Growing up, I was always told that going to church was a good thing, but now, I’m not so sure anymore. I remember I used to attend church with my mother every Sunday from an early age. By the age of 13 I was already going to church on my own since I was so in love with the church, God and religion respectively. Today I am 24 years old and I don’t know if I can honestly say if I am a Christian or not because religion as a whole confused the living daylights out of me.
One thing I do know though is that I know there’s a God out there, and I love him and I believe in him with my mind, body and soul.
I feel that Christianity has lost its way somehow and it no longer stands for what it represents. ‘Church’ nowadays is used as a means of making money, a tool for population control. Churches used to be respected. There used to be a place for innocent spiritual fun, a place filled with love, a place which is holy and a place of sacredness where everyone felt like they were connected to a higher presence.
However, these days things have definitely changed.
I find more and more churches splitting up because of internal issues with the leaders, which directly affects the whole congregation. I find that there are more judgemental people in churches than there are in the streets. I find more and more pastors who are misusing the work of God, doing wicked things in churches, such as spraying people with insect repellents. Like really!?
Me personally, I call all of that wickedness in my eyes.
If the church cannot stick to its main purpose of its existence, then how the hell do they expect us as the followers to follow them if the church leaders are busy doing their own thing all in the name of God, making a mockery of God, worship and praise?
Religion in my definition is the set of beliefs, feelings, principles and practices that define the relations between human being and sacred divinity. Religion in my eyes has been ruined by human beings. And I say this because religion has turned into a form of weapon used to control people and influence the way they think.
As soon as the “powers that be” realised the power and mega influence religion carries, they saw the opportunity to use it, however way they saw fit to carry out their hidden agendas. If you think about it, religion has the ultimate ability to influence a person with regards to how they live their life and the way they think.
Christianity as a whole has a lot to do with how a certain individual carries themselves before the eyes of the Lord. But now, even though I gave my life unto Jesus and accepted him as my Lord and saviour, I am still a sinner and that will never change. When you give your life unto the Lord as I have, certain things about you, if not everything, have to change and change my people, doesn’t come easy, it comes at a price.
When you are reborn in the eyes of the Lord, it literally means that God has granted you a new life and a second chance. That means that you have to leave all your bad habits in the past as you are a born-again Christian. This means no more smoking, no more drinking, no more sleeping around with girls, no more acts of immoral behaviour, no more swearing, etc. Basically being a born-again Christian means that you have completely turned your life around, you are not the same person that you were before.
Which brings me to my next point: I don’t know what being a Christian means but all I know is that it has a lot to do with how a person lives their lives. I accepted Christ as my Lord and saviour last year, during March. It was a very special moment in my life although I have always been a firm believer in God and attended church regularly, I never once had accepted Jesus as the Lord and saviour of my life.
Whenever the pastor and his deacon would call out for people who want to accept Christ in their lives, in my mind I always had this misconception that, since I go to church every Sunday and I know how to pray, that automatically meant that I was saved. But boy was I wrong. Last year, in March, I was sitting in church when the pastor was delivering his sermon and as he did so, it felt like he was talking to me.
Something in me moved like I was awakened by the Holy Spirit because on that day, I remember I stood up when the pastor was calling out for people who wanted to accept Jesus as their Lord and saviour. I went up onto the altar and I repeated the words after the pastor and since that day, my soul belonged to God and only God. And, even though I disagree with the role that religion has turned out to play nowadays, I am still a firm believer in that Jesus is my Lord and saviour who died for all of our sins on the cross so that we may be forgiven for all of our sins.
When I was younger, I never had all the questions that I carry with me now, as if they are a heavy burden on my shoulders. Questions like, where do we come from? How did humans start to be in existence? And, is there an afterlife? Because if there is, then I would love to know.
Life can be such a trip sometimes, and in this short piece, I aim to explore the deep roots that Religion and God share.
According to Wikipedia, there are roughly 4 200 religions in the world today. Christianity is now one of the most widely practised religions in Africa along with Islam and is the largest religion in sub-Saharan Africa. As far as I know, God is the main component of religion. He is the life, the light and the way. If Christianity developed in other parts of the world in the early years of man’s existence, what God or religion did Africans, especially South African descendants pray to or believe in? Because surely, some form of belief must have been in place.
Before people from other countries came and introduced Christianity to Mama Africa, what religious beliefs did African people believe in? To me, it’s almost like we are following other nation’s cultures, traditions and religious views instead of our own. And the main reason behind that is that we as black people are not taught well enough about our black history and heritage, so that’s why we find comfort in believing in other nation’s beliefs. Which religion is really our own? Are we as Africans losing our own sense of identity because we don’t know who we are ourselves?
For now, it might not seem like a big epidemic but fast forward five hundred years from now and black pride will be lost and gone forever. Maybe in us following other people’s religions we are losing our own path as people of the soil. If we knew our own religious backgrounds from history, then maybe we would have a better understanding of who we are and where we come from. And we would have enough knowledge to teach our kids about ‘our’ own religious backgrounds and maybe we wouldn’t look like such fools who don’t even know that they are busy worshipping other people’s God’s.
Maybe it’s just me but I feel like black history should play a major role in public/private schools and universities so that our nation can stand a better chance of survival. Amen.
Tell us: What is religion to you?