Africa’s Changing Spiritual Landscape

If you’ve ever wondered where the most religious place on earth is, a new study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has an answer: sub-Saharan Africa. More specifically, the countries south of the Sahara Desert and north of South Africa.

In many cases, indigenous African beliefs, such as sacrifices to ancestors, have been incorporated into their newfound Christianity.

Researchers found that a large majority of Africans consider religion “very important.” But the more interesting find has to do with which religions they are practicing. Just a century ago, traditional indigenous beliefs dominated the region. But Christian missionaries have turned the tables to the point that one in five of the world’s Christians now lives in sub-Saharan Africa!

This reversal is great testimony to the effectiveness of evangelism, but it’s not the whole story. In many cases, indigenous African beliefs, such as sacrifices to ancestors, have been incorporated into their newfound Christianity. A man might attend church on Sunday and then on Monday earn a living as a witch doctor. And as the infamous Rwanda genocide has shown, the tribal violence that plagued pre-evangelized Africa continues to be a problem.

How should we as Christians respond to this? Deep, sincere faith cannot be forced, but God has given us the tools to be an effective witness, and one of those tools is the simple act of loving our neighbors. That’s what is happening at the Kondanani Orphanage in Malawi, where severely malnourished children are taken into the care of loving Christians, raised in an environment of biblical teaching and Christ-centered worship, and instilled with powerful faith. We know that the Spirit of God is moving at Kondanani, because the children have taken the gospel to heart and are telling other people in the community about Jesus!

Cross International is an enthusiastic partner and supporter of Kondanani Orphanage. Click here to find out how you can help Kondanani bring God’s love to Africa.

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