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Monday, 22 August 2011

Virtues, Values, & Morals

The words values, virtues and morals are fast becoming endangered aspects of our changing society that seem to have more time for what my wife would describe as 'bread and butter', a euphemism for material things. I was having one of those weekend with a bit of a writer's block having being busy working on a research work, but then I took time off to read some of my favourites blogs, with no particular preference I went on to NIL and it didn't disappoint to reawaken my writer's instinct to reflect. Without repeating the story that generated a lot of interest on the blog, it exposed the fading values of contentment which made me to also reflect about the message of the sermon in church on Sunday. The priest reminded us about having a moral compass that is based on faith.

The trouble with morality based on faith is the church itself is becoming morally bankrupt and you wonder how it can continue to be a custodian of a moral code. I'll shed more light on how I think the church seem to be losing the plot ~ it is common knowledge that some churches are in the vanguard of promoting 'prosperity' to a level that has never been seen before. I have nothing against anyone seeking or doing things to have a 'better' life but I have an issue when it is not done in a way that puts things into perspective. I have difficulty reconciling the fact that a man will live in affluence at the expense of some of his followers who live in poverty. Is there not a danger that the messages of values, virtues and morality could well be diluted to promote a more populist message of get-rich or die-hard trying? Sometimes it reminds me of Guyana Tragedy, a movie I watched many years ago based on the November 1978 mass suicide of 913 people at the South American religious "colony" of Jonestown. Perhaps a topic for another day but the point I'm trying to make is that if a part of society that is supposed to be a beacon for moral compass is itself fast losing ground then we do have a problem.

It would be unfair and simplistic to lay on the door steps of the church all of society's problem which is clearly not what I'm doing or intend doing been a christian myself. This is where family and individual responsibility becomes very important. Unfortunately the challenges of modern times leading to increasing breakdown in family values; schools that have been stripped of any power of discipline and good behaviour; and society, both western and Nigeria, I have to say that celebrates mediocrity, have meant that personal responsibility is sadly a commodity that is in very short supply these days.

But I'm hopeful ~ hopeful that we are gradually reaching a tipping point where we need to undo the many wrongs that has led us to where we are. I say this as a father of two young children and also for every child out there, for whom I constantly worry about the world they will grow into. A world on one hand that preaches hardwork and education as pre-requisite for success and on the other hand turns a blind eye to ill-gotten wealth, reinforcing the mantra 'the end justifies the means'. The words of the holy scripture which states  "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Pr22:6) are very much still there as a starting point to act as a springboard in restoring values, virtues and morals but ofcourse only if we are prepared to use them.

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  1. Thanks for the mention.

    As usual, you have implored us to raise our children the right way. I hear you - and support you - because that is the only way we can change things.

    However, the spirit of competition and envy pushes a lot of Nigerians to live beyond their means - Ignoring what is right as they choose to do what is easier.

    I drove past a 'Nigerian' church on Sunday - and as usual I was accosted with young girls with strapless dresses, 6-inch heels and enough make-up to shame a street -walker.

    Call me old fashioned, cynical or just a cranky old woman .....but I do think most religious Nigerians are hypocrites.

    Parents dont even ask their young sons the source of their wealth; Mothers turn a blind eye when their daughters juggles multiple boyfriends and children spend all their time on the playground comparing whose dad is richer. Our elders have a lot to answer for.

  2. @NIL, you are definitely not old fashioned, trust me. If that is the way to reverse the decline in our value system then so be it. I like the line 'our elders have a lot to answer for', indeed they do including myself but at least I'm doing my bit in my own little corner.

  3. Hmmm...I usually attend the Nigerian churches near me for sociability, the moral compass is so low to be honest. I say Amen to yours and NIL prayers.

  4. Most churches are gradually loosing moral ground in a lot of areas. It has become a case of catering to what the masses want and trends and not about what God wants. Everyday we see people doing things in the name of Christianity that makes it seem like a farce.

    People seeking God/coming to church for their regular doses of motivational sermons on 'how to make it' and neglecting morals/virtues aspect of Christian living.

    Our society certainly doesn't help. Contentment is no longer being preached and this is derailing the values which come with it. But the onus lies on parents and caretakers to salvage what has been gradually destroyed. It really has to start from me and you

  5. @ Myne Whitman, I say another Amen

    @ Stelzz, I completely agree with you. As much as we highlight these issues, we are as responsible as everyone else to restore our lost values.

  6. With many churches preaching and focusing on the value of material wealth and pastors living 'the life', it is no surprise that contentment appears to be a dirty word these days. People need a 'back to basics' focus on what matters - family, good friends, honesty, kindness and making a difference in our own lives and communities. Making a difference is not always about how much one has got in the bank. Can I hear someone say amen?

  7. @Adura Ojo, I say Amen to that and thanks for stopping by -:)



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