Karl Marx said it nearly 2 centuries ago; Religion is the opium of the people/poor.
He called it “the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again.”
His writings are more relevant today, when we look at a list of the most religious nations.
Countries which were historically oppressed, struggle with poverty and were generally introduced to modern religion centuries after their colonial masters adopted the same, are now the most religious ones.
That explains why in Kenya for instance, when many other business keep failing, the only business that grows steadily is the church business.
Today no matter which side you turn in Nairobi estates, there is a church. They’ve taken over commercial properties, some have made some makeshift mabati halls. Cheap plastic chairs and a wooden pulpit is all you need to get going.
Most of these pastors are outright frauds, yet we make long queues every Sunday to gift them our money.
The business is so lucrative that the top, well established churches are raking in hundreds of millions.
Nairobi Chapel has announced their end of year (2015) results. They had a total income of Sh440 million.
That is more than double what ACK’s All Saints Cathedral made last year (Sh190 million).
Mavuno Church made Sh291 million, while Nairobi Baptist Church made Sh163 million in the year ended December 2015.
But all that pales in comparison to CITAM Valley Road.
The Bishop David Oginde led Christ Is The Answer Ministries declared a total income of Sh 1,016,924,108 in 2015.
Most of the money comes from tithes and offerings, leaving it untaxed.
These big churches are making more money than some corporations can dream of. But you should know church money is not the pastor’s money. If your pastor changes cars like clothes, or flaunts his/her big mansions on social media, you are the fool in this story.
Charts via @VinieO