THE HULLABALOO ABOUT DROPPING RELIGION

Photo by ABEL MARQUEZ on Unsplash

I cannot help but eventually write about this topic. It is saddening to see the growing decline of faith in our Maker – our Lord God. People take it for granted nowadays to spill out one blasphemy or the other, either for the reason of free expression, or influence of the wrong projections in the film and other media, or simply to join an uninformed bandwagon propagating some inductive statements.

Religion is not spared in these invalidated statements. I have heard or read such things as: ‘we should eschew religion because it is not doing us any good’, ‘religion will make you blind to something you should spend time researching’, ‘Africans seriously need to prioritize science and technology over religion for us to ever move forward as a people’, etc. These statements only expose the fact that those who circulate them do not even understand the terms and concepts of their sentences.

But I will like to enlighten the propagators against religion by explaining as much as I can about it – Religion. I will start with the definition of the word by some authors. Religion is a system of belief in a Divine or superhuman power, and practices of worship or other rituals directed to such a power – Argyle & Beit-Hallahmi, 1975, p1. Here, belief is accepting that something exists or something is true whether with proof or not. The Super or Divine human here is certainly God for me. While the practices and rituals are activities performed in worship of God and as moral principles from God, and all directed towards a relationship with God. Kindly note that rituals are not just the activities of juju by idol worshippers as popularly perceived, but it is defined as ‘a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order’ – Google. Therefore, as a Christian I will say that, Christian Religion is the faith in and the worship of the Triune God [Father, Son – Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit] as well as living in the virtues and moral principles of God [as followers and emulators of Jesus Christ].

My particularized definition shows that religion is not an isolated term but has different types, and the popular ones are the Christian, Muslim and traditional religions. The Muslim religion also believes in one God, but that Muhammed is a messenger of God. While the traditional religion is the belief in various gods according to ethnicity, including a supreme unknown being.

If we examine many other authors, we will realize that their definition of religion includes the salient terms of belief in a supreme being and activities directed in honor of the supreme being. Let us see:

Ballah, 1970 – Religion is a set of symbolic forms and acts that relate man to the ultimate conditions of his existence.

Clark, 1958 – Religion is the inner experience of the individual when he senses a Beyond, especially as evidence by the effect of his experience on his behaviour when he actively attempts to harmonize his life with the Beyond.

Dollahite, 1998 – A covenant faith community with teachings and narratives that enhance the search for the sacred.

O’Collins & Farrugua, 1991 – Religion is systems of belief in and response to the Divine, including the Sacred Books, and cultic rituals, and ethical practices of the adherents. Please note here that cultic is not exclusive to ogbonis and other diabolic practices, but means the worship or veneration [in the Christian case] of God.

I can go on with many more definitions of Religion, but we will make do with the above. And as you can see, it is just as I explained that they are all alike. It is also pertinent to note that human beings are prone to searching for God and the meaning of life; this is common sensical. It has always been so from the beginning and it is why God revealed Himself gradually to us in the Bible – through the prophets and Jesus Christ, and continues to do so till date through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in all sincere hearts that seek Him.

To those who think that religion should be relegated for science and technology, it is necessary that they are educated that science is not just the mixture of chemicals in the laboratory, but the knowledge acquired through observation and experiment. It is not an isolated term but has many branches of which religious science is one. While technology, on the other hand, is ‘the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry’ [and their examples are machinery and equipment] – Google. What this means is that, just as technology is a type of science, so also is religion. Hence, you cannot relegate religion for science because religion is also science. And you cannot ignore a science [Religious] which part of its study includes the origin or creation of technology or you will never know how to invent and apply technology. Many scientists have tried to debunk the existence of God, but have not succeeded and will not succeed in doing so, because every tool they use and the elements they experiment on, have basics that are created by God.

It might seem that I am taking this too far, but I am trying to explain the basics which the proponents of ‘eschewing religion’ are either uninformed about, or ignore, or may have even forgotten after leaving school for a long while.

