Africa is a continent of irony; religious practices are, indeed not far from this social reality. They are often simply entangled in the web of deceit and sarcasm. While the Western world brought Christianity to Africa, Africans are far more fanatical, zealous – and ironically, rigid – about religion than their Western counterparts. In most cases, African religious leaders interpret religious texts in such a shallow way that they do not give one a room for an alternative interpretation. More often than not, the interpretation serves the leaders’ selfish motives. But that is not all, many religious leaders give one the impression that they represent and emulate God, Christ or Allah, as the case may be. We all wish they do, don’t we?
From being some of the richest, most flamboyant, extravagant, choosy people around, many African religious leaders prefer to fly their own expensive private jets (those who don’t have a sweet mouth or are yet to make good use of it to accord them a jet, go for flashy exclusive cars) and live in a mansion. Using the money they stole (sorry, they received as a “donation” from the congregation), some start their own universities, schools, hospitals, most of them more expensive than government institutions. Yet, the congregations and followers are forced to pay for using the services provided by those institutions owned by the religious leaders. You go to your pastor/prophet, bishop or whatever name they choose to call themselves, for a crusade, you are encouraged to stay in the hotel owned by the pastor. During the service, you are asked to donate from your meager salary or income to the church, for example. The financial account and authority are in the hands of the pastor and, in most cases, a family member. The food is provided by this hotel or guest house. Don’t’ ask me what that food they provide to you contains! Did Christ ask for money or benefits from his followers or multitude before he helped them or performed miracles, according to the Bible, the source of authority the African religious leaders’ quote? Do you need to be an economist to know that you are being sucked financially, psychologically, socially, from all fronts by the same religious leader, who gives you the impression they want your best interests? If you think you don’t need some mental help, you better think twice.
As a worshipper, you are encouraged by your religious leader to pray and have faith when you are sick. They promise to cast away your sickness, demon, poverty once you come to them. According to your religious leader, God will cure you and take care of all your problems. Yet, when the same leader or a family member is sick, they are secretly sent to the most expensive hospital for a proper and exclusive check-up and treatment. No, the religious leader would not encourage their family members not to seek medical attention, despite that they claim they strongly believe God will cure you. Didn’t the same Bible tell you that faith without works is dead? James 2: 14 -26. Not all, if your religious leader would discourage you from taking the medicine and make you believe God will cure you while they encourage their children to study medicine or pharmacy, you should quickly go to a psychiatrist for an urgent medical check-up because you need one immediately.
Of course, you are made to believe your religious leaders are next-door neighbours of God in heaven. Yet, death is clearly the most fearful – and indeed the last thing – these so-called men/women of God want. And you still foolishly believe these religious leaders? Wake up from your slumber!! To be your own “God” meaning having the ability to think rationally and make the right decisions in life, aimed and bringing progress, peace, and prosperity in your life.
Of course, there are some good quality pious religious elements out there. But they are very few. It is like searching for a coin in the ocean. But the fact that many religious hypocrites parade themselves as saints should not discourage one to live an exemplary life. However, if you are confronted with a situation, where your so-called man/woman of God is living flamboyantly and encouraging you to rather donate from your little income rather than increasing your income and life fulfilment, and you still have not asked yourself the obvious questions, rush yourself to the nearest psychiatrist for a mental examination. If you don’t have enough money for the psychiatric treatment, communicate with your God, Allah or whoever you worship directly. Any religion that does not change life and the living conditions for the better can be questionable.
Until Africans think rationally and stop being gullible, they will remain entangled inside the religious web of greedy religious charlatans who feed fat on the poor Africans. If this cankerworm is not urgently eradicated in the society, Africa will continue to lag behind while the rest of the world is quickly moving forward.