Category: RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS
Religious and Cultural Studies project topics and materials for undergraduate and post graduate students. Research project paper, seminar topics, proposals, titles, ideas and materials are available for dissertation, thesis and essay in Religious and Cultural Studies department. Find below the list of research project topics for OND, HND, BSC, PGD, MSC and PHD Religious and Cultural Studies students
Man as an intellectual being has always questioned the origin, sustenance and existence of the universe. In a like manner, these numerous questions on the mysteries of life have led to the discovery of religion; hence man is regarded as a religious being. Unlike other religions namely like Judaism, Christianity and Islam that have known origins, African Traditional Religion has no specific founder. Christianity for instance, according to the Bible in the second book of Luke popularly known as the Acts of Apostles chapter 11:26 points to Antioch as the place of origin of the word Christians. In other words Christ was the founder and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. In the case of Islam, it was Mohammed who founded it. Contrasts to this, Africans have no recorded founder(s) or initiator(s) of their religion. Yahweh’s (Judaism) according to Okwueze (1998:51) is suggested to have been founded by Moses .African Religion is as old as the continent itself. This has contributed immensely to the nature of the religion with multivariate practices of this religion all over the continent.
That is why there is a lot of variations from one smallest indivisible society of Africa to another. In this vein, Isichei (1977:13-14) posits that:
One should not neglect to mention the value of tradition religion …West African religion tend to hold that the supreme God is benevolent but that he stays remote from affairs of men. It is therefore believed that worshippers should give most of their devotion to many lesser spirits…Because they did not write; their wisdom has usually died with them.
All things being equal, African Traditional Religion concept of the divine ultimate or transcendent being revolves around the belief in the supreme being, the belief in divinities, Belief in spirits, Belief in Ancestors and practice of magic and medicine (Ugwu and Ugwueye 2004:32-49). From this, we can understand the belief pattern of other nations or societies in Africa irrespective of their languages and cultures like the Igbo nation or society, and other sub-regions or sections within the Igbo world like the Akpo people of Anambra State.According to Ogugua (2005:68), between the supreme being and man is a region inhabited by spirits. Onunwa (2005:35) places African Traditional Religion (human being), in a triangular form with man at the center where God
It has remained a paradox that Nigeria, a highly religious country, cannot deny in its historical records, the challenges of juvenile delinquency. Nigeria is a great nation with great fortunes and great opportunities. Although the subject of juvenile delinquency is an age long problem, it seems that the juvenile delinquency of the past cannot be evaluated with that of the present era in Nigeria. The challenges have become a cankerworm that has transmitted from juvenile delinquency to a violent crime which has subjected the country to a security threat and all sorts of crisis. The persistent increase in the rate of juvenile crimes in Nigeria and the abysmal failure by the diverse religious institutes to curb this problem have constituted a serious barrier to the country’s economic development since many “young ones who epitomizes the nation’s future” (Ugwuoke, 2010,p.23) are enmeshed in moral decadence. Juvenile delinquency is therefore viewed as a major impediment to socio-economic progress and a significant threat to national security.
The situation must however be understood against the backdrop of the flaws in fostering a genuine ethical cum religious teachings on the young ones by the diverse religious institutions that scattered across the country. Consequently, the researcher insisted on the need of revisiting the proper functions and the roles of religion by different religious institution in Nigeria which stands to curb the challenges of this delinquency. Hence, Omoregbe (2010) noted that “ethical teachings generate certain moral convictions and outlook which in turn influence and guide people’s conduct along certain directions.”(p.12) Obviously, unless something is done to roll back the wave of juvenile delinquency in Nigeria, the prospect of a better, safer and more prosperous society emerging in the country will remain elusive.
Juvenile delinquency has caused much concern in recent time not only because of its rising rate of occurrence, but due to its accompanying implications. Although, most juvenile misconducts are usually considered less harmful than crimes but such conducts easily led to crimes when remedial measures was not applied urgently. Dambazau (2007) enumerated major causes of juvenile delinquency to include “peer pressure, parental neglect, parental imitation, genetic or biological factor, poor education and lack of opportunities, media violence, poverty, child abuse and other similar causes of adult criminal behavior.”(p.339) These causes of delinquency are in line with Nolen-Hoekseme (2001) who also observed that “These criminal behaviours committed by minors are collectively referred to as juvenile delinquency.”
The challenges of these delinquencies in Nigeria have thus become an academic concern owing to the damages suffered by its perpetrators. The paramount of the problem according to (Redl and Wineman ,1997,p.286) is that these young ones “often do not see anything wrong in what they do.” The challenges of juvenile delinquency in Nigeria cannot be effectively discussed without highlighting the probable social costs of this endemic disease to Nigerian nation. Most uncurbed delinquencies has in recent times, developed into violent crimes which the evidence is manifested in the activities of bombing by the boko haram sect and other violent groups in Nigeria. These violent crimes as noted by Brown (1996) are “those crimes that involve physical injury, destruction of property and socio-psychological costs of trauma”. These crimes specifically include rape, assaults, armed robbery, arson murder, thuggery and political assassinations, bombing and kidnapping.
