Africa needs God, says atheist

Happy Easter! And welcome to the first post of my blog. Goodness knows whether it will ever come to anything! Anyway, I thought I’d kick off with something meaty.

This article totally slipped past me when it was published at the end of 2008, but stopped me in my tracks when I came across it the other day:

Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa’s biggest problem

~Matthew Parris, Times Online Dec. 2008

Now, I have no experience of Africa. I’ve never been, I know little more than sporadically appears in the news. But this strikes me as a fascinating if controversial piece and I urge you to read it. I am desperate not to cheapen what is being said in the article by some pathetic descent into “point scoring”, but I think it’s allowable for myself and fellow Christians to humbly rejoice in recognition that the presence in the world of us and the message we carry is not necessarily a continuous source of evil and violence, as Dawkins et al. might have you believe. Of course, I have never thought anything like this to be true, but it’s fantastic to see this being recognised by someone who’s opinion will not be instantly dismissed because they have a “vested interest”.

…It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

…In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.


The article basically outlines Mr. Parris’ observations on his travels through Africa; that those he encountered who follow Jesus – whether he knew them to do so immediately or retrospectively – were distinguishable by their confidence, their air of relaxation and liberty and their directness in any dealings. In his words, “they stood tall”. He goes to surprising effort to convey that it is not simply a matter of mission going hand in hand with aid, but that the effect that embracing Christianity had on those he met was holistically and noticeably positive.

Believing in God as I do, my views will ultimately differ from those of Matthew Parris on this subject, but concerning this particular article I can only add a rousing “amen!”.