The Romans believed in titanic gods, but learned to balance it with man’s responsibility. That is why they conquered kingdoms, built civilations at the rate they did.
Most western nation states today are shaped by this worldview, even though Christianity has come to take centre stage.
Indeed, Philip II of Macedon, his son Alexander the Great and his successors conquered the world in their day, from the British Isles to the cusp of Hindustan.
However, none of these men ventured into the Sahara and the lands south of it. Neither did they go far into India. As bad as their invasions and attacks on civilizations was, there is no denying that they forever shaped the minds of modern-day man, at least in the West.
Nigerians blame bad governance on Satan. If that was true, why doesn’t he negatively influence Western leaders too? Or should we also blame the many natural disasters that are prevalent in those western countries on high Satanic activity, and the little to no natural disasters here in Africa on low Satanic activity?
These questions have been bugging my mind for a long time now. I’ve been wondering why Africa is so backward in every conceivable area, when compared to Western nations or other continents.
The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if we can ever get it right and the forthcoming general election in Nigeria offers another opportunity to correct things.
The beliefs or worldview of a people affects the way they relate with their environment. In Africa, the predominant worldview is that of African Traditional Religion(ATR); in India, it is predominantly Hinduism; and in Europe, Russia and the Americas, it is Christianity, predominantly.
These nations have had their fair share of bad or corrupt leaders, but none of them come close to the bulk of bad leaders Africa has had over the course of the last century. From Idi Amin of Uganda, to Sani Abacha. From Paul Biya of Cameroon to Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. From Idriss Deby of Chad to Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.
Time will not permit me to talk about Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema who is Africa’s longest-serving leader, still in power after 41 years. The list goes on.
Some of these leaders change the constitution, crush the opposition and use fear and violence to maintain their grip on power.
I am not, however, excusing Western leaders for making morally debasing legislations like legalisation of incest, same sex marriages, gender change, bestiality, etc. These nations also have issues. One may even argue their issues are far worse, especially when examined from a Christian perspective. But I will like to focus on the infrastructural development challenge of African leaders in general and Nigeria in particular.
I don’t doubt Satan’s influence on the physical world, neither do I doubt his influence on world leaders. As a Christian, we have his commanding the wind and the earth in the Old Testament book of Job as a good example of his ability to bend nature to his bidings.
We also have the bible describing the King of Tyre like Satan as a good example of his ability to influence leaders. However, a balance must be made. Only when we establish that despite Satan’s power & influence, man is ultimately responsible for how much an influence Satan can have on nature and leaders, will we be able to answer the earlier questions of why we have bad African leaders/good Western leaders and little natural disasters/many natural disasters.
Our African way of thinking never allows us to strike this balance. Instead we blame all our problems and failures on spirits and on others. A boy will be hooked on pornography and be wondering why he’s unable to overcome lust, blaming all of it on Satan. A girl will be dressing half naked and be wondering why she only attracts shallow men, while blaming the devil and village uncles.
It is why churches are on the increase, because more people are driven into them by fear of unseen spirits, than by the need to get the needed light to do the right thing or make the right choices.
It is also why we prefer to believe that curses that were dished out generations before we were born are the reasons for our failings in life. Some even go as far as believing Noah’s curse on Canaan is the reason for Africa’s poverty of leaders and backwardness. We are a highly spiritual people, but with so little virtues for right living.
In Hinduism, the religion of Indians, the rich don’t see the need to help the poor because their religion teaches reincarnation. This is the belief that whatever fortunes one has in this life is a product of their previous life. So if you are poor in this life, it is because in your former life, you were a bad person, therefore your poverty is just a punishment for what you did in the past.
This is why India is one of the poorest nations on earth.
So some supposed Christians hold to these erroneous beliefs, much like the Indians, even after they profess faith in Christ, making one wonder which curses Christ abolished on the cross and which ones he didn’t abolish. Don’t we see that this syncretic way of thinking actually raises more questions about Christianity, than the answers the faith is supposed to provide?
For me, I avoid extremes. There is Satan and he has power, but I also have a responsibility. And if any Christian still thinks Satan should be the sole blame for all the issues we face, ranging from the natural disasters westerners have to the bad leaders we have, then we are calling God and his word liars. Because we are still going to be judged by the choices we make, not the ones Satan makes us do.
Whichever way we choose to look at this matter, the idea that Satan has sole power over our actions is not just unhealthy and retarded, it is greatly skewed.