Popular Abuja based catholic priest, Reverend Fr. Oluoma Chinenye John, who is known for his exemplary and humane approach on the teachings of the gospel on various human activities and religious obligation has written a piece on his Facebook page reacting to the verdict of the Supreme Court, Mbaka’s prophecy and perceptions from both sides of the divide.
THE OPIUM AND THE PEOPLE
Opium is a drug used to numb pain and help the patients sleep. The opium is like an anaesthetic. Anaesthetics are not curative, their function is to sedate a patient as he undergoes what could have been an unbearably painful treatment. Any patient given anaesthetics without curative procedures will soon become worse.
“Religion is the opium of the people” is a famous statement of Karl Marx. This is true, but relative. In other words, religion was not meant to be an opiate: a drug that numbs your pain but never treats it. Religion was meant to facilitate your relationship with your creator and help you deal positively with the supernatural dimension of reality. Don’t make it an opium because you become an addict if you do. You know what happens to addicts: the more of the substance they take the worse they become until they become destroyed completely.
Every addiction is a convenient flight from a reality, a substitution of an uncomfortable truth with a convenient falsehood. Don’t let religion become an opium. An opium makes your FEELING BRAIN take absolute control with no regards to your THINKING BRAIN. It makes what you feel the reality, and feelings are not always accurate.
When you hear a rousing sermon from a man of God asking you to give all your January earnings as first fruit so that your year will be prosperous, it’s your FEELING BRAIN that will be activated spontaneously and jump into the driving seat.
There is no stats to establish that ‘first fruiters’ have better financial success in the year than others. Moreover God is not babalawo that demands things before the client gets help.
Therefore, THINK. If you suspend the robust use of your THINKING BRAIN, religion becomes your opium, it makes you FEEL VERY GOOD but not good, it makes you FEEL RICH but you ain’t rich, it makes you FEEL like your destiny is in a ministry but it ain’t, it makes you FEEL like you are so special that your case is different from everyone’s but you ain’t, it makes you run away from confronting the harsh realities of life frontally.
The Supreme Court has sacked Emeka Ihedioha as governor of Imo state and ordered the swearing in of Hope Uzodinma. Some people are already blaming a certain priest while some are praising him depending on what camp they belong. That happens when you look at the issue from religious prism, which should’t. If the judgement of the Supreme Court is wrong and you accept it because of a certain ‘prophecy’, religion has become your opium and you are stuck in a rot. If the judgement is true but you reject it claiming that it was because of a certain ‘prophecy’ you are also high on the opiate of religion. Analyze the case from its pure legal, political and electoral angles and be informed.
The little I know is that having the highest number of votes doesn’t necessarily win you an election, it takes more than that. I also know that the Nigerian judiciary is very funny, sometimes it panders to partisan politics as against jurisprudence. In Nigeria the judiciary falls victim of willing and unwilling manipulation by the political class.
Now if we allow religion to distract us from these sad realities, we will not confront them frontally and call for the neccesary changes. We have electoral bills waiting for presidential assent so that our elections will be better, we have issues of fiscal federalism, generation and distribution of resources, security etc that need radical attention, but religion seem to numb people from the pains these things inflict on us. Don’t let your religion be your opium, think it through, God gave us brain and that’s one thing that has stood human beings above other animals.
Look at the electricity that your life depends on, it didn’t come out from 21 days fasting and prayer, it didn’t come from first fruits and tithe( as good as these are), it came from THINKING BRAIN. The car you drive, the phones you use, imagine your life now without phone, internet, car, fans etc, these things didn’t come by ‘prophecy’, they came from THINKING BRAINS, God blessed us with them through people who used their THINKING BRAIN. Such people did not make their religion an opium, you too shouldn’t.
Let me come and be going