Belief is a cover-up for all insecurities; this is a phrase popularized by world-renowned guru Deepak Chopra.
This phrase simply means that one only believes in that which isn’t a matter of fact. For example, death is a reality which we all know to be true by experience or observation but the aftermath is up for debate. Hence the various practices and rituals that are rife all around the globe.
Religion or the lack of it is a belief since there is no concrete evidence about the existence or non-existence of God.
The earliest traces of religion date back to 4000 thousand years ago with Hinduism opening the doors which innumerable religions walk through to this very day.
Despite its old age, religious values have never been antiquated and probably never will.
In December 2012, the Washington Times wrote an article which revealed that at least 84% of the world’s population has a religious affiliation, with more common ones being Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism.
These religious sects boast of a cult-like devotion, despite the diverse creeds; faith remains to be one of the most influential sectors of our lives.
The tangible fruits of religion are what enhance its mass appeal, as most of them are bound by tenets such as love and peace; the main ingredients to a better world.
These discernible attributes make our lands more toxic, by authoring scenes of serenity even just by a small fraction.
With all these benefits that religion has endowed mankind with;
Is there a possibility that faith might not be as rock-solid as we would want it to be?
Should it even be a fathomable thought that the “purity” of religion just might be part of the problems that we face?
Religion teaches about a just and loving God. However, his followers are anything but.
Not only is the legitimacy of religion disputable but so are the perceived benefits.
Throughout its existence, religious factions have fought tooth and nail with external entities to validate its authenticity. Ironically religious sects also combat other religious sects to validate their superiority.
Despite having many points of convergence, religions also have many points of divergence, hence creating unending conflicts.
Nigeria as a recent example is a country that has witnessed the continued persecution of Christians by Muslims, and the reason being differences of opinions.
To dig further into the woes of religion, one realizes that subdivisions exist within a particular religion.
Look at Christianity as an example, it has numerous denominations worldwide such as the Baptists, Catholics, Mormons, New Apostolic and countless others, lending further credibility to the idea that religion isn’t quite the tight-knit family that we are made to believe.
That is just a tip of the iceberg because in the 1500s the Catholic Church would institute the infamous Inquisition on Protestants as a means to stifle their efforts to have their voice.
So how can an imperfectly glued religion claim superiority over other religions?
And since each faith has a distinct description of God, then do they convince the world of his existence?
Of course, religion seeks to implant within an individual the seeds of goodness, but that doesn’t exterminate the indubitable side effects such as rigidity, bigotry, condemnation, manipulation and outright abuse of those perceived as weak.
On one end of the spectrum, religion has been a warm shoulder to lean on, fostering an atmosphere of hope, love, and peace; setting up laws and strengthening our unity through the belief in a deity.
On the destructive end of the spectrum, the world has seen wars, death, alienation, profiteering, sexual abuse and brainwashing.
These detriments may not be the creation of religion but rather the perversion of the practice.
Regardless of where one’s faith lies, religion has left an indelible footprint on the earth; where true or false, negative or positive, it at least gives man a basis of belief or disbelief.
As a firm believer, I know that God’s existence will always be disputed by many but indisputable is the image in which we paint Him as, regardless of its goodness all forms of faith have been tainted by the gatekeepers whether consciously or unconsciously.
Allan Shawa is a Zambian writer, with an ability to craft poems, stories and songs. Growing up amongst a population that is content to achieve mediocrity artistically, his inspiration has always been to see how far the mind can be stretched in order to reach the levels of the legends who engraved their names in the history books.