Will Religion Be The Death of Nigerians?

Religion is such a powerful thing. It has so permeated our society that to speak ill of a person’s chosen belief in derogatory terms can lead to strife and violence. Wars have been fought as a result of this thing called religion and even now, the scourge that is ISIS is based on a religious…

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Religion is such a powerful thing. It has so permeated our society that to speak ill of a person’s chosen belief in derogatory terms can lead to strife and violence. Wars have been fought as a result of this thing called religion and even now, the scourge that is ISIS is based on a religious belief. This tends to be a very polarising topic and fortunately, it is not the crux of the discussion here but simply a stepping stone to what plagues my mind today.

I’ll use the case study of Nigeria. I could use Africa, but to make it more personal I’ll use my home Ccuntry. Nigeria is home to over 173 million people (I’ve also been told it’s over 200 million, but I’ll stick with the tally of the World Bank from their 2013 survey), half of which are predominantly Christian and the other half are Muslims (primarily in the North). It may not be a clear cut 50/50, but you get the idea that these are the primary religions practiced in my home Country.

With this in mind, one would believe that Nigeria should be a super prosperous and peaceful nation right? Not quite. Instead the majority of the population live in squalor. Poverty has taken hold with millions living below $1 a day and Boko Haram ravages the North. Yet the churches boom and blossom and the mosques get bigger and bigger and the structures even more elaborate. It almost feels like the population reach out to religion when all else fails and the government hasn’t provided the means necessary to enjoy a stable economy.

So the question is, why is a country so entrenched in religion going through all this turmoil? Why is a Country that boasts one of the biggest church brands in the world not having the impact on the society as one would expect?

Being judgmental is instead the order of the day and so many Christians stand on their high horses of self-righteousness and belittle those who do not share their beliefs and ridicule those who act differently and put them to shame instead of showing the love and tolerance that the Bible preaches.

Quite a number seem to believe that praying and fasting alone without action and works will solve every issue that afflicts them and that God will come down from heaven and magically solve all. While I’m for praying and fasting and looking up to God (being that I’m a Christian), my question is this: “why aren’t we as prosperous as most secular nations”?

Why — with all the revivals and conferences — is Nigeria still the third world nation that it is? What aren’t we doing right that other Countries who supposedly practice “inferior” religions — or none at all — have apparently figured out? What can we do to change this?

Usually, when an article similar to this or like this is read, the first thing most person’s would do is to ridicule the writer for not being “Christian enough” or “Islamic enough” or not understanding the dynamics of what these religions/way of life entails. The evidence however is irrefutable. There’s the evidence of China, a predominantly non-religious Country that boasts a GDP of $11.383 trillion (which is currently the third highest in the world).

Even predominantly Christian nations like The United Kingdom and The United States of America are not as bogged down about religion as we are and they thrive and grow and excel while we have sectarian violence left right and centre with corruption being rife in the corridors of power.

What then is the way forward? Do we extricate ourselves from religion and instead focus on a more secular society or do we allow Islam and Christianity to play a more central role while trying to find a balance between logic and fervent belief in the supernatural?

Nigeria is growing at a very slow crawl. In fact in 2016, things have gotten harder for the low income earner with the dollar going for N350/$1 as per bank rate, while the parallel market is as high as N455/$1. In spite of this, more parishes are being opened, more revivals are been done, more churches and mosques are being built (the Jigawa State governor as at November of 2016 wishes to embark on the construction of 90 mosques around the state with public funds) while our infrastructure suffers.

Is religion our saving grace or will it be the death of us? As it is presently, it seems to be the latter rather than the former.

Responses

  1. Bkd
    The truth is bitter but… Religion will certainly be the death of us. I have being saying this over the years but people who choose to be deceived will Ben deceived indeed.
    The practical truth is that religion has absolutely nothing to do so with nations socioeconomic advancements. On the contrary, it stifles growth in every form. Fact!!!
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  2. Morris
    My question tho, is how?

    You really think religion is what is usurping how economic advancement, it is what is not making people come up with solutions.

    , you already said this… The practical truth is that religion has absolutely nothing to do so with nations socioeconomic advancements…, so, how again, is it stifling.

    There are also a lot of raggedy (for lack of a better word) structures being used as a place of worship.

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    1. Osasu Elaiho Post author
      Here’s my question for you? How many people instead of applying themselves to what they do say: “my pastor said” or instead of actually looking for a practical solution to a situation, they do prayer and fasting until they’re so sore and wait for a miracle from heaven to come down?

      Do you agree that if we actually spend more time coming up with practical solutions as opposed to expecting a miracle that we wouldn’t be better off as a nation?

      Yes, there are multiple factors that account for a country’s rise or fall or what not so let me ask you, why is such a religious nation mired with so much corruption in relation to other things?

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      1. Cara
        “Do you agree that if we actually spend more time coming up with practical solutions as opposed to expecting a miracle that we wouldn’t be better off as a nation?”

