Christianity seems to be continuing on it’s downward spiral of self-implosion recently, although this is hardly likely to affect the committed followers of the various church leaders who are now retreating into a state of denialism in order to maintain their commitment.
The recent collapse of TB Joshua’s buildings around parts of the continent, along with the constant scandals of sexual misbehaviour, rape, vandalism and violence by people such as “Bishop” Obinim (who claimed he didn’t realise vandalism and theft was wrong), and the obscene displays of material wealth by Nigerian pastors, are doing more to raise questions about the churches, the practise of Christianity, and how a belief system that claims to transform its followers consistently fails to do so, than non-believers have needed to contribute.
Religious leaders have assumed titles such as Bishop and Prophet without explanation of how these titles were obtained. As Mensa Otabil mentions, religious leaders were not so quick to call themselves prophets in his youth, and certainly in Europe, mainstream Ministers, Priests or Vicars would not use this title. Strange all the prophets are appearing mostly in West Africa!
But these religious leaders are not entirely to blame. Those who have allowed them to assume a god-like status, also have to take responsibility for this crisis. The followers of these men who idolise their leaders calling them the Messiah (TB Joshua), Men of God (as if no one else is) and Daddy, have put these men on a pedestal giving them unwarranted power, which it is claimed should not be examined or challenged, whilst infantilising themselves as their adoring children.
The lack of a state which cares and provides for its citizens, where basic education and health care are out of the reaches of many, creates an uncertain existence. It is perhaps responsible for the retreat into relying on those who tell one what to think, with the promise that all problems and suffering will be solved through unquestioning trust and obedience.
The answer to the challenges we face in life is not found by putting our trust and belief in religious leaders but by focussing on, and being active in changing, the political mechanisms that create hardship, by understanding how power operates, by developing thought processes that help us analyse and solve problems, and by fostering supportive and encouraging friends and communities.
The false hope, easy solutions, obscurantism and adoration of men who claim to know the minds of the gods is a symptom of an underlying problem and a false road to follow. Wisdom and encouraging words can be found in many places but those who give them should not be idolised and put above scrutiny but should be seen as fallible people, as we all are, with the same good and bad urges.
Christianity, which came into life as a rigid and dogmatic, authoritarian system basing itself on the reported words and stories of a wandering Jewish teacher, was democratised during the European Reformation as challenges were made to the power of religious leaders and their institutions. It did the forbidden by translating the bible into a language the people could read and understand, taking away power from the priestly class. It seems some religious leaders would now reverse this process, with the active consent of their followers, and, in doing so believe they can act with impunity, writing their own gospel, as they turn desperation into a business.