Hello Everyone, it is nice to have you around to read our opinion pieces for today again. Today’s opinion piece is on a subject which a lot of people might regard as controversial. It is a have talked about in various other pieces on the blog. Today I decided to do a long rant about it. I had thought it is going to be one post, but as I wrote I kept getting more material for on the topic. Thus I have decided to turn it into a weekly series that will run for a while. I hope you enjoy it as usual
Over the past few weeks, social media has been on fire over comments made by Cool FM OAP, Ifedayo “Daddy Freeze” Olarinde about tithing and the fact that it is a scam perpetrated by Christian Religious Leaders, to keep their followers under spiritual and economic bondage. The issue has been fueled further by the responses of the pastors of some of the prominent churches in Nigeria to Daddy Freeze on the issue. Needless to say that the people on social media who had things to say on the issue were divided into two camps, those who felt Daddy Freeze had a point, and that Nigerian pastors and Christians alike need to justify the doctrine of tithing, and those, including all of the pastors who have responded to Freeze so far, who feel that he and those in his camp are just troublemakers who are spreading false messages to derail the church of God and Christians.
Now I have followed and participated in the conversation and I am fully in the Daddy Freeze camp, not just on the subject of tithing but even in matters of general doctrine. That the church of Jesus Christ has lost its way, and it must find the way back, in order to make the sacrifice that our Lord Jesus Christ who is the head of the church worthwhile. As a rule, I am pretty chill on social media, and many people who follow me can attest to this. When it comes to discussion of Church and Christianity, I inevitably find myself vociferously attacking Christian doctrine. It is a running joke among my friends that some of the priests in the various churches where I have served as a Christian worker under in various capacities ever read my social media, especially my Twitter they would expel me with immediate alacrity, or at least query me for being so vociferously anti-authority in my own faith. That however is by the side/a story for another day.
Now as I was saying, I engaged with a number of people on the tithing issue, and one trend I noted in the conversation was that many people in the “Daddy Freeze is just a troublemaker” team were of the opinion that pastors and churches should not be blamed for Nigeria’s economic woes. In their opinion, it would be unfair to blame Christian leaders for what is in fact the fault of the country’s political leaders. In fact churches should be praised for going out of their way to help alleviate the poverty that Nigerians are in. That the church is a spiritual entity and should not be blamed for political issues.
While I don’t agree with the notion that the church, especially as it is in present day Nigeria, is a purely spiritual entity that is not culpable for Nigeria’s political and economic missteps. However I leave that discussion for another day. Instead I will focus on how the church, even though it might be undertaking physical measures to help its adherents, is actually responsible for a large chunk of Nigeria’s social and economic problems more than defenders of the church or pastors will like to admit.
If for instance you ever find yourself in a Nigerian church, one of the sessions you will participate in is “testimony time” (the naming varies from church to church). The objective of this session is for members of the church to share the “good things that God has done for them.” Here is a tip, If you ever participated in a testimony time in a Nigerian church and someone didn’t share a testimony of how God “shamed doctors, who diagnosed them with Cancer with a dash of AIDS and a topping of Ebola, and who said they were going to die within twenty four hours”, then check your surroundings, because there is a high chance that you are not in a Nigerian church. It seems in a Nigerian church, doctors are vampires who do nothing but drink human blood and eat human flesh all day long. To a Nigerian Christian, the Doctor is an agent of the devil who has no other mission but to steal his happiness, kill him and destroy his soul. Now tell me how the health system of a country where religious leaders tacitly encourage half the populace to undermine its own health care system so that they can spout nonsense theories about faith healing will look like. Tell me how the healthcare of a country where Christian leaders actively dissuade people from seeking education and information about illnesses so that they can spout nonsense theories about faith healing to them will look like. Now tell me why I should clap for and praise said Pastors for “building hospitals” and “donating medical equipment” when they are the same set of people who directly undermine the healthcare system in the first place?
Again some people will argue “but it was not the churches who made the healthcare system what it is”. While that argument sounds like it makes sense, it is worth noting that in “godless societies” where people do not wait for a “God” to heal, they stand up and demand for accountability from their government about their healthcare. They demand that their Governments make proactive policies about their healthcare. They do not tell someone who has spent decades training on the subject that he doesn’t know what he is talking about. In “Godless” nations, incompetent doctors don’t hide behind “God knows better” to be incompetent. They get their assess sued for malpractice. I am not a doctor, but if I were one, I would also want to move to a place where people trust me to do the job I spent a large chunk of my life training for. I would certainly not want to live in a place where the same people I am trying to help are encouraged by their pastors to demonize me as an incompetent agent of evil.