Worldview Transformation

This topic explores the importance of understanding worldview for lasting international development.

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Worldview Transformation

This is the first in a series of blogs based on Chris Ampadu’s doctoral dissertation.

Africa, the pleasant continent of promise, has been perceived as a dark and cursed continent. But is Africa cursed? Most of the world is acquainted with only the bad news of Africa: wars, sicknesses, pain, poverty, hunger, famine, and deprivation. On the continent, many have given up hope. With the massive assistance and support that Africa has received, coupled with the enormous natural resources at her disposal, why has the continent not emerged from her predicaments? Though external factors such as colonialism, the slave trade, and global trade balances have taken their toll on Africa, the biggest obstacle to the continent’s development and progress is internal.

Obviously, there is a need to probe further to find the reason why, after so much has been given to the continent in various forms of assistance, progress has been very slow. There is a need to go to the roots of African problems. Some writers locate the root of Africa’s problems in such issues as incompetent leadership, infrastructural inadequacies, widespread illiteracy, or unjust economic systems. These are indeed serious problems in Africa, but most of these problems have far deeper roots.

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The contemporary approach to development defines Africa’s needs almost entirely in terms of money and Westernization. What Africa needs, donors assume, is to be more like the West. The means used to attempt to reach this goal are outside money and Western-style education in Western languages (usually English).

This article questions these presuppositions. But if outside donor money is not the answer for development in Africa, where should we look for the answer? This article presents research showing that human thinking is rooted in metaphors that are themselves rooted (or embodied) in actual experiences. This, then, opens doors of understanding ways in which Christian / biblical teaching is central to the initiation and propagation of sustainable, transformative, and indigenously rooted socio-economic development. While focused on sub-Saharan Africa, the home of the author since 1988, the commentary in this article on the human condition is of much wider relevance. It puts the Word of God in its rightful central place in innovative human endeavor.

To achieve sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa, there is a need for ploughing new ground and looking for new answers. There is a lot of work to be done that can only be done over a long period of time using local resources, languages, and indigenous thought patterns informed by Scripture.

This article is one of many on related themes by this author. The author is a regular advocate for “vulnerable mission,” which advocates that some Western missionaries and development workers need to relate to the people they are reaching using local languages and local resources.

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