The traffic in Victoria Island is and has always been insane, so insane that it makes sense to stay a couple of hours at work to wait out the traffic and that was my case for 3 weeks during my Internship in my senior year. At the office, I fell across a book by Victor Ehikhamenor which was a combination of articles, short stories and his afri-centrenic artwork which at first look seems like “jagajaga”. One of his articles caught my eye which was an article that described a residential generator set as a family compound idol; the build of a shine/ cage, the correlation of electricity and happiness in the compound, our dependency on its utility, engineer and Voo-doo man for monthly divinations/servicing, the blood crude oil has spilled, palm oil/ engine oil, larger generators in wealthier families homes and finally the raw power a generator as an idol possess in reality and in perception.
Then in my final year, I heard a paradoxical fable of a group of Mid and Top executive level cooperate Manhattans gathered at an event against “child sacrifice” happening conveniently in east Africa, and the keynote speaker started with a jest about how they are also in the systematic practice of child sacrifice and more; they sacrifice almost all family time for career as a god, rippling to the kids pelting so much anger and bitterness as a best-case scenario which knocks off a couple of years and for some all.
In day to day life, there is nothing like atheism, we all worship; the human heart carries so much propensities to yearn for meaning of individual life, source of joy, value, and identity. If you don’t have a God, you have a tendency to take something else and put in that place where you fundamentally seek self-worth, actualization, purpose, and relevance. That’s a counterfeit god.
The tragic thing about a counterfeit god is that they are not bad things; they are sometimes good things that we have made ultimate. In the words of Saint Augustus “disordered Love” and a common case is putting career before family and the God you think you serve. The hierarchy of our love is disorder, and times have shown that anything in the place of god in a life not God is bound to steal your joy and peace eat you up.
Sometimes when we yearn for fame and money so much because they believe that’s where happiness, comfort, purpose, and relevance lies and usually when we attain a level of it. We realize quick that we are still unhappy as they were with additional stress, pressure and limitations which leads to depression for that class of people, its situations like these that arose the saying “be careful of what you wish for because you just might get it” or how some snarky writer puts it “if God wants to play a really practical joke on you, he grants you your deepest wish and giggles when you realize you want to kill yourself” we all know and some can assume that God doesn’t play practical jokes, but that quote just shows how our disordered our love is and seeking for peace where it isn’t in.
If you worship money, you would never have enough or feel you are enough, if you worship body and the idea of beauty, you will always feel ugly and when age shows you will die a million deaths before you actually die, if you worship the approval and affection of others, you will constantly feel like nothing, if you worship power you would always be afraid and feel weak with the need to take from others to numb you from your fear, if you worship intellect as always been seen smart, you will always feel stupid and a fraud always on the verge of being exposed.
Take time to listen to the lyrics and emotions put into love songs, so much to be said about depending on another broken, immortal and imperfect being for acceptance, happiness, and hope for peace. If you tweak minor lyrics in a love song it becomes a solid worship gospel song.
Timothy Keller, who is a theologian and pastor who has decades in counseling people has a book on systemic idol worship, where he gave examples on how mother’s sometimes tie their entire life worth to the outcome of their child which leads sometimes to pressure the child can’t bear and rebels which fails the mother, or the increased rate of suicides by wall street executives during the recent Housing Market crash because they worshipped money and the being seen as smart, depression of sport men at different levels when they have a career wreaking injury and occasionally pastors whose counterfeit god is the success of their ministry.
There was a lady who was a heavy drug user so much in her early 30s she was looking like she was in her late 40s, after intervention by a church and her therapist they discovered that the root cause of her depression and misery was because her teenage years were filled with pageantry, beauty, compliments, and adoration of men. That led to early marriage, several marriages, abuse that rippled to her hitting the lowest basement of rock bottom.
During one of her final sessions of therapy, the therapy in his best opinion advised that she should focus on having a career and build a business that would give her life more purpose, the therapist said this because it was a common practice these days and he was self-reflecting the importance career has on him to her. And her response was “all my life I have worshipped a female idol and you want to exchange that for a male idol to be gender binary minded. I want to primarily build a life on something that can’t let me down, that’s not based on my performance as my salvation, some God that loves me unconditionally and I don’t need to earn affection. Then everything else would follow” \
As she said to the therapist, I say to you.
Love and Peace
ABOUT AYOADE OMOLOLA
A PRETEND GENIUS WHO IS LOST IN THE WOODS HOPING TO BE FOUND BUT WEIRDLY AT PEACE BECAUSE HIS SPIRIT IS PART OF HIM WHO CREATED THE FOREST.
AYOADE OMOLOLA [@GODMANAYO] – TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM