“If the essence of religion is to cure us of spite that this world brings or to give us a safe haven in time of regret, then we have created a grotesque image of the Almighty.”
The utility of religion from time memorial is to create a society or advance our community with the values that such religion exalts. Religion is the acknowledgment that there is more than meets the eyes. There is something higher than us. There is someone we owe reverence and respect.
Religion is predicated on how a deity rules and controls our lives. This deity determines the circumstances or favors that we experience in life, and it is our duty to ensure that we give Him glory and honor. We are admonished not to make Him angry because he could send down a thousand plagues and when he does, we are to placate him with offerings, worthily offerings. This deity is almighty, all-knowing, all-powerful. This deity is God.
The relationship between an immortal being and mortal humans is the foundation of religion. Let’s talk about the relationship God has with humans. What are the considerations, what is the offer, and who is making the offer? God or Man. If God, what are the details of the offering? Why will God want a mutual relationship with Man? or maybe it is Man making the offer? What can Man give the almighty? What does the almighty lack that He should seek an offer from mere mortals? You see, this is a pivotal question that one must answer to get into any relationship. I mean, if you have nothing to gain in a relationship, why stay in it. So, for the religious Man, I ask: why remain religious? What do you lack that only God can possibly give? At the end of the day, relationships are transactional to be deemed fair.
So, let’s assume that God gives the offer; what are God’s offers? What is God selling and is it worth buying? Are we humans capable of buying such an offer? I mean, if we are to accept God’s request, can we live up to the considerations?
The second question to the religious Man: what are the considerations? Morality, piety, freedom? Can we get that outside religion? This question on the importance or relevance of religion leaves me, and anyone would care to ask, with the overwhelming evidence of a loving almighty in the Christian worldview.
Christianity is God making an offer to Man, which Man dearly needs but can’t accept because Man is unable to pay for such offerings. However, God accepts the offer as Man and pays the price on Man’s behalf (in the person of Jesus Christ). Man is left to enjoy the offerings of God because the fee has been paid for. This is quite amazing.
Having this understanding, I then lay up the following questions. These questions do not intend to misrepresent God or undermine his power, but rather answers to these questions should draw us close to God and better understand Him if it is possible to truly understand God.
I have observed that the most religious group or the most Christocentric groups are not the most successful in society; in most cases, they are impoverished and helpless. These observations beg the question; is poverty, lack of money, and resources the lot for spirituality and religiosity? is the importance of God and his power more effective in the helplessness of Man. Africa is an example of this premise. Africa is the most religious continent, yet the most impoverished, and churches are in total attendance in communities where Man’s everyday needs are scarce and luxurious. Is religion truly the opium of the poor? Why will the “Most High” servant be the “Most Low”?
My second Observation: I have observed that when religious African people leave for a better and more fulfilling environment, there is a significant drop in their spirituality, and transcendent submissiveness is nowhere to be found. Perhaps God is replaced with the Government. Maybe the need to worship God is founded on the lack of basic amenities that the Government or society is expected to provide. In Nigeria, for example, we pray for visa approval to other better countries. On arrival to these first world countries where basic human needs are met, God becomes secondary. Why? Maybe God expects too much from his servant and the Government too little from her citizens. Is there anything attractive about God or religion when all our needs are easily met? Why do we have a thousand miracle services in Africa and very few hospitals, more churches than schools? Religion is a beacon of hope, hope that our needs will be met.
Third Observation; faith, hard work, and Success. one thing that binds us all together is Success. We want to be a successful person, group, or race. The human race strives on the will to power. It is an intrinsic desire that we all share; believers and non-believers alike. I have observed that the most successful amongst us are not usually believers, the people who strive to make the world a better place have no relationship with God of the bible. The heathen believes in their ability to make things happen and succeed at what they do; the world is better off.
Do we sacrifice our hopes and dreams to follow God and are left with no goals and aspirations? Is letting go of one’s hopes and dreams to follow God part of the consideration when accepting God as the author of our lives. Does God care less about our vision and hopes? Therefore, heathens are more likely to achieve their dreams and goals because they are not religious?
Finally, is there a unique benefit to following God? When I say “unique,” I mean, is there a benefit that only believers enjoy here on earth? Are we in, for a living hell?