Another reason people are beginning to condemn religion are the confusing differences in denominational doctrines, some of which are termed unreasonable, and others, unfathomable. That which is unfathomable, is why it requires faith. But faith is not unreasonable, and this is what people condemn. Doctrines vary for different denominations, but due to the indoctrination that goes with religion, followers of a particular denomination are blindly bounded by their doctrines.

Another, which I cannot entirely blame the proponents for, but also blame our religious agents for, is the abuse of their pastoral role for selfish desires that further worsen the hardships of their followers. These religious leaders are hardly different from our National Assembly members who have misappropriated their office to allocate public funds to themselves as allowances. In the case of the religious leaders, they blackmail their congregation with their ‘exaggerated’ interpretations and preaching of the Bible, thereby placing more burdens on the poor congregations – Matthew 23:4. Hence, when people see pastors flying in jets or building some castles in the air while their congregation and the mass of religious followers wallow in abject poverty, they come up with the above conclusions that religion is no longer relevant to society. Do not worry about these leaders, the Bible already says to them – woe; Luke 11:46. It is better for them to drown themselves than cause the little ones to stumble – Matthew 18:6.

Also worrisome, is the wanton killing, enslaving and destruction of lives and property, by certain religious sects and extremists, in the name of God. This should not be a surprise because even the Bible has warned about such events – John 16:2. The Bible’s manner of statement shows it is wrong to do this; in the eyes of the law, it is also wrong; reason and common sense knows it is wrong; and so, generally condemned. Therefore, this is not the fault of religion, but some mental illness, ignorance, hypocrisy and evil; it also happens among atheists. Such perpetrators of evil are dissidents who will always find something to hinge on to enact their unholy desires.

The most worrying of the cause of religious condemnation, are the movies and shows that counter faith in God and mock religious practices. The media, being a great influence on the mind, is used by people of one religion to mock or condemn another, or used by people who do not even believe in God [atheists] to deride and denigrate religious beliefs. These go a long way in negatively affecting those who are yet to mature in their faith or confuse others who are searching for the truth.

Now the question is, where there is no religion because of the above, what is? I have heard some people say, ‘I do not belong to any religion but embrace moral principles’, ‘I don’t need religion to show that I believe in God’, ‘some people live more Christian than the religious’, etc. To these, some judgmental people may conclude, are lazy excuses to avoid worship activities or are self-deluded; but not me oh! I simply think we do not understand the concepts we use. How can you practice moral principles that have its basics and end as God and claim not to belong to any religion? How can you not need religion to believe in God, when belief is part of religion? And how do people live Christian lives without worshiping Christ with others? How do you show your faith without worship, virtues and celebration of the body of Christ as commanded by Christ in Luke 22:19, for Christians? Who do you ascribe your moral life to if not to the origin and end – God?

We simply need more understanding of the terms we use, in order to better express ourselves. This is not to say that I do not understand what the proponents against religion meant to say. Their disaffection with religion should be better expressed thus: ‘I do not believe in your religion or certain religion/s’, ‘I do not accept your doctrines’, ‘I do not like or accept your manner of worship’, ‘I believe that your doctrine is wrong and detrimental to a life that can be saved if otherwise’, ‘I will leave your denomination for another my spirit is more acceptable with’, and like statements. In this way, you are not generally condemning religion, but certain aspects of it. Kindly note that, where you think that a denomination’s doctrine adversely affects a minor or helpless person, do report to the police for the court of law to intervene. There is freedom of religion, but where a minor’s life and helpless persons are involved, a third party can come to an aid.

For Christians – Jesus and His earthly family practiced the religion of the Jews by celebrating the Passover, going to the synagogue, performing the rites/rituals as stipulated in the laws, till He instituted the Church – Matthew 16:18, John 13, Luke 22:14-20, and Acts 2. So, although, Jesus criticized the practices of the pharisees – Matthew 23:13, He did not condemn the teachings but only explained them better; hence, He is not against religion. And Muhammed, the messenger of God to the Muslim is not against religion.

