I was born and raised in a family that upholded the tenets of the Christian religion. Part of my personality owes its existence to the Christian ideals and doctrine. Growing up, we were told never to tear the holy bible for it would bring bad omen. The Christian religion was considered a sacrosanct institution. All i wanted was to go to a place called heaven, to achieve that, well i had to do well and be obedient to my parents.
However through the eons of time, i started seeing things differently. My absconding of church services begun until i stopped attending church totally, much to the chagrin of my religious mother. My reasons were personal nothing to do with attending church services or with Christianity. Christianity is a good religion, just like any other religion as I will argue in this installment.
My paternal grandmother was born a United Methodist. I ended up attending a United Methodist school up to Advanced Level. At church i met a lot of good people. My granny is a good person, my role model! My mother is a Pentecostal. I attended a lot of Pentecostal churches too where i also met a lot of good people and my mother is a good person too. At school some of my teachers were not Methodists, i recall one of our teachers who was from End time message, a very nice person at one time i attended that church and i met a lot of good brothers and sisters.
However every church that i attended had something to say about other churches, they always do! For want of a better word or should i say a euphemism-most churches do not have so good things to say about others. As a political scientist i know that in partisan politics political parties competing for votes usually have nothing good to say about their opponents. That’s a survival strategy in politics. The end justifies the means. Trivial mistakes or shortcomings of opposition parties are sensationalized in politics; at times political violence is rampant during election time. I have observed how this trend is being borrowed in the religious realms too.
Recently one prophet Magaya has been using the media to denigrate the Vapostori sect. The latter according to Magaya are ‘marine spirits’. In trying to extrapolate a logical conclusion from Magaya’s words, if you attend his church then you are safe but if you are a mupostori you are doomed, hell is your destination! The vapostori sect led by one Madzibaba Ishmael attacked; police and journalists who had came to condemn their way of worshipping. Violence reared its ugly head at the holy shrine in Budiriro.
The protestant churches like the United Methodist, Anglican, Lutherans et cetera are more conservative. They do not use modern instruments in church nor do ‘dirty dance’ routines in church. They have their reasons. On the other hand the Pentecostal churches owing their existence to the Azusa Street Revival in North America (1906), are modern in every sense of the word. They can even remix a secular song in church and to them they is nothing wrong with that. They even allow their women to dress as they want too! The conservative churches are thus antagonistic to Pentecostals and vice versa. The vapostori seems to be reviled by both. The vapostori also revile both.
Recently the international media has been awash with headlines of killings in Nigeria by the notorious Boko Haram. Who doesn’t know about Boko Haram? But do you know that the sect use religion to justify their actions? Boko Haram is against westernization and Christianity is a western concept too. They can even kill in the name of religion, they wage a Jihad (HOLY WAR) against ‘pagans’ by the way if you do not subscribe to their beliefs you are a pagan just like how one is a marine spirit if he/she does not subscribe to Magaya’s beliefs. God have mercy!
Religion has actually brought division; it has done more harm than good. People have done bad just to prove that they are good.Intra and inter religious conflicts are the order of the day. Interestingly, for the Christians they read the same bible yet they all interpret it differently, well its normal what is abnormal is to be against other interpretations other than your own. Again, Christianity is fraught with selective interpretations of the bible, certain churches focus on certain scriptures at the expense of others, that’s why some even differ on the Sabbath.
As i said in all the churches i attended i met good people. So why would one group of good people accuse another group of good people to be bad if they do not do the same good they do?
Let’s say four people are given 30minutes each to write a page each for describing what they see. They have to describe a house; the first person stands at the front of the house where he sees the front elevation, the second stands at the back of the house the third stands at the left side elevation and the other the right side elevation. Finally, the other is in a helicopter and is having an aerial view of the same house.
In describing the same house would the five people see it in the same way? Who would be right or wrong? Who has the right to accuse the other one for not seeing what he saw .At the end of the day, they were looking at the same house? Instead of arguing, is it not logical for them to share notes, to get a full picture of the house isn’t it better to listen to the other and add it to what you already saw, at the end of the day you will have a better picture of five angles?
Is it not better to listen to what others have to say about God than argue with them? In the Garden of Eden i still recall my Sunday school teacher telling us that God created a variety of plants. God actually loves variety that is why the rainbow has different colours. Every individual has a unique finger print; even identical twins are not 100% identical. Was it coincidental that Jesus Christ had 12 disciples? Why should we have one church when we have many nations? Why should one person posses a rigid ideology in which those who do not see things the way you do are enemies?
Many years before the whites came preaching about Jesus, the Africans were religious. They knew about God before the whites taught them about him. What the whites did was to discredit the way the blacks worshipped God, they said it was evil their way was the right way for according to them they were favoured. As the blacks we were pagans, they converted us not to religion since we were already religious, rather they converted us to their own faith.
Should this persist in this age of democracy? Even our constitution allows people to worship in anyway as long as it does not harm others? What harm do Vapostori do to Magaya? He even has a lot of cars and money yet some of them they only have a lot of women and children; i don’t see how their faith affects his? Even if some people play guitars and dance to ‘seunononga’ in their churches as long as it does not affect your hymns in your own church please let them be.
Let us all develop religious tolerance. AMEN