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Poverty in Africa Has Religion as Its Significance: We Must Rethink Our Priorities

by litfeed
2 mins read

By George Kimando

In my village, we have three Catholic churches (the Parish centre is also within walking distance, a few minutes away by motor vehicle), two Anglican churches and a host of several other churches whose orientation I don’t fathom. On an average Sunday, these churches are barely half-full.

In the same village, we have just one school, having both primary and secondary sections.

There is no single TVET, even in the larger sub-location and sub-county; the one that existed for many years is moribund.

The village has no piped water; the ‘sonko’ homes have dug wells and put up large tanks for water collection and storage, and have piped it within the homesteads.

Electricity found its way a few years ago, and the only tarmac road is a couple of years old (and already in need of repair!).

To the best of my knowledge, there’s no cottage industry, metal workshop, noteworthy carpentry shop, tailoring centre, milling facility, skills training institute or any economic empowering investment of any significant scale.

There’s no single government or community based health facility in the locality.

This scenario is replicated across the country, especially in the rural areas, and indeed across Africa.

Yet, we are ‘investing’ in churches.

These churches, by the way, come with economic burdens, not solutions. Every so often, there will be a fund raiser to sort out some financial constraint or the other. You’ll find the sons and daughters of the village who work away and are perceived to be of reasonable financial repute being guests in these fund raisers.

Let me make this clear here: i absolutely believe in God. I believe, too, that the Church has its place in our spiritual journey of finding, and living in, God. And even in shaping society and its moral compass.

I have nothing against Churches (am a staunch member of one), but the more i get spiritually woke, the more i see through the ‘Godliness’ fallacy that is largely premised on religion.

We must rethink our priorities as a society of men and women who are SPIRITUALLY RATIONAL.

Someone recently made what was meant to be a joke, but whose import was of profound introspection for us as Africans: that Israel is employing super jets and sophisticated weaponry to defend their turf, while Africans are praying to the God of Israel to protect them. Deep!

Prayer cannot be a substitute to diligence, prudence and hard work. Indeed, the health, the mental capacity and the clarity of vision to prosper and develop are answers to prayer.

I remember once being told by a Priest who was in charge of a development project in Nairobi Catholic diocese that ‘Hail Marys alone won’t buy construction material’. And he was right.

No amount of prayer will put food on your table, a roof over your head or clothes to cover your nakedness. You must get out there and do the work.

No amount of prayer will place that gorgeous wife or great man you desire straight from heaven into your raised arms to be your spouse; they’ll be found amongst the same brothers and sisters you dismiss as not having the right pedigree, the right education, the right amount of money or resources, the right ‘class’, right ethnic background, etc. Itabidi ufungue roho na ujiongee.

We must refuse to be put under a spell of fear of a God who will punish us for not sacrificing life essentials to put up His houses of worship all over to prove our faithfulness to Him. It’s the same religious nonsense being preached to faithfuls who has never owned a car to ‘plant a seed’ in buying ‘daddy pastor’ a SUV convertible for his birthday.

To believe in such kind of religion is ridiculously foolish (and am deliberately avoiding the word ‘stupid’ that would be more appropriate).

We must rethink our priorities as RATIONAL SPIRITUAL BEINGS, and not be afraid to be SPIRITUALLY BOLD.

The religious crap that was preached to our fore fathers at the turn of the century to pacify them as their heritage was taken away by the colonist Priest and Pastor must not find space in our generation.

Our stability and progress as a nation, continent and race will be found in sound economic policies, meaningful and practical education for our children, corruption free enterprise and governance, purposeful collective and individual hard work, as well as diligence and integrity in our individual and collective character and ethos. It won’t be found in putting up numerous cathedrals of magnificent statures that hungry and broke faithfuls troop in three times a day for worship and prayers for deliverance from poverty.

Have a discerning Sunday, and a great week ahead.

(Btw, what started as a hobby has turned a hundred editions today. Happy 100th edition Sunday Missive! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻.)

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