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December 13, 1957 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1957-12-13

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Collins Discusses Ghanean Religion
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Religion In
Ghana is the fourth in the series
discussing the impressions of Stu-
dent Government Council Presi-
dent Joe Collins' gathered while at-
tending a student seminar in the
African nation.) ,
Religious problems in Ghana are
closely tied to those of education.
Joe Collins, '58, discussing his r
recent African experiences, ex- x"
plained, as in education there is a
dichotomy between the old tribal
customs and the impact of new
Western and Eastern elements. r
The older pagan religions, consist-
ing mostly of JuJu and Fetish -.
rites, are deeply entrenched in the
popular mind. Christian mission-
aries and Moslem traders have
long had an influence on the
people, but he doubted this influ-
ence has been permament.
"Before we continue, let's define
the term 'Pagan'," he said. Pagan-
ism is neither superior nor inferior 4
to Christianity; that question is:-
not an issue here. The term refers
to the sum of the diverse native
religious practices, which vary
from village to village, rather than GHANAEAN ART-The umbrella over this carved group is the
symbol of chieftaincy in Ghana. The figures in the group represent
Moslems Influence an Ashanti chief, the Queen Mother and their attendants. Ghana
Collins emphasized the great in- was the site of a meeting attended by SGC's President Joe Collins
fluence Moslem thought has had, last summer.
not only in Ghana, but over the
entire continent. The Moslems who ed by modern Africa. Collins'ob- rican imagination. In the slow
travel through this area are for served they are a people searching transition from the old pagan reli-
the most part wealthy traders; for ideas and slogans. "Such new glons he finds himself with a par-
they are respected by the poorer ideas as 'freedom,' and 'national-
people with whom they come in ism,' have already gripped the Af- tial committment. The witch doc-
contact. tor, the hundreds of gods who dwell
Moslem philosophy is successful, in every animal and object, the
he continued, because most people many traditional means of ap-
find it easier to rationalize with G uerr. T a " peasing these gods; still hold the
their own native religion. "Besides emotions of the African. "But on
polygamy, a feature of Moslem O r Faulkner the other hand," Collins added, "he
custom which is also important to has been exposed to religious in-
the Africans, they are attracted by n Cr dfluences to which he feels the need
the close unity which exists among rt - onr to adapt himself.
Moslems." - "This tension is the 'progress' of
Christianity has spread almost "Neither Conrad nor Faulkner the individual away from total
entirely through tht missionaries, became writers until they dis- involvement in tribal patterns, to-
He emphasized the outstanding covered the aspect of experience ward insecurity. He said the di-
work done by the missions, provid- verse pagan rites offer the African
ing needed services in the villages; which dramatized their subjective an emotional and moral security.
"They have long been solely re- world," emphasized Prof. Albert J. Chirstianiti has not been able to
sponsible for most village education Guerard of Harvard University. displace this religious vitality.
and for local medical facilities. speaking before a large gather- Problems Similar
People depend upon the missionary gProblems S i gin
for many daily needs." He added,ing yesterday, Guerard said, The problems of religion and
for these r'easons "conversions" "Writers shouldn't write the nov- education are similar. The native,
have been of a superficial nature. el they 'ought,' but that which is educated in a British university,
peculiar to their own inner ex- will return to his own tribe and
Offer Services perience." Explaining the artist- reassume his old position; the
The people have embraced Chris- Ic development of each, he stated Christianity has not been able to
tianity in many villages because of Conrad failed as an affirmative the security of Paganism in a
the services offered by its repre- writers he had to leave- the im- crisis, he explained.
sentatives, rather than through mediate experience of London, the Collins concluded that Ghana,
any understanding of its philos-' sophisticated urbanity, for the as a nation at the crossroads, is
ophy. "Furthermore, there is a south seas. "There he expressed a tremendously fertile ground for
feeling that Christianity has not the lonely soul, struggling with sin, new ideas, drawn from East and
.made any effort to comprise itself manhood, and repentance, . op- West. "If we are to hold their
with the local pagan traditions," posed by a hostile world." respect, we must learn to compro-
he added. Faulkner too discovered his ex- mise when dealing with them."
Among Africans there has been pressive experience only after a He observed that the tendency
n increase In religious noveltIes. period of failure. Guerard stated of Africans to embrace completely
Collins was impressed with the Faulkner's great achievement be- unfamiliar foreign ideas 'and slo-
partaking in faith-healing rites. gan with his use of the past and gans, is a danger. "They tend to
Spread by Europeans, this institu- tradition surrounding the "suf- become radical in their political
tion has been gathering momen- fering innocence" of simple people. and religious beliefs."
tum. o ,"The voice is distinctive with - This trait, while a vital resource
Quite often, crowds of as many each writer. It is his soul's expres- for a young nation, also creates
as nyfourf whundred fainted from e- sion; man and writer are separ- the tension between the traditional
haustion. The, feverish emotional ate. Conrad and Faulkner have and the new which permeates so
atiitysTmeimesh aste tieen- regular distinctive voices in their much of Ghanean and African
activity sometimes lasted teent great novels; in their earlier ones, society, Collins said.
har alsoh.'' ioradsersaid, the voice is halting and uneven,
has also made inroads, he but it is there," he explained.
' Involve Novelty Guerard concluded, stating the
Involvement in novel religious two writers form a tradition of
activities, which is essentially a subjective "expression in modern
readiness of the irdividual to lose literature. Neither was able to
himself in a new cause, is an create great art from' his imme-
indication of the crossroads reach- diate experience.

CUnRn,00 9/
The Be! Air 4-Door Sedan-br
Tonight at 7 and 9 P.M.
"MR. HULOT'S HOLIDAY Come try the
saturday 7 and 9 P.M.
LEW AYRES LOUIS WOLH E IM There's never been



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