As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God

An article in “The Times” makes a novel statement: “Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa's biggest problem - the crushing passivity of the people's mindset.”

Matthew Parris, a former British Foreign Office employee and Conservative MP goes on to explain: “I returned, after 45 years, to the [African] country that I knew as a boy. A small British charity working there, Pump Aid, helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean. It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities.

“It confounds my ideological 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. … I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it.”

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