Or maybe not. But unlike Sergey Torop (The Siberian Jesus) and David Shayler (The British Jesus) Apollo Quiboloy has set up a nice little Eden for himself off the backs of the poor. I don't have the National Geographic Channel so I guess I'll miss the Second Coming documentary. Hope it doesn't have any vital info or else I might find myself left behind. Here are some quotes by Quiboloy which really stuck out.
Quiboloy: "If it's not God's will for me to have this things I have, you can take it away. It is God's Will that we follow. If it's God's will for us to live like this, you know, you can have a broken heart looking at me, but what can you do?"Quiboloy goes on to argue after being questioned about his lifestyle that he lived among the poor...once. That counts, right?
Quiboloy: "If it's not his will how can I afford that?"People like Quiboloy go beyond merely following God's will, they exploit that belief to build themselves a kingdom. More mainstream churches also exploit this to a degree ("God will bless the givers!") but not to the monstrous level as Quiboloy, Hinn, and various other televangelists. But at the foundation is the belief itself that a supernatural being is in complete control of the universe.
During church this morning the pastor brought up a question which isn't, I assume, brought up very often in front of the congregation: who is responsible for the suffering caused by natural disasters? The pastor mentioned the recent flooding in Arkansas, the earthquake in Haiti, and the 2004 Tsunami as the congregation listened with rapt attention. "It's (the disasters) our fault", he said, since we brought suffering upon ourselves by introducing Sin into the world.
Really? I hope I wasn't the only one who felt this answer lacked compassion and rationality since Man has discovered the mechanics of weather. God doesn't send a storm to punish one man (we were reading from Jonah), storms develop naturally based on the present conditions. It is human to look for and create reasons and meaning where there is none to be found but I can't imagine God is still annoyed with Man for being curious enough to eat from the wrong tree (that must have been some good fruit). Nature is chaotic, the universe is chaotic, but Man can choose. The pastor presented the congregation with a choice: to run away from God (and inevitably towards Hell) or to run towards God. Quiboloy made a similar statement, which spooks me how similar a Baptist pastor is to a man proclaiming to be Jesus. Yet the "it's God's plan" response to the suffering is beyond heartless, it makes God sound like a tyrant. Is life really all about blind obedience and loyalty to a God which doesn't care whether we live or die?
We decide how to treat our neighbor, and if we choose to increase suffering, that is OUR fault. Quiboloy does run a few charities but lives lavishly off the suffering of the locals. There is no need for a literal Hell beyond the grave because Quiboloy's actions creates hell on earth. He may live in paradise but I know I, as well as most rational people, would be suffering from a psychological hell to be in his position (and yet in a global sense and even though we're barely getting by on my wife's income, I am in that position). There are some things that are beyond our control, and we should hold ourselves accountable for the suffering caused by our actions and, at times, inaction.