Between Holy Ghost Fire And Boko Haram – by Philemon Adjekuko

Posted: July 27, 2013 in Dairy of a Freeman, Help Line, HMMMM, Metro, Naija Scene, Sarcasm, Security

This may be heresy. It may be blasphemy. At least from the point of view of some people. But considering our dire situation, we can not afford to stick our head in the sand any more. Nigeria and all its septic ulcers should be placed at the feet of the country’s two main stream religion- Islam and Christianity.  Nothing captures the current charade more than the classic, “suffer-suffer for world enjoy for heaven” song by the late Fela anikulapo Kuti.

The imprimatur of Islam and Christianity are stamped on the country like bad designs on a cheap fabric. Twice every working day, millions of Moslems stream from their offices both in the private and public sector for their second and third prayers of the day. It is an activity that must be performed daily and with so much piety. But before then, there is the early morning call to prayer. A solemn cry, subdued and meditative prayers.  But what has this piousness meant for the spirituality of the country and its economic development?

Similarly all across the country, Christians gather together every morning of each working day both in the public and private sectors for morning worship and in some places afternoon fellowship. And this must be done with so much bombast that the foundations of many public buildings may have been unknowningly compromised. There is also the market version of the “shout for Jesus”, courtersy of our brothers from the South East.

Now let us break things down to their component parts. Every one that has been a president or head of state is either  of the Moslem or Christian faith. Ditto for most public officers, civil service and legislators. Those who brought down the banking sectors  and the stock market are also people of the two religions. The two religions have so much penetrated our pysche that every public occasion is preceded by prayers in both faith

Small companies all around the country have been converted into mini churches. Having first shaken their own homes with songs, praises, casting and righteous curses in the wee hours of the day, some Christians move on to early morning worship in their offices. There is no considertion that there are other users in an office complex environement. Everyone, willy nilly must endure the bedlam becuase it is done in the name of the Lord. Our secular communication is gradually being decorated with the trinkets of Christianity. It is well, bless you, it is not my or your portion, double portion, holy ghost fire etc, are phrases now commonly used by non Christians.

Christianity has renounced the “give us our daily bread” simple prayer taught by Jesus. The bread must now come with butter, baked beans, beacon, hot dog, oats, latest models of cars, properties in the chiocest part of town, private jets and a business empire. Why? “Our God is not a poor God.” According to another writer, Oleteju Bamidele Oleteju, Christians have turned God into an ATM machine.

But in the Nigeria, wealth and the good life that goes with it does not come via violent prayers in which God is commanded like a genie. There are about four routes:

1. work hard and pray

2. work hard, pray and steal

3. work a little, pray a lot and steal

4. pray a lot and steal a lot

Now, given that Nigeria by all accounts has been robbed silly since independence and given that Nigeria has been in the hands of people that profess these two religions, how should we share the damage done to the country between the two? Will it be inequitable to simply run the scissors right across the middle of the blame, 50/50, especially in this era of demand for equal  representation in almost everything.

On the issue of insecurity in the land, you do not have to strain your neck looking some where else. Islam and Christianity plunged us into the current season of fear. Let us take this claim apart piece by piece.

The country is almost equally split down the middle between the predominantly Moslem north and Christian south. Both religions claim peace and forgiveness as the foundation of their faith.  Logically then, Nigeria should be a country of absolute peace. But that is not the case.

The south is home to kidnapping, ritual killing, armed robbery and crude oil theft. Yet every day, Christians are restlessly stomping their feet and waving their hands in the air, casting out demons and calling down holy ghost fire to destroy all real and imaginary enemies. Yet we are having more of the same social ills instead of less.

Could it just be that all the violent prayers and casting amount to little or nothing. Or, could it just be that the frequent calls for holy ghost fire has inadvertently set the whole country on fire because christains dont really know Christ?

There is a simple story that I found in Bible book of Acts 19 vs 13-16 that was pretty amusing but sadly may be relevant to the Nigerian situation. The story goes like this in the NIV bible,

“Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.”

If you are still asking why the country is bleeding on all fronts, read the above story again. Did Jesus himself not warn about the dire consequences of messing around with the Holy Ghost. What do you then make of the situation where children in the play ground call on holy ghost fire on themselves. Or comedians, radio and television talk show hosts calling on holy ghost fire to descend on this or that person? This analysis might be funny to some people, but look around you, see what is happening to our country in the midst of all the display of Christian godliness and attempt a reasonable conclusion of your own.

Meanwhile, the North is home to ethnic violence, religious protest /violence and now Boko Haram. Those who have turned, the temperate climate of Plateau State into Fahrenheit 9/11 and the slaughter house of Nigeria are of the Christian and Moslem faiths. The rest part of the North is mainly populated by people of the Islamic faith. They say Islam is a religion of people. Yet we have had more religious inspired violence and killing in the North than any where else in the country. Every slight “provocation” fills the streets will people screaming “Allah is Great” and causing mayhem. Where is the peace? Where is the forgivessness that the religion preaches? Can there be forgiveness without somebody being wronged.  Or does the forgiveness come only when the wrong doer has been killed?

On boko haram, I have strenously argued with some people that it is not simply about religion. That if it is, considering the number of Moslems on earth, we will all be in some serious trouble. There are some elements of demonism and criminality in the movement, given that adherents also kill people of their faith without reasonable justification.

But then, can anyone sincerely dismiss the presence of religious particles in the boko haram movement. The activities of the movement in Nigeria and else where suggests that it thrives where Islam is present. Therefore, there must be something in the religion that inspires the movement. The fact that those who claim that boko haram does not represent Islam,  but have failed to turn on the heat on members of the set in the same way that they would have if someone or a group of people where to defile the koran publicly or speak insultingly of Prophet Mohammed speaks volume. Even the few and far between condemntion of the activities of the movement is done in measured tones, suggesting some form of sympathy. And this has been somewhat proven with the news that some security personnel and goverment officials have been implictated as abettors.

At the moment, some Governors are busy running around the country shopping for solutions to the country’s maladies. Are these not members of Governor’s forum, a Christian/Moslem callage who could not tell Nigerians the truth about what happened in a 35 votes election?

What are the economic and social costs of the failure of Nigeria’s two main religions? In monetary terms, it is in trillions of dollars. In human terms, it a monumental carnage. In development terms, it is a horrifying bundle of woes and disappointments. In spiritual terms, it is an unwarranted and unending provocation of God.

Those who think they can chant, pray or cast their way out of this stinking mess are fooling themselves and the entire nation. God plugged his ears with his fingers long time ago when he declared Hebrew 3: 10&11

‘Their hearts are always going astray, and they have not known my ways. So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’

Nigeria will not know rest until people of the two main religions rest from their wicked ways and uphold the tenets of their religions.

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