Religion in Ghana has been mishandled by many Pastors, Evangelists, those who call themselves Prophets, the self-instituted Bishops and Archbishops.
This has stripped off the very elements and essence of religion. As a result of the mishandling, religion has become to some adherents, what their “man of God” says it is. Many adherents have refused to reason when it comes to matters of religion. As a result, religious opportunists have capitalized on that to corrupt the true essence of religion.
Not too long ago in the early development of society did man explained everything that happened in the world from the perspective of the gods or God. This stage was termed by Auguste Comte as the Theological Stage. (Encyclopedia Britanica, 2018). Comte writes that human intellectual development had moved historically from a theological stage, in which the world and human destiny within it were explained in terms of the gods. (Encyclopedia Britanica, 2018). There came a time when explanations were in terms of essence, final causes, and the abstractions. This stage, Comte calls, the metaphysical stage. He further moves to another stage which he termed the positive stage. This was his last stage. Here, humans explain the world around them based on reason. (Encyclopedia Britanica, 2018).
Anyone who has paid attention to the way religion in Ghana is going, would bear with that fact that many religious adherents are not making use of reason, which is the fundamental principle as far as any action of man is concerned. It looks as if the period of enlightenment is over. Yes, I must confess that many still in Ghana hold the findings of science in high esteem but the fact still remains that majority of Ghanaians have fallen short of reason and given in to a total and blind leap of faith. At the mentions of any issue from the mouth of “that man of God”, many Ghanaians close dockets on reason and act on the dictates of the man of God.
In the Leap of Faith theory, Soren Kierkegaard believed that without risk there is no faith and that the greater the risk the greater the faith. Faith is thus a passionate commitment, not based upon reason but inwardly necessitated, to that which can be grasped in no other way. (Encyclopedia Britanica, 2018) By this Kierkegaard meant that with matters concerning God and religion, must not be defined by any institution but must be totally personal.
Man does this by passion. By this, isn’t Kierkegaard reducing man to the level of animals if he suggests that in matters of religion, man must do away with reason which is his fundamental distinction from animals? This does not suggest atheism but an assertion that human reason is godly because it is the participation of God’s own wisdom. I thereby differ from Kierkegaard’s leap of faith when it comes to religions since by that man when it comes to religious issues must become an animal.
Man must not only follow his passions when dealing with religious issues but must give room to reason which will serve as a guide. In Ghana, however, many Ghanaians are in a leap of faith. They follow their passions and forget that they are rational animals.
Why won’t some Ghanaians agree to their pastor taking off their panties in church all in the name of faith? Why want some Ghanaian bishops tell their congregants that they can turn into different types of animals and visit them in the night? Why want some Ghanaian pastors not tell their church members, particularly women searching for the fruit of the womb not to put on panties when sleeping for they will visit them in the night and they will conceive?
Why want the man of God inform his congregants to buy oils at such a high price just to sprinkle in their rooms to drive away mosquitoes because the man of God has told them that their family members turn into mosquitoes to come and suck their blood? Why should a Ghanaian man, agree to the man of God sleeping with his wife for after that she would conceive?
Many are the uncalled for practices the so-called men of God are doing to their adherents simply because they have refused to allow reason to work. How on can a sticker of a pastor put clothing on the naked when he or she sticks the sticker on his body? Can the same sticker cure an HIV AIDS patient? If it can, why does that particular man of God not stick his sticker to Ghana to improve the economy of Ghana? This whole thing is sheer nonsense.
Fear of the unknown and the belief of their power to harm people is also a major contributor to many adherents of religion not to use their reason. Many Ghanaians are afraid that the unknown will harm them and as a result give in to their passion at the pronouncement of any statement from their men of God. In Ghana, I must say that religion has been seen to be an aspect of business.
As a result of the demand of the adherents, due to the fear of the unknown and the need to pacify the unknown, religious opportunists have capitalized on that to establish individual churches to meet such demands. What will make a President of a Republic go to say a word of thanks to a man of God who prophesied his victory in the 2016 general election? Yes I know rightly that showing gratitude is one of the Ghanaian values every Ghanaian does. But I must say that there is more to the president’s visit to this man of God than we are reading.
