Survey finds Africa is most religious part of world

Researchers say they’ve found the most religious place on Earth – between the southern border of the Sahara Desert and the tip of South Africa.

Religion is “very important” to more than three-quarters of the population in 17 of 19 sub-Saharan nations, according to a new survey.

In contrast, in the United States, the world’s most religious industrialized nation, 57 percent of people say religion is very important.

“On a continent-wide basis, sub-Saharan Africa comes out as the most religious place on Earth,” said Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which released the study Thursday (April 15.)

Full article: pewforum.org/news/rss.php?NewsID=19969

When your land has been torn apart by years of colonialism, genocide, famine, disease, corruption, explotation, slavery…
You don’t have anything in the world but your faith.
There’s something very profound about that.
We could learn a lot from Africa.

Well Africa is growing stronger all the time. I watched a clip of some people in Haiti after the Earthquake and they said their faith had been renewed and they had come back to God after being lapsed. Imagine that, if such a tragedy happened in the West I think most people would question their faith, these people’s faith became stronger.

Just so we’re clear, Haiti is not in Africa-- it’s part of North America, just east of Cuba.

That being said, like many African nations, they are impoverished and more humble than much of Western society.

From what I have seen, Ethiopia looks like a very Christian nation (I think the main religion in Ethiopia is Greek Orthodox, or some sort of form of Orthodoxy).

Oh, yes. Christianity goes way back in Ethiopian history. Its said that Christianity was made the state religion in the Axumite Empire (roughly in modern day Ethiopia) around the same time as Rome adopted it. But Rome’s experience with Christianity was more extensive prior to conversion. :nerd:

If the wikipedia entry is to be believed, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is an off-shoot of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_Orthodox_Tewahedo_Church

I know! lol :o

Someone asked on another thread here what people think the five most Catholic countries in the world. I would not be surprised that one or two are in this part of Africa. But since we know so little about the Catholic faith in the third world, I was happy that this survey was made, which shows something about how the faith may be seen in Africa. Not many Americans realize that some countries in Africa have a majority Catholic population.

Its not something I was aware of. :blush:

But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised this is the case in areas of Africa colonized by Belgium, France or Portugal, where Islam was not established.

Here is a list of some African countries with majority Catholic populations:

Equatorial Guinea - 93.5%

Cape Verde - 92.9%

São Tomé and Príncipe - 87.8%

Burundi - 65.3%

Lesotho - 53.6% (okay, that surprises me, since the Dutch and British colonies weren’t Catholic)

Angola, Congo, and Rwanda are all roughly 50% Catholic.

catholic-hierarchy.org/country/sc3.html

Ethiopean Orthodox, they have there own orders and religous groups.

They may religious but many are not Christian. There is a high percentage of Muslims and nature based religions. Christians have it very hard in many areas.

I have met priests from Africa, Catholic and Protestant, and most of them will tell you horror stories of how Christians are being pushed out of many Christian areas making them now Muslim. Some are being killed or threatened along with the villages and villagers suffering.

Please educate yourself about this further.

Religious? Horrendous.

I don’t think so. BTW one first has to understand the meaning of “most religious”. If it’s all about “going to church”, then there is no doubt that Africa wins. But if it’s all about having a good command of the Church teachings and doing what the church requires, then I doubt. Whatever the case, I believe that the going to church popularity of Africa might be misleading. There are a lot of reasons for the church going in Africa:

-> It’s a tradition. I mean – almost everybody goes to church on Sundays – who would want to stay at home? Going to church also means that after mass, one has the opportunity to meet friends and socialise.
-> Going to church is compulsory in most families. There is nothing like after “18”… Parents are always in control.
-> There are a lot of Catholic + Christian schools (boarding schools specifically). Well, most people know that Catholic schools are renown for discipline (albeit I now think that the discipline in Catholic schools does more harm than good).

Why do I think that Africa does not deserve such a credit?

