But the truth is that most churches today only preach the prosperity gospel which, in my opinion, is what Nigerian christians are following in their quest to make enough money to be able to give to their respective pastors next Sunday, in order to be availed of their next fix of the high they get from listening to the prosperity gospel. How long do we think this vicious circle will continue uninterrupted?
Some other preachers spend their Sunday sermons telling their congregation about their enemies who are responsible for every misfortune that has ever befallen them. What we fail to realize when we say things like "it is not my portion in Jesus' name", or when we quote the bible verse that says "no weaponed formed against you shall prosper", is that we live in a world in which we all have problems. There are children in the paediatric cancer wards all over the world, people are involved in accidents that either claim their lives, or leave them with grave injuries, there are women who have had multiple miscarriages, men and women seeking spouses without success, marriages in trouble, and people with all sorts of chronic and debilitating illnesses. These are realities we have to face, and there are already measures in place to minimize or remedy the human suffering brought about by all these. Laws are enacted and enforced to ensure that roads are safe for all users, which reduces the injuries and fatalities on our roads, and advances in medicine enable us to understand and treat, and in some cases, eradicate diseases.
In Nigerian churches today, all we hear are claims of the ability of god almighty to vanquish all our problems, usually with the proviso that we give some money to the church. These are all easily verifiable lies. I have personally been a witness to the failure of the miracle cure of a popular Nigerian televangelist. As long as we live in this world, we will not be immune to anything that could ordinarily happen to anyone. If you do not want your child to develop a childhood cancer, then do not have kids. It is as simple as that, because as long as there are children, there will always be childhood cancers, and every child in this world has a chance of developing it. Instead of wishing it away, a futile effort I must add, we can help by solving any of the problems that we will at one time or another encounter as inhabitants of this earth.
Until about 60 years ago, polio was dreaded all across the world, but the development of a vaccine put paid to all that fear and it has been so effective, that today, polio has been eradicated in the developed world. It is things like this that we should aim for, because the alternative would be to cry, ad infinitum, to an imaginary deity who will never hear us.