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STACY M. AMEWOYI Writes: Breaking Free From Race, Religion & Hypocrisy – For Love To Prevail

I lost my dearest relationship to faith. We are both into each other but faith divides us. We’re both Christians but the beliefs of churches separate us. The other family wouldn’t accept me because I’m not a member of their church.

It’s an obligation for me, to first, be a part of them before acceptance into the family then marriage commences. If their relative decides to go ahead with the marriage without their approval, their hands will be forever washed off us. I live a life of love where nothing compromises the feeling I have for something, frankly, it was the strangest decision I had ever come across from a family. Yes, I cried, but to what extent, I just had to let it go. Can’t love simply be enjoyed? The belief in and worship of superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects is faith.

It is the complete trust in someone or something, a strong belief in the doctrines of a religion based on spiritual conviction rather than proof. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. It is in itself difficult and complicated to define as its leaders disagree with its definition given by any dictionary. Faith to me is simply believing in an object of worship. This is the case then; if we all believe in one object of worship, but find ourselves worshipping in different buildings, what then separates us from being together. The good books say, above all these things faith, hope and love but love exceeds them all.

Now I’m in love, but the inscription on the wall of a building determines who I need to be with. But if a member of this church goes on a journey, and on his way gets a drink from a person from another church, it is allowed. Hypocrisy at its highest peak.

When a person is able to feed, shelter and clothe another he doesn’t know, then why will the church become their stumbling block. It takes love first even before contacts are exchanged; family members are known than the church. Most people in their quest for love and life partners, unfortunately, do not find what they want in the women or men in their churches thus they look elsewhere. But when they are to find them, the church says no.

Why won’t the rate of divorce cases arise when men and women end up with people they don’t want? Hundreds are enduring marriages due to this situation; it’s simply unfair and a disgrace to our object of worship.

Religion also poses as a hindrance to love and interpersonal relationships. In Ghana, we have the Christian and Islamic religions well dominating the country. With both running their companies aside that of government, many have lost their jobs and sense of happiness. Religion is a socio-cultural system of designated behaviours and practices, moral, world views, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics or organizations that relate humanity to supernatural, transcendental or spiritual elements.

Some Muslims don’t want Christians at their workplaces, and vice versa, irrespective of your educational heights, your religious background declares your stands.  

If they don’t want you in their workplaces, who says they want you in their homes? Immediately the introduction is done and it’s made known the other is a Muslim or Christian, then after the marriage, “you’re not welcome in this house.” In some specs, there will be no marriage at all.

What are you people doing to love? In a Christian family, when a member finds the interest of joining the Islamic community then pack bag and baggage and enjoy your life, the same as the Muslims. It baffles my mind when all of a sudden parents forget the joy they felt at the birth of their young ones that, they are quick to relinquish them for the sake of beliefs and love. It’s pathetic. Faith and religion becoming the backbone of many fallen homes, relationships work and livelihood, stemmed out of tribalism. An Akan won’t want his child married to a particular tribe with reasons best known to him.

Two kids appeared on Steve Harvey’s show, a white boy and a black boy. They attend the same school and in the same class. Their school has this day they term as tweenie day. The white boy told his mother he wanted to look exactly like his friend as the school on that day for he believes both have same eyes and hair and that to him, makes them twins. His mother, therefore, bought him two shirts and called his teacher to make the black boy change into that same shirt so they look alike. In the video, one could see the happiness of these boys as they run around having fun.

They had since been seen in same outfits telling the world they are twins. Steve said something really profound on the show. He said, kids know nothing about differences until they are told. Until parents stop telling their kids to stop hanging out with kids from other tribes, they will never know how to segregate among themselves. They will grow to understand each other more and will embrace each other’s culture. Tribalism is the consciousness and loyalty, especially exaltation of a tribe above other tribes based on stereotypes relating to competition, conflict, disunity and violence. Dangers of tribalism affects the way, we think and behave toward one another. It affects the way we feel and make a judgement. People from my tribe are good, right, true, worthy, rational whilst my neighbour’s tribe is bad, wrong, unworthy, irrational, and false.

These affect our behaviours, how we act and what we say, even how we respond. Our moral psychology now falls into groups, it follows the contours of our group affiliations and not just about our moral psychology but our judgmental psychology; what arguments are supportive and what sources are trustworthy. Polarization is how strong or large the difference between people. There is a common ground where we can all reach to settle our differences but the greater polarization the greater segregation.

This is where peaceful co-existence between tribes becomes very difficult. Our instincts are to adapt by segregation, carving out social and political spaces where we don’t have to interact with the other group.

Where we can enjoy the comforts of social interaction with our own kind and the very real psychological benefits of unity, solidarity and the feeling of part of a collective identity.

This could lead to the worst behaviours people can ever display, prejudice, discrimination, violence, genocides, atrocities. If we don’t get to the point of violence, and if our laws and institutions aren’t strong enough to prevent that, we will be left with the public culture where tribal relationships are dominated by suspicion, hostility and fear. This leads to the epistemic point, where we cut ourselves from different points of views and rely on our tribes for what to believe and who to trust. We run the risk of erecting a system of beliefs that is increasingly different from reality.

We tend to build a moral and political bubble around us where everybody on the outside the bubble is irrational, biased, untrustworthy. This is obviously a disaster for critical thinking.

It is also obvious that our public culture is equally drifting in this direction. And in some areas like in our political discourse, it has become toxic. Orchestrated persuasion campaign, credit by government and cooperation that are designed to help people are all based on tribalism.

 To overcome tribalism, we need to get interested in identity. As stakeholders in a conflict come together to better appreciate each other’s story of grievance, the forces of tribalism start to fade. People need to see each other as human beings with complex motivations and morals and identity which source of division could be turned into a basis of unity. Learning about the other side takes courage but when it’s done, human existence on earth will be meaningful.

Until we are able to put tribalism aside, which existed before faith and religion came through, we can’t raise placards and protest as Africans over the death of a black who doesn’t respect our continent. We are our own people, nobody will fight for us and we can do this when love lead. Love has no place for division, envies, superiority, pain or class.

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