The average South Indian eats so much rice daily that it’s enough to keep a baby elephant alive. For the average North Indian, chapattis is the best staple for him.
Why do they prefer these? Is it because sometime in their young days each of them tasted all the different staples available in India, and one decided that rice and curry was the most delectable of them all, and the other found them not as palatable as meals made from wheat?
To take that thought a few leaps further: why does a typical Christian go to church Sunday morning, a Muslim to a Mosque on Friday, and a Hindu to a temple?
Have you ever paused for a couple of crucial minutes in your life to ponder the vital question of why you do what you do and believe what you believe today? Why really do you eat the kind of food you eat today? Why truly do you worship God the way you do today?
That one section of a population should continue to have faith in and practice what seems so obviously wrong and even ridiculous to another section is because of a strong dark force that began exerting its mindwashing power on a person’s syche from the day of es birth. It is called tradition.
Tradition is literally the most powerful manmade force on earth. Only God’s power and the devil’s temptations have greater impact on a man’s life. And tradition, in the overwhelming number of cases, is allied with the devil in binding man to the most abject forms of slavery. A slavery so insidious and prevalent you would see it, if you open your inner eyes to observe it – lashing its power on people daily in every sphere of human endeavor.
In my own country, the tragic custom of dowry, which to the eternal shame of the heads of most episcopalian churches and some other denominations, was by tradition enforced upon impoverished fathers of brides when these churches sanctioned the custom in their congregations. And the reason they didnt – still dont – stamp their ecclesiastical foot down vehemently on this shameful practice in Christianity: the generous slice of the dowry they received as mandatory offering. The leadership of these churches, as a whole, did nothing to end the evil custom among their membership of setting and demanding the groom price, and it was finally left to a secular government to clamp down on this blotch in the national character. I still do not hear of mainstream church leaders denouncing it in their official edicts, nor proclaiming repentance of their tacit approval of this congregational malpractice which caused, generation after generation, extreme suffering to countless families with marriageable daughters. It is still widespread, except that it is done covertly now. But more and more young people, whose minds have been opened to see the heinousness of this tradition, are resisting it in the present times.
Take another tradition, this time in the arena of education. Little children from the age of six are daily loaded with homework imposed by their teachers and enforced by their parents, in addition to being daily stuffed down with excessive facts and figures in the classroom – knowledge which mostly is forgotten or discarded for its irrelevance in the student’s life a few months after e leaves high school. Academic homework takes away much of the precious time and energy a child needs to engage in activities that will enable em to cherish the fleeting years of childhood. How many are the enlightened teachers and indignant parents who are doing all they can to extirpate this malignant root out of their children’s lives? Very few indeed, but thank God for these very few exceptional people who can think for themselves and perceive traditional practices for what they really are.
The tradition of millions of Indian and Sudanese women swirling themselves onto billions of meters of sari, while in the West the men near-strangle themselves every morning with a noose called the tie, and the women perch themselves precariously on stilts called high heels which constrain their movements and constantly expose them to cerebral damage from a fall.
The tradition of adhering to dispensable routines, silly procedures, and sillier policies in corporate offices, government departments, and institutions, simply because these are what have been traditionally practiced in such places boss after boss.
The tradition of living in the fearful grip of thousands of superstitions that shackle the courage of even highly educated Christians. To mention the churches in my land again, believe it or not, in some orthodox denominations there, the wedding folks would not leave their house porch for the church altar if their departure would be at an ‘inauspicious time’, known in the local language as ‘rahu kalam’. They would linger about the house till the evil hour is past and then step out – a matrimonial practice not originating from the apostles of Christ but from the disciples of fallen angels masquerading as ministers of light who managed to inveigle themselves into Christian homes.
Today, if you have time to pause for a minute or two in your busy life, let me encourage you to ponder your habits and beliefs to a sheer depth of sincerity your thinking didnt dare to enter in earlier. Know for yourself in all honesty, how many of them are a result of your deliberate choice? How many of them are actually the result of traditions and customs imbibed from your parents, peers, church, and society?
It’s those Christians who dare to make bold choices of conscience who really are trustworthy in God’s eyes and who will be used by their Lord to blaze through earth to grant freedom to people languishing under the curse of practices born of human depravity. The rest of humanity, bound in the fear of manmade inventions and injunctions, vegetate to a lesser or greater extent in their traditional religious, cultural, social and political institutions.
Interestingly, the number of the evil beast mentioned in the Bible as the enemy of God’s people is 666. This was written in the Greek language, which has alphabets that have a numerical value for each. Only two words in this language have letters that add up to 666. One is ‘prosperity’, which according to that earnest servant of God, Derek Prince, is the severest trial a person can go through – a trial not many Christians can handle without personal devastation and which destroyed many great men of God, including Solomon. The other word, interestingly, is ‘tradition’.
Christian, if you desire to be a man or woman of true originality in the sight of your God, one who dares to base his or her every belief and practice solely on the Word of God, and one who can be used by es Lord to do much good for the present and coming generations, then never allow the least influence of any profane tradition to affect your thoughts, words and actions.
Tradition binds. Truth sets you free. Freedom is among God’s greatest gift to his people. And the only way to be truly free is to keep the commandments of God.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32
You are near, O Lord, and all Your commandments are truth.’ Ps 119:151