Original Research

The Christian gospel as a basis for escape from poverty in Africa

J.A. van Rooy
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 33, No 2 | a626 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v33i2.626 | © 1999 J.A. van Rooy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 August 1999 | Published: 17 August 1999

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Abstract

Economically sub-Saharan Africa seems to be in a hopeless state. There are many reasons for this situation. The thesis of this article is that one important factor contributing to this state of affairs is the basic philosophical presuppositions of the traditional African world view. This world view includes inter alia the following aspects: the idea of the limited good (which discourages initiative because those who prosper expose themselves to suspicions of having appropriated more than their due portion of the good), belief in magic (which makes it difficult for people to see the real connection between input and result), ancestor veneration (which perpetuates traditionalism and resistance to family planning), and the remoteness of God (which gives rise to a humanistic ethic). This article indicates how in every case the Gospel provides an avenue of escape from the chains which bind Africa to this fate, especially where it can inculcate a Puritan work ethic. The conclusion is that, even apart from considerations of eternal salvation, it is very important that there will be a genuine revival of biblical Christian faith in Africa, if in the short term this continent is to make economic progress.

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