Onitsha is one of the major trading cities of Nigeria; I suppose it’s due to its proximity to River Niger. Its continuous bustling activity and frenetic pace would make an ant hill seem like an idyllic resort. It is also a major stop for buses moving from the west to the east. You cannot miss Onitsha with its hawkers and famous “akara” balls. For me it’s usually an indication that I am nearer home, so this makes me look forward to its sights and sounds. The noise, the fresh baked bread pushed into your face, the fruits, “agidi jollof”, the ubiquitous crowded storied buildings, reckless touts make the senses reel.
Aside from passing through, first time I really went to Onitsha was during my youth service year. I served in Kwale and needed to get a good Walkman which made me go spend a weekend with my cousins there in order to get a Sony Walkman. One thing I noticed that Sunday was that the city was filled with worshippers. People were trooping in and out of churches; the streets were lined with folks marching like ants foraging for food after days of non-stop rain. It was an amazing sight but something was not quite right because while I was shopping and all through my time there my heart was in my mouth. The town has a bad reputation from a high incidence of armed robbery attacks and an incredible spate of thievery.
The whole thing got me wondering. How can a place with so many church goers be filled with so much nefarious activities that cause pain and loss of human life. Something was definitely wrong.
Nigeria has more churches than the Niger has water. Our language is peppered with “christainese”, “it is well”, “it is not my portion”, “I reject it”, “back to sender” and so on. But Nigeria is filled with so much evil it is amazing. We are so religious and yet so very far from God.
I HATE RELIGION! Religion is an imposter, a fraudster, a deceiver, makes one feel he is so close to God but creates such an unbelievable great divide between man and God. Religion is selfish, manipulative and destructive. It takes, steals, kills, destroys, from the days of the crusades, through the Spanish inquisition, the selling of pardons till modern day terrorism. God is all Love and is all about life. Anything that is anti-life is anti God! He is so pro-Life!
Religion garbs itself in a sanctimonious cassock and struts around with a pious look but like Karl Max said it is the opium of the people. People steal, go to give tithes in the church and think that absolves them from guilt. We wear all kinds of religious garments and adornments, thinking that is what would bring us closer to God but we are farther from Him than the earth from Pluto.
Generally, Religion is man’s way and mechanics of trying to get to God and is usually motivated by selfishness and greed. Generally I look with suspicion on anything that gives me steps of getting to God or tells me I have to make sure I do not fart or hop on one leg, slap one side of my buttocks three times or wash my posterior with bleach and soda before I can worship. They are usually a lot of hogwash! Our relationship with God is a love relationship! I love my dad and he loves me, so I can walk into his room without thinking twice, without counting steps or whispering some mantra under my breath. I am free with my Dad! We devise our own methods, concoct some spiritual mumbo, jumbo and go about feeling cool. Even Jesus had to say that it is not all who call me Lord, Lord are mine. He said a lot of them are workers of iniquity!
Anyway of life that kills, maims, destroys, and steals is devilish and not Godlike. The way of God is all love and does not cause hurt or pain.
Remember the Good Samaritan, he was supposed to be a heathen who was out of the reach of salvation but when a priest and a Levite turned up their “holy” uppity noses on a man who needed help, the Samaritan lent a hand. That guy was closer to God than anyone would have ever believed.
Religion blinds! The Ugandan Warlord, Joseph Kony parading under the cloak of God’s spokesman committed some of the greatest atrocities on earth.
God’s way is not in show, it is in the heart and in character. It is in helping and doing good. It is in serving and positive impact. It is about LOVE!
HE THAT LOVETH NOT KNOWETH NOT GOD FOR GOD IS LOVE!!!