Re: If Zuckerberg Were a Nigerian Atheist

Re: If Zuckerberg Were a Nigerian Atheist

By Soni Gold

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook co-founder

As a Christian, I would not eat meat slaughtered before idols but I would not condemn the idol worshiper for his practice. These are simply private matters and preferences.

My doctrine is: Let your actions commend and recommend God to others.

Though we are quick to call those who do not share our faith “unbelievers,” the truth is many of such people, through their actions, commend and recommend God more than we do. Indeed to serve humanity is to serve God and to serve God is to serve humanity. For no one has seen God but we see human beings who are the image of God. If we claim to love God as our nationally accepted religions profess, we must show love through care, empathy, generosity towards our fellow beings irrespective of race, religion, socio-political affiliation.

Many years ago, I was a fervent member of the Deeper Christian Life Bible Church. I became converted because I had a personal encounter with the Spirit of God. This came after years of challenging God to reveal Himself. The church was excellent in teaching the Scripture undiluted, environment was austere and members were taught to walk the narrow path and be unmindful of the things of the world.

Yet there was something about the church that made me uneasy. We, the members, were perpetually building local and district branches of the church while our tithe and offerings were sent to the headquarters of the church. Only our pledge remained at the local church and this was grossly inadequate to take care of basic infrastructural needs of the church. So members literally carried a heavy financial burden.

This trend continued when I relocated from Ikorodu to Alagbole-Akute in Ogun State. Our pastor then openly empathized with us. One fateful Sunday, we went for combined fellowship at the district church in Ajuwon. Members were asked to pray and pledge for the purchase of vast expanse of land that was offered “cheaply” by the sellers. The land was to serve as retreat ground for members in that neighbourhood.

I was greatly disturbed. Dozens of us worked with our hands at Igbalu retreat ground in Ikorodu and had blisters to show for the effort. The church also had scores of vast land and landed property across the country. “Why is the church keen on acquiring every available land and property? Members are taught not to be mindful of things of the world to the extent that some members don’t have a pillar in their name, but the church is vigorously involved in continuous pursuit and acquisition! Who owns the land ultimately? Is such acquisition a necessity for propagation of the Gospel?”

I directed these questions and more to my local pastor but his answer was vague and evasive; so I withdrew my membership.

Today, I remain a Christian but my focus is mainly on helping and encouraging the poor around me.

In our society, religion is adorned as a garb that confers acceptability. In the past the traditional religions were acceptable, not any more hence the Fagbenros have become the Oluwagbenros. For the elite, religion – like ethnicity – is a tool that they deploy to serve different parochial purposes: extortion, balkanization, disaffection etc.

God as well as humanity is not served by any of these purposes. This explains the exertions of the Bishop at Ota, who claimed to have received a mandate from God after an 18-hour encounter to free people from poverty. Today, after several billions received in tithe and offering, the Bishop and church are so liquid they want to build a revolving altar, while there exist perniciously poor members – widows and more  -in their rank. For two years I have supported two members of this group.

Compare this with the co-founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, who is an atheist but gives away millions of dollars in aid to the poor. Compare this also with Jimmy Carter, whose foundation collected billions of dollars to fight guinea worm eradication in third-world countries and whose death wish as he battles cancer is that guinea worm is eradicated before he makes his exit.

The whole essence of man is to serve God and humanity. Anything short of this begs the question.

We should practise love and justice more.

 

2 Comments

  1. Daniel October 3, 2016 Reply
  2. Emenike Emmanuel October 11, 2016 Reply

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