The animism that is commonly called African traditional religion is one more example of depravity in false religion. Here are three chains with which the demons behind this system bind so many millions on this continent. If you sometimes wonder how to pray for missionaries, pray that God would save people from these traps.
1. The Limited Good Theory
In general the animism of this continent holds to the limited-good theory which stifles all productivity and self-improvement. This theory says that all the wealth in the world is like a bag of apples, once the apples are taken, there are no more. Thus jealousy, laziness, and hopelessness keep them from virtuous ambitions that would allow them to start businesses, build schools, and maintain infrastructure. The Biblical view of the world says that wealth is like an apple tree that can be replanted as long as there are willing farmers.
The animism of this continent obscures discussion of abstract ideas so that the mind is shackled, a self-imposed inability through long practice that blocks them from extended reflection on the great issues of life. As one example among many, Tsonga, Venda, and Shona (representing around 15-18 million people) have no words for “right” and “wrong” among many other vital concepts. (Such as “vital” and “concept.”)
The animism of this continent preserves haziness on the main topics of life. Why am I here? Where am I going? What can I do with my sin? With so many changing, capricious spirits, each unknowable, we cannot hope for any definite or specific knowledge. Questions about life and death are answered by one great guess or distraction after another. Those who have been influenced by this religion have a 3 meter wall placed between them and the solid answers to the vital issues of life.
These—and others like them—are the great terrors of this demonic religion which only the gospel can eradicate. Paul’s calling 2,000 years ago is still ours, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.” As proof of this verse, a number of dear believers are breaking from these bands as their minds are renewed by Scripture.