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If truly religion pays, why are we where we are? || Ridwan Sulaiman Adeshina

All over the world, religion has been the center of unity in many countries, and also a means through which a person believes that anyone who believes in what he worships is his brother regardless of his race, tribe, color, and country. This belief has helped people in building strong relationships between people all over the world and has also helped a lot in business areas as fanatics will rather give the contract to people that belong to their sect than to give it to the outsider who they believe his not their brother because of the difference in religion. 

However, with numbers of religion been practiced all over the world, I believe it's normal by nature of human beings to always believe that "what I believe is better than what you believe in". Though This belief has caused a lot of grievances among fanatics of different religions and has caused a lot of attacks and killings on innocent people who the perpetrators believed are inferior to them because of their differences in religion. 

Without any controversy, it's a known fact that Nigeria is one of the most religious countries in Africa. Nigerians do put the interest of their religion above any other thing to the extent that many people go as far as killing in the name of their religion. To the majority, religion is the only means through which a man could live a fulfilled life regardless of his background and level of education.

According to Wikipedia, Nigeria has the highest number of Christians in Sub-Sahara Africa and the largest number of Muslims in West Africa. Though there are traditional worshipers too and few people have also claimed to be atheists. These simple statistics show how religious we are in Nigeria. But the question is, with this level of spirituality, why are we where we are?.

Nigeria has been suffering from the setback for years, ranging from poor governance to economic recession, insecurities, and many more. With prayers and fasting been observed every day by some religious leaders for the betterment of this country, it still very obvious that things are not changing in any way. Why has Lord refused to accept the prayers of those who claimed to be vomiting fire?. Why has God refused to answer the prayers of those who claimed to be closer to God than the common man?. 

In dealing with ourselves, we have put religiosity above humanity. As a matter of fact, the majority of Nigerians are religious, but only a few are Godly. Nigerians do ignorantly put their trust in religious people, thinking that been religious means Godliness. And have failed to realize that these are two different things.

Been religious deals with the physical action of a person, this outer part is what people see to commend someone's efforts towards his beliefs. Going to church and mosque regularly without missing any programs, and always been at the forefront of each organized occasion. This outer part is what the majority display in Nigeria without even considering the Godliness aspect which is the main spirituality. Godliness in a simple term is to act according to what the scripture dictates from the beginning to the end.

One thing I have noticed for long is that our religious leaders caution us mostly on the aspect of religiosity. They yell at us for wearing crazy Jeans, putting on wigs, tint our hear or dress in a manner that exposes the sensitive parts of our body. It's actually right but it may interest you to know that all these preachings and cautions still go directly to the children of the poor people. If a daughter of a powerful or rich man dresses anyhow, they don't usually see anything bad in that. Probably because money has blocked their view or they are coward.

Christianity and Islam laid much emphasis on how a person should relate with his neighbor, to live together in peace and unity. This is simply the secret to humanity which I believe is Godliness. The prophet of Islam( saw) was reported to have said that "None of you is a true believer until you want for your brother, what you want for yourself"  in the same spirit, the Bible also says: "love your neighbor as yourself".  If the followers of these two religions had followed this simple principle in the spirit of Godliness, Nigeria would not be where it is today.

We have long been in the battle of which religion is superior, which man of God is the best, who does the best miracle while we forgot that same blood flows in our veins. We prefer to serve our churches and mosques than to work for humanity.

We only hear about the great benefits of giving to the house of God. This is the only thing some spiritual leaders preach around the country and the main reason why corrupt leaders will have to embezzle money and give big to the houses of the Lord. The majority of big churches and mosques hardly talk about the benefits of serving humanity, the benefits of giving to your neighbors, benefits of not betraying people who have entrusted you with public funds. This is because they believe it will add nothing to the growth of their churches and mosques.

We all agreed that our leaders are our main problem in this country due to their high level of greediness and a low level of integrity. Looking at it from a different angle, if not all, the majority of them are Muslims and Christians 

Sometimes when they act selfishly, I wonder the kind of churches and mosques they go to.  Are there no Imams and pastors in those religious houses, what kind of preachings do they listen to, who receives their tights and zakat(poor-rate), obviously, the pastors and imams do. The evil that comes with the want of money and quest for big gifts has made our religious leaders whose duty is to preach without any fear toothless. Thanksgiving is the only thing they do with the riches while they condemn the poor people with the way they dress and earn their little money. 

Our religious leaders are the ones that welcome our corrupt leaders in their churches and mosques by giving them special honor with the front seat, and they are still the ones praying for the betterment of this country. Look at the level of that hypocrisy!. When you pray for a thief and at the same time, pray for the house that was robbed by that thief, who are you deceiving, God?. 

Our thinking has been bent right from childhood that we should never speak against anyone (pastor /imam) of them because they are anointed men of God. We have ignorantly ranked them as extraordinary human beings, some might even call them their personal savior. That Idea has made us think they are infallible, and we believe everything they do as if it's directly from God. Any attempt to criticize anyone of them might lead to insult, curse, even been brutalized by their followers. 

I blame followers of different religions for blindly following their religious leaders and subsequently putting them in a rank above normal human beings. But this will not stop me from letting you know that if truly religion pays, and the level of our spirituality, Nigeria is still where it is without any progress, then, our religious leaders are part of our problems. 

Let them put more effort into preaching about humanity, unity, good governance, the importance of keeping trust, and many more things that can help our growth as a nation. Their focus should not just be to collect from the poor and rich members in the country. 

We are tired of the repetition of how good it is to give to the house of the Lord. Preach without any fear to our politicians in your religious houses, let them know the importance of keeping promises and its repercussions. Stop organizing prayers for them just because of your personal interest. 

If they are not given special attention and are rejected in the house of worships, if they have no man of God to hide under when they are been chased, if they are rejected by the pastors/ imams they respect most, with pressure from the citizens, they will surely change because they will know that no place is safe for them until they deliver.


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