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Opinions of Monday, 1 October 2018

Columnist: Rahim Newton

Religion and Crime

Rahim Newton, author Rahim Newton, author

Some liberal minds perceive the competition for religious dominance as frivolous because they believe we are all worshiping the same God upon our disparate religious creeds. While a lot of devouts of the diverse religions keep believing that we are worship different Gods, I keep asking why the different religions have same devil (Satan) but different Gods.

Ask members of the two most marketable religions in the globe which of them will make it to heaven, and each will claim that they are the chosen ones. Then proceed to question the same members of one of the religions which of their sects or denominations will make it to heaven; the same members will start jabbing, wrestling, gunning down or cutlassing one another. Very interesting! Ostensibly, religious people fight amongst themselves because they love God and want to promote His religion, but the reality is that they are struggling for their various parochial interests and egos to prevail, thus they are scheming for leadership. God should be bigger than religion— I keep soliloquizing.

Should we believe that most popular religions rode on the back of cold-blooded massacre to gain its popularity as history has it jotted down? A year will not pass by without clashes between members of different religious groups or different sects of the same religion being recorded in this country. This regrettable situation keeps festering or recurring because our authorities handle such cases religiously instead of secularly, which calls for punishment for lawbreakers and not forgiveness.

One can be tempted to believing that religion in our setting is a promoter of crime because our two most famous religions unanimously reiterate, on daily basis, that no matter the gravity of crime or sin one perpetrates or has committed, one will gain salvation or will have the sin forgiven inasmuch as one surrenders the life to God or Allah.

To aggravate the matter, some religious leaders do not hesitate to seek forgiveness from law enforcement agencies anytime a member of their religion falls into the hands of the law. Indirectly and subtly, this gives a leeway to people to commit atrocities because they know that there is a loving God, somewhere in heaven, who will forgive them for any atrocity perpetrated.

They also know that there is a religious leader who will always get them out of the shackles of the law whenever they go against it. Does religion in our society, really, nurtures crime? The wisdom in the illustrations below could be useful to the Ghanaian:

The Netherlands, Sweden, etc., with large numbers of atheists are closing down their prisons, the reason being that they have no prisoners to occupy the said prisons—crime rate is down to the barest minimum. Therefore, it makes no economic sense keeping them. To break it down further for easy assimilation, 1out of 10 swedes consider religion not an important part of daily life. 39% of 4,000 Norwegians said No when asked whether they believed in God. 37% said yes while the remaining remained sitting on the fence—they said they were undecided, according to Ipsos Norway (Rex Features). Plus, a recent (2014) survey by University of Amsterdam revealed that there are more atheists (25%) than theists (17%) in Amsterdam.

Before I dive deep, let me introduce you to Ghana, where just about everyone is a believer.

Ghana is thinking of expanding their prisons because the existing prisons are congested, meaning crime rate keep soaring without regards to the ever increasing numbers of preachers. The lovers of mathematics will say that preachers are directly proportional to criminals.

Back to where I veered off, it is a fact not anecdotal evidence that far more than half of the Ghanaian population wish they could sleep and wake up somewhere in the above countries (Norway, Netherlands and Sweden). Why? Because they can see honey and milk flowing in those lands filled with atheists—irony right! These countries have made it because they do not allow criminals to go scot free in the name of religion, neither do they wait for God to do for them what they can do themselves. Also, they don’t see their dreams in the West and continue chasing it in the East.

Am I theist? Yes—I believe in ‘NAWUNI,’ when I am with the Latinos I call Him Dios. You may call Him the Almighty...then what's my problem?

My problem is that my country can be better off if it becomes a party to the Universal law of cause and effect; realizes that God is on all sides, and that we can only reap what we sow; and that we will only get somewhere if we stop promoting hatred, killing, extortion, laziness, noise pollution etc. using religion as the proponent.