The business of churches: The explosion of charlatanism on the African continent

With all the abundant knowledge that is present everywhere in the modern day world, one would think that humans would be have stopped being gullible and matured mentally; unfortunately as it is always the case on this doomed planet, it is yet to be or maybe it will never be. Man is still mentally chained as he was centuries ago. People still prefer to believe outrageous myths and preposterous fairy-tales. Perhaps what is sheer preposterousness is the belief held by many around the globe that there exists a God-an imagined super being who is all powerful, present everywhere, capable of seeing and hearing everything, and is credited with the creation of heaven, earth and the beautiful celestial bodies that most of them we have the pleasure of witnessing at night under dark skies when they come out to dance.

Now of course at this stage I expect religious fanatics to be pulling their hair, weaves, wigs, toupees and so on and so forth, passions flying high, breathing fire and kicking tables and chairs, claiming to be offended by my ‘heretical writings’ and some even threatening to kill me for insulting their sacred belief-that is if they have not stopped reading further-but these infantile responses are expected, for religious fanatics are irrationally, emotional beings. They are not renowned for their reasoning abilities or logic.

A thorough and objective study of religion and its origins clearly indicate that piety is a system of governance designed by man to rule his fellow humans, banking on man’s innate fear of the unknown; hence the creation of an omnipotent, omnipresent God, Allah and so on and so forth and other names you might call your imagined divinity. God, the overlord of all that exists in this world, the creator of heaven and earth, is a fruit of the human mind-a figment of the imagination. In an ideal world a man responsible for duping his fellow man for such a long period of time would be called manipulative and diabolical. But in a capitalist world that man is decorated with honours of being a genius, great visionary and lastly what he really is-a master politician. Remember what I said, religion is a form of government thus anyone who prides himself or herself as a thinker then he or she should not have trouble realising this.

With all this craziness of a super being inhabiting the skies, some of my people on the African continent, like the creators of pious fairy-tales and the heartless suits in Wall Street, have seen a window of opportunity and have found yet another way to exploit their fellow man. Economics has a term for these gutsy beings: capitalists. But they prefer to be called pastors, prophets, men of God and so on and so forth and other glamorous, religious names like that; and they are rolling in money. Suddenly that motto on the American dollar bills begins to make sense: In God We Trust or as they would say in Spanish: En Dios confiamos.

I remember my childhood days when I was a regular at Sunday school-this was before Christianity and in extension religion decided that I was too curious for its liking and divorced me-we were taught that for man to be truly a servant of God, he had to give up all earthly materials and embrace all that is heavenly. I believe nothing captures this perfectly than the biblical scripture on Matthew 19: 23-24, when Nazareth’s famous son Jesus Christ said to his disciples thus: ‘And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ The old, wise men with grey heads in my village once told me that it is impossible to serve two masters. Today I can just imagine those ‘men of God’ in their shiny, expensive suits and pointy shoes made from crocodile skin disagreeing with the elderly, furiously shaking their heads as if to call them liars: ‘Impossible? These old timers do not know what they are talking about. Do not pay them attention.’ Nigeria alone is famous for having the most financially endowed pastors on the African continent, one being rumoured to be worth a mind-numbing $150 million. In Nigeria with their lightweight currency he definitely rides the waves of a billionaire. And all this money supposedly comes from tithe. Upon reading this I remarked, ‘Hee banna! I am in a wrong business mos’. This was after I picked myself from the floor having fallen from the chair. Tell me of any human who would have behaved normally upon hearing that tithe has this much profit and I would show you a pimp who fights for the rehabilitation of hookers.

Where does this staggering amount of tithe come from? This is where my opening statement comes in. The tithe comes from you and me, or rather from you because I am barred from church. You are the one who enriches these opportunists. Just imagine donating 10% of your monthly salary to church because Pastor Joseph has apparently delivered your message to the ‘man upstairs’ so you could get a job and so on; so now you are forever indebted to the heavens hence the self-imposed taxation. How outrageous!

I had hoped that in the 21st century humans would be smarter, curious and less gullible, naïve and believe me it hurts me to say this; less idiotic. Perhaps what is more infuriating is that majority of these people who have relinquished the control of their brains to charlatans are what society calls ‘enlightened’ because-unlike many of our people-they were lucky enough to obtain tertiary education. It won’t surprise me if you, dear reader, might be curious as to who am I to dictate to people how to spend their money? I am a caring citizen of this world who honestly has zero tolerance for imbecility. I hope that answers your question.

In case you did not know, churches are registered as non-profit organisations; which means they do not pay tax. In days gone by it was maybe understandable as the total tithe at the end of the Sunday service would amount to nothing but these days things have dramatically changed. Churches handle more money than a normal rural town bank would in a day, and being the caring citizen of this world that I am, I thought it would be a great idea if churches showed the same generosity as its congregants and shared their profits with the good people at the revenue services. I am very certain that even the people’s very coy divinity would appreciate such a kind-hearted sentiment. Pastors should not see this as an attack on them or their questionable wealth but accept this as help to offload them of this earthly baggage so they can make it into the kingdom of God. Kgotsong!

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