Therefore, a thorough search on the solution to the challenges of juvenile delinquency in Nigeria has called for re-awakening of the roles of religion whose major functions is appealing to the conscience of the juveniles through ethical teachings and building of moral behaviour. It is therefore, worthy of note that children form the bedrock of any society. Adequate protection of this young segment of population is thus a sine qua non for development albeit national security of modern nation states. A nation with high religious pluralism ought to produce less delinquents children consequent upon the fact that religion encompasses sound religious indoctrination and ethical teachings which enthrones moral uprightness in the young ones. Therefore Religions’ role which also include to restores ethical values and rids the society of social vices such as juvenile delinquency and many other forms of evil must be retraced.
1.2 The Statement of the Problem
The challenges of juvenile delinquency is an age long problem, it seems that the juvenile delinquency of the past cannot be compared with that of the present era. However, a juvenile delinquent is one who indulges in antisocial behaviour, some of which could be regarded as crime if committed by an adult. The antisocial behaviour often associated with the juvenile delinquents’ include; truancy, cheating, weapon carrying, petty stealing, school drop outs, indecent dressing, cultism, watching of pornographic movies and magazines, small scale pilfering, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, insubordination, sagging, vandalism etc. This act which is juvenile misbehaviour have metamorphosed today to juvenile or youthful exuberance which Nigeria is manifested in such acts as students demonstration, riots, gambling, sports hooliganism, bombing and kidnapping, and so on. Cohen (1965) noted that “these young people usually have related problems; some of them are products of broken homes.”(p.74) The issue of juvenile delinquency is one of the major concerns to families, churches, neighbourhood, schools, law enforcement agencies and the society at large. Children and young person whom the law defines as juveniles are increasingly being introduced and used in serious crimes.
The causative factors of this problem according to Dambazzau (2007) are “peer pressure, parental neglect, parental imitation, genetic or biological factor, poor education, lack of opportunities, media violence, poverty, divorce, child abuse and other similar causes of adult criminal behavior.” The family is under distress because of the ongoing issue. The school system and other socialization institutions are seriously losing the capabilities to inculcate right morals and values in the young ones. Economic pursuits have taken the centre stage that brought about parental neglect. School teachers engage in other transactions at the expense of their profession just to make ends meet. The emergence of ICT with all its benefits, equally impact negatively in these young ones. There are morally debased information items that are posted daily on the internet and these young ones have access to such devastating items of information without restrictions. All these developments tend to increase the emergence of juvenile delinquency in Nigeria and globe.
Many roles have been played by different scholars through different medium and means to put an end to this problem but the fact remains that, there is a global increase of juvenile delinquencies, despite the fundamental efforts put in place by nations of the world and Nigeria as a country to fight this unhealthy phenomenon. The situation must however be understood against the backdrop of the deviation of focus in fostering a genuine ethical cum religious teachings on the young ones by the diverse religious institute that scattered across the country.
The most bothering questions that this research tried to deal with are the questions about whether the challenges of juvenile delinquency is peculiar to Nigeria as a country and the extent in which other scholars have gone in tackling of this national problem. Also it become burdensome why must there be high rate of this delinquency amidst many religious institutions in Nigeria and why is the role of ethics in dealing with this delinquency problem being relegated. It also seeks to prove whether religion and ethical principles can provide a possible solution to ameliorate this juvenile delinquency. What actually is the subject of juvenile crime and what popular theories including modernization surround it.
The focus of this study is the area designed as administrative Obowu or the fourteen (14) village community of Ekwere-na-ote and Okwu-na-Nso. Obowu situates in the Igbo Heartland of the present Obowu Local Government Area of Imo State of Nigeria and covers an area of 69,930 square kilometers. It is bounded on the east by the Imo River which separates it from Umuahia, on the North and North-West by Ihite and the famous Abadaba lake respectively, on the West by the Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area. Obowu is served by the Onuiyi River rising from Aham River between Okwuohia and Umulogho. And from here, the Aham (Iyi) traverses Umuoke and Umungwa, emptying itself finally into the Imo River.
Obowu is located about 40 kilometres north-east of Owerri and 9.6 kilometres west of Umuahia and it lies within the rain forest belt of Nigeria. Based on a densely-forested and undulating terrain of this region, Obowu is endowed with a variety of tall tree-ranging from the majestic Iroko, the oil bean, the silk cotton, the coconut to the highly valued oil palm. Here, the oil palm is the most common as well as the most important economic tree. The mean annual rainfall is between 80 – 100 inches and most of the rain falls between the months of April and November. The dry season which is generally hot sets in from December to March with a certain amount of harmattan occurring in December and January. Even during the dry season, occasional rains are not unusual. Worthy of note here is that the name Obowu which was originally spelt as OBOWU but the colonial masters anglicized the name and spelt is OBOWO.
Traditionally, Africans are very religious people, so are the Igbos and Obowu people in particular. The religion is manifested in every aspect of their cultural activities. Before the arrival of the European missionaries in Nigeria, Obowu people already had the same or similar or equivalent doctrines of worship of God with Christianity example, the Obowu people were monotheistic. They believed in one supreme and Almighty God (Chukwu/Chi-ukwu, the creator of all things (Chineke or Chi-Okike), the great one who lives in Heaven (Obasi bi n’igwe).They also believed in spirits – good ones and bad ones, and these can be equated to the angels and evil spirits or devil (Ekwensu). These spirits are called deities or minor gods. This belief in the deities made the European missionaries to conclude that the Igbo man (Obowu) worshipped many gods and that they were pagans.
