BY ‘SEGUN ODEJIMI
Another thing that makes me marvel at our concept of religion in this part of the world is when followers of a particular religion go about, shoulders raised, EXTREMELY CONVINCED that theirs is the ONE. They don’t stop there. They treat people of other religions with scorn and disdain and that abundance of self-righteousness. A Facebook friend of mine recently posted that she was considering switching Christianity for some other religion. The comments that trailed that post were belly-turning. They ranged from, “You’re on your own,” to “What has possessed you?“
The recent homosexuality debacle that elicited debates was an eye-opener for me. I am not homosexual. I seriously doubt I ever will be. I mean, “hunting” women gives me unrivaled pleasure, but does that make me a superior being to a person who gets satisfaction in going after members of the same sex? I would never agree with someone who sees a homosexual as an abomination to the society but dances and praises politicians and other people who steal daily from the poor. Many people who had barely uttered a sentence since the Islamic extremists, Boko Haram, started taking lives of innocent souls suddenly found their loudest voices on social media to condemn those who were into homosexuality. They gleefully quoted portions of the holy books of the various IMPORTED religions to enunciate their points that homosexuality is UN-AFRICAN! Some even went as far as recommend that homosexuals be killed (I actually heard someone say that in a CHURCH!).
If we fear God, rather than just worshipping a book or a name or a religious leader, how well we treat our fellow human – regardless of their religious, cultural or ethnic affiliations – will be paramount to us. Some of these same people who used their mouths to condemn sexual orientations are dissimilar to theirs are the same to find excuses for rapists by saying, “Well, she should have dressed a bit more decently,” or “What was she doing alone at that time of the day?“
Religion will kill us if we don’t kill it first.
When I ask that we kill religion, I don’t mean that we should kill our beliefs in God. I’m saying that we should kill our hypocrisy and embrace the concept of humanity. I’m saying that we should give ourselves the right to ask questions when we think we’re becoming confused, or when we think religious leaders are pulling fast ones on us, rather than following them blindly into the pit. I’m also simply asking that we respect other people’s beliefs, and don’t try to force ours down their throats, or judge them.
I’ve seen clips of an African pastor who asked his congregation to go outside and eat grass while claiming to feed them the “food of the spirit.” What blasted spirit is that? There’s also a video doing the rounds on social media which captures another pastor who sends a member into a trance in which the poor fellow lies face-up on the ground before jumping on him with all the strength he could gather. Other church members are seen cheering him on as he carries out the act.
I have never said that it is impossible for multitudes to genuinely fall (under the power of a certain holy spirit) during hand-laying sessions in church or – like what obtains now – after a pastor blows some air towards a section of his congregation. However, I have also been pushed, violently, by a very popular pastor when I refused to fall after he lay his hands on me. I have also seen others get pushed. In all my life of attending church services (I was born into a Celestial Church, one of the most “spiritual” of them all), I have never been filled with the “spirit” to the extent where I’d fall or get flung against the wall.
Maybe the evil spirit living in me is too stubborn. Or maybe the whole falling concept is BS afterall, I don’t know. But I have BIG issues with you if you look down on me because I haven’t hit my head on the wall as much as you have in your church-attending career. Or because I only know to pray to God in a language I fully understand. Or because I decide to marry a man tomorrow.
You’re not better than me, I’m sorry.