I n our very own experiences as small boys and right up to something like the late 1970s, both in Nigeria and worldwide, to say that someone is a Christian was almost same as to say that s/he is a civilized person! It was similar to saying that someone is a sportsman, at least in relation with athletics, and such other truly civilized games as lawn tennis, squash racquet, etc; but surely not with boxing, wrestling and such other routinely hard drug-intake inducing company games; or of popular music circles! Much of Europe and North America were dominantly Christian at those times; and so, the word “civilized”, almost always only referred to them. In those places, people loved one another, protected as well as supported the underprivileged to live meaningful lives. They did these freely, as a matter of deeply in-bred culture, and not in order to fulfil some law or the other. In other words, the injunctions of Christianity on charity was deeply assimilated and practiced, neither obsequiously as for the leading Jews of Jesus time, nor in order to fulfil some laws as practiced in both Judaism and so many other similar (or, you may say, more) primitive religions! Thus in Europe, North America and the different segments of the “civilizing” world where this Christian civilization held sway, when Christian feasts (especially Christmas and Easter) are coming, commercial sales were held by many business outfits for the purpose of making sure that these other poor people are able to buy any things as others are buying, for the shared happiness of the season. These sales were genuine, as the materials are actually sold at their less-than-current-sale-value prizes.
However, as many will now know, neither Europe nor North America is anymore truly Christian! The dominant religion in those places is the current Secular Humanism of the Western World. Living in Canada in 1983 and 84, I shared a house with a Canadian young man who informed me that the West is now living in the post-Christian era, as Christianity had failed to meet the material needs of their “modern man”. Everything that people went to the churches (or any other religious, “so-called God-believing” places) to look for and to pray to God for, has become supplied by science and technology. Thus, none of their civilized people would be holding any so-called God-believers other than as the previous uncivilized men of old; or at the least, civilized only up to the now well overtaken Christian civilization time! He opined that for civilized people of the modern Europe and North America, there is nothing wrong with going to church. However, they only really do so because it has become only a place to go for socialization and entertainment; to meet some of your friends regularly and to have more meaningful fellowship over tea, coffee and cookies, after the “church services”! He received the monthly American Humanist magazine, to which he had subscribed and, which he studied as for any other (religious) scriptures.
Even though this fanatical and imperialist Secular Humanist religion is the main thing that has destroyed Europe and North America spiritually and psycho-socially, it is not the only one. But that other (equally fanatical and very primitively imperialistic religion) factor, will have to be a discussion issue for another day! As for all the bad things in the world, while Christianity could to all intents and purposes still be thought as having not been assimilated and become the culture in Nigeria and most of Africa by the time that this new Western Secular Humanist culture came on board, Nigerians were faster in preferring and advancing themselves in it than the better civilized Christianity of the old Western world. Thus, Nigerians grew so fast with these Western new age religion of Secular Humanism that even their new age churches have become centres of these Secular Humanist materialism, clothed with bible passages! Other local religions are fast following the same trends of rabid materialism and mere social entertainment in their various places of religious services!!
Thus, when festive Christian seasons are coming, instead of seeking how to assist the poor and underprivileged to be part of the celebrations, these and other so-copying Nigerians will try their best to exploit and extort everybody, the rich and the poor alike, to make maximum money from them – by creating artificial scarcity instead of the age-long true commercial sales. When they mount any sales at all, these are so false that only a definite open armed robbery would be worse than what they actually end up doing. For some, all they do (for example, in the computer shops) is to bring out obsolete or nearly obsolete printers, etc, and put them up for prizes that are still very much higher than they could ever be; but seemingly cheap in the eyes of those not familiar with the market. If you buy those, like the printers, the ink in them very rapidly finish, etc, etc; and they actually end up being more expensive to run for you than if you had bought any of the seemingly extremely costlier modern ones that of course were not put on sales by those people. What a fraud! Others bring long discarded clothes and put similar prizes, which would amount to selling those clothes at costs far higher than they ought to; but seemingly low prized in relation with the more modern clothes. The saga with hoarding such things as petrol and hiking of road transportation beyond even the artificially inflated fuel prizes due to the hoarding, and literally bleeding the poor people in this regard, monetarily to death, is great. These poor people, more than anybody else, have to travel to their native homes to share the feast with their loved ones; and these anti-Christian exploitations become a sources of much suffering, instead of the joy that these Christian feasts are supposed to foster for everybody!
So, one will ask, where is the Christianity in these misery-causing people? Even in Europe and North America, they are still having genuine commercial sales there at these seasons. They do so because, in spite of everything, there is still some elements of genuine Christianity left in those places. The lessons of these include the one that those of us who intend to continue to be truly Christians must wake up and deeply learn as well as assimilate what it takes to be truly Christian. In that way, we will not only not be part of these fraudulent behaviours but join in doing all we can to educate others about its evil, their incompatibility with the Christian civilization as well as become part of reducing and bringing them to an end altogether. May God Himself assist us in embracing and succeeding in this very much needed Christian task, through Christ our Lord. Amen.