Obowu people also believed in the existence of departed good ancestors in the nether world, and Obowu people honoured their ancestors and were in constant consultations with them. The Obowu man believed that the venerable ancestors did intercede for them before God.
Sacrifice: Sacrifice and prayer were not alien to the Obowu man who often saw in the work of evangelization a method of modernizing his practice of religion. Sacrifice is the supreme communion with God. Each family head had an alter. This was erected in a little grove in front of the concession. It is usually made of a pile of wood. On it the family head as a Chief priest of the community, offered sacrifices to God. This sacrifice may be offered through the spirits, Spiritual forces (minor deities) or ancestors and the Supreme God (Chukwu). The victim for the sacrifice was usually a chicken or a baby animal slaughtered and the blood sprinkled on the alter while the Chief priest invoke God, his spiritual agent and the ancestors. In Obowu land, a sacrifice may be expiatory, that is offered in order to purge someone or people of evil committed, such evil as murder, incest, birth of twins, unnatural events, abomination and other crimes against traditional practices(Omenala).
A sacrifice may be imploratory, if made to request for favour, like fertility of the soil, good harvest protection of the spirits, good marriage etc. Obowu man made sacrifice in thanksgiving for favours received. Human sacrifices were practiced in extreme cases. When an abomination has been committed in a community and which according to the village elders, has breached the relationship between the community and God or the ancestors or the great spirits of the world beyond, a human sacrifice was needed to restore normalcy, if not, the community would suffer the wrath of the spirits and spiritual forces.
Powerful men and great Chiefs and other titled men in Obowu were buried with human heads to enable them reach the next world. Sometimes, slaves were buried with their masters to serve them in the land of the dead. This was also a form of human sacrifice.
In Obowu land, divination was held with great esteem. The oracle in their judgment sometimes demanded human beings. When two indigenes went to the shrine of the oracles, usually, the guilty one never came back. It was said that the oracle had claimed him in sacrifice. It was the combined efforts of the church and government that put an end to the practice. Manifestations of God or minor deities were a common phenomenon in Obowu. There was the worship and devotion to these deities. Amadioha or Kamalu is indeed manifestations of God’s anger. He is regarded as the wrathful arm of God who comes in the form of thunder and lightning to strike the evil doers. He is used to curse evil doers. People swore by him. Sacrifices were offered to appease him and in some communities, an altar was erected in his honour, and goats and rams were offered to ward off his ravaging anger.
Obowu people travelled to Umunoha to seek litigation before Igwe-ka-ala the God of instant justice. Igwe-ka-ala had his shrines and Chief priests in some communities like Umunoha and Okija. The litigants went to these oracles to resolve their differences. The guilty one disappears or is punished.
Charms: The Obowu people believed in the existence of numerous spirits, some benevolent, others wicked or mischievous (Ajo-mmuo) and this belief greatly necessitated the wearing of charms. This was meant to ward off the evil spirits and their human agents and invoke the protection of the benign ones. These charms were designed, forged and endowed with spiritual powers by special priests, medicine men and diviners to neutralize bad luck, spells and attack by evil spirits (Mba mmuo or mba agbara). Some charms were made to be worn around the neck, ankle, waist and wrist or even around the head. Sometimes, these charms were posted on the entrance gate of concession and were supposed to neutralize poison or evil power that a stranger might dare to bring into the compound.
Festivals, perhaps in all Igboland, the most popular festival are “iri ji ohuru”, the new yam festival. This usually takes place in August and September, when the new yam first matures. Each head of the family or village goes to the farm early in the morning and harvest the first new yam of his farm. He comes home and offers the yam to his family. The yam is roasted and a stew of oil been salad is prepared. The head of the family summons his members in his obi, his reception hall. He then places the roasted yam on the table and offers thanksgiving prayers and incantations; he ceremoniously cuts the yam amid cheers of the members who congratulated each other for surviving the new yam festival of that year. Then the members shared and ate the yam with joy and laughter.
New yam festival was also seen as a time of reconciliation. Quarrels and misunderstandings between families and among individuals are settled, it is time for peace.
It is glaring that the development of any society depends on how effective the leadership of that country is. In Nigeria, lack of effective political leadership has continued to be a reoccurring problem. It is on this premise that the leadership situation in Nigeria is looked into.
Background of the Study
Solomon, the son of King David and Bathsheba, became king of Judah and Israel in the year 967 BCE until his death in 928 BCE. Solomon’s wisdom has been generally perceived as focusing on his parables, proverbs, and songs, while his political and economic qualities have been overlooked. The expansion of Israel’s economy during the reign of Solomon was due to his effective political policies. Hopkins (1977) reveals that in displaying political and administrative wisdom, Solomon proved equal to taking full advantage of the unparalleled opportunity for economic growth and development. Consequently, the freedom from armed conflict, during Solomon’s reign, was a rare phenomenon in antiquity, looking at his predecessors.
