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Mya Williams: Organised Religion or Individuals – Who is To Blame?

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Is religion being the opium of the masses really the problem, or do we human beings sometimes just project our own weird ideologies onto our simple daily lives making things even more difficult?

Last week, the Accountant in my office left me pondering this very topic. I had asked about his family (he is married with two young children), he responded that they were doing well. He then went on to tell me about how his wife was currently upset with him because he didn’t agree to drive the family to church on Sunday in his newly acquired car. I immediately started lecturing Mr. Ola about how he had to practice his driving more frequently so he can be confident on the road, as he is a new driver. I was, however, cut short by him explaining that it wasn’t the distance to church that was the problem because the Church wasn’t too far from their home but that he doesn’t want to take his car to church. He said and I quote “ I don’t want to take my car to church because I don’t want to show off, I am a born again Christian, we are supposed to be humble”. I countered this argument in bemusement by pointing out that he drives his car to work and other places, to which he responded that it wasn’t the same thing. At this point, I had to ask my colleague whom I share an office with if she was hearing what I was hearing.

Let me paint the picture, Mr. Ola a mid-thirties, hard working Accountant who trudges through the dreaded 9 to 5 routine every week, has finally saved enough money to buy a fairly used Toyota saloon car. This greatly helps make the Mainland-Island commute a bit more bearable. Come Sunday morning, his wife naturally (if I might add), expects that the family of four will pile into the car and drive down to Church for the service. As confirmed by Mr. Ola himself, the Church isn’t like two doors down; it is at least a 10-minute walk. Yes, some can argue that 10 minutes isn’t long to walk and it truly isn’t but when you have two children under the age of two, then it becomes more tedious. Add the stress of the sun and the possibility of rain; my simple point is if you have the option in their scenario, you would take the car as his wife clearly wanted to do.

Mr. Ola however insisted they weren’t taking the car and never will by the way, so the family proceeded to walk to church and for the inconvenience, Mrs. Ola ensured that he didn’t hear the end of it, all the way to church and back and in the house and also via text messages during the week while he was at work. Her central point was that he had a poor mans mentality (her words), I couldn’t stop laughing. After the laughter though, I realised that Mr. Ola had posed a serious topic worth discussing. Obviously my biggest problem here is the reason behind Mr. Ola not wanting to drive his car to Church; he obviously is more concerned with projecting a certain image in his church than just being a good Christian who goes about his life in as Godly a way as he can. From our discussion I could tell it was a low key church, which is fine but I asked him if he was the only one who had a car in the whole church, to which he laughed and said no. So why then would you take it upon yourself to portray such a farce especially as you drive this car everywhere else. I would have even understood a bit if it were a very flashy, glistening brand new Benz or BMW or Range Rover (you get my drift) but his car is a modest, very popular Toyota that isn’t even brand new.

The rationale that as a “born again Christian” he doesn’t want to be seen to own a car because it may suggest he isn’t humble really stumped me. I wonder if it makes him look holier that the others who drive cars or does it send a sign to the Church vicar that he is a more committed Christian than the others because he deprives himself? What is wrong with a born again Christian owning a car anyway? A car is a very basic need in society today and if you’ve been blessed enough to be able to afford one, why are you hiding it, all so can you can portray to the church folk that you are not of the world and you don’t own worldly things? What about the hypocrisy of it all? Here is someone who has shrouded a part of his life in secrecy to project a certain image to his religious circle, someone who has used religion as a tool to “punish” his own self.

Photo Credit: Dreamtime |  Luminastock 

Mya Williams is a fiercely passionate and fun loving rebel/nonconformist. She loves to write in her free time. She emphatically believes that certain societal customs and norms must be challenged if one is to have a truly fulfilled and happy life.

28 Comments

  1. bruno

    March 4, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    all this talk is too much.

    religion is bad for today’s society. period.

    religion is a man made diseases and has no place in today’s society.

    when u have a large group of people, u have to look for a way to control them, by putting fear into them, u can control them. that is religion, a controlling device.

    religion is so outdated,

  2. bruno

    March 4, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    I have no problem with religion or people who practice their religion. if u want to worship something u can’t see and u want to obey a fairy tale bookthat was given to you by the wicked slave masters, fine. na u sabi.

    but when your religion starts influencing legislation, that is when me and you and your religion are gonna have a problem.

    when your religion starts making people’s lives miserable and unhappy, when your religion starts taking aways people’s fundamental human rights that is when me and your religion will have a problem.

