Religion is currently the biggest threat to the safety, security and peace of mankind. The world is increasingly becoming a dangerous place to live due to religious intolerance, lack of diversity and pluralism in religious beliefs giving rise to religious sectarianism, extremism and fundamentalism bringing bare to terrorism. Christianity and Islam are chief offenders of religious atrocities and exploitation done to mankind and in no lesser manner the African and for that matter the Ahanta too.
Everyday people are being killed based on religion and that has come to raise several questions as to whether religion is really the true way God? People are increasingly being slaughtered in the Middle East, some parts of Africa and Europe based on religious sectarianism, extremism and fundamentalism. Cities are going up in flames and bombs are tonating every day all in justification for religious beliefs and practices accompanied by struggles for political power crushing and wasting precious human lives. Religion has drawn sharp lines of hatred among men and women who are all believed to be creatures as well sons and daughters of one God who loves them all irrespective of colour and race. The new Ahanta must be the one who embraces religious tolerance, diversity and pluralism in religion to ensure that all men live in peace, unity and harmony.
Once a Muslim from Ghana travelled to Northern Ireland. Just as he disembarked from the the plane, there was a waiting taxi to pick him to his hotel. Whilst in the taxi, the taxi driver asked him “are you a Catholic or protestant?”. The Muslim man who knew how Northern Ireland has been torn apart based on religious beliefs, was very careful in answering his question considering the fact that he is not a catholic nor a protestant. What if he says he is a protestant and the taxi driver happens to be a catholic or what about if he says he is a catholic and the driver is a protestant or what about if he says he is not a Christian all ? How safe would he be? After pondering over the question for a while, he told the taxi driver I am from Ghana. He then continued by saying that in Ghana, there is a big tree under which Christians, Muslims, Traditionalists and all manner of persons worship based on their religious beliefs. In Ghana, religion does not separate us. The taxi driver said then your country must beautiful place to live. The Ghanaian Muslim said yes it’s beautiful place to live and that is why I am a proud Ghanaian. This is what every Ahanta should emulate and project the Ahanta personality in the right perspective irrespective of religious affiliations.
The new Ahanta must be the one who uphold religious diversity and tolerate religious pluralism for the peace and security of all manner persons. No one taught the Ahanta who God is. He knew God from the day he or she came into being as it is said that the African is notoriously religious and practices religion from the cradle to the grave. What is new to the Ahanta is the Abrahamaic religions and their various ways to one God who created the whole world and everything that is found in it.
We are still fortunate as people to have our nucleus still woven around our identity as Ahantas despite the fact that our pride as people is fast eroding away. By preserving our identity as one people with a common destiny and give room to religious diversity, pluralism and tolerance, our peace will transcend beyond the Ahanta borders to all other ethnic groups. Our peace will be infectious and contagious to other ethnic groups for the peace and tranquillity of the country as the elections are fast approaching.
Currently, the Ahanta practices Christianity, Traditional African Religion and Islam on a lesser extent as well as other unrecognised religions. Religion apart from God came to meet the Ahanta and for that matter the new Ahanta should tread above religious beliefs and practices that have divisive tendencies. The new Ahanta must be a religious elastic rope that can be stretched without tearing apart. We should weave our religious web based on our identity as Ahantas by accepting all Ahantas into one fold and also extend our religious tolerance, diversity and pluralism to other ethnic groups for a peaceful Ghana for all devoid of religious conflicts.
We should however admire and aspire the various Ahantas who have excelled in their religious fields. People like Ps/ Dr. Andrews Lawrence Ewoo of the Seventh-day Adventist church from Akwidae as well as Ps. Dr. Michael Asildjoe who was immediate President of the SDA Church in the western region are Ahanta people from whom we should draw huge inspirations. The appointment of Rev/Fr John Bonaventure Kwofie as the head of Sekondi-Takoradi Catholic Diocese who is a true Ahanta from Apowa should be appreciated by all Ahantas particularly those in the Catholic faith.
The election of RT/Rev Daniel De-graft Brace from Dixcove also an Ahanta as the bishop for Sekondi-Takoradi Methodist church signifies how Ahantas are creating impact in Religion particularly in the Christian faith and should be emulated by all Ahantas particularly those who are Weselyans. There other Ahantas playing various roles in the Christian faith as pastors, deacon and deaconesses, elders and what have you and that should be appreciated by all. Religion should be a service to God, country and humanity but not avenue to religious exploitation and to perpetrate conflicts and destruction of fellow man.
The Muslim faith is practiced on a lesser extent by the modern Ahanta and for that matter we look down on them but we should know that our identity as Ahantas should unite us one people irrespective of religious background. An Ahanta who has chosen Islam as a faith should be accorded the needed respect as we accord the Christians and the Traditionalists. We often treat them as outcasts which should never be so or the case. These Ahantas often try to align themselves with our brothers and sisters from the North whereby deep in their hearts, they are Ahantas who face some kind of rejection from their own people based on their religious choice.
They try to assimilate into the Northern folk to gain sense of belonging because of treatment meted out to them by some Ahantas. It’s a religious discrimination that should be frowned upon by all Ahantas. The new Ahanta Muslim should however be cautious about religious sectarianism, extremism and fundamentalism which are fast creeping into the Islamic faith and giving rise to terrorism motivated by western powers under religious lining and tone. The new Ahanta Muslim must portray the peace that the Islamic faith seeks to project in the right perspective. Religious sectarianism, extremism and fundamentalism should be abhorred by the new Ahanta who practices Islam as a faith. The new Ahanta Muslim must be fostered into the Ahanta fraternity irrespective of religious background and be respected accordingly.
The Traditional African Religion has always been religion for the African people in which our culture, customs, practices and values lie as people though we try to deny it based on our new found faiths. Many Christians and Muslims turn to the traditional African Religion if their Christian and Islamic faith fail to give them spiritual fortifications and edification they need or seek for. There are some Christians and Muslims who practice Traditional African Religion in addition to their new found faiths because it is said that the Leopard cannot change the spots on its skin and the same vein the Ethiopian cannot change the colour of his or her skin. The advent of Christian and Islamic faith seem to have suppressed the traditional African Religion practiced by all African people including Ahantas but somehow it has been maintained and handed over from generation to generations with much success. The new Ahanta practicing the traditional African Religion should also embrace diversity and pluralism for the unity of all Ahanta people as well the whole Ghana on a larger extent.
The new Ahanta is the one who prides his or herself as an Ahanta Christian, Ahanta Muslim or an Ahanta who practices Traditional African Religion. No one says the new Ahanta should go and practice outmoded cultural beliefs and practices that enslaved our forefathers but what we mean to say is that the new Ahanta should be proud of him or herself irrespective of religious beliefs and practices. For the new Ahanta, religion must be a unifier instead of division and hatred accompanied by its heinous crimes and atrocities being meted out to fellow humans elsewhere under the guise that God is love rather than creating doubts in people’s head about the love and grace God has for humanity.
I am a proud Ahanta from Apemenyim who is a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA). I have always maintained my identity as an Ahanta practicing Christianity. It’s nice to be an Ahanta.
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