Pentecostal Christianity has corrupted our way of living. The damage that Pentecostal pastors have caused with their exploitative sermons will take decades to undo. Right across the continent, their sermons have destroyed critical thinking and produced a generation of Africans who are magical thinkers. The corruption is pervasive. It is in government, our schools, businesses, in our homes and even in our universities - the seat of all learning and philosophy. It is everywhere.
Our universities are populated by "intellectuals" who not only believe but also teach that witches are real, that prayers can bring dead people back to life and cure all diseases and make cars drive without any fuel. Our Vice President is a professor of law and he is an ardent follower of a pastor who claims he has all these powers. We are now at a point where the generation that has suffered the most brainwashing is at the helms of our affairs. And they are spreading their corruption. If the person who teaches you science discredits evolution but argues their pastor's car can drive without fuel or that their pastor has resurrected people and cured every disease through prayers and fasting, what values are they imparting to you? The purpose of education is to overcome ignorance, not to validate it.
Of what use is the kind of education that does not cause us to examine our prejudices? If I received a penny for every time a fellow Nigerian medical doctor argued that prayers cure cancer or resurrect people or that witches and demons are real, I would be a millionaire today. Their evidence is usually stories that have been narrated to them by their pastors, friends and families or the bible. And when I say to them the bible mentions talking snakes and donkeys they tell me I am spiritually blind and cannot understand the things of God. I think it is possible to believe in the existence of God without all that literalism but this is a subject for another day. But what value has pentecostalism added to our society? I can think of none. We are still one of the most corrupt nations on earth, the majority of our citizens subsist on less than one dollar/day, workers are owed wages sometimes running up to six months in arrears, the elderly cannot access their pensions, and our unemployed youths are forced into prostitution and armed robbery.
The pastorpreneurs do not live by what they preach.They do not care about integrity. We have seen them physically assault church members, involved in questionable business deals, sleep with female church members, tell lies and so on. I could go on and on for days but I would struggle to identify one benefit of Pentecostalism. Greed and selfishness are the ethos of the Pentecostal movement as I have observed it practiced in Nigeria. Pastorpreneurs take money from the weakest and the most vulnerable members of the society such as widows, pensioners, the unemployed and the sick.
They use it to buy themselves private jets and to build expansive business empires which they will bequeath to their children. They use tithes and offerings to build private schools and universities but the poor church members whose donations built these institutions cannot afford to send their children to these places. On matters that relate to human rights and good governance, we just never hear from these pastorpreneurs. Nigerians are drowning daily in the Mediterranean Sea in search of a better life in Europe. Eunice was murdered in Abuja last year by Muslim youths during evangelism. Another Christian woman was murdered by a Muslim mob in Kano recently.
Do you hear pastorpreneurs talk about these issues? No! They are deaf and dumb, and they don’t want to know about such “mundane” issues. But as soon as you speak against tithing and threaten their livelihood they come out of hiding and one after the other, sermon after sermon, they use death threats to frighten church members to continue to pay tithes to them. They swamp us with sermons about how an all-sufficient God needs money. They say, God, who is supposedly all-powerful and omnibenevolent, needs money to be able to bless his worshippers.
Curiously, I have yet to find one pastor use the scriptures to contradict Daddy Freeze on tithing. They have issued curses, death wishes and even tried to use his personal challenges to discredit him but not one bible verse has been used to support their position on tithing. Considering the number of scriptures these people have memorized, I think it is telling that none of them has been able to produce a SINGLE verse to support their craft. One important lesson the debate on tithing has taught us is this: Most Nigerian Christians are pastor-worshippers. They do not think for themselves and cannot read their Bibles without hearing the voices of their pastors in the background. It has taken one man to expose the shallowness with which millions of believers relate to the scriptures they claim to read daily.
The other lesson is this: When pastorpreneurs use death threats to frighten believers into paying tithes, it proves neither the pastorpreneurs nor the believers truly believe what they preach. If heaven is the fabulous place where ALL the believer’s aspirations come to fruition then why are believers so scared of death to the point it can be used to manipulate them? This is like someone who fantasises about emigrating to America but when they are informed they require a travel visa they say, “I reject the visa in Jesus’ name.”
You cannot go to your beloved heaven if you do not die. To conclude, Pentecostalism is a doctrine of greed and selfishness. It thrives on fear. It exploits the weak. It destroys critical thinking. Our salvation is in insisting on a rational society. Enough of these superstitions and greed. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @ijabijay