Review of Carmody's critique of Horton's theory of conversion in relation to Chikuni Catholic Mission after one hundred years ,1905-2005

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Mubanga, Alexander
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The spread of Christianity to Africa and Zambia in particular fulfilled the command of Jesus Christ to take the Good News to the whole world. Different Christian missionaries came to Zambia and used various strategies to convert the Africans to the new religion. Africans converted to Christianity from their own African traditional religions for different reasons. People in African traditional society depended on their local spirits and rarely called on God, the Supreme Being in their own world. In the 1970s Robin Horton theorized that the African belief system was made up of two tiers. The smaller tier is within the big tier and is associated with the lesser spirits of the microcosm while the big tier is the macrocosm and is controlled by the Supreme Being. He added that the change from the microcosm (dependence on lesser spirits) to macrocosm (dependence on the Supreme Being), was due to changes within the African cosmologies. Thus, Horton reduced Christianity and Islam to mere catalysts. Horton’s theory was challenged by Fisher (1973); Gray (1978); Ifeka-Moller (1974) and Carmody (1992; 2001). They have debated the cause of change that Horton talks about. The coming of the Jesuits to Chikuni mission in 1905 caused some local people to convert to Catholicism. The people’s conversion to Catholicism in Chikuni was for various reasons. Carmody has attributed conversion to Catholicism at Chikuni to education, employment and other material incentives given to converts. Now one hundred years after the mission was established, what could be causing conversion at Chikuni? This study revisited Carmody’s research at Chikuni mission. The researcher set out to investigate how Catholics at Chikuni have taken to mind and heart their conversion. The Catholics living in Chikuni mission was the population of the study. The sample size was thirty (30). The study was qualitative in nature and used interviews as the main method of data collection. The interview method was supplemented by participant observation and questionnaire survey. The study found that the old generation of Catholics at Chikuni remained committed to Catholicism. Additionally, material incentives no longer played a major role in conversion. Education did not appear to be a strategy of conversion. So it seems that there was a first conversion when Father Joseph Moreau arrived at Chikuni. The second conversion is what seems to be obtaining now. The second conversion largely means that new Catholics are coming from families that were already Catholics and are observing the teachings and doctrines of the church. The study recommends that the Bible should be interpreted according to the present times and situations. It is also suggested that further inculturation in the Catholic Church be done to reduce double standards in the lives of the people.
Catholic Church--education-Chikuni Mission--Zambia , Education and religion , Christian Religion