Apparently an awe inspiring 90% of Nigerians are religious. Statistics like these make the likes of Richard Dawkins claim that religion is the root of all evil.Dinesh D’Souza, Ravi Zacharias the UCCF, and a whole lot of other resources exist specifically to discuss the pros and cons of the subtle nuances of the arguments around Drawinism vs Intelligent Design and Theism vs Atheism vs Agnosticism. It is instructive to also note that atheism has not done much better either – the Soviet era is a case in point.
Perhaps the real issue though is not religion or the lack of it per se but the blatant lack of authenticity in the lives of its adherents – myself included. True life, maybe, is more like the curve 1/x; asymptotically approaching both zero and infinity without ever getting there. As such we will always have a gap, we will always be striving for excellence, growing more and more towards the ideals of our faith. I know that the Christian Bible is peppered with references to fighting for social justice, honesty, speaking up for those who have no voice, respect for the sanctity of human life and the like and I am sure that these ideals are repeated both in Islam and in our indigenous belief systems.
If everyone of the 90% religious Nigerians lived out the reality of their faith (or non-faith – even atheists believe that the human mind is capable of rationally finding what is the ultimate good), I am sure the blatant corruption, inept leadership, and get rich quick schemes would be significantly curtailed. The real challenge as I see it though is to break out from a nominal, head based, notional faith and to strive to live out its over-arching ideals in the real world.
As one of them telecommunication outfits back in Nigeria once said — Talk is cheap. I would add Live your liturgy…..