“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”- Karl Marx
Nigeria is a very religious country. Almost everybody has Someone or Something they believe in; atheists or free thinkers or anyone with a less traditional worldview is seen as an anomaly. And yet, where are we in the world? Third world country, bottom of all the development and progress indices. Yes, I said bottom of all the indices, don’t come at me with that shit about Nigerians being the happiest people on earth. Go to any bus stop or public gathering or lynching of suspected robbers that happens periodically, and see that Nigerians are one of the most angry, aggressive people on earth.
Why, though? Even with all the prayers that must echo up to Heaven or wherever our Deities of choice reside, everything still jaga jaga, and it just keeps getting worse. Calls to prayer, religious services, vigils, festivals and the like abound, along with poverty, terrorism and the pervasive erosion of morality and human dignity.
Other countries in the Third World have the same issue: extremely religious while still harboring poverty and corruption on a massive scale.
Compare this with the more developed, First World countries. They are not areligious- in fact they have multimillion dollar churches and religious corporations, but… their practice of religion doesn’t seem to be as pronounced as ours. We seem to be incapable of leaving religion out of every single thing- I cannot enter any form of shared public transport without someone praying and preaching for at least half of the journey.
There seems to be an inverse relationship between “religiosity” and development of nations. Maybe those of us living in the dregs of the earth have lost hope that our governments and societies can ever make things better, and so they turn their eyes upwards. Meanwhile, those who remain grounded, literally, open their eyes to what’s around them and start making things work.
Given a choice, I’d throw out all the grand displays of religion in exchange for a country, a world, that I’m actually glad to live in. What about you?
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