  • Africa is the most corrupt continent on earth
  • Africans are very good at fighting each other
  • Promiscuity seems to be very high in Africa (hence the high HIV rate). This particular point really ponders me because Africans are still not open to the topic sex (little or no sex education).
  • Some of the greedy politicians in African are more or less always frontbenchers in church
  • The gap between the rich and poor is very high (level of charity, generosity???)
  • Crime rate is very high

Others:

  • I believe NFP is not very common in Africa and I guess that is why Pope Benedict had it at the top of his agenda when he visited Africa.
  • Africa seems to be a bit tolerant to Abortion as opposed to her intolerance to homosexuality

I will give her credit for the following low rates:

  • divorce
  • homosexuality
  • depression, suicide
  • child molestation

for the following high rates:

  • love of thy neighbour
  • openness
  • church going :wink:
  • faith (specially for the fact that she is happy and optimistic despite hardship)

This is just my personal opinion

[quote=kelvinf;6600500

I don't think so. BTW one first has to understand the meaning of "most religious". If it's all about "going to church", then there is no doubt that Africa wins. But if it's all about having a good command of the Church teachings and doing what the church requires, then I doubt. Whatever the case, I believe that the going to church popularity of Africa might be misleading. There are a lot of reasons for the church going in Africa:

Have you ever been to Africa? One thing I would say about African Christians is their passion for the Church, for Yeshua! They don't go to Church because they have to.

-> It's a tradition. I mean -- almost everybody goes to church on Sundays -- who would want to stay at home? Going to church also means that after mass, one has the opportunity to meet friends and socialise.

You can say this for anywhere in the world. This doesn't relate specifically to Africa.

-> Going to church is compulsory in most families. There is nothing like after "18"... Parents are always in control.

Again.... how does this relate to Africa?

-> There are a lot of Catholic + Christian schools (boarding schools specifically). Well, most people know that Catholic schools are renown for discipline (albeit I now think that the discipline in Catholic schools does more harm than good).

Yeah.....

Why do I think that Africa does not deserve such a credit?
- Africa is the most corrupt continent on earth

Corruption is everywhere in Africa and it is the major cause of poverty and conflicts. Corruption doesn't only exist in Africa, it exists in so-called developed countries as well.

It's a very complicated. A lot of rich countries in the West also exploit Africans by giving poor price to export commodities such as tea, coffee, bananas etc.

The corruptness, may be in part due to many African countries being artificial colonial creations with borders that make sustainable government more difficult. Conflict-torn countries with long running civil wars such as Angola, Burundi, Mozambique, Somalia and Uganda have had little effective government, making it very difficult to get hold of supplies or build necessary infrastructures. This has also given neighbouring countries big refugee problems. And much of Africa has also had corrupt government, like Zimbabwe. But in Africa both the wars and the corrupt governments maintaining poverty, have often been supported by richer Western governments.

But many countries in Africa are now showing some real signs of progress towards better governance. The African Union has established the voluntary self-monitoring Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) for states to conform to agreed political, economic and corporate governance values. Twenty nine of Africa's fifty three states signed up to participate in APRM by June 2008, being - Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia. This at least shows that governments of these countries are aware that government may need improving. See APRM.

[quote="kelvinf, post:12, topic:195803"]

[/quote]

-Africans are very good at fighting each other

Most of the fighting in the past is because of poverty.

  • Promiscuity seems to be very high in Africa (hence the high HIV rate). This particular point really ponders me because Africans are still not open to the topic sex (little or no sex education).

This is absolutely false!

All I have to say to this is the following:

*In *Children of AIDS, author Emma Guest touches on the role of sexual behavior in the spread of AIDS in Africa:

“The epidemic spreads rapidly in a population when lots of heterosexual people have lots of risky sex. This is what happened in Africa. It’s a sensitive subject. People are defensive about sex and morality. Do Africans have more partners than people from other parts of the world?”

Although Guest does move on to discuss the social and economic milieu which shapes certain sexual patterns in Africa (e.g. civil unrest, families separated through economic necessity, gender inequality, and extreme poverty), her hint that Africans may be more promiscuous than others needs to be explored and put to rest.

Africans, although a culturally and ethnically diverse group of people, have long been painted with the same brush by Westerners. The charge of being hypersexual has dogged the African continent and is now used to covertly blame Africa for the AIDS pandemic it struggles against. But when compared to North Americans, are Africans really the more promiscuous group? Guest, herself, cites a UNAIDS report which reports that in rural Kenya, women on average have three premarital partners and men, nine partners before marriage. Three and nine? Sounds like an average Sex and the City episode.

