Religion Now A Tool Of Terror   | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Religion Now A Tool Of Terror  

Posted: Jul 27, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

My late father’s name was Abubakar Sankey, hinting at a Muslim background, a fact the name never revealed to me because I grew up knowing him as a practising Christian. It was only during a visit home in the long holidays after my School Certificate Examination that I knew many of his paternal family members to be ardent Muslims. The reason for my inability to relate his name to Islam up to that visit is simple: back then, religion was about the life we live and not the creed we profess. My father’s lineage respected family members’ freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, and, therefore, did not foist a religion on its members simply because they were products of that family.  In those days, religion was about making thorough gentlemen and serene women out of their members. Religion then provided the world a standard or model of living. Unlike today, whereby religion is a pretext for all sorts of crime, religion in those good old days was the basis for private virtue and public morals.

Today’s religion is not about man’s relation to God, to reverence, worship, obedience, and submission to mandates and precepts of God. Nor does it mean that bond uniting man to God, and a virtue whose purpose is to render God worship due him as the source of all beings and principle of all government of things. It refers to those things done by man against man in the name of God. It is about what human beings do against humanity in pursuant to beliefs, which they believe incorporate better godly values of not only how to rehumanise mankind but also to protect man from himself and the perceived devil that has taken man away from God. These beliefs give their adherents a sense of fiery superiority due to the conviction that they are not only favoured and chosen soldiers of God but eternally one with God. The beliefs give them a state of mind of sovereign infallibility and authority over all others. They consider themselves donees of universal powers and mandate to regulate the lives of the entire human race.  The superior-minded ‘God chosen ones’ foist themselves on mankind and exercise power over human beings by force, imposing codes of behaviour with inherent threat of punishment for breach or violation. Today’s religions are facades for rogue economies, besides housing drums of war and division. Far from being lighthouses, they are lamps that shout but fail to shine.

Regrettably, Christianity and Islam have appropriated the State. The State has been so emasculated and forced to yield grounds to religion that it is hardly thinkable that it would have the courage to rollback these two religions to breathe clean air of secularity. Indeed, any crank can open a Church or start an Islamic sect. The home of every affluent Muslim can be turned into a Mosque. Churches and Mosques – mostly tents of wickedness and gates of hell – seem to have outnumbered schools and hospitals. Instead of being symbols of peace, brotherhood and the cause of the poor and distressed, they are now nurseries for hate and terror against mankind. Churches and Mosques are no longer symbols of finest aims and aspirations of the human heart, and, unlike water and oil that don’t mix, Christians and Moslems are no longer separable from crime and immorality. Insurgency and terrorism are now being unleashed on humanity in the name of religion.

This calls to mind the heart-wrenching story of Francis Taiwo, a pastor of the Celestial Church of Christ (Key of Joy Parish, Ajiwo at Ajibawo) in Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area, Ogun State, who allegedly chained his 9-year-old son, Korede, to a log of wood in the church for several weeks because, according to him, the poor child was possessed with a ‘stealing spirit’ called ‘emi ole’ in Yoruba. No decent human being can chain his rabid dog the way Taiwo chained the poor boy in the picture posted online by the police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). Unfortunately, instead of being fed, the boy – whose size and height hint at malnutrition – was condemned to die by his biological father – a pastor! Obviously, but for his timely rescue by the NSCDC, poor Korede would have been left to die in those shackles – a case of “God win”, as his name sake, Korede Bello would say.

Of course, Korede’s plight is not a standalone matter, one on an Island of its own. The media is awash with untold stories concerning so-called men of God. Take, for instance, the story reported by the Punch sometime in 2015 about the “randy man of God… in Umunede, Delta State, accused of sleeping with his Church members (for) two years, (and) allegedly impregnated seven of his single female church members and two married women”.

The State – unwilling to police religious bodies and limit them within the confines of the law – seems hopeless as religious bodies breed insurgents, terrorists, criminals, home breakers, adulterers, etcetera – a self-imposed hopelessness. As the State looks the other way, criminals continue to use religion as a convenient tool to wreck havoc on the society.

The plight of young Korede also highlights the failure of the State to ensure that children are given opportunities to develop in a condition of freedom and dignity, where childhood and youth are protected against exploitation, against moral and material abandonment. As the Indian constitution puts it “the nation’s children are a supremely important asset. Their nature and solicitude are our responsibility. Children’s programme should find a prominent part of our National plans for the development of human resources so that our children can grow up to become robust citizens, physically fit, mentally alert and morally healthy, endowed with skills and motivations needed by society. Equal opportunities for development to all children during the period of growth should be our aim, for this would serve our larger purpose of reducing inequality and ensuring social justice.”


By Sam Kargbo