As the maxim states, “little drops of water could make a mighty ocean if not curtailed”. In the same manner, violent religious radicalism doesn’t just start with swords and bullets, it starts with improper indoctrinations and brainwashing of the subjects of such religion to believe in the ideology being propagated by such religion and its founder. There’s no doubt that every religion is rooted in ideology of the founder. The ideologies preached by such founders are taken by the religious adherents as sacrosanct and therefore should never be compromised. In extreme cases, such religious adherers would use any kind of means including violence to counter any one who dares to stop them from propagating such ideologies. Many religious adherers believe that if they die while propagating the ideology of their founders, then they would be rewarded with heaven in the afterlife.
Religion is people’s views and understanding of God, nature or divinity. As the philosopher, Karl Marx puts it, it is nothing but the opium of the masses. When religious understanding of people in the same religious cult begins to widen and differentiate, it creates frictions among the adherers. When such ideological frictions widen, they usually create another ideology totally in contrast with the original ideology of the main religion. In a case like this, such new ideology might graduate into becoming another distinct religion. Religion is nothing but ideology of the founder garnished understanding of the adherers.
Recently we have been witnessing symptoms of religious radicalism and extreme improper indoctrination of vulnerable people in Nigeria by mostly, different Pentecostal Churches. We all witnessed cases like that of the self-styled Reverend Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, popularly called Reverend King, the founder of Christian Praying Assembly, who, in July 22, 2006, set one of his members, Ann Uzor, on fire leading to her death.
Another one calling himself a prophet in a Celestial Church of Christ (CCC), located on Unity Street in Abule-Egba area of Lagos State, allegedly set a female member on fire during service, claiming he was instructed by God to do it. According to The Nation Newspaper, the victim simply identified as Madam Bosede, who joined the church just a month before the incident, was found lying critically ill in the hospital where she was rushed to.
The religious vulnerability of many people in Nigeria has made it easier for these crooks that call themselves “Pastors” to operate, even as there is no reasonable regulations guiding operations of these daily religious insurgencies. With the way things are going today, I have no doubt that Nigeria might be heading to serious religious revolution if time is not taken.
When I first saw a video circulating online some months ago, and which has a clip of a Christian sect called “The Lord’s Chosen” Church dancing and rolling their bodies in dirty street waters, I ignored it as unnecessary overzealousness of few people who were deprived of the core Christian doctrines and proper public conducts. But then, just recently, another pictures and videos of the same sect in another part of the country came out online, and what I saw in these clips are mildly speaking, so heart-breaking.
It was the same show of dancing and rolling bodies in dirty streets and slums for whatever reason they can never defend. Once, I said that religion is too dangerous to be left in the hands of illiterates who cannot interpret the signs and symbols of such religion. In Nigeria, Christianity is unfortunate enough to have found home in some of these uprising lunatics displaying their madness in the name of Church all over the world. The ideologies being propagated by this “Lord’s Chosen” sect are obviously moulded in glaring intolerant views. Thus, people from this church continue to torment their neighbours across the country in any way they can, unless they become “Chosen” as they would say.
Religion is like a burning fire. When it is well guarded, it could be useful in the house, but when it is left unchecked, it could burn out of proportion and destroy the whole city. We are already witnessing the upsurge of Islamic radicalism all over the world today. It started by misinterpretations by some sects in Islam of the some core Islamic doctrines. The world would not like to witness these upcoming radical sect in the near futures carrying arms when their non-violent but too radical way of preaching obviously fails.