Religions and Their Different Practices
Nigeria, a large country with a teeming population of over 200 million people, is a multi-cultural society in which religion has taken a deep root. The greatest and most popularly practiced faith in Nigeria is Christianity, while the second one is the Islamic religion. There is also the traditional religion of paganism (the worship of idols) in many parts of Nigeria – especially in the rural and underdeveloped communities. These three religions are popular in Nigeria – each having its own adherents. Now, let’s take a closer look at these three religions/systems of worship and their practices.
The Traditional Religion of Paganism
This system of worship is the first that was practiced by most African people before the missionaries brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to Africa. While most of the people have now left paganism behind, there are still some who hold on to their traditional beliefs in idols. Even though they have no assurance of the forgiveness of sins, the salvation of sins or eternal life like Christ offers – yet they chose to remain loyal to their idols.
Their practices include things like worship of man-made wooden or metal idols, masquerade dance festivals, satanic rituals to appease dead ancestors, initiations into idolatrous cults, necromancy, fortune telling, divination, etc.
Islam is a religion whose founder, Mohammed, claims to be the last prophet God will ever send to the people of the earth. The Islamic religion spread to Africa through the use of coercion and forced submission; although it is practiced in many parts of the country, it is mostly practiced in the northern part of Nigeria and in the past few years has been radicalized by some of its members (a sect called Boko Haram) whose primary goal is to force everyone to convert to Islam and submit to the teachings of Islam’s prophet using the tool of terrorism.
Islam’s adherents are called Muslims. Their religious practices include ablution (washing their hands, feet, mouth, and face before entering into the mosque), the use of prayer mats and prayer beads in worship, recitation of and meditation on the Quran, animal rituals, etc. Islam also gives room for polygamy and does not forbid its adherents from getting involved in occultism, diabolism, or paganism. As a matter of fact, Islam derives its [spiritual] power from diabolism and other fetish practices. Also, it forbids women from having leadership roles to play in the mosque and relegates them to the backbench. Muslims do not wear shoes into their mosque and do not allow the use of chairs in their mosque but only sit on the floor during their services.
Christianity is a system of worship/faith that was brought about by Jesus Christ – whom Christians accept and believe to be the Son of God. Christianity is the only faith that offers real forgiveness of and salvation from sins, victory over the forces of darkness, healing and deliverance from sicknesses and diseases, etc. as was rightly demonstrated by Jesus in His earthly days [as is recorded in the Bible]. Beginning from Jerusalem in Israel – this faith has spread to most parts of the earth through the efforts of missionaries who went out of their homelands in order to tell the other people of the world about the love and the kindness of God toward all men.
Christianity is the most popular and most accepted faith today because it provides people a foretaste of the heavenly glories it promises in the Bible. It also leaves people with the free will to make their choices and does not force itself upon people. As a matter of fact, the Christian faith is the bedrock of democracy in national governments.
Its practices include public confession of faith in Jesus as the Son of God, one-time baptism in water, the regular taking of the Holy Communion [as instituted by Jesus Christ in the Bible]. It also teaches and warns its members against getting involved in paganism, diabolism, and occultism – making them realize that those who practice such are ignorantly siding with satan and will not inherit the kingdom of God. Christianity derives its power from the Word of God and the Spirit of God Himself; Christians, therefore, do not need to get involved with dark practices of any kind in order to get what they desire in life.
It is a system of worship and relationship with God through faith – which is simply believing in the Word of God and acting on whatever He says to do. It sets people free from the bondage of sin and darkness and gives them true peace and joy in their lives – which is one of the reasons why it has more people converting to it than the other religions in Nigeria.