1. What are some of the religions practiced in Africa?
ALMOST everyone in Africa agrees that it is important to worship God. But, there is little agreement about how to worship him. Some worship at a mosque, and others go to a traditional shrine. Still others attend a church. But it would be wrong to think that there are only three religions in Africa. Among Muslims, there are differing laws and beliefs. Traditional religion varies widely from place to place. Among the professed Christian churches, there is even greater disunity. Apart from the main ones, there are thousands of independent churches throughout Africa.
Our Religion Must Be Based on Truth
2. (a) What usually determines a person’s religion? (b) What does not prove that our religion is pleasing to God?
2 Why do people worship as they do? Most people accept the religion of their parents. Events of long ago also influence the religion people practice today. The book The Africans—A Triple Heritage says: “Islam spread north of the Sahara through conquest, . . . Christianity spread south of the Sahara by the same means. If north of the Sahara Islam spread by the sword, south of the Sahara Christianity spread by the gun.” Still, most of us believe that our religion is pleasing to God. But a religion is not correct just because our parents practice it or because some foreign power imposed it on our ancestors.
3-5. What illustration helps us to see that not all religions teach the truth?
3 While all religions claim to offer reliable guidance about serving God, their ideas differ. They teach many different things about who God is and what he expects of us. Think about this: Suppose you got a job with a big company. On the first day of work, you learn that the boss is away on leave. So you ask three workers what you should do. The first worker says that the boss wants you to sweep the floor. The second says that you should paint the building. The third tells you to distribute the mail.
4 Next, you ask the workers about the boss. The first says that the boss is tall, young, and harsh. The second says that he is short, old, and kind. The third tells you that the boss is not a man at all—the boss is a woman. Likely, you conclude that the three workers are not all telling the truth. If you want to keep your new job, you will probably do some checking to find out who the boss really is and what he or she wants you to do.
5 It is the same with religion. Because there are so many ideas about who God is and what he requires of us, we need to make sure that our way of worship is in harmony with the truth. But how can we learn the truth about God?