Religion, Spiritualism and Humanity – By Richard Odusanya
Religious adherence today, as it always has been, is based on both good and bad reasons. Good reasons include things like community, charity, comfort in times of need, and a sense of self-importance or sacrifice. Bad reasons for joining a religion should concern us all, whether we are religious or not. If people turn to some version of God because they are poor and seek comfort in the idea of a hypothetical afterlife simply because there is no comfort for them on Earth, the priority should be to lift them out of poverty before teaching them mythology – it is important, necessary and desirable for the research of humanity.
Likewise, religion requires a symbolic communication system, such as language, to be transmitted from one individual to another. Philip Lieberman states that “human religious thought and moral sense clearly rest on a cognitive-linguistic basis”. From this premise, science writer Nicholas Wade states, “Like most behaviors found in societies around the world, religion must have been present in the ancestral human population prior to the dispersal of Africa. 50,000 years ago. Although religious rituals usually involve dancing and music, they are also very verbal, as sacred truths must be stated. If so, religion, at least in its modern form, cannot precede the emergence of language.
Interestingly, many people nowadays quickly identify with one religion or another, but their way of life leaves nothing to be desired. We wear religion as a garment and take it off according to the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
We have become chameleon religious followers using religion only when it suits us or when we have a goal to achieve while religion is a way of life and at all times our attitude and behavior must be the same whether in the places of worship, in the workplace or in society. Sadly, the latest additions to myriad problems are the use of religious platforms for political purposes and the spreading of hatred among our citizens. This is what we have observed in the recent past and it is worrying.
Instructively, our thinking about religious freedom more generally must include respecting the choices people make – but most importantly, it should also include respecting and enhancing people’s freedom of choice. If someone is coerced or driven into impoverishment or degradation in the name of religion, our default attitude in this regard should not be tolerance in the name of respect for religion. Religion and Christianity have caused people to debate their interconnectedness. Are these two really related. Is Christianity a religion? These issues are truly mind-boggling and emotionally draining as this topic is one of the taboo topics in the world. Instead, this article seeks to alleviate the confusion caused by these two by defining and differentiating between them.
On the other hand, Spiritism is a metaphysical belief that the world is made up of at least two fundamental substances, matter and spirit. This very broad metaphysical distinction is further developed in many and various forms by the inclusion of details of existing spiritual entities such as a soul, the afterlife, spirits of the dead, deities and mediums; as well as details of the nature of the relationship between spirit and matter. It can also refer to philosophy, doctrine or religion relating to a spiritual aspect of existence. Historically, Spiritualism was organized into small groups that held seances or meetings for spiritual communication.
Interestingly, humanity is the human race, which includes everyone on Earth. It’s also a word for the qualities that make us human, like the ability to love and have compassion, to be creative, and not to be a robot or an alien. The word humanity comes from the Latin humanitas for “human nature, kindness”. Humanity includes all humans, but it can also refer to the good feelings humans often have for each other. Nigerians, as we march towards a new dawn, humanity should be our race. Love should be our religion. Love supersedes everything, including religion and ethnicity.
Even a commonly accepted definition of religion has proven difficult to establish, but not for lack of trying. Humans are characterized by different natural qualities which include thought, emotions, feelings, action, etc. It is what makes us human in a distinctive way. Our nature is completely different from the rest of the creatures of this world. We all have our individual natures that make us behave in a certain way. Although it helps us lead a comfortable life, it also sometimes becomes an obstacle or constraint. Therefore, this article aims to discourage ethnic profiling and the politics of religion, in the run-up to the 2023 general election. It is common knowledge that no nation survives multiple civil wars.
Paradoxically, it is therefore a fundamental illusion to expect good leaders from a rotten society. Leadership is based on the values of society. The people make the leadership, the reverse is not true. Without their active support, tacit connivance or willful complacency, a king/ruler will never attain the seat of state. Just as children do not choose their parents. Therefore, a company receives only the quality of leadership it deserves. Therefore, arming religion, taking advantage of the gullibility of the “masses” and fostering alienation from our fellow citizens, is nothing but a quick fix that will further aggravate the already tense atmosphere. I am bold to say that we are all responsible for where we find ourselves as a nation today. We are culprits and accomplices.
In conclusion, let me use the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who has been reverently described as the father of India. He said; “Let the first act of each morning be to take the following resolution for the day: – I fear no one on Earth. “I fear only God. “I won’t hold a grudge against anyone. “I will not submit to anyone’s injustice. “I will defeat the lie with the truth. And by resisting the lie, I will bear all the suffering. Therefore, we all have a responsibility to rebuild the ruins of our beloved country, Nigeria. Like Nehemiah who saw the need to rebuild and did what was necessary.
Finally, it is perhaps not out of place to say that one of the reasons for the slowdown in the reduction of extreme poverty around the world is the slow progress in sub-Saharan Africa – religion may have subsumed our humanity in the developing world. People should learn to preach religious tolerance instead of seeking division and fueling religious intolerance, extremism and exuberance that portend danger. Desperate politicians jumping from pulpit to pulpit should rethink and refrain from further polarizing our system, because of retaliation from the sister religious body.
RISE UP O COMATRIOTS
Richard Odusanya is a social reform crusader and the organizer of the AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI