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Is Africa Incurably Religious?

III: A Reply To A Rhetorical Response

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We reply in this article to Kehinde Olabimtan's polemical response to our article, 'Is Africa Incurably Religious?: Confessing and Contesting an Invention' [of Tradition], both published in this journal in 2003. We first review the setting of this exchange: the theological character of the journal Exchange, and then point to Olabimtan's strategy of polemically presenting our analysis in the terms of the old 'war' between atheist and religious scholarship on religions. Having carefully summarised the 'weapons' he used in his 'counter-attack' on our analysis, we dispassionately respond to them by pointing out first that our analysis was not inspired by an atheist approach to religions, but by methodological agnosticism, and then reply to Olabimtan's other misrepresentations of us and of p'Bitek. We conclude by pointing to the 'bridges' between his and our approaches, which Olabimtan did not explode.

Affiliations: 1: Retired Senior Lecturer in Comparative Study of Religions at the Leiden University, The Netherlands;, Email:; 2: Research Fellow at the Utrecht School of Governance of the Utrecht University, The Netherlands;, Email:


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