“The religious industrial complex” Blessing or curse for Africa?


Did you notice that instead of any firm commitment from many people, they would say “Se Nyame boa a” to you? (In Akan, God willing…).

As clear as daylight, their obligation to perform can be fragile and the intention unreliable – so why do they culturally and habitually use God’s name in vain?

On another occasion, you may be told this: “God willing, I will be there between 8 am and 9 am”.

Then your phone rings around 10 am and now you are asked: “Will you still be there around 12? God willing, I’ll be there before Ipm.

This story of the noble belief of a people, on the one hand, and the ignoble setbacks on the other; of his inspiring faith and his failure to live up to that faith; is the story of a society unable to grasp the full fusion of God and truth; so this whole godly thing becomes a facade and destroys a culture.

Swiss truth

I tend to cite an incident in Zurich, Switzerland – a few years ago – where a hotel concierge checked my flight details for the next day and said, “Sir, a taxi will come and pick you up.” at 11:59 am at the airport ”.

And to my surprise, the phone rang in my hotel room at exactly 11:59 am the next morning. The taxi had arrived.

Incredible precision! And to think that the Swiss do not go to church as much as the Ghanaians; and what’s more, you wouldn’t even hear a whisper of God’s name in your interaction with them! But they lived up to the truth of the word.

At the airport, my oldest daughter felt a stabbing pain in one ear. I asked for help from an airport officer.

She dialed a number, spoke briefly to someone on the phone, then said, “A doctor would be here in five minutes to help you.”

Within five minutes, not only did a nurse arrive dressed in white for easy identification, he had a syringe with him.

With this, he injected water into the diseased ear, and quite quickly an agglomerated wax fell out of that ear. For good measure, he took care of the other ear as well.

Who are we fooling?

A friend recently sent me the following WhatsApp message. It went like this: “China is currently the world’s leading economic power. In China, there is almost no Church presence.

“Finland today has the most stable economy in the world. There are less than 20 churches in Finland.

Sowing to prosper does not work in Finland. Switzerland has the second most stable economy in the world. Switzerland has less than 30 churches. Miracle money is not welcome in Switzerland.

“Denmark is the third most stable economy in the world; there are around 23 churches in Denmark. Denmark is not praying for its economic stability.

These countries are considered to have the greatest number of atheists, but they are prosperous.

Emergencies Korle Bu

The news of the Gambian medical delegation to learn from Ghana (Daily Graphic, August 3, 2021) reminded me of an experience with a Gambian doctor interned at Korle Bu hospital.

He was in the emergency room when I went to see him. It wasn’t a pretty sight there.

Very sick people were scattered on the floor, many consumed with pain and some literally out of breath for the last breath.

Noting my horror, he lamented, “A lot could have been avoided, but first they went to their ‘spiritual’ healers, and when that didn’t work, they were taken to prayer camps. By the time they are finally brought here, it is too late.

Need help

We can understand the man’s need for help, but whether it is health problems, marital relations, etc. why not go to the right people in the first place?

In many cases, the “false prophets” have fun making themselves rich at the expense of the most vulnerable.

And as they say, the good people stand aside and do nothing, thus holding the whole religious industry as suspect. Institutional checks and balances are really about saving the vulnerable.

There was one occasion when an assistant slept so deeply at her desk that when the phone rang, she couldn’t hear it.

I started to answer the phone and that’s when she finally jumped. The eyes were red and dazed.

As it happened, she had gone to a prayer vigil all night for a series of praises and songs, her voice had collapsed and there were only a few squeaky sounds left.

I had to suggest that she go home to clear her sleep arrears and restore her vocal cords.

And to think that this episode happened on a whole new Monday morning, at the very beginning of the work week!

There are “born again” priests, prophets and prayer bulldozers who profess not only to have seen God face to face, but in fact had lunch with Him.

And people believe in these wonderful things!

Return to Africa

A reader of this column sent me a message. It could have been hyperbolic but revealed stubborn truths.

It is said that in Africa, there are thousands of churches per region “including 4,000 churches in the city of Yaoundé alone!” However, poverty pushes Cameroonians to other poor countries. About 4,100 churches in the city of Abidjan alone!

“Seven thousand churches in the city of Kinshasa alone! 10,000 churches in the city of Lagos in Nigeria alone! Lagos is only one state out of 36 that make up Nigeria. Yet Nigerians lead the world in corruption and crime.

“In Africa, we have more churches than schools and hospitals combined! More pastors than doctors. Everyone is born again, but crime is on the rise. Everyone is covered with the blood of Jesus and yet accidents happen on our bad roads.

“Everyone is filled with the Holy Spirit, but our morality is depreciating in geometric progression. The religiosity of Africa does not reflect the morality that we hope for in a society.

“Our people must distinguish between religion and […] or between spirituality and brainwashing! Meditate on it. Hoping Africans will shine their eyes and put religion where it really belongs. “

The author is a teacher trainer, leadership coach, motivational speaker and advocate for quality education.

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