Professor Max Assimeng, Senior Lecturer at the Sociology Department of the University of Ghana, Legon, has observed that too much practice of religion has been the bane of Ghana’s socio-economic development.
He said Ghana had failed to progress economically because “we have taken religion too far” and added that “in a country where there is too much religion, economic activity goes down”.
Professor Assimeng made the observation when launching his new book titled ‘Religion and Social Change in West Africa’ in Accra.
The book is the second edition after it had been out of stock a year after the first publication in 1989.
It is to assist especially universities with mission-backgrounds, to move from teaching religion based on only sectarian values, to one which is across board or which appreciates all facets of religion.
Professor Assimeng noted that most Ghanaians spent several hours on religion especially observing all-night, deliverance and anointing services which were often broadcast on television, radio and published in the newspapers to the detriment of hard work required for the country’s economic development.
He said Ghanaians had downplayed hard work to religion, adding that “the Ghanaian is prepared to participate in religious activities even when he is sick but not prepared to work in that condition, we have a serious problem”.
“Countries that have progressed economically attached equal attention to religion and hard work,” he said.
Professor Assimeng said the current proliferation of churches was not influenced by the true spirit behind the practice of religion but factors such as making money, who controls the offertory, the tithes, and selecting the most beautiful woman in the church.
He acknowledged the existence of religion and its importance in the lives of humanity, adding “human beings would have created God if He did not exist”.
Professor Assimeng, therefore, called on all and sundry to “establish a proper balance between what must be given to God and what must be given to Caesar” to ensure an overall development of the country.
Dr Kwadwo Kwabia, Lecturer at the Ghana Maritime University, launched the 291-page book which examines Sociology and Religion, and the types of on-going dynamic social changes in West Africa.
Nana Ama Twumasi, Lecturer at the Theology Department of Presbyterian University College, who reviewed the book, lauded Professor Assimeng for the excellent manner in which he examined the concept of religion, “all which makes the book an interesting must-read piece”.
Professor Steve Tonah, Lecturer at the Sociology Department of the University of Ghana, described the book as one which made vivid revelation in sociology and religion and recommended it to lecturers of religion.
It was published by Woeli Publishing Services.