In close to a century, nothing has threatened the world like the novel Coronavirus. The last time the world was under this much threat was during the Second World War of 1939-1944 where many nations had to engage in warfare and deal wth consequent famine, hunger and diseases. According to history, Africa and a few other parts of the world was hardly as invested in the war like Europe and America. Besides the forced recruitment of hundreds of thousands of West African soldiers, hardly was there a detonation of bombs in the region.
Today, the whole world is at the mercy of the Coronavirus which originated from the Chinese province of Wuhan and has spread to different parts of the world. People are getting infected by the virus in hundreds of thousands. Panic and fear is in the hearts of many as they are expected to walk around with face masks and hand gloves and adhere to the consistent use of hand sanitizers. Global economy is on the path to a meltdown since people have been advised by their respective governments to observe social distancing and stay home to avoid further spread of the virus. Offices, churches, mosques, markets and other public places are all shutting down as a result.
This scenario kind of reminds me of the 2011 Hollywood movie, Contagion, directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Matt Damon, Lawrence Fishburne and Kate Winslet. The movie whose plot and theme is so similar to what we are being faced today explored a situation where a similar pandemic overtook the whole world killing many and causing social anarchy until a vaccine was eventually discovered. I recently read that in the last few weeks due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, the movie has become more popular on streaming services across the world.
According to recent data collected by Worldometer, the global number of Coronavirus cases is now at 1, 288, 961. At least 70, 595 have died while about 272, 074 people have recovered as at Monday, April 6. Nigeria seems to be one of the worst-hit in Africa with a growing 232 confirmed cases and the unfortunate death of no less than 5 persons, according to data provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
With no imminent solution in sight, some religious leaders have formulated a theory that the virus was allowed by God so as to remind humans how great a God he is. I’m not sure how exactly that makes sense or how someone could actually spew that type of rubbish thought hoping for people to buy into that. These religious leaders have contributed nothing to ameliorating the fears, but leaving the doctors working tirelessly to care for the infected and the scientists to seek for a cure.
Come to think of it, wasn’t these, the same religious leaders who on the eve of the new year promised their followers bountiful blessings, prosperity and success, brandishing slogans such as “2020, My Year Of Dominion” and “2020, The Year Of Outstanding Enlargement?” Unfortunately, 2020 had a different plan for earth’s inhabitants. I’m still waiting to hear from those of them who made us think that they were so close to God that they could be having breakfast, lunch and dinner with him. One had actually thought that by now, they would publicly have conjured a ‘mighty’ fire to consume the virus. Or maybe, go into the spiritual realm to dismantle the ‘spiritual forces behind the virus’ or whatever nonsense propaganda they would have thought up to deceive their members.
At the beginning of the year, many of them released so-called predictions and prophecies of things that would happen in the course of the year. I wonder why none of them saw in their visions, the damage the virus was going to cause the world. They sure didn’t see their religious houses shutting down for even one day, but here we are today.
The age-long contest between science and religion returns to the fore, but this time, religion has failed to provide a solution at a time when its adherents need it the most. Left to religion, we may never have known what we are dealing with as the pandemic would have been mistakenly explained as demonic attacks. I’ve even heard a pastor claim the virus was God’s attempt at redirecting people’s to Him. Very laughable, I must say. I sincerely believe the current situation on ground has exposed religion for the scam that it is and brings to question some of practices and doctrines religion has taught over the years.
All eyes are now on science and orthodox medicine and not religion or its proponents. It’s funny how, since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, rumours of possible cures have been linked to scientific/medical interventions. Apart from a few times that religious peoples have called for fasting and prayers, there’s hardly a dependence on religion providing the much-desired cure. People are all patiently waiting for good news to come from medical labs since the holy waters, anointing oils, amulets and Misbaha (Islamic prayer beads) can not do much.
It’s amazing how miracle-working pastors who claim to have healed their members of cancer, HIV/AIDS and other terminal diseases are nowhere to be found. Even the one whose video went viral after he declared his intention to spiritually go to China to destroy the virus is no more heard from. Perhaps he is still on the way.
Through the course of history, the world has faced several epidemics and pandemics, and science, not a religion, has always come to the rescue. Flu, Smallpox, Influenza, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Cholera, Leprosy and others have at different times killed millions of people around the globe and at each time, orthodox medicine was always the solution. If tomorrow, the labs discover a cure, no one should come to tell us that the knowledge and wisdom finding the cure was given by God. If that were to be the case, it would have made sense for God to have related the cure to the clerics instead, as a way of giving some sort of assurance to the adherents of the religion, thereby increasing their faith.
Today, all we can do is but hope for a cure, regardless of the source. While we await that, it is important to keep ourselves safe by observing social-distancing and other precautions. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with putting your hands together to pray, but I can assure you that simply applying hand sanitizers and washing those hands with common soap and water will keep you safer in these perilous times.
Written by Victor Enengedi
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