NTOABOMA — In the past few months, many in Ghana have come to accept the obvious fact of Ghanaian life that far too many people, and in particular, far too many young men and women, are “religious.” And by religious, what the observers truly mean is that far too many Ghanaians are “Christians.” The observation is backed by the facts: Far too many Ghanaians, especially the youth, have become “Christianized.”

The reality of the Christianization of Ghana is not without rationale. Almost every school, and almost every educational institution is a Missionary setup. In addition, almost all government institutions are colonial setups. Put together, the colonial missionary education that almost all Ghanaians receive, coupled with their initiation into colonial government institutions enforces the reality that almost all “educated” Ghanaians are de facto Christians. That is, they can recite the Lord’s Prayer, and perhaps also recite the Apostle’s Creed. They know what the Bible is, and perhaps they can also recite a few verses here and there as tokens of their “salvation” from the presumed “decadence” of their African origins.

The fact is, it is not that Ghanaians have become more religious. This nation is comprised of ethnic peoples whose foremothers have been more religious in the past—one can argue. Take for instance the Ewes. A hundred years ago, one would be remiss to find a compound home in an Ewe village that wasn’t dotted by a prominent Legba (Amaga in Ga) to whom libations were regularly poured. More, one could equally be flabbergasted if one combed through an Ewe man’s bed, just 60 years ago, and did not find something he had inherited from his granduncle for protection.

Whatever it was, the Ewe man was certainly more religious then than he is now, now that he has become Christianized. What? You would be stupefied to find Jesus’s cross in a Christian Ewe man’s bed today let alone an Apostle’s index finger bone under his bed. The best one could find in an actual search is a picture of a Caucasian man masqueraded as the image of the Christ on the walls of the living room of a Christian Ewe home. The Ewes are certainly less religious today than they were just 60 years ago. What they have become is more Christian. Even Agbadza performances now have Christian songs about Jesus and several interludes of dreams of heaven. That reality of Jesus dancing Agbadza would be foolish just one hundred years ago.

The Ewes are more Christian today than one hundred years ago. That is fact. The same is true for all ethnicities of the nation. Today, the Asantehene of the Asantes, who is an Anglican man, a Christian man, still sits on a Gold Stool charmed from the Heavens by an Anlo traditional Priest. (This part about the Anlo origins of the man, Komfo Anokye, and the story of the charm itself remain contentious, but still.) The case can be made that Ghanaians are certainly not more religious, only more Christianized.

And so what? Well, the reason the idea of the pervasive extent of our Christianization has become obvious is the ensuing paradox of the vicious cycle of our under-industrialization. Vodun nations, at least the way that the Missionary Colonialists have taught it, will industrialize the quicker they accept Jesus. So Ghanaians by and large accepted Jesus and his Church, receiving the ideas of missionary work in Africa with glee from their colonial terrorists.

Yet, young people have no work today. One hundred years ago, they did. (An argument can be made about whether farming/fishing is actual work or whether sitting at a desk pushing paper as a colonial clerk in an air-conditioned room, paid for by farmers/fishermen, is the actual definition of work, or not, but still.) The case can be made that young men and women had actual work before the arrival of the colonial terrorists. And that the promises of colonial terrorists of forging Ghanaians first into Christians, and then into industrialized organisms daily ploughing their trades in air-conditioned buildings have not materialized. Do Christian nations become industrialized? Perhaps not. Perhaps the reality sits in another kind of pudding unbeknownst to, and unavailable to those who do not question or scrutinize the true intentions of colonial terrorism.

Perhaps, more to the issue is the reality of Japan and China. Japan by all calculation is a Vodun nation. The Japanese are truly very religious, but not Christianized. The Chinese do not believe in God. Or do they? The Chinese have spirituality, which is another issue. Suffice it to say though that the Chinese are religious, although few claim they are Christians. The Abu Dhabians are Muslims, the Qatarians are Muslims, and the Turks, also Muslims. The Russians and the Norwegians are Christians.

Muddy, that’s what! The issue of resolving the Ghanaian paradox as deep as becoming Christian and industrializing quickly is muddy. What remains is that those who have swallowed hook and sinker the whole toilet and the bathwater of colonial terrorists, in missionary education, fail to understand that the whole point of colonial terrorism is to convince the victims that terrorism is good for them. But it is not. Terrorism is bad, irrespective of who practices it. The victims remain victims, probably forever convinced that if they can enrich the terrorists they too can become like their terrorists one day. Which is false.

And so Ghana is caught up in a conundrum, and they remain victims only to colonial terrorism. Yet Ghanaians would rather comb through their bedrooms, and under their beds to find a culprit there—either the cross, or the index finger bone of their great-grandfather. Ghanaians will proceed to fool themselves that it is the Legba, the Amaga, the Cross, the Blood, the Calabash, the Akpeteshie, which is the problem. Not the man behind the door. Not the colonial man ever speaking gibberish into his ears.