The truth is that, where there is no religion, there is atheism. While religion is the culture of those who believe in some Supreme Being, atheism is the culture of those who do not. We are not in a religion because of certain people – Matthew 23:3, but we are in it because we believe in God. People in religion may not be perfect, but the Holy Spirit will lead those with sincere hearts to His truth and life. And so, I appeal to all, let us not condemn ‘Religion’, and so, unknowingly deny or deride God, but be specific about what we do not like and refer to it appropriately.

And finally, let us pray for our religious leaders to be true to God’s teachings and lead God’s people in His Truth, Spirit and Life; and pray that religious faithful may be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead them in His true faith and life. Let us also pray for all the misguided extremists, that God may reach out to them to heal and deliver them of their evil, and so, free and console all their victims. Let us pray for all who do not fully understand, that God’s Spirit may give them understanding as He gave Christ’s apostles. And let us pray for our government, that the Lord may reach out to our leaders to serve people and country better, so that the citizens’ lives may be improved and their minds’ eye open to see, know and understand God. May the Lord send His Spirit to renew us all and kindle in us the fire of His love, true faith and full hope in Him. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Thank you for reading. This is my view; perhaps, you think differently, and so, I will like to know your view too. Kindly leave your comments in the area below.

By IfeanyiChukwu Oluwafemi Chukwudi, April 19, 2020

11 Replies to “THE HULLABALOO ABOUT DROPPING RELIGION”

  1. What an insightful explanation and elaborate statement of fact. This is just a test of our faith, let each an everyone of us hold on to what we believe not on any pastor, general overseer, prophet , etc but only on the Almighty God the creator of heaven and earth.
    Linda, you are really doing a great and wonderful job here. Tnx for holding on the faith.😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting since many Christians make false claims and say they don’t have a “religion”. That is of course false. So, which Christians to believe?

    “It is also pertinent to note that human beings are prone to searching for God and the meaning of life; this is common sensical. It has always been so from the beginning and it is why God revealed Himself gradually to us in the Bible – through the prophets and Jesus Christ, and continues to do so till date through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Church and in all sincere hearts that seek Him.”

    Nope, humans aren’t looking for your god. That’s quite an ignorant thing to say, assuming your god is everyone’s god. Humans do like to look for reasons things happen and they invent many gods to explain things. That Christians don’t even agree on what this god wants as morality, how to be saved, what heaven/hell are, how to be baptized, etc show that you are making up your own gods too. No reason to think any of you have the right one or that even a god of any kind exists at all. That no Christian can heal anyone of sickness or injury as promised in the bible, underlined by this virus outbreak, shows that there is no reason to believe any of you.

    You want to claim that people who seek this god and don’t find it aren’t “sincere”. that’s just an excuse offered about why your god doesn’t show up.

    I do have to ask why the other commenter, Adebayo, thinks that an omniscient god needs to test anyone at all.

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        1. Hello again clubschadenfreude. Forgive me but your latter statements shows your stance on Christians and God and made me assume you didn’t need the answer. Nevertheless, I can only say that we humans are not perfect and you see that in some of our analysis of our faith. For some, our knowledge are still limited and we are learning daily and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we will know the truth that sets us truly free.
          You will know which Christian denomination to belong to if you search for the Holy and Only God we believe in. He, Himself will lead you to Him – for He has given us sufficient grace. One things we Christians have in common is faith in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. And we relyi on His Holy Spirit to teach us His way, truth and life. The much we know is that God IS and LIVES.
          We may or may not be able to end the virus by one person’s prayer but we can and will do so collectively in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. When and how God answers our prayer is His choice and whether you acknowledged Him for the cure or not does not take away His Glory. He is God of all, for He created the world and all in it. Every good knowledge is given by Him.
          It is also your choice to not harden your heart to Him. I know there are many confusing interpretations and doctrines about the Christian faith, please don’t let them scare. He who made you will help you find Him. The Bible is a good start but you would need guidance. When you are ready, God will lead you to a Church and ask a Priest for guidance on knowing God and becoming a Christian.
          Please also search and look out for some of my religious articles for my views on some topics. All the best and know that I’m praying for you.

