The Business Of Religion In Modern Times

We cannot talk about religion in modern times without going back to the very start of human creation or human evolution depending on which school of thought you belong to regarding the beginning of the human race. Having said this however, this article is not about offending the sensibilities or beliefs of the followers of these faiths. This article is only out to shed more light on the hypocrisy and far too many times the criminality and fraud perpetuated by these charlatans under guise of religious correctness or holiness as the case may arise.

Just before I proceed, in my research about the definition of what religion is, I found out that, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitute a religion. But having read extensively in my research I was able to come to the conclusion that” religion is just a means to and end for a particular group of people within a particular geographical location based on their common belief of a supreme entity who directs the affairs of their lives and the ways and means by which this entity can be reached”. Long before the advent of the Abrahamic religions, history shows that there existence of pagan religion in south America, also was the existence of African traditional religion as well as Far East religion like Hinduism and Taoism.

What is Abrahamic Religions

These Abrahamic religions are so called because they emerged from a certain man who lived many centuries ago in Mesopotamia in what is now known today as IRAQ. For Christians he is known as ABRAHAM, while in Islam he is known as IBRAHIM.

I must state here that Christianity and Islam is not the only Abrahamic religions, there are other Abrahamic religions which includes Methodism, Latter day saints movement, Shia Islam, Calvinism, Catholics and the Evangelical Christianity. These Abrahamic religions can be regarded as religions of the modern era because, the other non Abrahamic religions were known to have been practiced by those who lived in that era. The Abrahamic faiths started out as a means by which people can be made to fully understand their religion and ways to better practice it in synergy with the supreme entity that they believe in, as earlier and older non Abrahamic religions were regarded as barbaric in practice and Godless in beliefs.

For the sake of this article I am going to focus on the two great Abrahamic faiths, which is Christianity and Islam. If one go back in history to the evolution of these two great religions, one will realize that the two religions emerged based on the promises of the supreme entity to give life more abundantly to those who accepts and believe in the one true God, both religions also promised eternal live after death to those who accepts and believe in their faiths.

In the two great religions, you can find some trace of similarity of purpose, because the two great religions require total submission to the teachings and will of the supreme entity, as this is the only way to enjoy the prosperities promised, and the only way to secure your eternity(life after death). These two great religions was used as a vehicle for the propagation of their faiths, hence they were able to spread their religion far and wide throughout the known world, research has shown that extreme violence was sometimes used to force people to convert to their religions.{Examples of extreme use of violence can be found in the ISLAMIC JIHAD wars waged across much of middle east and sub saharan Africa, there is also the CHRISTIAN SPANISH INQUISITION campaign in south America were people and resources was plundered by the SPANISH crusaders}.

This article will examine the effects of these two great religions on people and societies it was able to impact, we will take you on a journey of how and when these religions effected changes in people’s lives and the societies they lived within, vis a vis Africa, United Kingdom and the United states of America.

AFRICA

Long before the arrival of these two great religions, people on the African continent had a way of communicating with the supreme entity, a lot of these activities were centered around pagan worship, though with barbaric tendencies, in any case it was their own religion in a way.

Islam came to root along the East coast of Africa some time around the 8th century, as part of a continuing dialogue between the people on the East coast of Africa and traders from Persian Gulf and Oman. This was before Africans were starting to be captured as slaves and traded all over the Middle East.(This is a topic for another day).

kui-ye-chen-xOhlfnLFGMs-unsplash

Christianity on the other hand first arrived in North Africa, in the 1st or 2nd century AD. The Christian communities in North Africa were among the earliest in the world. Legend has it that Christianity was brought from Jerusalem to Alexandria on the Egyptian coast by Mark, one of the four evangelist, in 60 AD.( This article is not about which religion got to Africa first).

In Africa both religion had no intention of economic advancement for the people of Africa, religion was used as only a means to organize and control the people, even if it requires the use of extreme violence. This was all a ruse so as to plunder and exploit the rich resources on the continent. One can safely say that, the two great religions was a tool used effectively to control the people and its societies. Make no mistake about this, the great religions participated in the exploitation of the continent, using religion as vehicle of control and intimidation of the people.

UNITED KINGDOM

There has been a lot of uncertainties about the advent of Christianity in England, we tend to attribute the arrival of Christianity in Britain with the mission of Augustine in 597 AD, when in fact Christianity arrived long before then, and in the 1st century AD, there wasn’t any organized attempt to convert the British society. Islam on the other hand did not arrive in England until the 18th century. The first group of Muslims to come to the UK in significant numbers were the sailors recruited from the Indian subcontinent largely from the Bengal region, to work for the East India company on British ships, but some also settled down and took local wives.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Much of how Islam arrived in the USA has been shrouded in mystery, but historians believe that Muslims first arrived in the Americas in the early 16th century in the present day New Mexico and Arizona. All analyst agree that the first migration consisted of African slaves ,most of these slaves who attempted to maintain their Islamic religious practices after their arrival were forcibly converted to Christianity. {Extreme use of violence, as earlier postulated above}

Christianity can be described as the national religion of the USA, this is because of the fact that Christianity was introduced to the Americas by early European colonizers beginning in the 16th and 17th centuries. Going forward from its foundation, the USA has been called a protestant nation by people. The NATIVES in the Americas were converted by early Spanish colonizers who used extreme form of violence to impose the Christian religion on the NATIVES. {Spanish Inquisition}.