The Ghanaian is bamboozled. His bamboozlement is left on all those who see. And so he remains flabbergasted by its putrid persistence. But alas! The devil sits right behind the idle brains of those who cannot find work. And that is the problem of the twenty-first century Ghanaian. He doesn’t understand that his unemployment is due to the terrorism on his own land by the colonialists.

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Amenuti Narmer
Narmer Amenuti (Dances With Lions) was born by The River, deep within the heartlands of Ghana, in Ntoaboma. He is a Public Intellectual from the Sankoré School, a Temple of the African Prophetic Tradition. He remains the only surviving speaker of Vebantu, the Ancestral Tongue to most West African languages. As a Culture Critic from the Sankoré School (of Critical Theory) and a Guan Rhythmmaker, he is a dilettante, a dissident and a gadfly, and he eschews promotional intellectualism. He maintains strict anonymity and invites intellectuals and lay people alike to honest debate. He reads every comment. ~ Success is a horrible teacher. It seduces the ignorant into thinking that they can’t lose. It seduces smart people into thinking that they have to win. Success corrupts; Usefulness exalts. ~ Narmer.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Excellent diagnosis. More so, what is interesting is that gall of these simpletons who have robbed our childhood and forced falsified information down our throats under the whips turn around to blame the youth for what they are the worst victim. How do one blame a chap that has followed your footsteps and learned to obey your superfluous rules to the latter and left bereft of any real analytical skills and information for his development. Granted that, the youth are Christianized more than them, but what have they achieved? Remember these are the baby boomers, they neither contributed in any meaningfully to our independence nor help maintain it. These simpletons are the quintessential and the very definition of failure.
    Needless to say, at a some point, the youth got to take responsibility for their own development, the last group of people that can give that advise is these useless baby boomers. If there is one advise i can give to my generation and those young generation after, it is simply TO ignore the older generation and PAY no heed to these baby boomers. They are mentally sick, they are attention seekers, they have low self-esteem, their high degrees are phony at best, they are the vicarious oppressors and the face of the neocolonialist.

  2. Narmer, i agree to the supposition that Ghanaian youth are getting more religious. Religion includes traditional religion, christianity, muslim, hinduism. After all these years, Ghanaians perform various religious rites of passage various kinds at birth, puberty, marriage and death.Religion has a wider meaning than the denominations.
    The crux of the matter is that christianity sells hope to those who find themselves in difficult existential life situations; unemployment, housing difficulty, inability to eat at least two meals a day, relationship problems etc. Christianity assures them of a better life after death. It calms their fears and admonishes them not to be anxious. It gives the sanity of the youth back to them in this insane world. It feeds them with morality to keep to the narrow and straight path.
    So Narmer understand why the youth are flocking into christian churches in droves though not necessarily living by christian teachings

  3. John Opoku. At least you honestly believe what you believe. In that, you believe that Christianity is the right way for Ghana’s youth. And since you’ve been civil, I shall accord you that much civility. Your point that religious fervor has increased irrespective of religious affiliation is an argument I accept. Although the nuance is that among the Ewe for instance, Vodun has died out, replaced with some form of Christianity. I am not going to argue about who practices what well or not. I leave the judgment to individuals. That is, those who identify as Christians broadly outweigh in number and in vociferousness those who may honestly identify as Vodun. This reading is much the same across all ethnicities in Ghana.

    So my point: Christianity is on the rise to the detriment of much of every other. You agree that the Ghanaian youth flock to Church (for their own reasons), much in equal appreciation for my assertion that our Christianization in Ghana has become somewhat complete (or widespread). Your other point that this offers “hope” and steers the youth on the “straight” path is debatable. That is doctrine. It’s your doctrine but I think you miss the point that it’s entirely your doctrine. Nothing universal about that belief. Almost all religions offer hope. Especially there’re are few religions outside of Vodun, for example, that offer a full life after death (a whole Ancestral World). That is some hope!

    Now my problem is not even about Christianity or Islam, or Vodun. My problem is about the Ghanaian attitude towards her colonial terrorists! The West, the US, England, France, Norway, all, doing business in Ghana in one way or another are colonial terrorists. They’ve always been. Our relationship with them as victims of their terrorism must end. Western Christianity (as in Catholicism, Anglicanism, Evangelism) represents some metaphor for exploring that fact of severing our hideous, embarrassing vicious relationship with the West (our pimps).

    Perhaps if one can learn to separate Anglicanism from oneself, one can also learn to separate from the IMF. Idiologies (as from idiocy) are pervasive: the West has used Christian doctrine to encapsulate much of their industrial progress. This belief among the youth in Ghana must be exposed. That is the import fo the essay. Becoming more Christian means absolutely nothing. Neither is becoming more Vodun, or Muslim. However, the Christian Ghanaian youth who believe that Christianity offers the hope to becoming an industrialized organism must be saved from their foolishness. They have a false belief. That is the point.

