Religion has been around us since, well, the beginning of time. The vast majority of the people across the world conform to certain prescribed beliefs. And these beliefs collectively create what we call religion.
People are fond of keeping their beliefs dear to them. These beliefs should never be questioned, and they should never be attacked. Expressing a shadow of doubt about these beliefs attracts some sort of punishment from a higher being. Because of this, the beliefs seemingly become absolute.
This phenomenon serves right for the religious leaders in various religions really. Almost every religion is about being a good person. Being passive and docile before a higher being so that the person is good. So since the beliefs should not be questioned and should be held in high regard, you also cannot question the actions of the religious leaders. The religious leaders then capitalize on this.
This is not to say religion is bad. But these beliefs form into hard narcissistic opinions. Hence, the nature of religion becomes that of "if you don't believe in this, you are damned." People then get into a toxic mode where they seek to force their beliefs on others. And if one looks at it deeply, that is a trait shared by many religions. Believe, or else punishment falls on you.
All of this is because of control. You can only control once you have power. Religion should be about faith, knowing that what you believe in should not be forced on others. That faith should be held in a private manner, and those who believe differently should not be judged. The moment these values are not followed, it becomes a matter of power, control and deception.
Islam and Christianity, the major religions in Africa, were forced upon the masses. Christianity was imported from Europe. And back then, European monarchs ruled on the basis of being "divinely ordained." It was not about merit. One ruled because of the divine will of the Lord. Isn't that being deceptive in order to control a passive population?
Religion should not be about telling others that they will be damned if they do not subscribe to a certain set of beliefs. Because this mentality is one that has led to mass atrocities being committed in the name of religion. People being killed in the name of religion. Wars committed in the name of religion. And also, people cannot be forced to believe in nothing either. The organized nature of religion is warped.
Much of religion is now a matter of human-made selfish endeavors to benefit from the people. Over the centuries, religion has been used to manipulate the people. And another important thing is that African countries should strive to separate religion from the State.
The bottom-line is that people have used organized religion for the wrong reasons. Africa was conquered on the basis of the organized religion. In its true, honest essence, it is food for the soul. But manipulative people use it as a weapon for controlling people.
Header image credit - Clerical Whispers