  3. Ifemelu

    March 4, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    I cannot stand religion in Nigeria. Four churches in one street yet the wickedness in that neighborhood will win a record. If you like, quote the bible from now till tomorrow, i will NEVER give a damn. Show me with your actions. I have religious friends and they know exactly how i feel. I am spiritual. I respect the right for anyone to practice whatever but Nigerians take this foreign religion too damn far as if Jesus is Igbo. I cannot stand the lack of separation from church versus state and the constant need to blame the devil for their evil. Nope, don’t give a damn about religion.

  4. chy

    March 4, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    like his wife said, he has poor man mentality and needs to grow up. why buy a car you won’t even enjoy. i believe 6o% of the people in church have already seen him in the car and still wonder if he’s ok not bringing it to church. d guy needs poverty mentality deliverance.

  5. Queen!!!!!

    March 4, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    HYPOCRISY!!! that what I can call this attitude. So many christians make effort to look sooo Holy and righteous while they are living a life of lies, wickedness and self deceit all in the name of being in “Pastor’s good books”. God matters He is the ONLY ONE we should try to please and Impress –

  6. bruno

    March 4, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I have asked this questions a milliom times.

    who wrote the bible or the quran that u believe in and obey? who? and don’t you dare say the holy spirit. the holy spirit doesn’t have a pen.

    how did christainity/islam get into nigeria? oyedepo and adeboye and your rev. fathers will never tell you how religion came to nigeria. SLAVERY.

    so many things in these religious books have been proven wrong by science. so many statements in these books are extremely offensive.

    in the bible/quran ,God is referred to as a he, why must god be a he why can’t god be a she.
    it is because women are weak and stupid and men are strong and intelligent. that’s why god must be a he and not a she.

    in the creation story, god created adam first, and created eve second, why? why didn’t god create eve first and create adam second?

    religion is the source of all sexism and oppression of women.
    the bible was written by men,

    assuming the bible was written by women, God will be referred to as a she and god will create eve first and create adam second and adam will be the helper of eve not the other way round.

    • oj

      March 4, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      Dear Bruno,
      Can u please point out those statements in the bible that scientist have proved is false? Because from my understanding of the bible, even though it is not a science textbook, when it touches of scientific matters, it is accurate. Some persons however give their own wrong interpretations of what the bible says.

      Besides, take a look at the principles in the bible and even the teachings of Jesus, and compare them with the conduct/behavior/characters of so called born again christians and their pastors, you will see a very big difference. Even Jesus said “By their fruit, you will recognize them” and “not every one saying to me “Lord Lord” will inherit the kingdom of God, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in the heavens will”.

      On who wrote the bible, 2tim3:16 says that all scripture is inspired by God. God is the Author of the bible. 2peter 1: 21 says that men spoke from God as they were moved by holy spirit, showing that God didn’t use his hand to write the bible but God gave this privilege to faithful men of old. God dictated to them the same way a manager would dictate a letter for his secretary to write. These men wrote God’s thoughts, not their own. Unlike most autobiographies where the writer only writes good deeds he has done, the bible writers wrote both the good and the bad deeds they and their nation did.

      God using imperfect men to write the bible also shows wisdom on His part. Do you think we could have understood the bible if God had assigned the task of writing it to angels? These bible writers were humans like us, with feelings like us. They have experienced joy, pain, anger and feelings we all go thru in life. Do you have family members you don’t feel safe with? You can understand Joseph’s experience (Joseph is Jacob’s son). Do you feel disappointed in yourself ? if so, you can understand how Peter felt when he realized he had denied Jesus. Have you made a terrible mistake and are suffering the consequences? If so, you can understand the feelings of King David. The examples in the bible, both good and bad teach us valuable lessons about life.

