State of christianity in Africa
A new study shows there is a trend in Christian African countries of increasing religious disbelief and report show of no christian denomination that has steadily increased in the last five years. The study indicated that non-religious Africans comprised approximately 37% of the population aged below 35 years, an increase in the prevalence of religious disbelief due to several factors.One of the factor the study suggest is a general trend where the poorer the African country is, the higher the rate of religious belief. To account for this relationship, researchers have suggested that organised religion serves as a psychological response to alleviate the stress and anxiety of a dysfunctional socio-economic environment that so many African countries suffer from.The study also found that, generally speaking, a higher level of educational attainment was associated with a lower the rate of religious belief especially in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Ivory Coast and Kenya. This association is reflected where 39% of those with a postgraduate degree reported no religion, compared to just 10% of those with a school education only.Another factor is that christian identity opposition to secularist societies where church leaders portray negatively their disapproval of abortion, gay marriage, pornography, contraception and restrictions on religious expression as defined by their outdated consistent philosophies.So when African christians are influenced by their societies their true identity is eroded. To be a christian, is defined in terms of beliefs, dispositions and practices that are self conscious which inevitably lead to opposition, to martyrdom of opposition.As Africans are proud of their rich diversity of ethnicities with their distinct cultures, including languages and indigenous faiths which your blogger has seen being advertised for tourism and displayed as vacations gems.That followers of such beliefs face much hardship in their daily lives are at best considered unfortunate, a classic fate of traditional communities, as they are not regarded as equal citizens with those who follow mainstream religions, another reason why decline of christianity in Africa is inevitable.Such inconsistencies have perpetuated the violation of African citizens’ constitutional rights especially the difficulties among the minorities to get access to public services, even though they are registered.
African native faith followers have reported difficulties in enrolling children in school, applying for jobs, acquiring birth and marriage certificates or even death certificates. Many parents in far flung areas, for instance, have allowed their children to be baptized to ensure their education, increasing the risk of extinction of the ancient African faith.However politicians can do nothing about it because recognizing such faiths as religions might invite backlash from mainstream groups that supports them when it comes to voting and overall political survival. Those not familiar with Sub Saharan Africa may wonder why people are so adamant on stating their religious identity, considered a private matter in the developed world. In Africa, followers of native faiths say they yearn to state their real faiths on their civil documents. However that will need policy changes which is impossible because of the bullying politicians will go through from mainstream christian organizations. One way to stop decline of christianity is for Africans not list religion on their documentation, such a move will lift doubts that native African faiths followers would likely be discriminated against when listed as such on their identity documentation. Eradicating the religion space from identities would ensure African countries do not even discriminate against possible atheists.The naysayers would say African countries still need religious identity on their documents for clarity in affairs partly regulated under law such as inheritance but the era where people waited for their parents to die to take up their properties is long gone. Ending discrimination of the followers of Africa creeds is central to preserve that heritage, an inseparable part of African identity.In contemporary Africa, religious institutions continue to play a significant role in the provision of education, health and welfare services to Africans. If religious belief continues to decline as anticipated, there will be ramifications for the privileged financial position of these institutions and the broader role they have within society.What a decline in religious belief means for moral progress in Africa is open to speculation. But your blogger’s view that most Africans will live their lives with a view of morality inspired by Judeo-Christian and African traditions that have been part of them for generations. An African does not need to be religious to continue to live by those values.The changing pattern of the diversity of religious identities is one indicator of African society’s degree of multiculturalism. On this measure, Africa is among the most diverse continent in the world.