In a press report, Rev Dr. Neville Callam, General-Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), has reportedly expressed concern regarding Jamaica’s drift towards postmodernism and secularism – “forces that can bring nothing but destruction and destitution in their wake,” he asserted.
In his sermon to mark Jamaica’s 53rd year of independence, at Howard University Law School Dunbarton Chapel, on Sunday, Dr. Callam said that a cursory examination of the statistics on religious affiliation showed Jamaica faring the worst, among countries in the Caribbean region.
He stated that, in 2012, the PEW Research Group in the United States undertook a study to discover how people across the world characterize their religious commitment.
According to the Pew Research, the only Caribbean country to outdo Jamaica in the rejection of a religious identity was Cuba, with 23% of the Cuban population self-identifying as non-religious.
The BWA General Secretary highlighted the fact that, in sections of the English-speaking Caribbean, in 2012, the percentage of the population claiming no religious identity was as follows: St. Lucia, 6%, Bahamas, 3.1%, St Vincent & the Grenadines, 2.5%, Guyana, 2%, Barbados, 1.9%, Trinidad & Tobago, 1.9%, Antigua & Barbuda, 1.7%, and Grenada, 1%.
However, in Jamaica in 2012, 17.1% of the population claimed no religious identity at all, following no religion. This percentage is higher than the worldwide average of 16%.
He suggested that in 2015 the situation may have deteriorated considerably.
Dr. Callam said Jamaicans need the Church to demonstrate clearly and powerfully “the healing, transformative and redemptive power of God,” in both the public and the private domains. “Only this can arrest the trend of retreat from God and from religion that marks the Jamaican people,” he noted.
He told the large congregation that, in Jamaica, “there is need for a spiritual reawakening that is fueled by the faith that has served us well over the years and can serve us well into the future.”
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