By Fred M’membe
True religions and religious are now very rare to come by. or (Increasingly, true religion is becoming difficult to identify)
Religious hypocrisy and fanaticism have become the order of the day in Zambia.
These trends negate the cores of religion. What we see today is the growing fake religious practices, bitter religious superiority contestation, chaos, intolerance and tension.
The current motives of religions and the religious are now rather human, unethical, biased and materialistic. Thus, the emerging endemic religious issues are fuelled by narrow politics and capitalism confronting nations like Zambia.
A nation free from religious hypocrisy and fanaticism is bound to be truly religious and tap hugely from the rich prospects of religion, rather than the current otherwise obtained in Zambia and the like nations.
The ugly developmental calls for wide aggressive religious re-orientation and reformation are rather misplaced and misguided.
What best accounts for this course is religious hypocrisy and fanaticism. The situation presents contradictions to the thrust of religion – morality, faith, pragmatism and ethics.
Religion thus appears to have digressed from their classical precepts, thrust, vision, mission and goals. Also, it thus seems to be an irony or a dilemma of a societal institution tied to faith, clothed with pretence and the reverse of what they preach.
Zambia, a religious nation, is rather plagued with religious woes, even worse than those of the biblical Egyptian plagues on being recalcitrant to Israelites’ freedom demand and order, perhaps her people – Zambians – are guilty of worse heinous sins and sacrileges, not just against God Almighty but humanity too, than the then Egyptians’ and Sodom/Gomorra’s. The paradox is that a nation of religiousity without religion is bound to be distressed by religion. It is not an overstatement to note that only barely 5 percent of Zambians, like her ‘religious chameleon’ contemporaries elsewhere, are truly religious, while others are religious hypocrites, fanatics, entrepreneurs and capitalists, preaching and spreading the negative of classical religious tenets, precepts, mission, visions, goals and what have you.
Who has ever seen God physically? If none, why then do we hate one another, God’s physical representatives yet claim we know/love God?
Hypocrisy is claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behaviour does not conform; pretense. In fact, the ancient Greek word comes from the word for a stage actor or one who wears a mask. It is not necessarily the fact that the sin that makes them a hypocrite, it’s the fact that they don’t acknowledge it. They don’t admit that their lives contradict what they say. They are inauthentic and imposters. They teach one thing and live the opposite.
Combatting hypocrisy was a passion for Jesus. In fact, much of Matthew 23 is dedicated to this topic. Here are some excerpts:
“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: ‘The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for people to see…
“‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
“‘Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.’”
Jesus took hypocrisy very seriously. Many people who claim to be Christians don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Perhaps they are Christian in name only.
A Christian is called to grow in faith and progress to being more like Christ.
It is not hypocritical to fall. It is hypocritical to deny that you fell and pretend that you were successful.
A Christian is called to live a life of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (Colossians 3:12).