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Greetings, folk!

If you are not African and you are a Christian, then you probably often wonder how your Christian brethren in Africa practice Christianity. Do they have true faith in God; or do they troop to church on Sundays simply because it is the ‘right’ Christian thing to do? Contemporary Christians in Africa do have faith in Christ and God quite alright; the problem is that too many ignorant ones die for misconstrued faith. Welcome to “The Invasion Of The Funky Pastors,” the miniseries that brings you tidbits on ignorant and mischievous Christianity in Nigeria, West Africa.
The Story:
Once upon a 2005 December evening in my remote village in Nigeria, West Africa, I was sitting under a tree in my father’s compound, amongst members of my clan. The yuletide spirit was abundant in the air! It was just about five o’clock in the pm of things, and, the cool evening breeze was accentuated by the consistent, rhythmic sways of countless trees that spread as far and wide as the eye could see. Like most people present, I was sipping some palm wine out of a home-made traditional jug. The entire scenario was more than refreshing; it was mesmerizing! For me, that environment, that moment, the party if you will, was exactly what my doctor ordered! Moments like that are always worth all the dollars that I spend to travel from the USA
to my village at every opportunity that I get.
          I have said all that preamble just so that you may understand how terribly disappointing it was when suddenly, a lad, my cousin, came running like a bat out of hell to my little party and crashed on the ground right in front of me. He was kneeling, mouth open and panting like a dog, scared half to death. It took a few minutes to get him to give up his bad news:
        “My brother is dying,” he finally breathed out after what seemed like eternity. “Where is he; what is wrong?” somebody asked.
“At home, sick” said the lad. We all ran a couple of hundred meters down the road to my cousins’ compound, and met the sick man in bed. He was shivering and shaking like jelly, seemingly at the point of death. Without question, a couple of us rushed him to a hospital in a car. He was diagnosed with acute state of tuberculosis. The doctor informed us that he could have been dead within the hour. And then, naturally, the inevitable question—why did it take so long to take my cousin to the hospital for treatment?
          “Obviously, his illness did not start today,” said the bewildered doctor. “What have you
people been doing with him all this while, and allowed it to develop to this critical stage?”
      The answer to the doctor’s question is the theme of this story. And the answer is that fanatic Christians are dying every day because they refuse to take medication for their ailments; they insist on miracle cure. My cousin was revived after days of intensive tuberculosis treatment. His was one of the few similar stories that ended well. There were probably tens of other victims of ignorance who died of perfectly curable diseases within that single year in that single town in Africa, simply because they were fanatically Christian. 

Too many contemporary Nigerian Christians shun scientific diagnosis and scientific cure for their ailments because their pastors say so. Most often, the pastors diagnose the ailments to be witchcraft related, which, they claim, can only be cured through the power of the pastors’ prayers. A victim believes that it is a show of lack of faith in Christ if he/ she disregards the pastor’s prescription, which comprises prayers, so-called “holy water” and “anointed oil.” By the way, the victim pays heavily to the pastor for the prayers, water and oil. The victim is doomed right from the start, because, in order for those three remedies to work on any ailment whatsoever, the subject must have true faith, which typical subjects in my scenario know nothing of. 

All they seem to believe about faith is that the “man of God” will always whip out a magic wand and take care of everything. Nobody seems to notice or remember that the emphasis in the Holy Bible is that the subject, and not the subject’s pastor, must have faith if divine healing is ever to happen. Importantly also, most of the ignorant born-again Christians seem to forget that even with the faith, the subject still has to “help God to help him or her,” by seeking appropriate medication for his or her ailment, and then pray to God to make the medicines to work. I am yet to get somebody to show me where Christ encouraged humanity to shun physicians, otherwise called doctors.

 Christ cured the few lucky patients that he came across through miracle, because he had the true anointing. Even then, he never encouraged the other thousands of sick people that could not reach him to die, rather than seek medical remedy. Increasingly, Nigerian pastors actually rebuke their followers who seek scientific remedy for their ailments. To make matters worse, such pastors are usually fake anyway, so they do not even believe in any of the jazzy stuff that they are feeding their ignorant subjects. They would not know ‘Mr. Faith’ even if ‘he’ was sitting right on their noses. As for the so-called holy water, it is as holy as the water that I drink in my house. And, the so-called anointed oil is as anointed as the baby oil in my house, as long as I say ‘in Jesus name’, and crown it with Amen before I administer it. My daily water and oil are probably holier, depending on the faith in me at the time in question. Really, for the funky pastors, the holy water and anointed oil stuff is all part of a con game, and the ultimate name of the game is spelt m-o-n-e-y!

These are some Nigerian dimensions to, or peculiarities in ignorant and mischievous
Christianity, but we all know that religious fanaticism happens all over the Christian world, and in all the other religions, too. The Moscow Times reported on February 3, 2011 that a magistrate of the Khanty-Mansiisk region’s town of Kogalym convicted a Jehovah’s Witness woman, Natalya Podlozhevich, who had refused to sanction a life-saving blood transfusion for her 5-year old son, based on church belief. Podlozhevich watched her child die, rather than allow the transfusion, because it is forbidden by the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses religious sect. Now, when a grown sane man or woman decides to commit suicide by rejecting medication in the name of religion, I can live with that. But when an adult makes such crazy decision for an innocent child, I believe that it is nothing short of pure murder!

Do remember, I am a Christian; indeed, to the best of my understanding, I am a born-again
Christian, but I am certainly not fanatical, and I am not handing the total control of my life, and
death, over to another man simply because he calls himself a pastor or man of God. I do
recognize that true anointed servants of God exist, who perform miracles through the power or mediation of Christ or other special mediators. My problem is that there are so few of them; the rest who claim to be pastors or “men/ women of God” are a bunch of job-seeking crooks, who capitalize on the emotional vulnerability of many Christians. Some of their followers, very often, do follow them into deadly socio-cultural pits without a question. Meanwhile, they are laughing all the way to their private banks.
Before the research for my book on this subject I often wondered how Reverend Jim Jones
convinced the victims of his Guyana Tragedy to commit mass suicide. After numerous discussions with Christians in Nigeria, I now know how so, so easy it is to get Christians to do anything in the name of Christ. 

Too many Christians out there are truly hopelessly and deadly gullible! An amazing percentage of Christians in Nigeria actually insist that no matter what a pastor says or does, “you should leave that between God and him”; just go ahead and obey his word anyway. They are not even saying obey before complaint, no sir; they are saying that you must obey and don’t ever complain, or you would draw the wrath of God for challenging “His Anointed.” They want you to leave it all to God to judge the fake pastors much later on the judgment day. Hence, the so-called pastors are virtually and literally getting away with murder every day in broad daylight, unquestioned. My book has amazing stories of how gullible many Nigerian Christians can get. And, I ain’t bullshitting you, meeeeeeen!!!

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