09.02.2003 Feature Article

Who is Who: Mr. Boahene or Mr. Sophism?

Who is Who: Mr. Boahene or Mr. Sophism?
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I have highly enjoyed the debate between Mr. Boahene and Mr. Sophism on Ghanaian Religion and Christianity and I am writing this article for two reasons. I am of the opinion that the exchanges of the two gentlemen have been useful.

First of all, I want to encourage visitors to Ghanaweb to debate issues as these two gentlemen have done. Sometimes, somebody writes a very good article but there is no effective review and the article is forgotten. I will not be surprised if Mr. Sophism releases a rejoinder on the Easter article of Mr. Boahene and I do not think we will easily forget their debate.

Since the maiden article from Mr. Boahene (Libation Has Served Ghana Better) and the response from Yaw Sophism (Libation Has Served Ghana Better: A rejoinder), I have been visiting Ghanaweb every week to find out the latest article or rejoinder. Second, I want to make some general comments that I hope will encourage religious tolerance and acceptance among Ghanaians and also serve as ad! vice to future visitors to Ghanaweb who may choose to debate each other.

I want to commend Mr. Boahene for his concise and clear style of writing. Even people who disagree with him cannot help but congratulate him for his ability to communicate to everyone, irrespective of their command of the English language. I am amazed at his knowledge of Christian history and the flair with which he quotes the Bible, sometimes selectively but wisely to support his case. I think he will be a good evangelist. He is has great insights into Ghanaian culture, particularly his essay on Easter. He is able to keep readers captivated with his analysis and stories and his ability to relate Roman and Egyptian customs to Ghanaian traditions is commendable. He will take credit, and rightly so, for the Ghana News Agency’s report on 4th February about the Priest who asked for government’s support to control the malpractices of charismatic priests. Since his articles, there have been many unpleasant cases involving charismatic priests in the media. His main weakness is that! he does not see any good in Christianity. At least, Christianity brought formal education and enabled us to stop animal sacrifice. There are many things in traditional religion that should change to meet the needs of modern Ghana.

Mr. Sophism has, indeed, a repertoire of vocabulary, and I am fascinated by his ability to produce volumes of articles in no time. His ability to cite scholarly journals, books and scholars is without precedence. I have the feeling that he has studied or is studying religions or philosophy. He is certainly a lover of propositional logic and categorical syllogism and a seasoned critique. He has a helicopter view of all philosophical treatises of Socrates, Aristotle and Plato and use them as the basis for debunking the essays of his opponent. He is a passionate Christian writer, who has one consistent aim - to ward off criticisms against Christianity. His main weaknesses are that his articles are loaded with too many personal attacks on Mr. Boahene. His articles are laboriously long and contained many cumbersome words, which required the use of the dictionary on many occasions. Mr. Sophism also does not see any good in traditional religion. I always say that before Christianit! y came, our forefathers knew God and had their values but Christianity has failed to build on that. Christianity also needs to transform itself if it can mean anything to the growing number of educated and highly critical Ghanaians.

As a Christian, I was impressed that Mr. Sophism rose to the defence of Christianity. Mr. Sophism’s reference about Dr. Frank Morrison (a rationalist lawyer) who became a Christian after his initial attempt to disprove Jesus resurrection was fascinating. I have also been intrigued by some references of Mr. Boahene, namely Rev. Prof. Spong, former Bishop of Newark who does not believe in the virgin birth of Jesus; and St. Irenaeus, a Second Century Bishop, who believe that Jesus was over 50 years when he died. I realised that Mr. Sophism could not provide clear answers to the malpractices of Christianity that was the central theme of Mr. Boahene’s articles. Mr. Sophism may have a point by referring to traditional religion as anachronistic but that is not an appropriate response to the excesses of Christianity. As they say, two wrongs do not make right. It is a fundamental mistake that we make as Christians to quote the Bible to convince a non-believer that our standpoint is ! correct. Christians who cannot debate other people quickly refer to a passage in the Bible, where it is stated that the Word of God is foolishness to those who are lost. How do we bring souls to our church when we think the WORD does not mean anything to them? If Christianity is to survive, then we need to develop powerful arguments to answer challenging questions posed by an increasing educated world.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Boahene has decided to stop his articles because the elders of Universalist Church of Christ have decided to take up the challenge to debate him with facts. Mr. Sophism consistently insulted Mr. Boahene, which I thought was not a sign of strength. Mr. Boahene, on the other hand, ignored Mr. Sophism and kept to his issues. We welcome the articles of Mr. Boahene because it has enabled us to think about certain issues that are fundamental to our faith. In our church, we promote debate on doctrines that others will consider controversial, for example, we have invited an evolutionist to talk to us. We do not believe in the temptation of Eve by the serpent as a historical event. We call it an allegory - it is meant to reveal spiritual truth. We celebrate only the Eucharist (Communion) – no Christmas nor Easter. We believe both in the Holy Spirit but equally in the Knowledge taught by learned people.

On the whole, I declare Mr. Boahene as the winner of the debate with the title GRAND MASTER OF COMMUNICATION. Mr. Sophism is the runner-up with the title PRINCE OF VOCABULARY.

Until you hear from me again, I wish you all peace and prosperity in the name of God, the Commander of the Most High Place.

Bro. Kwaku Nyame International Deacon Universalists Church of Christ, Canaan

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