Is Christianity a blessing or a curse to Ghanaians? Dr. Aduhene-Kwarteng asks.

Feature Article A Ghanaian Congregation
A Ghanaian Congregation

Pastors from Ghana have gone viral in electronic, print, and social media due to consistent unethical practices, activities, and utterances that negatively affect Christianity in the country, prompting some individuals to ponder if the arrival of Christianity in Ghana is a blessing or a curse for the nation. Instances that make people ask this question include situations like a renowned Pastor stepping on a pregnant woman's belly during a deliverance service and the Head Pastor of a church at Enchi in the Western-North Region asking a female nurse to pay money for spiritual cleansing during counseling. After paying the money, the nurse received a concoction of herbs for her desire to be granted. She fainted after drinking the prescription and awoke to find her room on fire.

Other activities that prompt some Ghanaians to ask this question include religious leaders placing higher importance on constructing affluent holy empires and institutions and requiring their followers to participate in excessive religious practices rather than contributing to the country's advancement. The younger generation is brainwashed to be overly engaged in pastoral pursuits. This excessive engagement in religious activities has resulted in a decline in productivity and workforce, adversely affecting the economy in some ways.

Additionally, some Ghanaian pastors charge consultation or counseling fees in the same manner as organizations that operate for profit. The consultation fees are contingent on the situation's level of urgency. Others consult the dead and invoke their spirit similarly to traditional fetish priests. Ghanaians keep witnessing men and women of God insulting themselves on Facebook, TV, and other social media outlets. Some pastors and church leaders engage in inappropriate actions, such as having sexual relations with church members or members' spouses and committing acts of abuse against minors while claiming to be performing deliverance.

Some Christian leaders in Ghana engage in false prophetic statements, prioritizing their personal reputation or fame above that of Jesus. Many of them have shifted their attention away from the Gospel and instead have assumed the role of political prophets prophesizing to support certain political parties in the country. They have caused the Christian church to become politicized, resulting in the division of their flock into two parts, each aligned with one of the main political parties. Certain pastors tend to express veracity when their political party is not in power. Even with poor decision-making, these religious leaders will endorse the ruling government if it aligns with their party affiliation. These developments make people think that Christianity has not helped the country and that the citizens would have been better off with their Ancestral worship like what the late Osofo-Komfo Damoah advocated some years ago. To such people, traditional faiths often prioritize adherence to established societal conventions and nothing else.

Despite the shortcomings of some Christian leaders, Ghanaians should remember that Christianity is renowned for serving as a moral guide that imparts values such as integrity, empathy, and reverence to its adherents. These qualities are crucial for promoting societal unity and harmonious cohabitation.

I am holding brief for Christianity because of the significant impact that Christian organizations have had on the development and transformation of education and healthcare in Ghana. Christianity, a religious organization which focuses on the ethical well-being of people, has played a substantial role in the origin and ongoing progress of structured education in Ghana. Now, there are about 66 universities in Ghana (including those founded by Churches) with about 830 study programs, not to talk about Missionary schools such as Aburi Girls Senior high Schools, Achimota School, Adisadel College, Mfantispim School, Archbishop Portal Girls, and Bishop Herman Secondary School, as well as hospitals like St. John of God at Sefwi Asafo in the Western North Region, St. Joseph Hospitals in Koforidua and Bechem, the Agogo Hospital in the Ashanti Region, have significantly contributed to guaranteeing access to medical services and education of superior quality.

These institutions not only empower people but also provide job prospects, thereby improving the general welfare of Ghanaian communities. We must always remember that many aspects of society exist because of Christianity. For example, hospitals came from Christianity because the Christian emphasis on caring for the sick and helping others created the idea of hospitals. These confirms that Christianity has been at the forefront of social and political transformation in the country.

Another positive attribute of Christianity is that it is noted for being charitable and helping others in need. It has given birth to philanthropic organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Red Cross Society, Christian Aid and Adventist Development and Relief Agency. The work of these philanthropic organizations in assisting those in need has been extraordinary. Christianity has, in summary, been a boon as opposed to a burden.

Dr. Kwame Aduhene-Kwarteng (Castro).