Religion: A Threat to National Security

RELIGION… A threat to National Security.
Mariam Webster defines religion as the belief in god or in a group of gods: an organised system of beliefs, ceremonies and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods: an interest, a belief or an activity that is very important to a person or group.
Religion is a cultural system of behaviours and practices, world views, ethnic and social organisation that relate humanity to an order of existence.
About 84% of the world’s population is affiliated with one of the five largest religions, namely, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or folk religion. Though the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally. Many of the unaffiliated still have various religious belief. About 16% of the world’s population is religiously unaffiliated.
However, Religion in whatever form be it from individual and social point of view is supposed to perform the following roles/functions and attempt to ignore any or do anything contrary to these is a threat to our society.
Religion provides mental peace: human life is uncertain. He struggles for his survival amidst the uncertainties, insecurities and dangers, sometimes he feels helplessness. It is the religion which consoles and encourages him in all such time of crises. A religion gives right shelter to him and gets mental peace and emotional supports.
It inculcates social virtues: religion promotes the major social virtues like truth, honesty, non-violence, service, love, discipline etc. a follower of the religions internalises these virtues and becomes disciplined citizens of the society.
Religion promotes social solidarity: religion gives rise to the spirit of brotherhood. Durkheim viewed that religion strengthen social solidarity. A.W Geen also pointed out that religion has the supremely integration and verifying force in human society. It is true that common belief, common sentiment, common worship, participation in common rituals etc. are the significant cementing factors which strengthen unity and solidarity.
Religion converts the animal qualities to human qualities: religion indicates the spirit of self-service. It demands that people should be charitable and benevolent. Through various religious experiences he forgets the worldly life and problems. This experience suppresses the animal desires and converts the animal qualities of man to human qualities.
Religion is an agent of socialization and social control:  parsons viewed that religion is one of the most important agents of socialization and social control. It has significant role in organising and directing social life. It helps in preventing social norms and strengthening social control. As an informal means, religion regulates the activities of people in its own way. Organisation like temples, mosques, churches, Gurudwaras etc. also control the behaviour of the individuals at different level.
Religion Promotes Welfare: religion teaches to the people to serve the masses and promote their welfare. It gives message that “the service to humanity is service to God”. For this reason, people spend money to feed the poor and needy. Great religions like Hinduism, Islam and Christianity etc. put emphasis on alms-giving to the poor and beggars. It develops the philanthropic attitude of the people and thereby injects the idea of mutual help and co-operation.
Religion Gives Recreation: religion plays a charming role in providing recreation to the people. Religious rites and festivals are more or less performed in every religion which gives relief to the people from mental exertion. Similarly, religious lectures, bhajans, kirtans, musical concerts followed by the utterance of hymn etc. gives much pleasure to the people and provides eternal recreation.
Religion influences economy: sociologists like Sombart and Max Weber rightly established the relationship of religion with economic system. Weber observed the influence of protestant ethnics in the development of capitalism.
Religion influences political system: religion has played a significant role in political system in the ancient and medical society. Even in modern times in many countries of the world the religions directly and indirectly influences political activities.
Religion strengthens self-confidence: religion is an effective means to strengthen self-confidence. There are certain beliefs like ‘work is worship’, ‘duty is divine’, ‘result is predestined’ etc. which is found in various religions gives strength to the individual and promotes self-confidence.
National Security is a concept the government along with its parliaments should protect the states and its citizens against all kinds of national crises through a variety of power projections such as political power, diplomacy, economic power, military might and so on.
However, in the name of securing the lives and properties in some places of worship, security officials (not the military personnel) have become a threat to people nearby. I don’t want to be seen as a religion bigot because I want to say it base on what I saw here in the North Eastern part of this country and if there is anyone whose opinion is contrary to mine should please feel free to contact me.
I once did a post on my wall on the 25th December, 2015 as I was travelling on that fateful Friday afternoon from one state to another both in the North Eastern part of the country when I saw some group of young guys with machetes, sticks, sickles, and locally made guns all in the name of guarding their place of worship. These ‘red eyed’ guys looks so scaring because I believe they must have taken something to make them look that way (scary, fearless and heartless). Though the barricaded roads in some places of worship at their time of worship has become a norm in Nigeria due to the recent attacks by the insurgents but all the same, I think even as we do this, we should also consider others who need access to the road at that point in time and not to barricade the whole road for as long as the prayer/worship last.
In some places of worship, security personnel do not longer play their roles thereby allowing thugs to act on their behalf. This is however resulting to insecurity in the society because people who dwell in such areas lives in fear as they know that anything can happen at any point in time.
The security personnel should please look into this issue and swing into action immediately in order to curtail this menace and make our society a haven for every law abiding citizens.
The Nigerian constitution has given room to every individual to freedom of religion (choosing a religion that is suitable for one).
Even as the constitution has given us the privilege of freedom of religion, should religion be a threat to our National Security as majority of Nigerians do not believe in other people’s religion and have no respect for other religion?


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