A study by Dr. Finer, indicates that the vast majority of Americans have had premarital sex. By age 20, 75% of those surveyed had engaged in premarital sex and for those 44 years of age, the statistic jumps to 95%.With the average age of marriage increasing in Americans, these statistics could indicate that the number of partners before marriage is also on the rise. Another researcher, Dr. Glass, looked at twenty-five studies and estimated that 25% of married American women and 44% of married American men have had extramarital intercourse. With marriage no longer the last bastion of monogamy for Americans and premarital sex all but a given, should not the scourge that is AIDS be decimating North American society, much like is happening in Africa? The fact that it is not, should tell us something.

Americans, for the most part, are not being economically or socially coerced into their sexual behaviors. The majority of American women do not have sex, because they have children at home to feed. American men, do not have sex with random women, because economic necessity or civil strife are separating them from their wives and families for the better part of the year. Most American women do not have to face violence or social rejection if they ask their husbands to use condoms. And for most Americans, condoms are a drugstore away. Not a clinic only reachable by miles on foot.

AIDS has not hit Africa, because its people are more promiscuous. The death grip that AIDS has on Africa is due to poverty, violence, and inequality, much of it remnants from a history of colonial oppression and apartheid. It is much more palatable for the rest of the world to blame Africa for its current state, but the responsibility, both ethically and causally, is global.
**
Read more at Suite101: Promiscuity in Africa: Is Sexual Indiscrimination the Reason for the AIDS Pandemic? aids-hiv-treatment.suite101.com/article.cfm/promiscuity_in#ixzz0n11g9E9w

  • Some of the greedy politicians in African are more or less always frontbenchers in church

Sources?

  • The gap between the rich and poor is very high (level of charity, generosity???)

You can say this for anywhere in the World. This does not specifically denote to Africa. We should all be more giving.

  • Crime rate is very high

Maybe, in certain places. Not all over the entire continent. Like anywhere else. Where are any kind of statistics for the crime rates in Africa? If there is poverty it is sadly inevitable that there will be crime.

Others:

  • I believe NFP is not very common in Africa and I guess that is why Pope Benedict had it at the top of his agenda when he visited Africa.

I’m not sure on this, but what I do know from the statistics is that the African countries with high Catholic [populations over 40% all have very low HIV/AIDS rates]. Cape Verde, Reunion and the Seychelles are over 90% Catholic and all have very low AIDS rates.

The ten countries in continental Africa with the highest percentage of Catholics are:

  1. Equitorial Guinea (93.52% Catholic / HIV rate 3.4%)
  2. Burundi (65.25% Catholic / HIV rate 2.0%)
  3. Lesotho (53.62% RC/ 23.2% HIV)
  4. Congo (50.49% RC / 3.5% HIV)
  5. Angola (50.04% RC / 2.1% HIV)
  6. Democratic Rep. of Congo (49.45% RC / 1.2-1.5% HIV)
  7. Rwanda (47.92% RC / 2.8% HIV)
  8. Gabon (46.42% RC / 5.9% HIV)
  9. Uganda (42.28% RC / 6.7% HIV)
  10. Zambia (28.22 RC / 15.2% HIV)

catholic -hierarchy.org/country/sc3.html

If Catholics in these countries where being promiscuous, these countries would not have such low AIDS/HIV rates.

Senegal has the same HIV rate as the United States of America. Madagascar and a lot of African countries have the same HIV rate rest as the rest of the world.

  • Africa seems to be a bit tolerant to Abortion as opposed to her intolerance to homosexuality

Not true. Abortion is banned in most African countries. Look at this website for the abortion laws in African countries: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_law#Africa

I will give her credit for the following low rates:

  • divorce
  • homosexuality
  • depression, suicide
  • child molestation

for the following high rates:

  • love of thy neighbour
  • openness
  • church going :wink:
  • faith (specially for the fact that she is happy and optimistic despite hardship)

This is just my personal opinion

Someone has to play devil’s advocate.

It is likely that the poverty and suffering in Africa drive people to religion because through religion their suffering has meaning. Without religion they would be feel alone and hopeless in a world that seems uncaring.

Could religion also flourish because of a lack of secular education? In other words, the Africans are faithful and devout in the same way Muslims are, at the expense of their reason.

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