Work Is Busy
In the United States, as in many other developed nations, religion takes on less precedence. This is often not the case when in developing countries. Take Africa, where I am right now and Nigeria specifically. A number of months ago, I made a trip up to Kano, the major city in northern Nigeria. One day, it was a Friday, I went out exploring the city with some friends and associates and we stopped by a mosque. ‘Time for prayer’ they said, ‘Kingston wait here with our friend.’ They warned me not to run off.
Me being who I am, that was the temptation. Of course kidnappers were abound and foreigners are a prime target, which is another reason. But the point, while idling outside, I noticed what seemed to be the entire city go to prayer. No engine, no horn, the chattering of people, noise in the markets. Nothing. Silence. In over 20 countries, it was my first time witnessing such an occurrence.
I reflect now on this experience and think to myself this would never happen in the developed world. People would be too busy rushing off to appointment after appointment to have the time to pause in the middle of the day, stop everything and pray.
Poverty Breeds Prayer
Moreover, in the destitute poverty that is faced by many of the residents of Kano, the rest of Nigeria and Africa as a whole, people have a lot to pray for when their future not only seems so uncertain, but bleak and hopeless as well. I think it can be argued that when people are powerless in their situation, they’ll look to means beyond their power. In this case, a big guy up there.
But in the developed world, things are so… comfortable, jobs are readily available, any material possessions you want are available at the tap of a button. So in regards to our earthly lives, what is there to pray for? There’s no place for God.
To try to put some comprehension to what I’m trying to convey, what one can infer is this; if you really want to know religion and are from the west, perhaps it’s time to go for a pilgrimage.
Kingston S. Lim
April 8, 2022