Common-sense in religion
Religion should be a discipline in which common-sense prevails.
The practices in many religions have become unnecessarily tedious. For instance, many churches demand a vow of celibacy from their nuns and priests, (celibacy being a vow to refrain from sexual intercourse). But why should some churches try to act counter to the dictates of Almighty God, Who created the sexual organs of men and women (a penis for a man, and a vagina for a woman), to be used for pleasure and procreation? From foreplay, arousal, orgasm and ejaculation, sex has been devised as a universal activity that is practiced by all beings. Why should it be different with humans? Why should some church workers (including the nuns and priests, even the Pope) be denied sexual expression? It is such inconsistencies that result in the tensions arising from many religious callings. The sad adherence to the dictates of celibacy alone has caused so much disaffection in the churches of today, because the sexual urge is such a powerful urge that cannot be successfully circumvented.
Why is it believed that abstention from sex draws a person closer to God? Who muted this particular theory? It is exactly for this reason that the practice of celibacy engaged in by many priests around the world has not succeeded, and there are numerous reports of breaches against these laws. There are reports of priests (especially in the Roman Catholic Church of today)“molesting” their wards, and engaging in unwholesome sexual practices with them. In the Nigerian Daily Independent Newspaper, pg 20, February 22 2019, the following report occurs: “Pope Francis convened Catholic leaders around the world for a four day meeting to address the scandal that had ravaged the Church’s credibility in the United States. Here it is reported that billions of dollars had been paid in settlements over the past three decades.”
The report goes on to say that a particular girl had confessed: “From the age of 15, I had sexual relations with a priest. This lasted for 13 years. I got pregnant three times, quite simply because he did not want to use condoms or contraceptives.”
Refraining from sex is unnatural! Its practice leads to all sorts of problems. For what after all is sex? Sex is a matter of self-expression, and all that are able should engage in it! Do not all the animals on earth engage in sex? Is sex not a way of propagating the species? Why then do some churches demand a practice that even Jesus Christ Himself did not solicit? Where in the Bible is it stated that Christ demanded abstinence from sex from His followers, and even from His Disciples?
But as we grapple further with the question: ”should common-sense prevail amidst religious practices?” we must note that we live in a world that has itself become very “religious,” (religion referring to the belief in a god or gods and the activities that are connected with this belief. These activities include prayer, or worship in a church or temple).
(The COBUILD Dictionary).
But the great question we should ask is:” is it possible to engage in religion, and still do this using what is called ‘common-sense?’” When does religion enter into the realm of senseless fabrication, fantasy, mysticism (for the use of a better word), voodoo, superstition, fable and disbelief? It does not make common-sense in Islamic circles, to cut off a man’s hand or any other limb, for merely stealing a goat, a sheep or a cow!
If we carefully observe the practices amongst many followers of Christianity, (Christianity being arguably the most “popular” of all the world’s religions) it is easy to discover that in many cases the practices and beliefs of many church goers are “well off the mark!” It can be said that many “Christians” do not really understand the Figure of Christ that they strenuously strive to worship, for the accounts of the four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) must be concluded to be incomplete because they do not contain details of the formative years of Christ’s life, ie. His childhood, youth and adolescence. The Evangelists merely base their reports from the time Christ started His “ministry” at the age of 30 years. Additionally, in certain areas in the Bible, the various reports of the Evangelists do not tally. There are discrepancies in some of them. This goes to show that the Bible, word for word, cannot be considered to be an infallible record of the life of Christ, as it has these inaccuracies. And finally it must be concluded that the Christian religion has got it wrong when it attempts to unravel the actual Mission and purpose for Christ’s coming to the earth!
It is concluded that the Bible cannot lay claim to have an inviolate record of the entire life of Christ when it states in this same Bible: “But there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.” (John 21:25).
In the absence of a rationale for the absolute Mission of Christ, many men have grasped at a sad substitute to fill this void. In many cases they allow themselves to engage in a frenzy of ceremonies and celebrations at Christmas time. The Festival of Christmas is reduced to a time of revelry. People inundate themselves with all manner of gifts and Christmas cards, and in Nigeria they undertake long travels to their various states of origin to celebrate Christmas there. Businesses close down, and industries virtually grind to a halt, all to celebrate the “Yuletide.” But all these elaborate celebrations are not the real solution, they do not address the spiritual meaning of Christmas.
To be continued tomorrow
•Aluko wrote from Lagos
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