From Jewish history, there was unprecedented development during the reign of Solomon. Internationally, there was bilateral agreement between Jerusalem and other nations which were very beneficial to the people of Israel and Judah. Nationally, there was exploration of natural resources in mines and stone quarries. In was in this light that Louis (2008) states that it was Solomon’s political strategy made possible by his wisdom to be able to keep peace with all the rulers of Philistines, Jebusites, Hivites, Ammonites, among others, which David his father fought against during his reign. It was this peace that afforded Solomon the time to be able to build a temple for God.
During Nigeria’s independence, there were excitements that the potentials of Nigeria, which the white man has been nipping in the bud, would materialize. There were prophecies and anticipations that Nigeria would be one of the countries to be reckoned with internationally, based on development political culture and robust economy. Odo (2015) writes that this optimism, hope and great expectations were regrettably misplaced. Shadows have been cast over the sanguinity and buoyancy of the faith of a developed Nigeria. After 57 years of independence, Tolu, kayode and Ilepe (2012:188) laments that “there is absolutely nothing to show for this fifty-one year of existence. Nigeria of today cannot compete favourably with its counterpart in the march to development, especially in the areas of quality of life, infrastructural facilities, basic needs of life and technological development.” One can see the pains of the average man, the hunger of the common man and cry of the less privileged, with regards to the economic recession and downturn necessitated by inept and ineffective leadership Nigeria has continually experienced. Corroborating this fact, Tolu and Dare (2012) state that the socio-economic and political development of any country depends greatly on the ability of its leadership to facilitate, entrench and sustain good governance.
Statement of the Problem
There are evidences of failed leadership in Nigeria. Of the several factors that have been discovered to have caused this is the poor state of mind of Nigeria’s leaders, particularly in managing the divergent human and material resources, and the lack of servant leadership due to non-consciousness of leadership demands. Furthermore, so many Nigerian leaders find their way into leadership without taking into consideration the demands of leadership. This is why they under perform when they find themselves on the leadership seat.
Currently, there are growing voices against the injustices of leaders. Nigeria’s political leaders rule with nepotism, tribalism, sentiments, and witch-haunting of perceived enemies. These have given room for a hike in social injustice in the land. Leaders tend not to uphold the law which they took an oath of office to protect.
Literature is replete with evidences of lack of wisdom and discerning mind on the part of Nigerian leaders, implying that this ugly situation would remain as long as the solution to the problem is not sought. Thus, the problem of the study is: What is the possibility of developing leaders with wisdom and leaders who listen more than talk in order have a balanced opinion in furtherance of the course of Nigeria’s development?
Aim of the Study
The general aim of the study is to examine the import of Solomon’s wisdom and discerning mind as roadmaps for effective Leadership in Nigeria. Specifically, the study determined:
Poverty is scarcity of human basic needs or man’s inability to acquire his basic needs for existence due to scarcity of resources. Man’s basic needs are generally understood to include food, shelter and clothing. Therefore, when man is incapacitated to make provisions for his food, shelter and clothing, he is regarded as a poor person. Poverty could affect an individual, a group, a community or a nation. Undoubtedly, poverty with its detrimental tendencies has become a global problem and has also attracted global measures to combat it.
Poverty in Nigeria remains significant as many researches such as the work of Olatomide (2012) reveal that seventy (70) percent of Nigerians are living below the poverty line. Some of the causes of poverty have been identified as unemployment, illiteracy, ignorance, laziness, natural disasters, violence, and indiscipline. The high level of poverty in Nigeria alarms every sector in our society particularly the government as concerted efforts have been made by various administrations to annihilate this anomaly. This work appreciates the efforts of the Federal government which has introduced various poverty alleviation programs such as Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), Directorate for Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure (DEFRI), Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP), Poverty Eradication Programme (PEP) but it is glaring that the level of poverty is on the increase.
Interestingly, this paper discusses how poverty can be reduced among Nigerians in the light of the Old Testament patterns of poverty reduction. This implies that the all – important passages of the Old Testament recognized the presence of the poor and also addressed how they could be helped. In fact, the three divisions of the Old Testament: The Law, The Prophets and The Writings, present various principles which could also be employed in reducing poverty in Nigeria.
While references could be made to other passages of the Old Testament, the specific pericope under study is Deuteronomy 15:7-18. This pericope is considered appropriate for this discourse because it contains various sayings aimed at ensuring that the poor people were not neglected in the Old Testament times. The major finding of this work indicates that the high level of poverty among Nigerians can also be reduced if the principles of poverty reduction reflected in various Old Testament passages and specifically in Deuteronomy 15:7-18 were applied by both individuals and the society.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Existing problems are often thought to give birth to research. A meaningful research always aims at improving a condition or eliminating a difficulty. On this, Ituma (2013:1) restates that “a research is a systematic inquiry into the status quo with the aim of finding better ways of solving problems. The status quo might be dissatisfaction or a problem”. The problem which gave rise to this research is the high level of poverty among Nigerians. Poverty in Nigeria is characterized by hunger, homelessness, diseases, malnutrition, high child mortality rate, family disintegration, unemployment, human trafficking, child labour, kidnapping, killing, sexual assault, drug abuse, prostitution, and high mortality rate. Among others, this has been attributed to the problem of insecurity, corruption, and poor resource management.
The concerted effort of the government and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in fighting this problem is well appreciated. However, the thrust of this work is to present that in as much as the roles and contributions of the government in alleviating poverty is not in doubt, it is also verifiable that some other principles can reduce poverty to the barest minimum. Therefore, this work unequivocally asserts that there are salient contributions that the Old Testament passages can make in combating poverty in Nigeria.
A quick review of our present dispensation reveals a lot of immorality and degeneration all over the world, especially in Nigeria. There is an apparent decline of morality in Nigerian society especially among the youths. This has undoubtedly, made an in-road into various segments of human enterprise. Many people have expressed serious concerns over the high level of immoral acts that are enveloping Nigerian society. Admittedly, immoral forms of behaviour like rape, fornication, adultery, homosexuality (gay and lesbianism), unwanted pregnancy, and so on have attracted attentions of many researches. However, this work investigates the psychological effects of rape, borrowing insights from 2 Samuel 13:1-22.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The demand for a king by the Israelites at Ramah in order to be like other nations at a time that they were consistently being tormented by their neighbouring nations led to the appointment of Saul, the son of Kish as the first King of Israel. It is on records that shortly after his appointment, Saul recorded success when he defeated the Amnonites in a war but this success did not last for a long time because of the antipathy between him and Samuel, the priest, especially when he sacrificed at Gilgal before their war against the Philistines. Notably, his relationship with Samuel degenerated when he spared the life of King Agag and other valued animals in a war fashioned by Yahweh as a holy war. A holy war is a war directed by God against the enemies of His chosen nation which demands that the life of such people and the animals should not be spared, that is, total extermination.
Consequently, God rejected Saul because he failed to keep to His divine instruction. This resulted in the choice of David the son of Jesse as his replacement. King David is often described as the “man after God’s own heart”. King David enjoyed more success when compared to his predecessor, Saul, and in relation to the aim of the people for the demand of a new king because he fought gallantly and gave them relative peace. The evident of this is seen in his success over the Philistines, Amnonites, and Jebusites. He also captured the city of Jerusalem where he proposed to build a house for God. King David became famous among Israel and their neighbouring nations but soon declined because he failed to restrain himself from Bathsheba the wife of Uriah whom he committed adultery with. And in order to hide his adulterous act, he killed Uriah. Apparently, this evil deed by the King was revealed to Prophet Nathan by God. Nathan in a dramatic way revealed this to the king and the King suggested that the person who did this should die. Nathan told David that he was the person and David showed remorse for his sins and God forgave him but told him that the sword (sin) would never depart from his house.
Undoubtedly, it was the fulfillment of Nathan’s prophecy on the house of David that brought about the incestuous act between Amnon the first son of David and Tamar David’s daughter. In a dramatic way this incestuous act of David’s children led to the fratricide where Absalom killed Amnon in order to revenge the violation of his sister Tamar. The story has it that Absalom had a beautiful sister whose name was Tamar, and Amnon son of David fell in love with her. Amnon’s love for Tamar made him sick because he could not do anything to her for she was a virgin. But Amnon had a friend whose name was Jonadab. Jonadab was a wise man who used his wisdom to understand Amnon’s problem through his countenance and subsequently, he wrongly advised him on how to rape Tamar. Thus, Amnon followed Jonadab’s instruction religiously and got Tamar into his house where he violated and raped her and immediately developed hatred for her which made him to send her away from his house and Tamar returned to Absalom’s house rejected.
Obviously, Tamar faced a lot of psychological effect ranging from the lost of her virginity to the fact that she was thrown out of the house without consolation. Tamar, as a result of this lost her value, pride which was epitomized in her rope. She was rejected and as a result she lost her place hence she was forfeited.
It is against this backdrop of Amnon’s rape of Tamar and David’s inability to correct them that the discourse on rape is staged in this research. Discouraging youths, especially minors in Nsukka local Government Area of Enugu state against the heinous act of rape. The psychological effect of rape is also a major target of this research.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The seeds of adultery, murder, and rape that characterized David’s household were first sown by David himself. David having committed the sin of adultery and murder was no longer in the position to either punish his son or sanction them.
Arising from this, the problem that this research work wants to address is:
There is an increase in the rate of rape, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and so on. They have become the order of the day.
Rape has caused a lot of damage to the youths as so many victims have been diagnosed of sexually transmitted diseases, post traumatic stress disorder, disassociation from reality, depersonalization, they endure physical violence, avoid social life, encounter serious difficulty in remembering events, relieves moments of sexual assault among other ill.
A good number of minors are not given adequate attention by their parents, the adults. This is a parental gap and flaw which have resulted in moral degeneration in our society.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
Having seen the problem facing the youths and society, this research work aims at achieving the following:
Parenting involves the process of nurturing and building up the physical, emotional, social, intellectual and moral life of a child from infancy to adulthood. Proper parenting is therefore, an integral part of transferring social norms to, and raising responsible citizens among, younger generations. This explains why the Old Testament aptly links proper parenting to a healthy and well-organized society (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). However, poor parenting has become a common, universal problem that threatens the well-being and survival of contemporary societies. More-so, several other social problems that are rampart in the modern era are by-products of the problem of poor parenting. Yet, the Bible is a rich source of good parenting models. Particularly, the Old Testament writings contain patterns of parenting that tend towards raising children who are wholesome individuals and who go on to ensure a healthy society. This goes on to reveal God’s intention to build human societies that are devoid of corruption, indiscipline and violence. Furthermore, it lays the foundation for each individual member of the family and society to be humane, patriotic and constructive.
