The Challenge of African Christian Morality -- By: Samuel Waje Kunhiyop

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 07:1 (Mar 2009)
Article: The Challenge of African Christian Morality
Author: Samuel Waje Kunhiyop

The Challenge of African Christian Morality1

Samuel Waje Kunhiyop2


To recover our moral sanity, there is an urgent need to retrieve and restore some positive moral foundations and beliefs which were the moral fibre of the society. These moral foundations and beliefs, transformed through serious interaction with the Word of God and inculturated into African Christianity, will save and strengthen the moral stance of the church.

1. Introduction

We do not live in easy times. The world and especially the continent of Africa are beset by many political, social, economic, moral and religious problems. The observation that Gary Scott Smith made about the moral crises in the United States of America is very true in Africa.

Abortions, child and spouse abuse, drug addition, alcoholism, sexual aberrations, and crime have steadily increased in recent years. Fraud, economic exploitation, and racism [continue to plague social relations. Underlying these manifestations and contributing significantly to them is a deep uncertainty about

the nature of morality itself and the basis for law. Some have seriously questioned, challenged, and even rejected the traditional foundation for our ethical practices (Smith 1985:112).

In addition to these vices, Africa has many others such as ancestral worship, ritual killings, prostitution, cultism, gangsterism, manipulation and rigging of votes, ethnic and religious violence, cohabitation, trial marriages, Satanism, suicide, rape and gang-rape, incest, HIV/AIDS, divorce, political assassinations, violation of fundamental human rights, failed states, and so on. Hannah Kinoti (1999:73) notes.

Today Africa is at a crossroads and the path has forked. In terms of everyday conduct for individuals and communities there is uncertainty, disillusionment and even despair. There is much grumbling and lamentation. It is not difficult to conclude that people lament and grumble because they possess some knowledge of traditional African morality which ensured the well-being of communities and individuals alike. That morality has been superimposed, and in certain respects rudely crossed, by other influences of the day and age in which we find ourselves. Elderly people lament daily they are meeting behaviour that shocks them: sexual immorality, affectless relationship, scepticism about religious matters, and many things which hasten the old to their graves. Middle-aged people lament about children they fail t...

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