Should we pray to win or play to win?

In the game of life, there are 3 types of countries in the world: 1. the praying nations; 2. the playing nations; and 3. the praying-playing nations.

To which group do you think Nigeria belongs? Just wait a while; let us list the features of these groups.

Members of the praying nations are countries where religious zealotry and intolerance run high. The citizens hide their laziness and cowardice under religion. They do little or nothing and leave everything to God to do. Consequently, corruption, killings, maladministration and poverty run high in these countries.

On the other hand, the playing nations are the countries that believe strongly in the efficacy of hard work. They play hard, and pay little or no attention to religion.

The third group, which is the praying-playing nations, believes that hard work achieves better result when combined with prayers. The countries in this group believe that man should do his best and then allow the unseen hand to come in where the wisdom or strength of man cannot reach.

If we wish to expatiate on the features of these three groups, we can say that the praying nations are self-righteous, bigoted and intolerant of other faiths. They are blinded by religion, crippled by religion, and enslaved by religion. Once religion is mentioned, their sense of reasoning goes on leave. They fight for their deity, kill for him and destroy property in his name. Even among those of them that are not violent, religious discrimination against those who don’t share the same religion or denomination is high. A good candidate can easily be voted against just because of his religion or denomination even within the same faith. A less qualified candidate can be employed instead of a more qualified candidate purely because of the candidate’s religion or denomination.

They see their religious leaders as gods that can never go wrong. Nobody dares to criticise or question any act of the religious leaders. They therefore hero-worship them. Whatever their religious leaders tell them to do is done without questioning.

Praying nations are very religious but usually ungodly. Bribery and corruption is rife in such countries. Service to humanity is almost non-existent. Citizens focus on taking care of themselves and their immediate family, which therefore leads to embezzlement of public funds as well as crimes of all sorts.

Superstition is rife in such countries. Everything has a spiritual interpretation. If a man is not successful in his life endeavours, he visits a religious leader, who immediately attributes it to a witch or wizard in the family, and goes on to prescribe a special deliverance session and some sacrifices. Depending on the type of the religious inclination of the religious leader, he may even recommend human sacrifice that will transform the man into a wealthy man. If one’s children are wayward or drug-addicted, it is attributed to witchcraft. If a woman cannot conceive or she has a child with Down syndrome or dyslexia, it is attributed to a demonic attack.

Citizens of these nations are lazy-minded. They have an unusual belief in miracle and magic, depending on the type of religion they profess. Based on religious conditioning, most people walk around believing that they can go to bed jobless and wake up as one of the richest people in the country, with many mansions across the globe, exotic cars and private jets, and companies in many countries of the world. Anybody who tries to reason with such people is accused of confessing negatively or having a poor mentality. Students spend all day browsing, chatting and pinging and yet pray to break exam records. People stay in their homes, complaining about the state of affairs in the country and believing that soon, the Almighty will send angelic warriors to destroy the leaders and make their country the dream land.

In spite of the high prayers and religiosity in the praying nations, they are among the poorest of the world. They are mainly Third-World countries that struggle with poverty and diseases. And it is not because their countries are not blessed with natural and human resources. It is just that there is so much ungodliness and greed in their land, which keep both the leaders and the led on a race to strip the nation of all its wealth. Some individuals may be super-rich but the country is poor and unsuccessful. The more the people pray, the poorer they become. The more religious they get, the more trouble in their land. This is because their claim to religious piety is fake.

However, the playing nations are different. They are nations that believe purely on working. They believe that religion is the opium of the masses. They believe that God does not exist, and that man has the capacity to achieve whatever he desires. They even make it a law that religion should not be practised within their nations. They dictate what human beings should think and believe in. This reduces the creativity of the people and makes them feel caged and controlled.

These countries also struggle but they are better than the praying nations, because the citizens are hardworking and productive, which makes the nation have some form of progress.

Some members of the playing nations recently realised the futility in suppressing people’s right to pursue their religious beliefs. They therefore relaxed their hold on religion and enterprise. This led to a boom in their growth and development.

In contrast to the two groups, the praying-playing nations are balanced. These are nations that combine religion with hard work and creativity. Citizens of these nations experience religious freedom and other forms of freedom. Religion is made a personal issue. People are first treated as human beings with dignity before anything else. Religious discrimination, religious oppression or religious violence is rarely heard of.

People in these nations don’t relinquish their duties and responsibilities to God on the pretext of religiosity. They commit themselves to working to develop themselves individually as well as build a peaceful, free, rich and progressive nation. They are less corrupt, more honest, more caring and more human-focused. They serve God and their fellow men with honesty. Even those among them who don’t believe in God are straight-forwarding and not victimised.

These nations prepare adequately for emergencies like natural disasters and epidemics but pray for deliverance. They don’t leave anything to chance.

Consequently, their nations are exemplary, rich, and developed. They are high on all human development indices like life expectancy, literacy, standards of living, and quality of life, and low on issues like infant mortality, maternal mortality, etc. Because of high development and freedom from religious persecution in these nations, citizens of the praying nations and playing nations flock to these countries. Ironically, once in a while, some citizens, especially from the praying nations, who have been welcomed into the praying-playing nations, end up polluting these nations with their religious intolerance, religious violence and religious exploitation. But they always arrest and deal with such people.

In summary, in the game of life, countries who merely pray to win always fail; countries who only play to win sometimes succeed; but countries who pray and play to win always succeed.

So to which group does Nigeria belong? Well, it is left for you to answer.