Currently in the Nigerian society, there is a general decline in the standard of morality among the citizenry and President Goodluck E. Jonathan in Ombe (2012) attributed the problem to the lack of right attitude to issues and realities of life among the citizenry. Even-though this ugly trend of moral depravity and negative outlook to life cuts across the age groups, Okoye (2012) maintains that it is more ravaging
among the youths in Nigeria. The implication is that young people are at the centre of the high and increasing levels of social vices such as prostitution, armed robbery, corruption and general insecurity. This point is also buttressed by Mariety (2009) who observes that the youths in Nigeria are involved, and in most cases in the vanguard, of violent conflicts that have occurred in different parts of the country in recent times. This primarily implies that the major problem with the Nigerian society is structural in the sense that something is apparently going wrong at the home front and the nation is feeling its effects in terms of youth dysfunction and depravity, which dovetails into various other social and moral problems. The bigger effect of this problem leads to the observation of Nwabueze in Edike (2013) that Nigeria is on the verge of becoming a failed state. According to him,
This country is on the verge of becoming a failed state, there are so many failed states in Africa and Nigeria is on the verge of getting that status of a failed state. Before now, we did not know about kidnapping, but it has become a way of life. Did we know about bombings before? But today, churches, schools, offices are being bombed on daily basis, the worst is that the bombers are not coming from outside the country, we are bombing ourselves. A nation that cannot provide a credible election for her people is a failed state; in 2003, 2011 we had no credible elections, yet we are talking about democracy. A country that cannot secure social and economic rights for her people is a failed state. Read chapter 2 of Nigeria’s constitution and you will understand what I am taking about, they are not leaders but looters.
On the strength of the foregoing, this work argues that despite the fact that so many other factors contribute to the increase in the tide of crime, immorality and general dysfunction among the youths, the problem of poor parenting is highly fundamental. This stems from the observation that whatever one sees in the larger society is a reflection of what goes on in the family. In other words, although the
researcher acknowledges other causes of the unfortunate culture of wanton waste and impunity but this study pitches its tent with poor parenting. The major factor in taking this position is orchestrated by the manner of child upbringing, which is being referred to here as poor parenting. By extension, this means that there is a slack in parenting today and as a result, certain un-cherished behaviours are fast becoming the culture of the people. This view is buttressed by Azu (2012:1) who observes:
With the prevailing situation in Nigeria the country is in dire need of innovative parenting to raise outstanding children and rebuild it. It has been established that poor parenting is at the heart of the numerous challenges facing the society today: be it economic, social or political.
Arising from this development, the major institution that is responsible for raising children and building the youth is the family. More-so, within the family the only process that facilitates the proper upbringing of children and inculcating values that make them constructive citizens is parenting. Thus, considering the place of proper parenting in national development, this work undertook to examine the problems associated with parenting. This is because proper parenting is a fundamental strategy to ensuring a peaceful and stable society. In other words, in any society where there is a culture of right parenting, there is a viable and enterprising future for that society. In accomplishing the task of this study, the Old Testament model of parenting is analysed with the hope of identifying its strong areas and using them to recommend changes in contemporary parenting patterns while hoping to transform modern day society into a peaceful, stable and cohesive haven.
1:2 Statement of Problem
In the Nigerian society, there is an apparent show of lawlessness and resilient display of various social vices. This ugly trend does not in any way suggest that it is a recent development. For a long time, the culture of lawfulness, accountability, responsibility and social integration was short-changed for mediocre values and many factors are being blamed for the down turn of events in Nigeria. Even though the list is endless, some of them include, the ever-increasing rise in unemployment, corruption in the leadership class, lop-sidedness in the distribution of national resources, political and administrative positions, ineptitude and the disregard of the principles of rule of law among the ruling class.
Nigeria is the largest country of the black race in the world. It is also the most multi-religious among the countries in Africa. This is in line with the view of Akumu et al (2006:3) who opined that, “Nigeria is the most populous African state and one of the world’s most ethnically diverse societies being made up of over 250 ethno-linguistic groups.” The Nigerian ‘ethnic nationalities’ before the amalgamation, in 1914, comprised two separate geo-political zones: Southern and Northern protectorates. These two geo-political zones which constituted the ‘One Nigeria’ consisted of various cultures each with different traditional religions. Makozi in Okere (1988:9) asserted that:
Nigeria as one entity was born in 1914 when the two protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria were amalgamated by Sir Fredrick Lugard. The name “Nigeria” derived from the River ‘Niger area’ was proposed by Miss Flora Shaw in an article she had written as a press correspondent to ‘The Times’ in January, 1897, that is fourteen years before the amalgamation.
