By counting the ever-increasing number of faith groups, one can easily be tempted to believe that Malawi is a God-fearing nation.
However, when you consider the number of people patronising drinking places during days and hours they are supposed to be in temples of worship, you may think otherwise.
At Limbe Tavern, for instance, imbibers start drinking as early as 5:30am every day, including Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Usually, the multitude that patronises the tavern outnumbers those in many churches. Some of them would drink until dusk without a break.
So, what time do they go to temples to worship?
Away from the temples, life is not so different in communities where people are doing all sorts of evil; from fornication, jealousy, theft and murder.
This notwithstanding, some people still hold on to the claim that Malawi is a God-fearing nation.
On what basis are we laying the claim? How do we measure the fear of God with all these iniquities?
In one of his Facebook posts, former newspaper columnist Arnold Chachacha Munthali argued that Malawi is actually a God-feared nation and not a God-fearing nation.
According to Munthali, the rate at which citizens are committing crimes suggests we are not a God-fearing lot.
“…Even God fears Malawi,” he argued.
Supporting this line of thinking is Lilongwe-based Immanuelho Mahmoudissa Salahadin who thinks Malawians have no justification for their claim.
Salahadin believes the claim is ‘hasty generalisation’.
“That cannot be applicable to the whole nation, which has a lot of individuals who ascribe to different beliefs, including atheism. It’s very difficult to make Malawi a truly God-fearing nation for that requires every individual to agree convincingly to such belief, which in our scenario can’t happen unless through supernatural imposition,” he argues.
He further states that only when the whole nation supports the ‘Kingdom of God’ that it can be called God-fearing.
But a member of the Calvary Family Church (CFC), George Banda, contends that it is wrong to dismiss the notion that Malawians are God-fearing people.
According to Banda, Malawi is a religious nation that strays just like the ‘Prodigal Son’ in the Bible.
“Straying from your father’s house doesn’t make you lose your relationship with your parents. So, just like the prodigal son, we, too, can stray away from the will of God, but that doesn’t make us a God-feared nation,” he argues.
Moderator of Mt. Carmel CCAP Church, Reverend Anne Kapinda, agrees with Banda, saying it would be wrong to judge “our fear of God” by basing on what “a few people” are doing.
Kapinda argues that what happened after the death of president Bingu wa Mutharika is a true reflection of Malawi’s fear of God.
“If it were in other countries, there could be chaos and bloodshed. But did you see how smooth the transition went? That is a sign that we fear God,” she says.
Pastor Goodwins Mwalughali of the Ambassadors for Christ Ministries says there is no denying that there is a lot of evil happening in the country, but that that cannot make Malawians a God-feared nation.
Mwalughali believes that as long as the majority of citizens recognise the existence of God, Malawi has every reason to be called a God-fearing nation.
He says even the structuring and amendment of the Constitution should be based on God’s commandments so that Malawi fully conforms to its claim.
“Almost 90 percent of Malawians recognize or believe that they is the supreme God who made the heaven and earth. This is regardless of the religion we belong to,” says Mwalughali.