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Religious And Society Conflicts And Deliverance, A Case Study Of Church History In Nigeria In The 30’S

ABSTRACT

This study was on religious and Society Conflicts and deliverance, A case study of Church history in Nigeria in the 30’s The total population for the study is 200 members of selected early churches in Anambra state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made pastors, elders, deacons and members were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

1.1Background of the study

Religion is a complex, controversial and multifaceted concept. Many people define it to meet their own conceptual designs (Gedzi, 2009:49). Aboagye (2008:22) defines the core meaning of religion as a belief in the existence of God or a god and this has been part of human experience from the very beginning, and it remains highly developed or relatively primitive‖. Religion is a belief in a spiritual being. As such, it is a key component of individual and group identity‖ (USAID, 2009:4). It provides a spiritual meaning of life, loyalty and association. These elements according to Balakrishnan, present the connection between religion and politics. This has allowed many people to exploit the relationship and have let loose forces that can no longer be controlled (Anatomy of Religion Conflict, 2005:4).

Alternatively, conflict is defined as a relationship between two or more parties that centres on differences, disagreement on some issues of common interest or concern, divergence, incompatibility, clash of wills and the like; it may involve feeling of hatred and opposition (Awedoba, 2009:5; Horowitz and Bordens, 1995:697). In the words of Bamikole (2009), One of the fundamental challenges that had confronted man in social history is that of the inevitability of conflict and disagreement in human relations. This is because, as long as people live together, work together, and interact with each other, disputes remain inevitable between sub-groups or individuals in a group, or between different groups. When these disputes are fueled by emotion and become unsolvable, they develop into intra and inter-group conflicts‖, (Angessa, 2013:12). The reality posed by the challenge of conflict has more often than not, resulted into social problems, especially, when such conflicts are not well and properly managed before degenerating into violent confrontations. History is replete with records of conflicts and armed conflicts at various strata of human relations. Whether at the inter-personal, inter-group, intra-group, intra-national, conflicts have been found recurring in social relations‖ (Bamikole, 2009). Conflict is basic and valid part of social and political life, but in many places conflict turns violent, inflicting grave cost in terms of loss of lives, degraded governance, and destroyed livelihood (USAID, 2009:1). According to Angessa (2013:13), Humans do not have a violent brain. There is nothing in our neuropsychological make up that compels us to react violently. How we react is shaped by how we have been conditioned and socialized‘. So what parties learn is what they do and what they do becomes behaviour over time. Parties develop violent behaviour through time due to the incompatibility between the way one perceives the surrounding environment and the way that particular environment responds to one‘s needs and desires‖. Africa in recent past witnessed wanton wave of violent conflicts. These violent conflicts have disastrous consequences on social stability, peace, development and harmonious human existence (Bamikole, 2009). The source of the conflicts could be the incompatibility of the objective or subjective interests of groups or individuals. The subjective elements like perceptions, attitudes, values, needs, and understandings have no limit, while objective elements such as competition over scarce resources, quests for empowerment, and claims for autonomy remain relative concepts and usually create incompatibility of goals which in turn may lead to violence (Angessa, 2013:12).

Religion is often viewed as a motive for conflict and has emerged as a key component in many current and past conflicts. However, it does not always drive violence; it is also an integral factor in the peace building and reconciliation process. Development assistance and programming does not always consider this linkage, nor does it fully address the complexity of the relationship between religion and conflict. As the main mobilizing force in many societies, proper engagement of religion and its leaders is crucial (USAID, 2009:1). Religious conflicts for that matter, church conflicts, have existed in this world from time immemorial. This is based on the historical account recorded about the conflict between Barnabas and Paul in regard to John Mark which had led to division of the missionary team (Acts 15:36-41).

Nigeria has been experiencing different categories of continuous religious conflicts be it inter or intra-religious conflict. There were religious conflicts among Muslims sects as a result of religious misunderstanding. A similar incident occurred between Christians and Muslims. Christians and traditional believers also engaged in a conflict (Samwini, 2006:220). This points to fact that Nigeria is not immune to religious conflict.

Statement of the problem

Religious conflict in Nigeria goes as far back as 1953, and in the case of the town of Tafawa Balewa, to 1948. The Igbo massacre of 1966 in the North that followed the counter-coup of the same year had as a dual cause the Igbo officers’ coup and pre-existing (sectarian) tensions between the Igbos and the local Muslims.

Unfortunately, all the developmental works had come to stand still due to the religious conflict. Chiefs and their elders made persistent efforts to bring about reconciliation, but all failed. This religious conflict has continued to retard the development of the town. The question is what factors prevented Nigeria from splitting and what local conditions propelled Nigeria schism. The study wants to revisit the problem by way of research to contribute to its resolution so that development can continue in the Nigeria using Church history in Nigeria in the 30’s as a case study

Objective of the study

The objectives of the study are;

  1. To ascertain the real causes of religious conflict in the society
  2. To examine whether there was religious conflict in 30’s churches
  3. To find solution to religious conflict in Nigeria

Research hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0there are no real causes of religious conflict in the society.

H1: there are real causes of religious conflict in the society.

 H02: there was no religious conflict in 30’s churches.

H2: there was religious conflict in 30’s churches.

 Significance of the study

 The study will be very significant to students, religious society and Nigeria as a whole. the study will give clear insight on the Religious and Society Conflicts and deliverance, A case study of Church history in Nigeria in the 30’s. This research is considered very important because the findings would help restore peace and promote development in Nigeria. This is because conflict dramatically disrupts traditional development, reduces growth and prosperity. Again the lessons derived would be useful for future conflict prevention. It will serve as means of educating Christians to unite and solve problems facing their communities. It will also serve as a bed-rock for re-establishing sustainable peace among the conflicting parties. It may help religious leaders to know how to react to some sensitive issues within their churches and the need to resolve misunderstandings before they develop into conflicts. More so, it may provide the leadership of religious communities with the skills, tools, and capabilities required to improve dialogue within their communities in order to reduce factionalism.

Scope and limitation of the study

The scope of the study covers Religious and Society Conflicts and deliverance, A case study of Church history in Nigeria in the 30’s. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

  1. a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
  2. b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study

Definition of Terms

Religious: Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements

Conflict: A conflict is a clash of interest. The basis of conflict may vary but it is always a part of society. Basis of conflict may be personal, racial, class, caste, political and international. Conflict in groups often follows a specific course.

Deliverance: the action of being rescued or set free

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