One would then be right to say that Nigeria as a country is an artificial creation of Lord Lugard. The “artificiality” in making up the country is a fundamental problem besetting Nigeria as a state in all facets of life (religiously, economically, politically, geographically, and so on). The various cultures with different traditional religions influenced governance in Nigeria tremendously, especially on the negative side. Logically and traditionally, each culture with its inherent religion, has some peculiar doctrines. These cultures had already been operating by different types of governance. For instance, the Igbo race within the South East zone was strictly under democratic rule, while the Hausa/Fulani race was ruled by the system of oligarchy or strictly indirect rule. These different ruling methods which were merged together created a lot of problems. The worst of it all was the merging of the two ccompeting religions (Islam and Christianity) inherently existing in different areas under the canopy of two different geographical locations (North and South). The emergence of these two foreign religions (Islam and Christianity) with the already existing traditional religions coupled with multi-populous nature of the country has made, and continues to make, both positive and negative impacts on the democratic governance of this giant country-Nigeria. Diara in Achunike (2011:162) stated that:
With well over 145 million inhabitants, Nigeria is unarguably the most populous African nation. After independence in 1960, Nigeria was to run a full democratic government, but military dictatorship unfortunately sprang up and took more than 30 years of the country’s 50 years of existence as an independent nation. Nevertheless, the country is today considered a democracy, having held general elections for four republics of four years span each – 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 – uninterruptedly.
At independence, the pioneer leaders (Founding fathers) chose the system of democracy as the system of governance for Nigeria. Atubi (2011) attested that: “the founding fathers of this country created a democratic system that separated church from state so that, as a country, we could avoid the slippery slope of getting into the business of telling people what to believe”. It suffices to note that the reality of democracy could not be achieved under this circumstance (the coexistence of the three different religions as well as the multi ethnic groups). According to Udeh (2011: Oral Interview) “one concrete reason for the failure of democracy in Nigeria is the attitudinal nature or logical concept of each religion regarding governance (democracy) coupled with different ethnic rationale”. A prime reflection goes to Islam.
Islam has different ideas altogether about governance. For Islamic culture, there is no separation of religion from governance. This concept was clearly buttressed by Ali (2002:81) who stated that:
Muslims believe that their religion, Islam, is a complete way of life which has made copious provisions for all facets of life: practices, social involvement, economic undertakings, political participation, technological innovations, legal phenomenon and religious beliefs.
If one should reflect on the above, it is pertinent to say that Islamic religion is one with all the sayings above including political participation and governance. This concept is contrary to the belief of Christianity: “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”. For the Islamic religion, adherents of non Islam are referred to as infidels. This means that such infidels cannot go to heaven not to talk of ruling or having a say in the human society. For Moslems, it seems that only their adherents can rule and can exercise governance. Manchilla (2003: np) confirmed this statement when he said that:
Muslim recognized that “he (the leader or ruler) must be a Muslim” and the main reason they gave was that if the ruler is not a Muslim, he is unable to rule because he does not have the knowledge of Islam. If he is not Muslim, he doesn’t have any idea, he does what he wants according to his own religion, he doesn’t know what Koran says. If he is not Muslim everything is different. Islam is a complete way of life, so if he is non-Muslim completeness is not there.
Considering this fact in Nigeria means that democracy should not be a reality. For Christianity, governance and religion are separate entities. Though the two (governance and religion) have complex inclinations in every human person. For instance, man is a religious being (homo religiosus) as well as a political animal (zoo politicon). This means that the two virtues (religiosity and politics) exist outstandingly but independently in the same man and in every subject (man) irrespective of colour, culture, race and religion. Judging this tenet in Christianity, one will then say that the system of democracy for Christianity is better relaxed unlike that of Islam. This not withstanding, Christianity abhors a totally free concept of democracy. Christianity welcomes democracy to a certain level. Christianity is rather bureaucratic. This is because it follows rules and laws rigidly. Its officials are also dogmatic. Amidst the bureaucratic nature of the church, Christianity respects and cherishes democracy so well for the sake of human right.
The traditional (indigenous) religion, which had been in existence before the advent of the two foreign religions (Islam and Christianity) had a profound system of democracy. Indeed, traditional religion is very democratic in nature. Many scholars relate Igbo governance with that of Greece. On this, Onwubiko, (1973:108) wrote that:
As in the assembly of the Athenian citizens, in ancient Greece, every grown-up male has the right to air his views on a matter under discussion. After the Assembly had listened to several speakers, some members were appointed to consult among themselves for a decision. They withdrew and after the consultation, returned with a decision which was unanimously accepted by the Assembly. In this way, decisions were reached not by voting but by a consensus.
We can see that Igbo traditional society respects commoners. It could also mean that even the council of elders cannot act authoritatively without seeking the minds of the commoners. Such was the existence of democracy in Igbo area before the colonial era. In Igbo traditional set up, religion and governance (Politics) were formally intermingled. This is shown in the case of Eze being a ruler and a priest. But this is advisable only when the society is of one category. In this case democracy is safe. This is because the Eze respects and takes decision from his cabinets who are the representatives of the different villages and families.
Reflecting through these three prominent religions in Nigeria, one will not hesitate to assert that each of them Islam, Traditional Religions and Christianity has different notions of the type of governance (democracy) which Nigeria operates. Ngwudike (2011: Oral Interview) stressed that “for Islam, Nigeria and her democracy are a sham. Democracy or no democracy, governance or no governance, Islamic law is supreme and autocratic”. For Christianity, Nigeria and her democracy must have a limit (ie to a certain extent) even though it (democracy) is welcome and respected. And for traditional religion, democracy is a choice with relaxation.
