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In my own thinking

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Religious matters are often sensitive and emotional issues to talk about given the diverse nature of our beliefs. Sometimes discussing them is like stoking some kind of controversy which does not go down well with so many folks.  They claim that what they feel, know and practice and hold in great awe should not be challenged because according to them it is sacred.

Religious matters are often sensitive and emotional issues to talk about given the diverse nature of our beliefs. Sometimes discussing them is like stoking some kind of controversy which does not go down well with so many folks.  They claim that what they feel, know and practice and hold in great awe should not be challenged because according to them it is sacred.

The major cause of most global strife today results from religious differences. Is it any surprise that Islam and Christianity are always at each other's jugular? There are as diverse beliefs as there are many religions. Even in the various religions the sectarian superiority struggle is embarrassing indicating the absence of God because He does not encourage divisiveness but love. The major concern is that every religion and its adherents believe that it holds superior opinion about God which should remain unquestionable and must be accepted by others but only God knows those who truly worship him in truth and spirit.
It is akin to the Igbo saying that 'onyeobulajiofo ma Ofo ma onyejiya', meaning that everyone claims to be in custody of the Ofo (symbol of power and authority) but only the Ofo knows who is truly holding it. Most often when you hold opinions different from what the majority accept or know you are labelled as an ungodly person, unbeliever and needing deliverance. But this position should not deter us from speaking the truth as we see it even if it is viewed as another controversy by itself. Nigerians are seen as religious people any day. With the imposition of the two foreign religions of Islam and Christianity on the country just a handful still clings to our traditional religion. Little wonder every Friday and Sundays our streets are emptied and the mosques and churches are filled respectively by members in the worship of God.
   It is natural that anytime we are overwhelmed by any kind of challenge we can only run to where we can find succour or solutions. This is the reason many people run to God or whatever they believe in prayers and ask to be relieved of the burden. I am imagining how the Creator would have reacted were he to be a human being and we bug him with all manner of issues as we do. We trouble God so much with our petitions even for the most unnecessary things. Funnily too, some of us even command Him to arise and do our biddings as wrong as it may be and sometimes where we have erred and are facing the repercussion we tried to force him to reverse the situation.
    The spirits of greed and materialism have so overwhelmed us that we now see God as a miracle worker who we must not only dump our problems on but who must answer us so speedily even for the things we can do for ourselves. When we think that our petitions are not been attended to as fast as we expect, we begin to shop for shortcuts to realise our need. We suddenly lose faith in the Creator and seek for the next fastest alternative even if it means dining with the devil. Yet God is there watching us as we keep fooling ourselves thinking we are outsmarting anybody.
    What we least realize is that there are natural laws set in motion by the Creator that governs every activity. We have no control over these laws and will run into problem whenever we go against these laws. It remains so whether or not we know or believe in them. Your opinion does not count whether or not you believe in the Sun the Sun must rise and do its work. The day must come and followed by the night. You cannot interfere with the mechanisms that operate these phenomena. In like manner the law of sowing and reaping is also adamantine and holds for everyone irrespective of what you have been taught to believe. We stick with some religious teachings believing that that is where our salvation or solution would come from but they end up creating more problems for us.
When we are told to sin and repent and confess our sins that we would be forgiven what we are also not told or lose sight of is that the law of life equally states unequivocally that we must reap whatever we sow. In other words, the law of karma (justice) must hold, requiting everybody according to his deeds. We cannot plant cassava and expect to reap rice. There is no amount of miracle or prayers that can wish or wash it away. Every moment organized prayers hold at every corner, in our homes, churches, crusade grounds, schools, hospitals, buses, markets etc. We are so prayerful, so religious, seemingly devoted, yet there remains an inverse relationship, a big disconnect between what we are doing and how the society functions. Does it not bother you? Have you spared a thought to ask?
There is no injustice in creation. When the harvest of our actions return to us in the form of sufferings we blame God questioning why he would allow us go through this. In desperation and panic we plead all kinds of curses on suspects invoking Holy Ghost fire and praying that our traducers should die by fire. The law is inexorable. If we don't deserve it, it will not come to us. It does not matter who is the cause of our upheaval. The answer is not in the noise (prayers) but in obedience to the laws operating in creation. If you give love it will come back to you and vice versa. We are not making progress in our society because it is run by religious people who have no respect or are ignorant of the laws and who are leading us with wrong examples and wrong teachings.
    The more we go to churches, the more we pray and the more evil there is in the land. It was not for nothing that the scriptures said that 'you people worship me with your lips but your hearts are far away from me'. It talked about hypocrites as well. It went further to admonish that we are only hearers of the word but are not doers. These foregoing statements exactly typify the life we live as individuals in this nation. Take stock of how we even respect our own physical or is it national laws as citizens. The moment a law is enacted for example traffic rules, we find a way to sabotage it and may in the process create traffic and discomfort for others. One day either now or hereafter we will be made to go through the same process to experience it. It is funny that we will not remember the origin of the trouble. So it is in other things that confront us.
    We are so ingenious in disrespecting the law thinking that we are smart as long as we are enjoying the action but unknown to us that the day of recompense is coming because God is NEVER mocked. This is the reason you should not wonder why bad things happen to good people. Another damage the religious teachings have done to our psyche is removing our ability to think. We have been so misdirected that the issues we can easily resolve with thinking out solutions, the Pastor will say 'let me pray for you'. When we are seriously challenged sometimes by our own error rather than do self-examination and retrace our step we will be told to hand over the issue to God. This misleads and makes us lazy because we think God will do some magic for us and so we get so consumed.
    There is nothing wrong with praying but there is everything wrong in praying and not working for the point of prayer, hoping that Manna will fall from heaven as in the days of old. Is it not said that God helps those who help themselves which the scriptures confirmed by saying that faith without works is dead. Sometimes this prayer issue is taken to a ridiculous level especially when people rely on others to pray for them. Some so believe in their so called Papa's, G.O's, Man of God,(as if there is a man of Satan) etc for prayers that they are enslaved by the confidence reposed on these men. Only you can best help yourself because nobody eats food for you.
The motive and efficacy of our prayers becomes questionable when related to other functioning nation states. I hold the view that the evidence and sincerity of our prayer should be seen manifested in our ability to overcome the vicissitudes of life. In my own thinking we are a prayerful nation but with a very bad attitude. Attitude they say is everything. This is the reason I think that countries like India, China, Japan etc still practising their traditional religions are doing well without the religions that exists here. I am of the strong opinion that we could have been better off as a society without the interference of these twin foreign religions that have dislocated us and destroyed our values. The reason for this position will be the subject of another essay very soon.
    When I go to Church I marvel at the manner of the prayers which hinges on fighting imaginary enemies declaring wars against enemies, demons, and spirits as we plead Holy Ghost fire etc. It is like a war. It takes higher knowledge to appreciate an age long eternal truth that nothing can exist except in relation to its opposite. In this lower physical region we exist now, something can only be known by its counterpart--man by woman, joy by sorrow, above by below, day by night, truth by untruth. The Universe itself is never static but in a constant swing of moving from one polarity to another with man as a player constantly experiencing his own activities impartially.
    Meanwhile, leave God alone. He is not responsible for your issues. Follow his laws and you are sure to arrive.

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