Matthew Parris on form again – What Africa really needs
Picked up by a number of blogs, Matthew Parris has written a brilliantly provocative piece in today’s Times: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God. He has wonderfully resisted the western secular agenda that lies behind so many development agencies, despite being an avowed atheist, with its barely disguised disdain for what is fundamental to African culture and life. But Parris knows what Africa is like – he was brought up in what is now Malawi, and has returned many times. And more importantly, he has seen what Christians actually do, and what impact it actually has
But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I’ve been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I’ve been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.
Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.
The fascinating thing in all this is that Parris refers to the Christian God and not any other (especially not the Muslim god). As someone who has reservations about the value of a lot of development work in Africa, i have to say that this article has made a hugely important contribution. If only people would take it seriously.
Read the whole article – and some of the comments are great too. Here are 3: