By Olufunke Cole
There are different stages and categories of which we could delineate the audacity of religious hypocrisy in Nigeria and expose the blatant lies, cruelty and evils perpetrated in the name of religion. It is important at this juncture to bring to the fore the shenanigans of those who arrogantly carry on as the mouthpiece of God on earth and pontificate on both mundane and spiritual matters. I would like to expose their manipulation, brainwashing, heresies fallacies, and barefaced lies. The religious charlatans getting away with their manipulation in this part of the world, owing to the fact that religion and religious matters have been considered a “no-go” area, especially when it concerns those “men of God”. It is important to reiterate what purpose religion is meant to serve. I have over the years mentioned to friends that I detest being coaxed to follow sheepishly some puritanical dogmas. Religion as it is observed here has assumed a form of hypocritical status, especially by its adherents. The most baffling point is that it has taken a new dimension other than the original form by which it was designed for us.
I am going to be exclusively concerned about the ones that were handed over to us. I have been forced to wonder if it is possible to be more Catholic than the Pope. Ours take a dimensional form of pretense and deception. Like I have always said, it will get to a point that education and knowledge will find it difficult to explain the impropriety of religion as it is appearing daily. We have lost access to creativity all because of religious principles which are usually man-made. What exactly should be the purpose of religion if not to the service of God and humanity? What exactly should it be if not a means to an end – fostering unity among mankind?
Then why has religion become a veritable tool of cruelty and discord? Why has peace become elusive despite the fact that the vast majority of people profess one religious sect or another? Hasn’t religion defined our conflict enough and brought to the fore man’s egoism over inanimate objects? Yet, we claim to be more religious when we adhere to dictates of men in the form of earthly tenets. Even, among Christians abound different doctrines, yet with one Holy Book for guidance and direction. And then you begin to wonder if mindsets control the affairs of the celestial. Now, let’s begin to perceive religion as a form of man’s inescapable route to eternity whereas our conducts seem unidentifiable with abodes we cherish to inherit hereafter. Man’s inalienable rights to choice has proved the exigencies for a worthy clamour for undaunted philosophy with clarion calls to give everyone the right to observe their spirituality.
The fact remains that hypocrisy has beclouded our tenacity in creating a conducive atmosphere for worshipping God. Worshipping God has now become transactional referral to men of God who are seen as ultimate support to religion. In other news, a pastor was heard coercing his followers into submission on a matter whose decision was literally his. Surprisingly, the followers are seen sheepishly accepting every theory just because it was pronounced by their pastor. It must be right to admit that religion has taken a new twist and fate in the hands of its so-called “custodians” whose dictates are used as yardsticks for measuring the lifestyle of the followers. Should religion not be synonymous with spirituality? If at all, religion must be embellished, it must be adorned with the garb of humanity. Or of what gain is religion when it devalues the sophistication of humanity and humane characters?
Funke Cole is a Doctoral student, Dept. Of History, University of Lagos