Thursday, 24 January 2013

Blinded By Religion

Road safety experts and doctors advice that drivers do not hang or put little banners or figurines on the drivers mirror or dashboard. This could cause unnecessary distractions or block the driver's view and may cause an accident. Also, figurines and statuettes could further damage during an accident.

This driver had been to so many safety meetings but despite the numerous warnings, he had a figurine of Jesus with both hands raised planted on firmly on his dashboard. You see, he was a Christian and Jesus was there for luck. One day while speeding without his seatbelt, a goat crossed the road and when he slammed the brakes, inertia threw him forward and somehow, he collided with 'little-statue-Jesus' whose two raised hand poked him in both eyes leaving him permanently blind. 

He was blinded by religion, literally and figuratively.

Ghana has a 'God-will-do-it' problem. Most West African countries do but being Ghanaian I will only speak about my country. This problem is not unique to Christians but all three major religions (Christianity, Islam and Traditional).

People ignore safety measures in this country because 'God is our protector' this leads to many avoidable casualties. On December 24, 2012 I had to make a trip from Kumasi to Ho. Apart from the Metro Mass buses and 207 Mercedes Benz buses there's no public transport that plies this route. Given the morbid safety record of 207 buses I chose the Metro Mass. There were so many people at the station that day and instead of the regular two buses to Ho there was only one. People were desperate and the officials took advantage to overload the bus. People were standing and some were seated on bags the floor. Soon people started complaining they couldn't breath. I called the metro mass emergency number which didn't work, of course. Thanks to a friend I finally was able to speak to the head office. To my surprise the lady I spoke to went like, “HMMM, IT'S HARD OH, LET'S JUST PRAY NOTHING HAPPENED TO THEM”. I was so stunned as I helplessly watched the overloaded bus move away. Why pray when we were not doing the right thing?

No Ghanaian has ever died of natural cause. This is a fact. Ghanaians die of two main supernatural causes. Either God kills them (the will of God) or some Evil Spirit does. No matter how the person dies, one of these two is the cause. When someone dies of old age, it is the will of God (God killed the person) and when someone not too old dies, one of the devils agents is to blame. Usual some misunderstood person is found and accused of being the devils tool.

When someone is sick, rather than visit a hospital, people would rather visit some sort of spiritualist and get duped out of huge sums of money. It is only when the person is almost dead they rush him to the hospital hoping for the doctor to perform some sort of miracle and save him. If the person dies, the devil is blamed. If the person is saved, the spiritualist who duped them get the credit. The doctor gets no credit. 

A Pastor can get away with anything in this country because most people are afraid the wrath of God will rain down on them. They will refer you to

Psalm 105: 15 and 1 Chronicles 16:22
Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.

Almost everyday we hear stories of one for of despicable act or another by a “man of God”. The next thing we hear is a bunch of sycophants trying to justify or rationalize his behavior. Either “it was the devil” or “it is not what it seems. You don't know the full story”.

The most annoying thing that religious bodies get away with has to be noise pollution. Churches spring up everywhere in residential areas and make unacceptable levels of noise. All night prayers seven days a week with speakers blasting non-stop. Exhausted hardworking Ghanaians come home from work to rest and can't get a piece of mind in their own homes because some church is praying to God. Anyone who complains is branded an Anti-christ. The authorities turn a blind eye to this ever increasing phenomenon which encourages more churches to join in.

I have no idea why churches in this country don't pay tax. Obviously, the church today is all about profit making. As Rocky Dawuni put it, “...commercializing Jesus Christ, selling tickets to the hereafter...”. When secular musician start to lose their relevance, they quickly switch to Gospel music or become pastors. That is the one place where you can make money off the Ghanaian without being necessarily talented. An untalented secular musician can't make any money but a gospel one can.

I'm a Christian, I believe God will not come down from heaven and do for us what we can do for ourselves. God will not come and give us common sense to discern right from wrong.

Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up

“Most people think,
Great god will come from the skies,
Take away everything
And make everybody feel high.
But if you know what life is worth,
You will look for yours on earth:
And now you see the light,
You stand up for your rights. Jah!”

Bob Marley

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Boat Race 1: A Political Parable

An annual Canoe Rowing Competition was organized between Africa and Europe. The rules were simple; each team was to be made up of seven people and the first team to the end of the river would be declared winner. The teams were to decide among themselves the strategy they would deploy to win the race. They were each provided with a stop watch, money for what ever purpose they wanted and any number of oars they wanted.

The European team appointed one person as the leader and the same person as the time keeper. The leader bought a carton of energy drinks, sandwiches and promised the team an amount of money each if they won the race.

He formed a team of four rowers and two backs ups who would relieve two of the rowers a one third of the journey and the relieved workers would take over from the last two when they were two thirds way through the journey. At every time two rowed on the left and another two on the right. The leader did nothing except keep time and once in a  while utter give a few motivational words.

The African team elected a leader who in turn appointed an assistant, a time keeper and a motivational speaker. The remaining three were to be rowers. A box of cabin biscuits was the refreshment. The leader, his assistant, the time keeper and the motivational speaker were not to take part in the rowing.

The race began and the fans cheered and waited expectantly. The European team started a bit slowly but the leader kept motivating his team till gradually they picked up speed.

The African team started furiously and took a head start but soon problems began to arise. Since there were two rowers on one side and one on the other side, the rowing wasn't well balanced and the boat kept moving in one direction. The leader and his assistant kept berating the rowers and the motivational speaker kept using big words the poor rowers couldn't understand. The weight of the four executive members also added extra burden to the rowers. To make matters worse the rowers got hungry and eating cabin biscuit made them thirsty.

The European team arrived at the finish line a good three hours before the African team arrived. The leader of the European team true to his word gave the rest of the team some money as a reward for winning though he kept a large portion for himself.

The African team arrived later fighting among themselves. On arrival at the finishing line the leader formed a fact finding committee made up of himself, his assistant, the time keeper and the motivational speaker. The committees' duty was to ascertain the cause of the loss. Money was spent on refreshment and sitting allowance. The committee came to the conclusion that:

  1. the rowers had been lazy
  2. some of the rowers had intentionally sabotaged they race
  3. the team should have had a navigator
It was decided that the three rowers be fired. Three new people were hired. One of them was to be a navigator and the other two were to be rowers. The two rowers were to start immediate training in preparation for next years race.

Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters and incidents are either a product of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.  

Wednesday May 4, 2011

NB: Loosely based on a story i heard as a kid

Find Part 2 here "Boat Race 2: A Political Parable