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Saturday, December 15, 2018

In Africa, who Prays and who Acts?

Written by: Muoka Chibuzor G

“Work as if you were to live a hundred years, pray as if you were to die tomorrow.” – Benjamin Franklin

Its mind blowing when one analyzes the pace at which tremendous developments occur in several continents of the world, but the reverse seems the case in the African continent. In fact, it seems that the hand of God is far away from Africa. Several kinds of research have been conducted and the fingers of blame had often been pointed to the colonialists. According to Desmond Mpilo Tutu, who was a South African Anglican cleric and theologian, known for his works as an anti-apartheid, and human rights activist. He stated unequivocally, “When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.” In essence, they brought their religion to us and took over our inheritance.

But then shouldn’t the primitive Africans be grateful for the light of civilization as it was shown to them? Several sorts of inhumane and archaic practices were prevalent and it was the coming of the colonialists that halted several of them. Should we talk about the sorrowful killing of twins, or the dehumanizing female genital mutilation; the era of black magic, or the despicable acts of human sacrifice; and a host of other primitive practices? Indeed their interest in Africa of which did not exclude their desires to exhume her natural deposits saved Africans from a world of primitivism.

Make no mistake about the facts stated above; one must acknowledge that the colonialists did a great job but in the same vein contributed to the stagnancy of Africa. They over pampered Africans and made them believe they would save them whenever they were in trouble. Right in the shambles of darkness, the white men brought a glimpse of hope to Africa but as they left, they tied the Africans with a rope, for the Africans to become overly dependent on them and perceive them as demigods.

Indeed every colony must acknowledge their colonial master, it would be foolhardy not to do so; but then the act of doing such at the expense of sacrificing identity, language, culture, customs and traditions to accept the lifestyle of another is indirectly an act of disrespect to self-dignity. And indeed our ancestors may not be happy as they watch; assuming life after death is a quite possibility. Yes, some of the rites and practices were evil, they were abolished, but we should not be abolished with them. Yes, we accepted Christianity, but we are not to be enslaved by Christianity. “Christianity is the white man’s religion. The Holy Bible in the white man’s hands and his interpretations of it has been the greatest single ideological weapon for enslaving millions of non-white human beings.” — Malcolm X

However, the Africans don't need to embrace any particular religion in order to achieve liberation. We just need to understand the religions that we prefer and practice better, and then find out the ways in which they help and inhibit us. We need to become more informed; more involved and free our minds as we embrace the religion that pleases our soul.

Lack of Understanding is the reason why so many African societies are destabilized today. They don’t know who to believe and whom not to believe. Thus they believe everything, thinking that such behaviour means smartness, only to discover the breathtaking heights of their ignorance at the end of the day. One minute they believe the sayings of a traditionalist, the next minute they believe the sayings of the Church. They jump from pillar to post embracing every belief system and ending up having nothing to believe at the end of the day. To worsen the matter, they stand for everything and end up standing for nothing because they dwell in confusion.

One of the banes of underdevelopment in Africa today is that the question - who prays and who acts; have remained unaddressed. Some people have decided to pray and the rest have decided to act; thus, a house divided against itself cannot stand. When people pray without action and when people act without prayer, the result is devastation. The truth of man being religious and blessed with ingenuity must be acknowledged.

Today in Nigeria, a single street can have up to ten church buildings and no single factory. It’s been observed that the church ministry has been perceived as a pathway for fast and easy money making. Therefore the zeal for entrepreneurship has died, and the idea of deceiving the people with religious doctrines has arisen. Instead of the Industrial Revolution, we have a Religious Revolution as young boys rent stores and convert them into temples.

Therefore, instead of thinking of a way to build organizations that can boost the economy and absorb the unemployed, people wake up on daily basis to end up erecting church buildings in addition to the pre-existing ones, and at the end of the day; the worshippers still roam the streets in bitterness as a result of unemployment. These same worshippers often end up committing all sorts of heinous crimes as a result of improper guidance arising from several acclaimed churches of God. Scenarios have been seen where churches become so rich and their members still beg for food. And when these members bring their ill-gotten wealth to the church, they are often been praised by the church administrators.

Prayer without work is presumption and work without prayer is atheism. Nigerians should learn to get on their knees and pray and also enjoy getting on their feet to work. The idea of praying as if all depends on God and then relaxing and waiting for the same God to rain manner from the firmaments of heaven is a 3D-blinded misconception. The Holy Bible stated in James 2:26 – “Faith without work is dead.”

According to Dalai Lama, “it is unrealistic to think that the future of humanity can be achieved only on the basis of prayer; what we need is to take action.” Funny enough, the people are subjected to believe in miracles and luck; they are made to believe that things can come to one if one doesn’t work for it. The preachers often convince them with magical stories of how people just wake up and become billionaires by prayers alone. They are made to dwell in perpetual presumptions and assumptions of which is the lowest form of knowledge. Such ideas often stem from the numerous churches they attend. Since they believe in all and stand for none; they are prone to deception and they surely fall.

Finally, in Africa who should pray and who should act? The people must pray and they must act as well. If a man builds without God, he builds in vain and if a man prays and sleeps, he prays in vain. Either way, the enemy shall attack him, because an idle hand and a poor mind is the devil’s Marketplace. It would be wise if he prays and acts. Action speaks louder than words and action speaks loudest with prayer. A man should not ask God to guild his footsteps if he is not willing to move his feet. Thus, let every man do the needful and Africa shall be great!

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