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Ebola And Religious Opportunists, By Rolu Adebola

Ebola And Religious Opportunists, By Rolu Adebola

| On 12, Aug 2014

Ebola is here and now the fear of Ebola is the beginning of wisdom. The first set of updates and awareness was the right one, driven by professionals in the health ministry and other sound individuals.

That is how a society should be, that is how things should function; right knowledge based on sound scientific and medical basis.

So that came first. And it was the right thing to do. It should have stopped there. But it didn’t.  The fear mongers came next. They started dabbling in rumours, sensational updates, lies and falsehood, and the fear of Ebola was born. Everyone became a potential carrier. I know a friend who has refused to leave her house, until the whole thing is over. Yes, it can be that bad!

Certain businesses took an upswing. Reminds me of the craziest contemporary Yoruba adage I ever heard, “ti ti eniyan kan ko ba baje, ti elomi ko le da”.  It is untrue of course, you can thrive without crisis, but it is also a reality, misfortunes help others thrive. So yes, Bitter Kola became gold commodity, it soon ran out of supply, the goro sellers didn’t know what hit them. They never imagined a twist of fate could favour them so much. Glove sellers, hand sanitizers and certain other industries took an upswing, all within days. Ebola became a blessing!

Once there is fear, once there is misinformation, and once there is misfortune, then religion must intervene; for religion, like some other commodities, thrives in an environment where there is fear, misfortune and misinformation. The next set of updates therefore became prayers and religious declarations. Nigerians do not disappoint! “Tell them it is not your portion”! Of course, it had to be someone else’s portion. The terrible ideas the Israelites put in the Bible! I find it impossible for any man of reasonable conscience to find positives in those ideas. But it wasn’t over.

The latest sets of updates were prayers that Ebola will not harm the children of God. That is a lie! Yes, prayers may help, yes it can help, but typically, it will not! We have been through this deception before. During the plaque, during the AIDS outbreak, at the outset of the insurgency, etc. When misfortune strikes, it strikes everyone! The right thing to do is to find a cure, find a vaccine, use information as a strategy and collectively work to preserve lives. Falling into come religious comfort zone and opportunistic declarations is going down the wrong path and it will lead nowhere except chaos! That approach destroys more than it can repair and trust religion to come up with such retrogressive approaches and attitudes.

Then the revelation of the day hit me. It was my favourite Psalm. In fact, one of the most loved and adored Psalm in Christianity. Psalm 91. And as I read it this time, in relation to protection from Ebola, my spirit rejected the idea. NO! This kind of thing must stop. It is not right. It is not Godly. And it is not acceptable.

“You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague (Ebola) that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.” Psalm 91: 5-8

We have always said that it is not the messenger alone that is to blame, but the message itself is faulty.  You need not search far to know where the selfishness, self-centeredness and wickedness of religious people come from. It is not only from their preachers, but also from their holy books.

No! A thousand will not fall at my side to a plague. Not while I can do something about it.  Ten thousand will not fall at my right hand, not in a battle and not in a plague either. My life isn’t so special, it isn’t so different, that others will die and I will be spared. If that is from God, he should spare everyone, if he has the power, he should bring a cure, so no one has to die. These claims of exclusivity are a fraud, we know they are not true, but a people given to fear will cling to anything that looks like salvation, but there is no salvation from Ebola in false assurances!

The religious mindset will not make for progress, not whilst it can separate some people from the rest and assure them they are safe when they are not! I will not be part of such thinking, I will combat such thinking, until this society becomes sane in its relationship with itself and with others.

And oh! By the way, we are better off finding a cure for the virus. I really don’t know how much help it is praying to God about Ebola, because God created the virus!

Rolu Adebola Writes

Culled from: Transparency For Nigeria