Based on a new survey that seems to compare religious faith and poverty, Kenyans are among the most God-fearing and religious people in the world. However, the report by an American think-tank, Pew Research Centre, says Kenyans’ religiosity is not up to their regional neighbors which include Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia whose religiosity is dramatically higher than Kenya’s.
According to the survey, around 86 per cent of Kenyans say “religion is very important in their lives,” thus placing Kenyans in the league of most God-fearing people in the world.
Other countries whose citizens are highly religious and God-fearing include Ethiopia (98 per cent), Senegal (97 per cent), Indonesia (95 per cent), Uganda (94 per cent), and Pakistan (93 per cent). Others are Burkina Faso (92 per cent), Tanzania (90 per cent), Ghana (90 per cent), Nigeria (88 per cent) and Philippines (87 per cent).
Dominated by Christians, Kenya is primarily a Christian country with about 83 per cent of the population saying they are Christians while Islam follows in second with around 11 per cent. But does this affect the country’s economic growth or its rate of corruption in any positive way?
The report concluded that the controversial thing about the religiosity of these countries mentioned among the most God-fearing people is that majority of them have a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita which is way below $5,000 (Sh510,000). Whereas countries which houses a not so religious people seem to be among the most developed and advanced countries in the world.
The report discovered that people in developed countries like Canada (27 per cent), Italy (26 per cent), Ukraine (22 per cent), Germany (21 per cent), and Spain (21 per cent) are less religious.
This was also the case with people of the United Kingdom (21 per cent), Russia (19 per cent), South Korea (19 per cent), Australia (18 per cent), France (14 per cent), Japan (11 per cent) and China (3 per cent).
Clearly, most of these countries with less religious people have a GDP per capita of more than $20,000 (Sh2,040,000).
The study suggests that the trend which saw high dependency on God by poor countries to be a factor of importance as the people from richer countries tend to place little importance on religion when set side by side with those from poorer countries. The United States however had some oddity since it didn’t comply with the trend. About 53 per cent of the respondents in the United States revealed that religion was greatly important in their lives.
Apart from United States, the trend seems to hold true for most countries.
Ethiopia shoots up the most as a country with the most religious people on earth, the study shows. The country has 98 per cent of its people say religion is very important to them while a very small percentage of people in China as small as 3 per cent places religion to be of great significance in their lives.
And this brings to mind the need to ask whether religion connotes poverty, causes it or is it simply a symptom? Well, Analysts from Kenya believe because Christianity was forced on Third World countries almost at gun point, those countries had to take it more serious than even the people who sailed it into Africa. As a consequence, the love for religion among the people of undeveloped countries deepened widely so much so that nobody wants to lose a grip of it any more.