THE REDUNDANCY OF RELIGION: THE PANDEMICAL EXPOSURE OF PENTECOSTAL PROPHECIES OF CONVENIENCE
by Taiwo. I. Abiodun-Oni
Religion is truly the opium of the masses. In this part of the world, daily existence is a huge responsibility, one that wearies the mind of every grown up. With this kind of responsibility, everyone yearns for what they believe to be a superior power capable of giving hope at the minimal. On the African continent, staggered elections are like a common praecipe at the different levels and stages of governance and its not uncommon that the principle of enfranchisement culminates in seeking out means and ways to influence the conscience of voters and one of the ways with which many position seeking persons achieve this is by scoring few points from the ‘House of God’ through religious endorsements. Africa has the highest number of church goers in the world (mind you, there’s a huge difference between a church goer and a believer). The steps are quite easy, the candidate merely portrays himself as a person with a belief system sharing verisimilitude with a vast majority of the electorates. It is after this that promises, favours or even a huge 10% between the clergy and the candidate changes hand and the aftermath is usually the birth of a prophecy. It is not uncommon that the content of this prophecy naturally tilts in the favour of the visiting candidate. This could pan out through another method where clergies who society perceive as having a superior connection with the superior power and cannot risk having a stain on their cassocks merely make prophecies from applied logical deductions from hindsight permutations based on the reactionary traction that each candidate support base shows. It is why many times these prophecies are either too delayed or too early. These scenario is known as Pentecostal Electoral Prophetism. The Covid 19 situation has once against exposed the the frailties that exists within the ranks of religion. More than the frailties, it has exposed the flickering and inconsistent nature of the supernatural from whence many of the clergies claim authority from. At the inception of the spread of the virus on the African continent, rather than listening and believing in the scientific possibilities and analogies on the virus, most Africans chose to look to their churches for answers and some directions. In their normal fashion for a temporary solution, prayers and a fasting were ordered by many churches to which many adhered whil some other clergies so brazen enough began to articulate particular dates to the end of the pandemic while others unwittingly resorted to biblical etymological manipulation by articulating the Covid 19 to the plagues in the bible times. This was hysterical to say the least. As a necessary measure of staying the course to rid countries of the virus, many countries closed down churches and since then there has been backlashes from different quarters of the church for the quick reopening of churches with most of the persons sharing this school of thought poising the church as the only solution to the pandemic. This school of thought can be equated to a roller coaster ride; it is as dangerous as it is plagued with uncertainty. Probably the church has failed to churn out prophecies that could predict the end to the pandemic like Elijah did because of the resurgent difficulties in drawing inferences and conjectures from what seems like an unabating virus so much so that even science which may be a mich more accurate science has not been able to place. It could also be that any prophecies that would be given at this point would simply be inaccurate as we have seen with a popular clergy whose modus operandi is miracle and prophecy vendoring. My greatest surprise seems to be at the massive population that have resumed attendance at churches after the ban was lifted. The church literally did nothing for you during the lockdown other than offer circumstantial propitiations to hold you spellbound.
to your patronage of their centres while continuing to receive offertories despite the cash crunch flying around. What I find most puzzling and in desperate need of an answer is why physical sermons are any different from virtual sermons/services or does the latter also fall short of the biblical ‘do not forsake the gathering of the brethren’ and if it in fact does, then doesn’t the same bible speak about the omnipresence of the Supreme Being? It seems God isn’t confined to one space neither does one synagogue enjoy a monopoly of his presence. Now that the churches are open, the miracles and prophecies that seem to have once seized would start rolling in and those who wish to continue to wallow dejectedly in the influence of the intoxicant called religion would have much than they bargained for. The truth remains that religion has become redundant and prophecies that come with it are only a product of clergical convenience and no thanks to the Covid Pandemic that has revealed this.