The Encounter Between Christianity and Asante Culture: Impact and Repercussions

Anthony Kofi Anomah


The Asante Traditional Religion was in existence and the home of many Asantes long before Western missionaries introduced Christianity and Islam into Asanteman. The Asantes believe in the Supreme Being, spirits, ancestral veneration and life after death. However, with the introduction of Christianity and Western education, Western missionaries condemned Asante culture and religion and taught Asantes to abandon their culture and religion, and convert into Christianity. Some Asantes who converted into Christianity were asked to imbibe Western European culture and religion and to become like Western Europeans in thought and action. They were to assume the names of European saints and abandon some of their traditional names and practices which were considered pagan. Christian rites of passage were introduced to replace the time-tested Asante rites of passage. With the introduction of Christianity and Western education, many young Asante converts abandoned their culture and traditional religion and adopted the Western European culture and religion as a way of life. Even though official Church teachings and documents urged European missionaries to be Asantes with Asantes, some missionaries still abandoned caution and judged the Asante converts from the perspective of a European worldview.The author conducted a doctoral research in 2017 at Ejisu Juaben Municipality among three selected Churches, namely, the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church Ghana and the Church of Pentecost using 377 respondents and nine purposive in-depth interviews. The study also reviewed existing literature available on the subject. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences software for Windows, version 23 was used to analyse the data. Majority of respondents agreed that early Western missionaries provided formal education, health care and charitable services to the needy in the municipality. However, they also admitted that the early Western missionaries interfered with Asante culture and considered Asante Traditional Religion as pagan. The early Western missionaries were unable to study the language and culture of the Asantes and so could not penetrate the deep-rooted traditional Asante culture and religion. This paper proposes that Christian missionaries should synthesise the Christian message with Asante culture in order to win the heart of the Asante convert into Christianity.

Keywords: Encounter, Christianity, Asante culture, Asante Traditional Religion

DOI: 10.7176/JPCR/42-04

Publication date:March 31st 2019

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