Feb 18, 2011

As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God

Matthew Parris is a former MP and now journalist for The Times. In an article written for the newspaper on the 27th December 2008 he wrote:

Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it’s Malawi….It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. 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 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.

Parris is a journalist known for his refreshing honesty and this piece is a fine example. What’s not clear to me is, as an atheist, what Parris attributes the profound change in people’s hearts that he observes to and what therefore he means when he says ‘the rebirth is real.’  My prayer is that he and many others will not only recognise the life-change that alone the gospel can bring but see it for what it really is – the work of a gracious God.  My hope is that he will see and come to share the sure and certain knowledge that at the heart of this universe is a God of love who in his Son has loved us and through his son offers us life and peace, joy and hope and that this message is not just the need of Africa but the need of all nations.  That the gospel is the power of God to not only forgive sins but to transform people, societies and the world.


  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AtheistQuotes and Steve Timmis, Neil Powell. Neil Powell said: New post: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God http://bit.ly/hPKQUI […]

  • When this article first appeared a couple of years back, a couple of my friends in Africa reacted quite strongly to it causing me to re-evaluate my thoughts. I blogged again, here: http://www.kouya.net/?p=1602

    • Thanks for your comment and for the link to the blog post. I have to say I completely agree with what you posted. It is true that Africa needs God but then again what can he possibly mean by that if the West does not also need God? It is a personal tragedy when someone can see the difference Christ can and does make and then not want it for themselves or their own times and nation. We need to continue to pray for him. Thanks again.

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