His visit is as a result of him fearing the unknown. And with his belief in the powers of the unknown, he accepts rightly to visit so that God may protect him and probably let him win the second term if he deems going in for it again. “Sounding, biblical, the president said the election was fought against principalities and powers of darkness but he was convinced that the battle was the Lord’s. Speaking to the congregation on his first visit to the church after his election victory, the President, Nana, Akufo-Addo said the victory could only have come through the powers of prayer and intercession by Rev Owusu Bempah and other spiritual leaders.” (Myjoyonline .com, 2017).
This is a man I have respected. But his attitude here shows how as strong as he is intellectually, could give in so easily to this when the ordinary Ghanaian knew by statistical proves based on the administration of the then government that they were going to lose.
Ordinary people read the signs of the day and knew that the then government will lose. There was no need for any man of God to prophesy. But this is what Christian religion in Ghana is becoming. Why won’t professor Evans Atta Mills go to T.B Joshua for prayers if not for fear of the unknown? Why won’t the seat of the President be turned into a prayer camp if not for the fear of the unknown?
Faith alone does not allow people to think. Because everything is said to have been revealed, people refuse to think and for that matter prevent progression. Faith alone also suppresses believers’ freedom. That is they are bound by whatever is revealed as their men of God will say. Again, because one needs not to reason through what has been revealed, it can lead believers astray.
Thus, one can be led astray by force teachings which preachers claim to be inspired. In fact, many Ghanaians are being led astray by their religious leaders. It again brings about conflict in the mind of believers since it would be difficult to make a decision between two or more contradictory revelations concerning the same problem. Example, adherent A goes to pastor B over childlessness. Pastor B tells her that the problem is coming from his mother. She goes to pastor C with the same problem. Pastor C tells her that the problem is her father. To the adherent, these two statements are all revealed. What should she do? Want she end up killing both parents if she is made to believe that would solve the issue?
Is it possible for a man who is not blind but has been instructed to close the eyes, get to his house which he could do with ease without his eyes being covered? Such is with faith. Faith without an eye cannot help to know the will of God. But faith must have an eye, which is reason in order not to be led astray by these men of God who have seen that through the founding of churches they will prosper.
In conclusion, man was made in the image and likeness of God. By this, he shares in the reason of God. It is only in right reason that man will know the will of God for them. Let us say no to these men of God who are making money out of religion due to the insatiable desires of our passions. We must note that, should we in our religious life follow our passions, we reduce ourselves to the level of animals.
Let us not still live and behave as if we are animals. Why do many pastors prophesy only when the events have taken place? Why don’t they prophesy on the betterment of the Ghana economy? Lets us, fellow Ghanaians, not give these “okonfos” who have all become men of God the chance for them to manipulate our minds for when we refuse to reason, then we are in the dark age of Christianity in Ghana when pastors will make us do the undoable.
Religion must move on with two pedals; faith and reason. If religion moves solely on faith, then when the eye of faith gets dim, where do you seek light. But if adherents combine both faith and reason, then they will be sure of getting home safely. Also, like a canoe, should the one paddling paddles only one side, there is the possibility of the canoe capsizing. If he however wants to get to his destination, then he needs to paddle equally both sides of the canoe. Faith and reason must move together as you swim in religion.
Encyclopedia Britanica. (2018). Leap of Faith. Retrieved from https://www.britanica.com/topicleap-of-faith on 28th April 2018.
Encyclopedia Britanica. (2018). Law of Three Stages. Retrieved from https://www.britanica.com/topic/law-of-three-stages on 28th April, 2018.
Myjoyonline.com. (2017). Akufo-Addo Shows Gratitude to Owusu Bempah. Retrieved from https://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2017/march-19th/akufo-addoa-sows-gratitude-to- owusu-bempah on 28th April, 2018.
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