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DPA Founder Proposes A New Faith-Based Movement

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In his message to DPA members, Emeka Ugwuonye, Founder and CEO of DPA Organization, explains his determination to launch a faith-based movement where members would read the Bible along with the Constitution. This is not the first time Ugwuonye would indirectly express his dissatisfaction with most Nigerian churches. But this time, he lays out a clear plan to launch a genuine alternative for those seeking true empowerment through faith. His message to his followers is contained in a post he made on DPA Facebook platform on November 2, 2023, as follows:

By Emeka Ugwuonye, Esquire

Many of my followers and friends have often wondered about my religious beliefs. I was born and raised a Catholic. But over the years I developed ambivalent attitude to several practices in the church. However, out of respect for my mother, Ebemma, I remained a Catholic. My father was the Catechist and Ebemma was the women leader. I knew they might not be happy if they knew certain critical views I had developed about the church. Well, my two parents are gone now. I still respect them, but they won’t rebuke me if I express myself differently henceforth.

Many of you find it difficult to pin me down when it comes to my religious faith. Generally, everybody assumed that I was a Christian. But some people close to me occasionally wonder if I am an atheist or an agnostic, or a deist, or an animist. I am sure I have expressed eclectic views on religion that must have encouraged these doubts. But in the end, I find Christianity to be the most advanced religion with inbuilt mechanism for growth and development. But I am not a typical Nigerian Christian. (You need to know that Nigerian Christians are different).

I believe that the Bible should be properly and intelligently interpreted in order for it to make sense and be useful to the believer. I am of the view that the language of the Bible employed allegory extensively. It means that I cannot read the Bible literally or blindly. The book used symbols and parables to teach you. For instance, the story of the tower of Babel was not really about bricks and concrete or about a skyscraper. I also do not believe that linguistics can be explained with the story of the tower of Babel. That cannot be how Igbo and Chinese languages emerged. God is not that dramatic. However, the story has a powerful and clear meaning to those who have the power of discernment. Also, the story of how Satan tempted Jesus does not mean that there was someone standing next to Jesus and walking around with him telling him those things. Rather, the temptation story was all a mind thing. It was about Jesus weighing the various options available to him for the launching of his ministry and mission on earth.

Once I am able to read and interpret the Bible without a blind and unreasoned devotion to its literal content, it became possible for me to reconcile the Bible with science and empirical methods. That is exactly where I am now: A devout Christian can be smart, logical and scientific-minded at the same time. An intelligent Christian should be able to know that a woman’s submission to her husband is not about subjugation or enslavement. Indeed, it is possible to accept submission and still uphold the principles of gender equality. I also know, as a matter of history and psychology that Jesus’ teachings on love and peace are top notch. Nothing else offered by man has beaten Jesus when it comes to love and peace. I can appreciate his teachings from a faith-based point of view and from an empirical point of view. For instance, from a medical point of view, embracing his teachings on love and peace reduces stress, which improves our health. Also, from sociological and political science point of view, embracing his teachings on love and peace will reduce wars and human suffering.

I want to form a church that marries faith and reason, a church founded on tolerance and diversity. In my church, if anyone is sick, we first call in the doctors and make sure he receives the best treatment modern medicine can offer. And as that person is recovering, we shall pray for him and sing the hymns to cheer him up and to boost his confidence that we are there for him. I cannot be part of a church where a sick person is left without medicine and people are invoking holy ghost fire against typhoid or acute malaria. I cannot be part of such church. I want to be part of a church where our church members are conversant with the Bible as they are with the Constitution and history and geography. I cannot be part of any church where the more devout you become the less intelligent you become. I cannot be part of a church where a victim of domestic violence is blamed for not praying hard enough for the aggressor.

Now, I have shared with you my religious beliefs. Let nobody guess again. And don’t be surprised if you see me setting up a faith-based movement soon. It will not be like anything you have seen before. I will want something that Jesus would be proud of if he were to visit us.

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