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          1. Claiming that humans aren’t perfect doesn’t explain the failure of a god that you claim to be perfect. Again, M, Which Christian to believe since you all claim different things? If your perfect god can’t make itself clear, why think it is perfect? If your god is limited to human action, it isn’t much of a god.

            Christians constantly claim that each other have “limited knowledge” and none of you can show that your version is the right one. You all claim that the “holy spirit” tells you the truth, but again, you can’t show this happening. When all of you claim that one source is telling you that you and only you are right, you are all shown to be lying.

            As above, each Christian sect makes this claim “to if you search for the Holy and Only God we believe in. He, Himself will lead you to Him – for He has given us sufficient grace.” Yep, the one single thing you may have in common is faith in Jesus, but you can’t agree on what this Jesus wants, what morals it wants, how to be baptized, what heaven and hell are, what it takes to be saved, etc.

            No, you can’t end the virus by any prayers so you all show that your bible is wrong or none of you are the baptized believers in Christ as savior as the bible promises can to miracles. You don’t do anything “collectively” since again, you don’t agree on any details about your religion. You try to claim that this god answers prayers by its “choice” but that’s not what your bible says. It says that any prayers will be answered with what is asked for. You have to lie about what your bible says to keep your excuses. That’s a shame.

            Most, if not every, theist claims that their god “created the world and all in it”. And none of you can show your claims to be true and every other theists claims to be false. I can take away glory from a failed mythical being by just asking questions. And just like most, if not every theist, you try to lie and claim that only your god gives “good knowledge”, and you can’t show this to be true.

            You again ignore your bible when you try to falsely claim that I have a choice when it comes to this god. Why do you choose to do that, M? Why can’t you accept your bible as written and insist that it doesn’t say what it does? Are you that embarrassed by it? Chrisitans do indeed have many contradictory interpretations and doctrines, showing that your claims are false. Each Christian claims that if I just pray, I’ll agree with them. That claim fails too.

            I’ve read the entire bible. Have you? As for you praying for me, what are you praying for? If it is for me to agree with you, when that prayer fails, what is your excuse? Is it that your god hates you and your prayers? That your god loves an honest atheists? Or is it that your god doesn’t exist?

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            1. Hello @clubschadenfreude. You will not understand what you seek to criticize. When you seek to know God, He is available to help you find, know and understand Him when you read your Bible or ask questions. He will even counsel you better than any man can. Unfortunately here, you are simply on a mission to deny God. If you don’t believe Him, you don’t need to put this much effort to disapprove of Him.
              For as long as you live, God’s grace is available for you to find Him. Search for Him with that intent. It is how I found Him – you will have a glimpse of that in my next article coming up on Tuesday 19.
              May God lead you to finding Him in Jesus Christ name. Amen.

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  3. In as much as the religious leaders are there, God has given to us the spirit of discernment, our Bible are also there to teach and direct us more.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This topic can never be over emphasis, a great number of people are being mislead daily into believing that there are other ways to term their act of worship to God other than Religion forgetting that religion is the way of life in Christ Jesus, our LORD. You just cannot separate it.

    Thank you sister, I sincerely pray that those “preachers” who trys to make religion an issue of controversy as their selling point should just to stop.

    Nicely written. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is very insightful.
    The subject of Religion is always sensitive especially in this part of our world. Many see it as a sanctuary and when they don’t get what they expected to or when they don’t find solutions or the answers they seek from religion, they lose faith.
    The question is why Religion? Do we need it to be in a relationship with God? Yes. Christianity is a verb because our Christian faith requires of us to be like, to live like Christ our leader, the founder of our faith. But when we stray from him, then we are no longer practicing the faith. And most times the reason we abandon our faith is due to Greed and lack of faith and patience. In Acts 4:35, the scriptures showed us how the early Christians lived in love – shared with each other such that none lacked. But that is farrrrrr-fetched in our world today. Those we look up to far spiritual guidance have been carried away by greed. But we must know that our faith doesn’t lie or depend on human behaviour or knowledge. If we are to practice Religion sincerely we must look up to the author and finished of our faith – God, who has given us his Spirit to guide us in all our ways.
    May God strengthen us in our daily struggle to be saints Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

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