It was the German sociologist and economic theorist, Karl Marx, who in his work “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right,” said religion is the opium of the masses. Marx’s argument in that cerebral work was that religion reduces people’s immediate suffering and provide them with pleasant illusions which gives them the strength to carry on.
Today, some religious leaders, especially the “miracle pastors”, take advantage of the gullibility, ignorance and naivety of their members to shove all manner of false doctrines down their throats. Some pastors tell their congregants to do all manner of unthinkable things if they wished to be healed of whatever sickness that was afflicting them, and also if they wished to make heaven.
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For instance, a South African preacher, Lesego Daniel, who is the pastor at Rabboni Centre Ministries in Pretoria, South Africa, made members of his church eat grass so they can be closer to God. Not done, the same pastor at another occasion, asked his congregants to drink petrol, claiming it will turn to pineapple juice, which will cause miracles to happen in their lives. Needless to say on both occasion, the congregants threw up, with some others stooling uncontrollably, especially after consuming the petrol.
Another South African pastor was alleged to have caused members of his End Time Disciples Ministries in Pretoria to eat from the hair of a female member, claiming that the patch of hair could turn to whatever food the congregants desired, insisting that “Everything depends on what we say because we carry life in our tongue”.
In 2014, Reverend Njohi of the Lord’s Propeller Redemption Church ordered female members of his church not to put on any form of underwear when coming to church if they wanted Christ to enter into their lives. He told the members that they needed to be free in body and spirit to receive Christ. The Reverend, who advised mothers to ensure their daughters complied with the order, added a subtle threat by warning the female members that there would be dire consequences if they attempted to secretly wear undergarments.
There was also the case of a Kenyan-based Nigerian, simply identified as Pastor Chijioke who is the spiritual head of Breast and Honey Harvest Church. What a name! He claims to “deliver” women by sucking their breasts. It took the undercover efforts of a female on air personality (OAP) of 99.0 Hero FM in Nakuru, Kenya, Joyce Vobis to expose the shameless pastor and what he was doing.
One of the most recent cases of the bizarre things some supposed “Men of God” do, happened in Nigeria, recently. In a video that has gone viral, a certain Pastor Noah Ade Abraham was charging the sum of N310,000 as “rapture fee” to prepare members of his congregation for heaven. He claims it was God who directed him to collect the sum of N310,000 from each of his followers interested in making heaven.
According to reports, Abraham has his operational base in Kaduna but later moved to Kabba in Kogi State before eventually establishing what he called a “departure” camp at Araromi-Ugbesi in Omuo-Oke in Ekiti State, where he is “preparing” his members for heaven. His departure camp, which can be likened to the departure lounge in an airport, is called Christ High Commission.
Exploiting the gullibility of his members, Abraham told his members he is commissioned by God to prepare mankind for heaven here on earth and that paradise will be in Ekiti State. He has about 40 members — some of whom sold their personal belongings to raise the N310,000 — staying at the camp.
The kingdom of God is clearly not for sale and no man, certainly not Noah Abraham, has authority to grant mortals access to heaven so, what he is doing is a clear case of religious manipulation and extortion that should be roundly condemned. Fortunately, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has disowned him.
It is equally gratifying to note that the Police has waded into the matter and has invited the “Man of God” for questioning. The case should be thoroughly investigated and if found guilty, Noah Abraham should be made to face the wrath of the law.
That way the message will be sent out loud and clear to other fake prophets — who confuse their congregants with wrong doctrines as well as those who sell items of worship to their members, with the false claim that they will make heaven — that it is no longer business as usual.
Members of such churches should also note that the Kingdom of God is not for sale and should be wary of pastors who instil in them the erroneous belief that with money they can gain access to heaven.