Christianity remains the largest religious group in the region and it is expected to remain the same. Although religion is very healthy and flourishing in Africa, one would be right to think, wrongdoing or unjust behaviors would be far from Africa. However, corruption, immorality, and poverty are prevalent in the continent. This makes Religion questionable, whether Religion has an important role in shaping behaviors and attitudes in society.
Spirituality in Africa is high, holding onto beliefs and faith, making an individual live and do the right things. To the outside observers, Africa ought to be the best region on the globe, blessed with an abundance of natural resources and with a thriving religious background however; the story line is very different. Sickness, poverty, corruption, hunger, bombing attack, etc. is high in Africa. Religion and these elements are bad bedfellows. They do not sink in together; however, both elements concurrently are present in society. These prevalent problems are present in almost all countries in the region. What is the place of religion in these matters? In Africa, religious leaders either a pastor, an Imam, a traditional leader deep reverence are given to such individuals in society. These individuals can leverage their power and position to curb these evil in society.
Is religion a solution to society’s problem?
Poverty is a human condition, is it really the action of man or that of the devil? The question lingers, why the most religious countries are the poorest. China is the least of the religious countries, has just 3% as their religious status as a nation yet they have the most flourishing economy in the world and least corruption. Religious leaders have a crucial role to play in society; it is high time the message of religion changes. All religions belief, faith, and practice all end up to one ultimate source; God. Thus our practice and faith are quite similar. The message of religion should be channeled to the practice of the Golden rule: Do unto others as you want them to do unto you’. This would eradicate many things including corruption, as an individual, if you don’t want to be cheated why do you cheat the government or cheat at your workplace?
Demonstrate love: Presently, Love has become one of the world’s scarcest resources, religion is high yet people don’t show love to each other. Love is common in all religions. If we truly love each other why isn’t it easy to show kindness to another, there would be better leadership, fewer killings, and destruction of the environment .In 1998, al-Qaeda’s first major bombing incidence occurred, in Nigeria also, the same issue keeps happening causing bloodshed and killing hundreds and thousands of Muslims and Christians leaving children orphans, wives without husband, etc. Most of the unjust and evil things happening in society are due to little or no love present in people’s life.
Making use of God given abilities: This message should be the number one message of religious leaders; this does not mean being less dependent on God. God blessed man with brains and gave man the power to create, and as a continent, we are particularly blessed with the abundance of resources, it is left to us to think, develop and make use of these gifts, this will scrap poverty away and reduce crimes. In addition to our brains, Africans are talented in different ways, we need to make use of what God has blessed us with not sit and pray doing nothing afterward.
Impact of religion in Africa
Faith and belief have a way of influencing the lives of an individual, but recently in modern society, these elements seem not to affect the actions of people anymore. Religion as powerful as it is creates a sense of duty and obligation for people of faith which includes attending church service on Sunday or any other day, giving alms or offertory, etc. The question arises why is the duty or the obligation of showing love, applying the golden rule, etc. depleting in society. Religion truly helps makes the society a better place, although there are different beliefs, faith and ways of worship, and practice these elements can run through all religion, the golden rule, showing love, and using God-given abilities to solve society problems.
If these elements become the background of all religion and is indeed practiced , society especially Africa were indeed rise, corruption would be curbed, because as an individual you won’t like to be cheated therefore you won’t cheat your fellow neighbor and the government, if we are to show love, killing and violence will reduce and if we are to fully use our God-given abilities we will be able to work hard make money to take of ourselves especially in sickness, religious people after praying about an illness with further continue for treatment instead of solely rely on prayers. So yes Religion plays a critical role in shaping society without it the world would be a place of pity, truly our faith, belief, and practice can influence the soul, mind and personality some more if we put these elements to practice in Africa.
Article from AFRIC Editorial
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