Religion Tue, 30 Jul 2013

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Religion is part of our culture - Bishop Akwasi Sarpong

The Catholic Archbishop of Kumasi, Emeritus Peter Akwasi Sarpong, is advocating for the acceptance of plurality of religions, saying “religion is part of our culture otherwise it is not a religion.”

Speaking on JoyNews Current Affairs Programme: PM Express, Archbishop Emeritus Peter Akwasi Sarpong said, Female circumcision for example, in many non-African countries is referred to as female genital mutilation. In his view, the practice, although rejected by other societies, serves a purpose in certain African societies.

He addresses the issue of forming judgments about another culture’s practices with the mindset of an outsider, stating that understanding is critical.

“You can’t come from outside and describe a custom as an outsider,” he said. The Archbishop states that culture is specific to a certain group of people, and it is often challenging for outsiders to grasp completely.

He is the author of Odd Customs, Stereotypes and Prejudices, which discusses the stereotypes surrounding certain cultural practices and the need to accept the plurality of religions.

His book explores many African customs such as witchcraft, female circumcision and polarization between the North and South and the stereotypes surrounding them. A firm supporter of peace and justice, the Archbishop aims to change the attitudes and culture in which these customs are often discussed.

Raised by a Catholic mother and Traditionalist father, he recognizes the significant role religion plays in one’s life, including his own. He claims he does not see the difference between his beliefs about God and what Christianity says.

“We have to accept the plurality of religions,” he said. Archbishop Emeritus Peter Akwasi Sarpong not only recognizes the importance in accepting the plurality of religions, but also aims to change attitudes dealing with stereotypes of certain African customs.

Source: Joy Online

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