  4. My brother John Opoku, I hope Narmer Amenuti has made my case for me, even beyond my comprehension. All that I have been saying about Religion, specifically, Abrahamic ones is the false hope that lead to no development but the illusion of good life after death. Is that what we need here on earth, No and big NO! Man’s energy for pushing life on earth forward is so small that if that is spent on illusions here then just imagine when can we move on!

  5. Narmer Amenuti please i did not intend to be apologetic in my post. Concerning religion and development, let me say that all religions, traditional or otherwise are idealist. Belief in the spirit outside our being. For me this is the central bane to our development. Religion affects our development two major ways.
    1. It creates dependence on the external instead of the self. This world outlook permeates through everything we do- economics, social, political etc
    2. Religious adherents of whatever form, tend to accept stability and frowns on change. It is captured in the statement God’s will. It blinds the mind to take any action that will bring change.
    I share your sentiments except that i did not want us to split hairs about christianity. Idealism and stability is in all religions. These make religion inimical to development. Here is where i agree with you that developing countries must break loose from the strangle hold of all types of reliigion.

  6. @John Opoku
    Kindly note this once and then go and re-format your mind from all the nonsense you were taught in school. There’s nothing called traditional religion, it’s spirituality out of which all aberrations of religions emerge (think about that for some time). While you think about it also note that all forms of spirituality doesn’t require from the practitioner his/her daily service. It has one thing and one thing only, an ancestorship, which is attained not by devotion to any God or gods, but to the service of man. The only thing it shares with religions is protection from spirits and in the case of spirituality the ancestors and from all elements of the world. It doesn’t not promise any individual the gift of money, the gift of luxury, forgiveness of sins, and does not condone deception, traits that crept in the society with the coming of the west.
    What people confuse most is the practices that people have developed over time to remind them of the elements of the earth and the world. The spiritual man honors them, to remind himself or herself on things outside his/her power. Take for instance, Mawuga Sogbolisa, represents the solar elements which is to be the source of every living thing. It is known by the practioners that without the sun, the crops wouldn’t grow and rain wouldn’t fall. And since he or she cannot protect himself from its kind gifts and horors, he/she deified it as God.
    Ps. Nobody is saying quit your church, the clarion call is the Africanization of the religions. This is expected to re- weaponize it to the favor of the black world. Go to Tepa now and see how the devil is painted in stone as you and me, and the white angel holding us down in defeat. What do you think that symbology does to the mind of our people. While in truth the reverse should have been drawn with the whites devils holding the Blacks down (literary speaking)

  7. Christianity and modern religions are the reins of colonial terrorism in Africa. Breaking the reins of Christianity and modern religions will also end the colonial terrorism. Well put indeed!

  8. Seyram Amegadze, our discussion is on religion. Narmer Amenuti in my opinion, seemed to target christianity. I sought to bring the discussion back to religion generally and not on one religion.
    I am knowlegeable enough to know that THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SPIRITUALITY AND RELIGION. They are not the same so your intervention shifts Narmer’s original discussion on religion to spirituality. I am very familiar with both by way of experience and comparative studies.
    In any case, there is no need for insults and condescension in the discussion of matters like this.

    • Sorry if my use of the phrase ‘…the nonsense…taught in school.’ In my minds eye, i am under the impression that the use of the word ‘school’ moved it outside the terrain of the individual into the realm of the nation of which i am included. I should have chosen my words carefully and use “we” instead of “you”. To that end i apologize.

      Coming back to the Narmer’s epistle, i see no contradictions except to drive home a point that there’s no such thing as traditional religion. Yes, Brother Narmer used the phrase Ewes are more religious in past [ where it actually means they lie less, steal less, fornicate less, covet other’s wife less, etc] than today where they are Christianized (here in as if a bird left out of a cage, even men snuggling with men, women snuggling with fellow women would soon be common place, least to talk about thievery, covetousness, fornication, among others) and so in that context there is convergence in our thought and mind. In this context in my opinion, he is attempting to bring the discourse close to the understanding the average Ghanaian, knowing that for the better part of their childhood to adulthood has been robbed of the truth. He still maintained and draw a parallel between our ever declining knowledge of self and purpose to the declining cultural traditionalist and the booming abrahamic religions.

      But i noticed the deflection tactics you deployed to sway the discussion away from the mindlessness of the African child by injecting an insignificant segments of the society as equal partners in this mental genocide. So it isn’t surprising to me that you have chosen to ignore the issue of the whiteness of God and the kinky haired nature of the devil as i reference in my earlier comment on Tepa.
      Regarding your intelligence, i am happy you know you are intelligent but i would need you to make good of it by deploying it in the Africanization of the church.

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