      On the matter of gender, please take note that God is neither a man nor a woman. God is a Spirit. A spirit is a higher form of life that is invisible to the naked eyes. Remember that God created Man first and appointed him to care for the earth before He created Woman to be a complement of the Man. It’s only natural that the bible uses “He” when referring to God, as Man is the appointed head of the human family. Does that mean that women are of less importance to God? No, Women are also precious to God, Woman was created to be a complement, a helper, not a slave. It’s imperfect men that have reduced the value of a woman in our society, and treat them like slaves or second class citizens.

      Stop reading the bible with a view to criticizing it. If only you would read the bible with an open heart and an open mind, you will find the joy and peace you seek, even in this troubled world.

    • bruno

      March 4, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      @oj.

      On the matter of gender, please take note
      that God is neither a man nor a woman.
      God is a Spirit.

      keep decieving your self.

      the last time I checked it was God the father God the son and God the holy spirit NOT God the mother, God the daughter and God the holy spirit.

      the bible promotes and encourages slavery.

      Ephesians 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly
      masters with respect

      Colossians 4:1 Masters, provide your slaves
      with what is right.

      a book that does not condemn slavery but promotes slavery shouldn’t be a book people should obey.

      we black people, who’s ancestors were slaves are not suppose to be following a book like that.

      im sure u don’t know what slavery really is. slavery is probably the most dispecable act ever committed by man kind.

      It’s only natural that the bible
      uses “He” when referring to God, as Man is
      the appointed head of the human family

      u do realize this your statement is sexist. who appointed man the head of the family. who put men in charge.

      the first sinner ever in the entire human race is a woman. the downfall of mankind according to the bible/quran is because of woman. eve ate the fruit first, she disobeyed God first. assuming it was a woman or women that wrote the bible/quran, I can bet, man will be the one to blame for the down fall of mankind. it will be adam who will eat the fruit first and disobey god first.

      I don’t think you know your bible very well. so many inaccuracies. so many absurd outdated practices and laws that can never ever work in todays society.

    • C'est moi

      March 4, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      OJ
      I presume you still think Moses wrote the Pentateuch (first 5 books) & even got to write his own obituary? The bible is a collection of historical works hijacked and reedited along the way to fit the ideology of their time and were not written in the order they appear. The NT Gospels were not written by Jesus’ disciples, none of the writers of the gospels were eye-witness. The earliest gospel is actually Mark which was written around 30yrs AFTER the death of Christ. The other books spanning 40-70yrs after. The bible you have was compiled together by the evil murderous psycho pagan christian roman emperor Constantine the great who killed christian leaders who didnt like his version of Christianity (mixed it with paganism) and boiled his wife to death. Christianity today has lots of pagan influences thx to him which is oblivious to most christians.

      Oj in addition to reading the bible with an open mind, learn the history and culture of the religion you have chosen to follow and take into account the archeological and anthropological findings now available to you.

    • C'est moi

      March 5, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Yeah God is a spirit but biblically, he can take any form (dove, burning bush) but in the times he has appeared before his beloved he’s always take a male form.
      He appeared to both Abraham and Jacob in male human form. King Uzziah saw ‘HIM’ seated on his throne in Isaiah 6. Jesus always addresses God as my Father, God impregnated a woman…
      .
      Secondly,
      Like many gullible Christians, you also appear to be unaware that there are 2 creation stories in Genesis as you are clearly mixing Gen 1 with Gen 2.
      .
      YES, the bible starts with a contradiction.
      In Gen 1- God created man & woman at the same time and both were charged were given dominion – Gen 1:26 “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them….and said to THEM…rule over etc etc. In this version man was created last, on day 6!!! Gen 1 is known as the priestly version of the creation story. It was actually appended to Gen2 in time of Isaiah.
      .
      In Genesis 2- was man created first before vegetation, animals etc. It is in this version there was a gap between the creation of man & woman. According to biblical theology Gen 2 is the yahwist version (jewish creation myth to explain creation, every society has their own like we have Olorun & Obatala etc). The bible stories are not real, they are Babylonian myth stories which predate the bible & adopted by the jews to explain creation. They are at best seen as aetiological myths.
      .
      And on the subject of science – read up on the Copernican revolution & Galileo. I don’t get why ardent followers of christ aren’t keen to learn about their faith.

