Ghana Life: The Spiritual Revolution
Based on official statistics, based mostly on affiliations claimed by residents in nationwide censuses, Ghana has skilled a spiritual revolution since its independence from Britain in 1957. For instance, in 1960, it was discovered that 38% of the inhabitants nonetheless claimed to stick to conventional religions. , however by 2010 the proportion had dropped to five.2. Throughout the identical interval, the proportion of Muslims additionally fell from 30% to 17.6%, however the proportion of individuals claiming allegiance to a Christian church rose from 24 to 71.2%. It’s debatable whether or not such a elementary shift in beliefs, as evidenced by these statistics, might actually have taken place.
One issue to think about is inhabitants development. Discovered at 6.7 million in 1961, Ghana’s inhabitants has grown steadily to achieve 25 million in 2012. Since colonial occasions, most followers of Christianity have settled within the south of the nation the place the inhabitants density is the upper. Consequently, inhabitants development favored Christianity over Islam, which was stronger within the much less populated northern half of the nation. The statistics are disputed by Muslims, however since their power lies primarily among the many northern tribes, they could enhance in absolute numbers whereas reducing when it comes to relative total nationwide share. Nonetheless, inhabitants development can not clarify the decline in membership in historical fetishist religions which had been robust in all elements of the nation.
The destiny of fetishist religions is linked to the steadiness of energy throughout the Christian group. The Protestant and Catholic church buildings have roughly the identical variety of followers, however their mixed proportion of the entire inhabitants has fallen from 33.7% in 2000 to 31.5% in 2010. Over the identical interval, the proportion followers of Pentecostal, Evangelical, Charismatic and different church buildings Christian church buildings elevated from 35.1% to 39.7%. New church buildings on this group have sprung up throughout the nation in recent times and account for a lot of the development within the whole variety of Christians. A significant factor of their reputation is a compromise with conventional beliefs.
Based on Michelle Gilbert, writing in Ghana, Yesterday and Right this moment (Paris 2003), “evangelical and charismatic church buildings are discovered all through southern and central Ghana and the ‘prosperity gospel’, imported from America, has reworked fashionable tradition. The transformation concerned a coalescence of historical fetishistic beliefs with the precepts of Christianity. For instance, the Pentecostal church takes the specter of witchcraft severely and was the primary Christian church to supply “deliverance” companies. He additionally embraced the thought of exchanging blood for cash. Up to now, folks believed that they prospered by bloody sacrifice, human or animal, so the bloody sacrifice of Jesus grew to become a strong picture. Individuals say, ‘Yesu mogya nka w’anim, Let the blood of Jesus splatter your face.’
Seeing that they had been dropping members to the Pentecostals, the Catholic and Presbyterian church buildings launched deliverance companies or exorcisms within the Nineties. Nonetheless, statistics counsel that their relative decline has not been halted, maybe as a result of different fetishistic beliefs weren’t taken under consideration. One more reason might be a perceived lack of ardour in companies that retain solemn rituals of European origin. The brand new church buildings in Ghana produce extraordinary ranges of noise in singing and drumming that continues all through the evening and will be heard for miles round.
Solely time will inform if the brand new Christian church buildings in Ghana have absorbed and neutralized the previous fetish faith, or if the fetish faith has infiltrated and tailored the follow of Christianity. Many individuals stay animists by intuition however Christians by default; therefore their self-proclaimed affiliation to the nationwide census. Statistics, as we so typically discover, solely inform a part of the story.
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