A young white man called Theo recently read a short speech to his friends in the presence of his family. He wrote that he had not always thought that God was necessary. He summarised in a nutshell a question that is at the core of this modern society – Is God necessary?
In England today, Christians are viewed as having unpopular/outdated views on topics such as euthanasia, abortion, homosexuality and divorce. Even though the United Kingdom, UK, is built on Christian principles, there are generations of Christians who have never been to Sunday school. Children with atheist parents also become agnostic and atheist in due course. The school is not really the place for any great teaching of Christianity, as teachers are required to teach all six major religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism) in non-church schools and must not seek to convert/influence young minds to any religion. Most people (white British) are inadvertently atheist and secular in their orientation.
Nigerians who come to England for the first time are initially appalled at the apparent lack of morals. Images of men holding hands, girls kissing at bus stops, and sights of lovers (heterosexuals) who should be getting a room caressing each other intimately at public spaces leave little to the imagination. For many, their souls are grieved. For others, after a while, they blend into the lifestyle and accept the culture.
Christianity is certainly under-appreciated and misunderstood in England today. It is often thought by the African that White British have no need of God. They do as they please as truth, for them, is relative and subjective. The emptiness of their churches across the nation attests to this. When you do attend a typical Anglican or Methodist service, the living Word of God is not preached. The sermons are as dead as the souls of the few who attend.
The case for God is not helped by anti-Christian high profile cases, such as a judge who overturned centuries of custom by stopping a council in Devon from putting prayers on the formal agenda. Also, two Christian guesthouse owners failed in an attempt to overturn a £3,600 fine imposed on them for refusing – because it was against their religious beliefs – to allow a gay couple to occupy a double room. There is more! A British Airways stewardess was banned from wearing a cross at work and an NHS nurse was suspended for offering to pray for a patient. It is no wonder that practising Christians feel shy to share their beliefs with colleagues at work. They know the thin line between professionalism and unprofessionalism.
England, a country with proud heritage of missionaries like David Livingstone, Mary Slessor, William Cavery, John Bunyan, John Wesley, Hudson Taylor and many more, now finds itself with an established majority who feel they do not need God. When did they turn their back on God, or have they? Why would Brits need God? They don’t need Him for electricity as they enjoy uninterrupted power supply. They enjoy good roads and, above all, each citizen is assured – by a social contract – of the minimum from the government.
Life expectancy in the UK overall is 80.5 per cent. For men it is 78.1 per cent, for women it is 82.1 per cent. In Nigeria, the overall life expectancy is 46.9 per cent. For men, it’s 46.4 per cent and for women, 47.3 per cent. This roughly suggests why Nigerians need God more than the Brits. Furthermore, the march of secularism means Britain may no longer be a Christian country in just 20 years. If the trend continues, the number of non-believers is set to overtake the number of Christians by 2030. Christianity is losing more than half a million believers every year, while the count of atheists and agnostics is going up by almost 750,000 annually.
Research by the House of Commons Library found that while Christianity has declined, other religions have seen sharp increases. In the last six years, the number of Muslims has surged by 37 per cent to 2.6 million; Hindus by 43 per cent and Buddhists by 74 per cent. But the number of Sikhs and Jewish believers fell slightly.
The researchers said the number of Christians had only held up to the extent it has because of high levels of immigration over the last decade. It would seem that African churches are bursting at their seams to cater for the increasingly large African population in city capitals across the UK. Again, this trend is understandable. Most Nigerians feel alienated from the culture in this country and are not fully integrated into the culture and value system of the Brits. For example, the concept of African time at Nigerian occasions is the norm as opposed to the exception. Africans need God here primarily for their immigration reasons. They need God to help them achieve some lasting success in the white man’s land. They need a place to go at the end of each working week where they can hear music and dance from home. The white man has no clear need of intergration and adapation. In this sense, it is arguable that Nigerians in the UK need God more.
Is God necessary for the Brits? Most Africans who rent meeting rooms in pubs in extreme cases fail to convince white folks with their life styles that God is necessary. A Pentencostal African has no qualms using someone else’s identity to work or behaving in ways which are fraudulent. This tells the white man and indeed all others that the black man’s god needs assistance.
In Nigeria, it is falsely assumed that given the preponderance of churches in Nigeria’s South, there would be less corruption, more productivity and more integrity. We all know this is not true. Anecdoctal evidence suggests that God is perhaps more able to fight spiritual battles than changing the mindset of a materialistic people who worship gods of money and things money can buy.