The tradition of religion is exists for a list of reasons. One particular reason stands out – to check the excesses of human thoughts and actions in our endless aspiration to spiritual evolvement. In its origin lie noble reasons, but somewhere along the line, it became less about excesses of the human behaviour and more about being responsible for the conception of a series of human thought. Seeing as thought influences action, this means a more solid grip on the human being as a whole.
An apt depiction of this pattern, you observe in the relationship between churchgoers and preachers in your society. They advise- no, demand that their congregation learn to live on faith alone. They control the lives of their sheep, tugging at their strings like yo-yo balls and puppet characters. They mandate worship, threatening to unleash the wrath of their god on those who miss attendance. So you are ever present at weekly church programmes. Your nation is falling apart, but they tell you not to worry, promising that their god will perform a miracle of elevation. They tell which of the recycled political aspirants this god expects you to vote for, because the lord revealed to them – through visions – his choice aspirant.
Manipulation is at its best when you’re told to sow an always monetary seed of faith to get what you seek from God even when you can barely afford two meals a day; you’re being pressured to pay your tithe to the church or your life shall be tight even when you’re unemployed and destitute; to key into the blessings bestowed upon them by their god by paying them large sums of money, and in foreign currency, even when the closest you’ve ever been to leaving the country was an illegal product trade at the Lagos-Benin Border. Yet, even as you sow your seed, pay your tithe and key into blessings, the naira depreciates in the international market, its value on a steady decline as the years go by. The former president and his cabinet allegedly looted the funds in the National Treasury, if you’re going by the accusations leveled against him by the present administration. This sitting president is a liability saddled upon the nation, the people’s punishment for selling their voices for loaves of stale bread, mini bags of rice and social media likes. At the next election, you will be stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea – between choosing one liability over another, based on the rumored array of candidates.
Your current employer overworks you, yet you’re underpaid, not enough to sustain your basic needs through the month. You cannot sue him for his disregard of the Labor Act because the judiciary is aberrant. But your pastor throws lavish parties every month on his yacht, travels around the world in his private planes – all purchased with your mite.
Your religion gives a small window for dreams, dreams that only come true if you have faith enough, they say. You do, very much. Still, they fail to become reality. You’re told again and again it’s not faith enough. Never mind that it is more than its fixed rate – the biblical mustard seed. Or that a part of you thinks – a thought you fight so hard to suppress – it’s about time you once again took control of your own mind.
They may argue that without religion, you’d be mentally naked, vulnerable and exposed – easy prey for mind predators. The irony in that warning. I would say, the search for myself, my truth, is worth the risk.