    • Lapetite

      April 25, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      I will like, like and like your comment again. Wonderful!

    • cee

      March 10, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      Bruno i pray for u and for all those who practice this level of ignorance in this world today. Unfortunately tryin to convince u will be total waste of time given ur indept ignorance so i’ll just pray for u.

  7. NaijaPikin

    March 4, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Your religion should be a guide to living a healthier, happier, fulfilling life. Not a control mechanism.

    Today its refusing to drive car
    Tomorrow it’s testimony in church that you bought gwagon
    Then it’s refusing medical treatment. Shitttttt, some people won’t even say i’m not feeling well, they will be forming “I am strong in Jesus name”

    Why can’t the focus just be on being a good neighbour, helping one another, sharing with one another. life would truly be simpler.

    • wella health

      March 5, 2015 at 4:10 am

      Spot on. We see this trend far too often in health so we did blogged about it:

      blog.wellahealth.com/2015/02/28/5-nigerian-superstitions-and-beliefs-that-will-kill-you-before-your-time/

      We need to open our eyes and leave all this useless dogma behind

  8. @edDREAMZ

    March 4, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    a.k.a EDWIN CHINEDU AZUBUKO said…
    .
    Well this is just stupidity and no doubt his wife said it all, he has a poor man mentality…..
    .
    .
    ***CURRENTLY IN JUPITER***

  9. charles

    March 4, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Everyone is free to practice whatever religion he wants to (even if that religion makes him look “silly”), provided it doesn’t encroach/infringe anyone’s right/liberty. The problem with man is trying hard to hit the “intelligent pedals”- we end up being silly. To each his own. . .

  10. Theresa

    March 4, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    This is not about religion, this is about the man himself. Like you said, there are other people in his church who drive cars. It’s his faulty interpretation of humility that is the issue.

    For all those against religion, remember religion is like a kitchen knife, a good person uses it to help and bless others while a bad person uses it to oppress and harm others.
    Judge people by their fruit (actions), not religion.

  11. ms.b

    March 4, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    What sort of church does he attend? Nobody drives a car in the church? Or mr ola doesn’t want to take his car to church so that pastor won’t start asking for seed n more money since mr ola will be seen as comfortable. @bruno keep your atheism ideas to yourself, nobody is forcing you to accept religion. You can comfortably embrace sango or amadioha or okija shrine, live ppl to believe in what they believe in. Your atheist believes makes u sleep well at night, another person’s believe does same, stop been a bully n criticising Islam n xtianity evry opportunity u get.

  12. oj

    March 4, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    As any one considered that the man is afraid to take his car to church so that his tithe/offering would not be increased? I have a neighbor who can barely provide for her family, refuse to go to church on a particular sunday because she had no money and in church the pastor would ask them to sow seeds and whoever does not sow will not receive God’s blessings.

    Or it could be that he’s trying to form ‘holy holy’. Anyway, God knows those who are truly serving him.

  13. bruno

    March 4, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    @oj.

    On the matter of gender, please take note
    that God is neither a man nor a woman.
    God is a Spirit.

    keep decieving your self.

    the last time I checked it was God the father God the son and God the holy spirit NOT God the mother, God the daughter and God the holy spirit.

    the bible promotes and encourages slavery.

    Ephesians 6:5 Slaves, obey your earthly
    masters with respect

    Colossians 4:1 Masters, provide your slaves
    with what is right.

    a book that does not condemn slavery but promotes slavery shouldn’t be a book people should obey.

    we black people, who’s ancestors were slaves are not suppose to be following a book like that.

    im sure u don’t know what slavery really is. slavery is probably the most dispecable act ever committed by man kind.

    It’s only natural that the bible
    uses “He” when referring to God, as Man is
    the appointed head of the human family

    u do realize this your statement is sexist. who appointed man the head of the family. who put men in charge.

    the first sinner ever in the entire human race is a woman. the downfall of mankind according to the bible/quran is because of woman. eve ate the fruit first, she disobeyed God first. assuming it was a woman or women that wrote the bible/quran, I can bet, man will be the one to blame for the down fall of mankind. it will be adam who will eat the fruit first and disobey god first.

