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Tuesday, 4 August 2015

To Us Be The Glory

I received a very heart warming piece of news today whose impact will soon reverberate across my entire family. While the news naturally made me very happy, it also got me thinking about a trend which really needs to be addressed - giving credit to god for our very own efforts and achievements. When Brazil won the 2002 FIFA world cup, the whole team formed a circle to pray and give thanks to the christian god for the victory. Ironically, it was Germany whom they had defeated in that match, that went ahead to inflict the heaviest ever defeat suffered by the Brazilian national football team, in the semi final of the 2014 world cup. Did god forsake Brazil?
Factors that will influence the outcome a football match, as with most ventures in life, will include the amount of effective effort that is put in by the team during the match, teamwork, the players'  level of fitness, the officiating, and of course some, if not a lot of, luck. We all know the better team does not always win a match. These things happen and are totally out of our control. But there are things that we can control. A student could decide to study very hard, and diligently go through every topic covered in a semester in preparation for an exam. Such a student has an excellent chance of passing that exam. A student who does not study, but relies on prayers will surely fail. Christians would want to say that the student should study hard, and pray hard, and then god would ensure success. This makes no sense since the reason the student will pass is because he/she studied hard in the first place. If one wants to test the efficacy of prayers, then the student should not study at all. A pass will surely be a miracle, one which I will gladly certify, as long as the student spends all the time allotted for studying, with me, to ensure that no studying is done.
We tend to give credit to god for everything that we do, which tends to undermine the efforts we make. In Nigeria especially, a politician who rigs her/his political party to victory will credit it to god, those who secure good jobs, admission into the university, lucrative government contracts, get married or pregnant, especially after a long wait, all attribute their good fortune to god. The very funny thing is that the opposite are all blamed on the enemy - the devil, or are due to the evil machinations and manipulations of witches and wizards, principalities and powers, or just plain wickedness in high places! One gets a job because they apply for a job that they are appropriately qualified for and have impressed their prospective employers. A pharmacist will not, and cannot apply for a job as a medical doctor. His skills and expertise lie elsewhere. Would you give thanks to god if an architect was employed as the doctor on call at the community health centre? Maybe he prayed and got the job since he had been unemployed for a while! God definitely answered his prayers. In his desperation, he may have just prayed for a job, nothing specific, hence he applied for, and got a job as a doctor.
There is absolutely nothing wrong in taking pride in your hard work and achievements. This hypocritical self-effacement by most religious Nigerians must stop. The rush to go to church to give thanks to god, usually involving giving lavish gifts and money to the pastor and the church, for such things as having a baby, or securing a lucrative job are due to the tragically high maternal mortality rates  and embarrassingly high unemployment rates, respectively. The role of the government in pushing the populace into the hands of unconscionable pastors and so called men and women of god in the ilk of TB Joshua, is once again highlighted. The sooner we get our governments on their feet and living up to the jobs we elected them to do, the sooner we shall realize the folly of running to pastors, who have no powers, to do for us the things that we can ordinarily and ultimately do for ourselves.