The reality that societal adherence to religious practices has continued to be on the rise at very explosive rates in Africa, especially in the face of substantial criticism from Non-Theists is a conclusion that is not far-fetched.

A look through the canister of notorious glue liable for bonding societal adherence to religion dangerously incriminates the general assistance of our institutions of learning, which specialize from elementary level of education to tertiary education in raising gullible belief engines for different facets of religious sanctuaries, as well as training professional preachers in the proficiency of telling lies and preaching fallacious theologies to humankind as the chief culprit that has helped the advancement of false religions at a very alarming rate on planet earth.

Of course, as I have stated it in the opening part of the second chapter of The Crisis of Religion concerning the gullibility of man; that is, when humankind has become like the robotic belief machine and has developed the detrimental habit of accepting any piece of fictional claim that comes his way without any recourse to logic, reason, and scepticism to access such claim. As such, whatever disguise of religious schemes or impious schisms, superstitious beliefs, or fraudulent prophecies, which any person might introduce to that society where gullibility rules will forever flourish like wildfire in the dry tropical forest.

With able support of the story-telling syndrome, that of one credulous man telling the story to another, and another to another; as well as man’s uncontrolled fanaticism that includes his extravagant search for security and tainted spiritual enlightenments; in addition to the precarious level of his unrestrained dependency on fabulous spiritual authority; either of the church or of the mystical elements. All these, with the assistance of man’s obsessed love for hazardously adorned religious frenzies and fallacies would greatly fan the flames of the advancement of counterfeit evangelism at a very alarming rate.

The success of one evangelist, priest, or pastor would immediately encourage another to establish his own ministry. Consequently, the spread of commercial evangelism would progress at a very staggering speed. Every jobless man would metamorphose overnight into being a man of God, to join the bandwagon of proprietors of an exceptionally lucrative business; where devotees that deposited their tithes and generous offerings certainly never come calling again for withdrawals.

All the same, the only qualification required of anyone to join the ranks of counterfeit men of God is a pretentious attitude to Divine Calling. If this man of God intended being a prolific preacher, he would hurriedly undertake a six-month crash course or a one-year diploma course in theology and churchistry. To God be the glory, the business of churching has now become easier. With the advent of very wonderful and efficient modern technologies, a new pastor can now buy the CDs and DVDs containing the preaching and gesticulations of other veteran pastors, and easily preach it up every Sunday to the little congregation of his own church at the other side of the country.

Lately, the high levels of unemployment, poverty, and diseases that are intolerably spoiling the continent of Africa day by day have become other major factors that have ceaselessly drawn great crowds to religious devotion. Many Africans are in search of miraculous succours and bogus hopes to alleviating their social and health problems. Consequently, the diverse religious organizations that are operational in the continent have greatly enjoyed phenomenal patronage because of these factors.

The fear of the unknown has attained bizarre extents in the black continent to such a level that many gullible Africans can no longer do anything on their own, unless they seek untrue protection and security from false prophets in religious institutions, and from witchdoctors in oracle shrines. Countless numbers of people have credulously regarded their pastors, their native doctors, their priests, oracles, and idols, as direct proxies and representatives of divine authority on earth. Thus, these factors have led several Africans to the extreme point of superfluous dependency on those that claimed to be custodians of divine authority on earth; culminating in the spiralling growth of churches and different manners of spiritual houses all over the world.

Adebowale Ojowuro

Author of The Crisis of Religion

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Replies to This Discussion

So true.
If there will be any hope of converting humanity to logical/practical thought in these strife torn areas of the world,then atheists have to provide a greater comfort to those that have been conditioned to accept religion,as reality.
One of the causes of this, Adebowale, is the lack of education. This became quite obvious to me while living in Nigeria - it was evident that those with better education, such as wealthy entrepreneurs or government officials in Port Harcourt or Kano, were far less likely to be taken in by this nonsense than day laborers out in the villages of Akwa Ibom or Katsina or Plateau.

This is not down to better information, as is commonly presumed, it is really down to having the ability to think critically and logically.

Unfortunately, from what I saw, a valuation of that is essentially foreign to the African cultures with which I had contact (Ibo and Hausa-Fulani, primarily). So it means that some cultural changes will have to be made that makes Africans want to think critically and logically. That will be no small task.

But I believe it can be done. It can be done through their education, which every African, in my experience, values highly. Unfortunately, in my experience however, most African education is simple rote-learning, and is largely a waste of time and resources.

I would suggest that Africa should spend its limited and precious educational resources teaching in the same manner in which Americans were taught a century and a half ago in a largely undeveloped United States, when common foot soldiers in the American civil war wrote home letters of such erudition that even today they amaze with their insight. These were people who had, on average, only three years of formal schooling, but frequently quoted the Greek classics, opined on the philosophical meaning of war and their part in it, expressed amazing insights into their condition, etc.

The method used for teaching in those days was this: reading and arithmetic primers didn't just present simple, bland, rote examples with a pat answer - reading primers, for example, taught by presenting stories that required moral judgments to understand the stories, and arithmetic primers presented alternatives that required thoughtful, critical analysis to solve for the correct answers. Writing was taught by requiring essay answers to tests in most all subjects being taught, justifying the students' response - students were graded on the erudition of their writing as well as the correctness of their answers. In this way, the absolute most was made of the educational effort and the money expended on it, and reasoning, critical thinking and logic became ways of thinking as a result of the education process itself. The result was remarkable - simple, rural townsfolk would listen with rapt attention for hours to the Lincoln-Douglas debates, understanding the subtleties of fine political argument that today would get right past the average American university student.

I believe that if teaching in Africa were done in this manner, it could quickly revolutionize African cultures and economies, and put an end to the spiritual (and with it, the political) rape of Africa that began with the arrival of the first Portuguese missionaries and which continues to this day. And it would bring a whole new light to the Dark Continent. Millions would be better educated, even after only three years, than in many far more economically advanced parts of the world.



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