“Auntie, who do you worship?” Asked Charisma, one of the 5th grade students at Louis Marie, as ten others gathered around to hear the answer.
“Nobody.” I replied matter-of-factly.
“You worship God?”
“Allah??!” The kids all began to look panicked.
“Mmm mm,” I smiled and shook my head.
“You have to believe in something higher, what is it!”
“I believe in the powers of the universe, I guess…but I don’t worship anything,” I said, knowing I wouldn’t be able to explain my ambiguous personal beliefs about the universe and spiritual energies to a bunch of elementary schoolers who think Christianity, Islam, and traditional religions are the only religions that exist.
“Oh, Auntie, this is not good. Come, we need to teach you the word of God.” Charisma grabbed me by the hand, led me up the stairs to her classroom, sat me down at one of the student desks, and opened her Religious and Moral Education book in front of me. Pointing to the pictures in the book, she told me that God created the universe (the same one that I believe in) out of dust. She told me the stories of Adam and Eve and of Moses. And she told me how Jesus had to die for our sins on the cross. I smiled and nodded along, amused that their innocent minds truly believed this five minute lecture would convert me to Christianity.
Christianity is highly embedded into Ghanaian society; at least a third of the trotros driving on the road have stickers of Jesus (a white Jesus, but that’s another conversation…), a bible verse, or a saying like “God Saves” or “Go with God.” If you surf the 80 channels on our cable TV, about 50 of them at any given time will be sermons, chats with pastors, live streams of people “catching the holy spirit,” and recordings of pastors performing exorcisms right there on the stage of the Sunday service. When looking for a stamped bronze bracelet to buy as a gift, every single one I asked about had a different variation of the “Gye Nyame” Adinkra symbol, meaning “except for God.”
While Christianity is very visible throughout various aspects of society, it is also visible in the statistics. A study by Pew Research Center on Global Religious Landscape found that 74.9% of Ghanaians follow Christianity, while only 15.8% follow Islam, 4.9% follow folk or traditional religions, 4.2% are religiously unaffiliated, and 0.2% follow other religions (Country Meters). Despite the 1,266,021 religiously unaffiliated
The Philosophy of Colonialism: Civilization, Christianity, and Commerce: https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/violenceinafrica/sample-page/the-philosophy-of-colonialism-civilization-christianity-and-commerce/
A short reading about Missionaries and Colonization: http://postcolonialweb.org/zimbabwe/religion/arntsen3.html