I have deliberately enumerated how this religions emerged and how it was and is still been used as a tool of organizing society. This article will now examine the business side of religion.

AFRICA

It is often said that when Christianity got to Africa it became a business, I cannot help but agree to some extent that this is true indeed. A look across Africa will do nothing but convince you that, may be there are some truths to this axiom. I have travelled wide and far across the African continent and it came as a shock to me to know that a lot of Christian leaders in Africa are so wealthy that some are even richer than some provinces in their countries. Their obscene display of wealth amidst the staggering level of poverty in their countries is an aberration to every believing Christians.

These Christian leaders are no longer interested in the propagation of the gospel and bringing relief to the poor, but rather are interested in how much wealth they can acquire for themselves and their children. They build expensive private schools, hospitals and private businesses to the detriment of their own members. These are schools that poorer members of their congregation cannot even afford to send their children to. They take from the poor to enrich themselves, all of which negates the biblical injunction of looking after the poor. This can be called spiritual exploitation.

All you need to do is take a look at the lifestyles of Christian leaders on the continent, from south Africa to Ghana all the way to Nigeria and all you see is this ostentatious display of wealth amidst poverty. A friend of mine once joked few months ago about the level of frustration among African pastors regarding their financial income due to the closure of churches stemming from the corona virus outbreak. These pastors are very angry because African governments decided to close public places which include churches and mosques, but it is laughable that it is only Christian leaders that were vehemently against closure of churches as this will surely affect the income flow like tithes and other sundry donations expected from members, while Muslim leaders understood the implications of the closure so as to control the corona virus outbreak.

If evaluate critically the percentage of income flow to churches, and compare that with their outreach programmes for the poor, one will be shocked by the huge discrepancies between how much they make from their members and how much they actually spend to help the poor in their churches. These churches never pay tax to governments in most of these African countries, yet they continue to milk their members dry. This brings me to the question of” how long will people continue to suffer as a result of both spiritual poverty and physical poverty?

UNITED KINGDOM

It is sadly also the same scenario in the UK, as research has shown that some Christian and Muslim organizations have been found wanting in areas of accounting fraud, sexual scandal and even terrorism. Just this year a British couple were sentenced to jail for sexual assault of women in his church that he presides over. Also several churches in the UK are under investigation for various financial crimes not limited to money laundry.

The same can be said of Islamic organizations too in the UK, some have either been investigated or are under investigation on relating to charity fraud, money laundry and even terrorism. There was a case of an Islamic teacher that was deported some years ago from UK based on hate speech as a result of his preaching which incites violence against the British people and it society.

I know that Islam is a religion of peace, so therefore there can be no justification for hate speech, no one can justify violence against anybody or society. There have been cases of Muslims who innocently donated money to Islamic charities, all for the money to be sent to terrorists in other parts of the world, some of these people were subjected to investigations whereas they had no idea of where and how their donations were utilized.

Many people who later became jihadists were radicalized by Islamic clerics, whom these jihadists look up to for spiritual guidance. Simply put these clerics used religion to capture, control deploy young men and women of Islamic faith to carry out devious acts of terror on societies the world over. Whether it is money laundry or hate speech, it is just abhorrent to use religion in whatever guise to perpetuate illegal acts.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

This is a mix bag of the danger of religion, it is a cesspool of two extreme in both the Christian world and the Islamic world. There is only so much to say, just look at Christianity in the USA, it is a land full of prosperity pastors and reverend fathers. For the evangelical pastors, it seems it is all about prosperity and nothing else, because one cannot rationalize their quest for wealth with biblical injunction of the shepherd taking care of the sheep, rather it has slowly become the sheep taking care of the shepherd. The competition now in Christian America is the quest for private jets, mega cathedral and best selling books, it is no longer about the church members who make up the body of Christ.

Now you have pastors competing among themselves about is going to be Forbes magazine as millionaires or billionaires. Some have totally derailed from their callings and they no longer seek spiritual growth but they are only after material things, which is vanity in itself. Christianity in America has a lot to do in relation to helping members develop spiritually and financially, there are more people in churches in America at any given time than the homeless people on the streets of America, these homeless people deserve more help from the churches as well from time to time. And then you look at the catholic churches in America, it is replete with sexual abuse scandals involving reverend fathers, who betrayed the trust of young boys and the trust of their parents.

Maybe it is a problem of perception or misconception, but the truth remains that it seems Islam has always been at war with the US. While there are abundance of good and upright Muslims in the US, there are still people with inordinate ambition to declare war on the US. There can never be a justification to attack a country that gave you freedom, liberty and economic survival under the guise of religion, that can never be tolerated. Using religion to attack another country has nothing to do with advancing the ideas and visions of any religion, it is just simply criminal to use religion to wage war on the country that gave you everything.

Let it be known that religion should never be used to get rich or to spread hate among people, we must respect the very basis of the two great religion which in the beginning sought to make the world a more pious world and a place where the best of humanity can thrive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s