My late grandfather was a staunch catholic. His love for catholic doctrines was commendable. As a curious young boy, I probed the rationality of many of the doctrines but I was rebuked for “questioning” the authority of God. I grew up in a family where we could not challenge or question the things of God as commanded; “Touch Not my anointed, and do my prophets no harm – 1 Chronicles 16:22, Psalm 105:15”. This scripture was boldly carved on a wooden plaque in our bedroom.
Fast forward into my university life, I realized I was slowly but surely drifting away from church because of my abhorrence for ambiguous yet unquestionable doctrines in the church. I became a consistent critic of religious dogmatism. In first year, I shared room with four Christian fanatics. They could skip lectures the whole semester with the alibi of attending to ‘spiritual responsibilities’. Though a Christian, I was considered “unreligious’ because I refused to get as deeply involved as they were.
It is very common to see many Ghanaians use religion to escape their responsibilities. Many people complain of hardship but abandon their jobs for long hours of prayer meetings. Many students spend every evening at prayer meetings to the detriment of their books. Pastors are cashing in on many gullible church members. In a synopsis, prayer and church meetings have become full time jobs for many people. The most successful fraudsters use religion as a bait to get to their victims. In my 4 years in Legon, I can recall at least 50 fraud cases involving some “pastors” who duped their victims (mostly females) using false prophecies.
Drive through town and see posters of “Mallams” and fetish priests advertising their illegal activities in the name of religion. Quite surprisingly, the nauseating sight of these posters is yet to provoke an appropriate response from law enforcement agencies. How can we allow people go away with an advert for rituals?
Is it not ironic, that there is a proliferation of many churches, yet corruption has become pervasive? Can we justify the moral decadence? Despite our Holier than though attitude, we continue to borrow from the same countries that we have condemned as satanic. The USA has endorsed gay rights and Germany has legalized adultery but they continue to flourish whilst we flounder. What is the role of religion in our quest to develop?
Many of us spend the most productive hours of the day on religious activities. The craze for religion without principles is becoming too much. Take a tour to the Achimota forest, Sarbah field, Aburi Mountains and some of the known prayer camps during working hours and you will be amazed at the number of people praying for prosperity but working for nothing. There are disturbing videos of pastors physically abusing the vulnerable but the Christian Council has been loudly silent.
It is dangerous, very poisonous for our generation to place faith in religion when even the Holy Scriptures support hard work and innovation. I dare say, we have become an extremely lazy generation that expects to reap where we have not sown. The subject of religious dogmatism must be given meticulous attention.
Self-styled prophet Obinim has been trending, this supposed man of God has verbally abused people in the past, captured on tape physically abusing a pregnant woman and engaged many unethical things in the name of religion. Sadly, he is just one of the many “pastors” who are carrying out indecent activities in the name of religion.
Quite disappointingly, the Christian council is only able to condemn politicians for indecent acts when they have a bug in their own home. How long can we accept such height of irresponsibility because we are afraid to offend the so called religious people?
Eric Edem Agbana
Founder of United volunteers Network and former SRC President, University of Ghana