    I don’t think you know your bible very well. so many inaccuracies. so many absurd outdated practices and laws that can never ever work in todays society.

    • oj

      March 4, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      1. Can you pls tell me the scripture that says ‘God the father, God the Son and God the holy spirit’? Just the quotation if u can find it.
      2. Who appointed men in charge? God did. As our creator, He has every right to do so.
      3. On slavery, take note that the scriptures u quoted admonishes masters to treat their servants well. That scripture in no way promotes slavery. People who are drivers, nannies or domestic helps, are they slaves? People who employ these ones, do they promote slavery? ( I’m not talking about underaged helps. According to the law, Thar’s child abuse)
      3. Yes, the bible says that the woman sinned first, but who did God hold responsible for that? The man. That’s why Romans 5: 12 says ‘That is why just as thru one man (Adam), sin entered the world and death thru sin and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned.’ God held the person He had put in charge responsible for the first sin.

      And by the way, I know my bible better than u do.

    • bruno

      March 4, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      @oj.

      I can tell u are a protestant. LOL the worst form of christainity.

      I have one question for you, is jesus christ God.

      you don’t know sh!t stop beating around the bush like a typical christain.

      “Go therefore and make disciples of all the
      nations, baptizing them in the name of the
      Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matt.
      28:19) holy trinity in the bible. baptise them in the name of the mother, the daughter and the holy spirit.

      On slavery, take note that the scriptures
      u quoted admonishes masters to treat their
      servants well.

      u don’t think u know the meaning of slavery. stop trying to mince words. it is written clearly SLAVE dont try to turn it into servant.

      a slave is someone’s property, it is different from a house maid or a driver or nanny etc. u pay your maid or nanny wages and salary, u don’t pay your slave anything because they are ur property. u can sell your slave to another person etc

      the bible didn’t say owning a slave is horrible or dispecable, instead the bible said you can have slaves but you have to be nice to them. smh

      stop sugar coating words like a typical christain. you dont know jack about ur bible.

    • TA

      March 5, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      @ Oj thank you brother/sister. Nothing more to add to all your lovely comments. Have a blessed day. 🙂

  14. sylvia

    March 4, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    @bruno, am electing you as the president of federal Republic of bellaniaja commentor …lol please try and be postive sometimes, your comments/feedbacks are quite harsh often time.

  15. oj

    March 4, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    @Bruno,
    1. I am not a protestant.
    2. Jesus is God’s son. You still haven’t mentioned the scripture that says ‘God the Father, God the Son and God the holy spirit’. Matt 28: 19 you quoted does not say so.
    3. I don’t need to sugar coat anything. I think it’s very obvious to those who truly know the bible who is talking ‘shit’ and who is not.

    Also, u don’t have to be insulting to make ur point. E-hugs

  16. lola carey

    March 5, 2015 at 4:19 am

    Bruno is such an unhappy person.it shows in his /her comments.your heart is so full of sadness and pain.u always sound depressed and negative..I think you shld find help before you try take your life when things gets worse.cos at the Rate your going it will.you don’t have happiness in your life honestly.I don’t even believe your an atheist. I just think you are unhappy with your life.may you eventually find peace either in this world or out of it.

  17. mabel

    March 5, 2015 at 9:33 am

    @Lola so true. I don’t agree he is an atheist either. I think he’s just unhappy. Depression kills too so please see a doctor. Take a vacation. Just be happy. You are too young to be this bitter. It is well.

  18. wise one

    March 9, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    The truth is that people are seeking answers but maybe the people who are to give the answers have failed. If you truly desire answers you will find. We need not fight about doctrines it doesn’t save any one it will never Only Christ. When we observe the life He lived even an atheist would agree with his principles and the Life He promoted. That is why Love is the foundation of it all for He knows that men that we are we would always like to impose ourselves on others. All we can do is be tolerant with one another and pray for an enlightenment of our minds. You can not argue anyone into believing, a person can only be convicted by the Spirit of God. And trust me i understand if you dnt believe in the religion thing it may just be that you have been disappointed over time by the fruits of it. But if you care enough keep your focus on the Man Jesus and it will surprise you what you will find. Shalom

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