        Pastor declares,” this week, your billions are coming! ”
        Congregation thunders Ameeeeennnnnnnnn un response.
        Let’s ask ourselves, how many billionaires exist in this our time? I believe that there’s nothing hard for God to do. But! Dangote & Co applied themselves to work.
        1st Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

        Apollos needed to have something to water before God gave the increase.

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        1. Osasu Elaiho Post author
          #gbam!! You’ve said it! We need the ingredients to be made available for God to cook us. Which means that most follow religion without allowing it to affect their lives.

          As a friend once mentioned to me after she read this: “we are a religious nation and not a righteous nation.”

          Thank you for reading @cara

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  3. Ihuoma Okorie
    This is a nice article Osasu. At least my happiness is that more Nigerians are beginning to be more critical of religion and less gullible. I believe that this is the first step towards enlightenment and that with time people will learn to be more sensible, think for themselves and not say things like, ‘Allah told us to kill’.
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  4. Larz
    The linke between religion and churches. In developed countries, ever notice how some of their affordable infrastructures were originally found by religion? St Nicolas Hospital, St Paul’s grammar school, Sacred hearts academy etc. I know in the UK, some of the best free schools are catholic or Christian schools.

    If every Nigerian believer (Christian, muslims, Hindu, whoever) are being really spiritual and contribute genourously to their church and their church leaders are great stewardesses of church funds, then the best schools and healthcare systems amongst other things in Nigeria will be very affordable and will be owned by faith based organisations. Unfortunately, the most popular private universities in Nigeria can only be attended by upper middle class people in Nigeria. Quite a shame.

    More to follow

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  5. Oluwapelumi
    Nice write up the author.

    Below are some of my observations/questions for today…

    1. Most followers of faiths don’t read their religious books and adhere to its tenets fervently.

    2. Latest trend is that the followers of faiths believe in the God their pastors/bishops/G.Os claim to be worshipping. God so help you if you’re not from the same denomination. Lol!

    3. Since when did we start worshipping supposed men of God?! *smh
    i. Biko, where can such practices be found in the Scriptures?!

    I await your responses..

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    1. Osasu Elaiho Post author
      Hello , thank you for reading. I am not exactly sure how I should answer your questions being that they pretty much answer themselves. At least the first two do. A lot us pick and choose what we agree with in said religious books and don’t take everything.

      We see so many instances where the congregation follow the words of a man of God to the point where they leave their logic at the door. The Bible says that we should not judge and so a lot are usually afraid to pick on any pastor whom they feel has gone too far for the fear of judging and touching God’s anointed one. It is a paradox really.

      As for such practices being found in the Bible, I am not the best student of the word of God but if I remember correctly, Nebuchadnezzar created an idol in his image that he be worshipped in the place of God no?

      It becomes a thing of worry when all we see is a man of God and not God himself working through said preacher. In the end, we must be directed by our conscience and the tenements written within the good book.

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  6. Thic'tea
    Late to the party again. Very Lovely article, not exhaustive but clearly shows the facts,you can relate to it in a lot of ways, it just shows that we need to wake up.
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    1. Osasu Elaiho Post author
      Thank you . If I wanted the article to be exhaustive, I’d end up with a thirty minute read and not everyone would have the patience to read that. Not to mention I would still miss a couple issues which some might find important.

      As you have rightly said, we do need to wake up really. I just hope that by the time we do, it isn’t too late.

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  7. Aderayo
    Very factual and articulate piece. Well done! For everyone who has read this article, we belong to either sect, some of us more enlightened than others on the difference between spirituality and religion. Until the number of people who have the will to act and change the narrative, enlightening those in our immediate environment your rhetoric will indeed be our fate. Thanks for using your platform to do just that.
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    1. Osasu Elaiho Post author
      Thank you reading reading . I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
      The question though is how many will listen to reason without thinking that we are rallying against God? Funny isn’t it?
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  8. Seyi
    Religion isn’t what is stifling our economy, we are. You mentioned that UK is a Christian country and that their economy is good, that also says religion isn’t the problem. We people are, we do the good or bad, we translate our holy books to suite us, not Islam, Christianity, Judaism etc
    We should stop castigating religion as the problem but us as that is the real problem. The way we practice the religion or not is the problem. So many people in one unit or the other in churches but they are just doing eye service, not that they have a personal relationship with God.
    We run to God when things are wrong and forget him during the good times. During election religion came to play based on what religion is he but I didn’t and I’m sure majority didn’t pray to their respective gods on who will be the best fit.
    I personally believe that if not for religion that is giving Nigerians hope this nation will be worse than this
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    1. Osasu Elaiho Post author
      While you have made a lot of points that point to what I am saying, I’ll get to them later. As you mentioned, it is the manner in which religion is practised that is the problem itself which is exactly my point. So we are saying the same thing but you’re seeing it from a different perspective. Not to mention than Christianity is meant to be a way of life and not a religion in and of itself.

      Now you believe that if not for “religion” we would be in a worse off state. I do not agree with this and I am hoping that you can educate me and further elucidate on this particular point of yours.

      I await your response(s)

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