Hence these diverse conceptions cause a fundamental problem or conflict in Nigerian governance. These different levels of welcoming Nigeria and her democracy had provoked cultural and religious wars, riots, squabbles, conflicts and loss of wealth. They also hamper the system of governance. With these different notions, religion as an entity could not have enough positive impacts on the country. Onwujiaku (2011: Oral Interview) opined that, “the worst is that religion is loosing its focus and functions to certain extent in sensitive issues.” Even though it has made some positive impacts in the country Nigeria, yet it had registered more negative effects. For example, some of religious adherents have been responsible for the shedding of much blood. They caused these atrocities in a bid to intervene in Nigerian democracy and governance.
Similar to the mistake of the colonial masters in merging the different cultures and many religions together, was their planting of the seeds of majority-minority syndrome in the country. The colonial lords apportioned very large geographical location (area) to the North. They also sowed into the minds and hearts of the Northerners the superiority of their life and their religion over others through the incorporation of Sharia into the governance of sections of the Nigerian society, that is, Northern Nigeria. Ubaka (2000:24) wrote that:
Islam with its law – the Sharia, pre-dates Nigeria: Islam came into the area known as Nigeria today through the trade links with North Africa and Middle East. Historians agree that there was some form of Islam in the Kanem Bornu area around the 11th century AD and the Hausa land area around the 15th century. Then it thrived as a court religion while the few comers practiced it in their private lives.
In view of the above, truly, Islam with its law – the Sharia has been in existence as a religion before the birth of Nigeria. But the grave mistake the colonialists made was the promotion of Sharia, especially in the Northern Nigeria. The British established the Sharia court in Northern Nigeria. Kukah in Onwubiko (1994:111) commented on this:
… Muslims look at English courts in Nigeria as Christian courts, and that because of the problem it created, the British decided to take steps to pacify and appease the Emirs. In 1956, the British established a Muslim Court of Appeal which was welcomed by chiefs and Muslim jurists as a means of protecting Muslim law from encroachment as a result of appeal to English court.
The problem here is that English law (ie Nigerian Constitution) was mistaken to be Christian law. Really this mistake is a misnomer. The colonial masters did a selective justice which disdained other areas (with their cultures and religions) which were also amalgamated. Other Religions have their own religious laws.
The inclusion of Islamic law in governance (Indirect Rule) in the Northern Nigeria by the colonial masters makes the Northerners to always swell, sway their heads and raise their shoulders above other groups in the affairs of Nigeria. It should be noted that Christianity also predated Nigeria and she has her laws too. Nonetheless, referring to Onwujiaku (2011: Oral Interview) “Nigeria absolutely could not have been merged to one state hence; the existence of two distinct constitutions. The idea it portrays is that the Nigerian Constitution and Sharia laws rule Nigeria. This is a disdain to Christianity and traditional religion. How will it look if one state embraces Canon (Christianity) law and another embraces traditional law so strictly as the Islamic adherents? It would be unwise and would have been another major mistake.
Another background cause of problem in Nigeria is the competitive nature of Islam and Christianity. The two religions are rivals to each other. Apart from being rivals to each other, they (Islam and Christianity) are suppressing the traditional religion. By this suppression, traditional religion is rapidly losing its values pertinent to the Nigerian society. The most outstanding of these values is the traditional education. Traditional education deeply grooms human conscience. Real traditionalist-brought up can not spill human blood. Very unlike the traditional religionists, some Muslims and some Christians are insensitive to human life. Odeh (2000:8) lamented that:
Today, as Nigeria wrecks with so much blood being spilled in the name of religion, it is evident that the evil genius of confusion is spreading not only confusion but also death. In an attempt to arrest the advance of the Christian south and thus allay its fears, the Muslim North grabbed political power long ago, indiscrimately mixed religion and politics and with both inflicted so much pain on the entire nation and the rest of us.
The above quotation clearly indicates the effects of competition between Islam and Christianity which resulted in the suppression of indigenous religion. The resultant effect of this competition always occasions the spilling of blood. This problem is a regular occurrence in Nigeria. It was not like that in the olden days when indigenous religion was predominant or alone.
More significantly is the constitutional favour which Britain granted to Northern Nigeria. This is another fundamental problem rocking the Nigerian governance. Onwubiko stressed (1973:391) that:
In this age, a common phenomenon that has been embraced by most human society is freedom. Great numbers of communities have the challenges and agitation to be completely free from all kinds of bondage or slavery in its minutest form. Consequently most human communities are grabbling with the fundamental question of their freedom or liberation which is tied to some enslavement of some sort of existential factors affecting them either positively or negatively. Indeed the Christian community particularly in the Middle Belt of Nigeria as an integral part of the larger society is also confronted with a seemingly similar situation or the question of real freedom, or a misunderstanding of the concept and perhaps a flawed interpretation of what “freedom in Christ” actually mean. Thus, it is argued that, Christianity is a religion of freedom par excellence (Hodgson, 1976, p. xiv).
Pauline studies have been a matter of great controversy over the years among many New Testament scholars. Interpreting his letters has generated heated debate within the ranks of biblical scholars following his diversity of methodology in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ in the Mediterranean settings. Hence in understanding the concept of evleuqeri,a (eleutheria) “freedom” as depicted in Galatians by the apostle Paul, an interpretive model of the letter in the Greco-Roman context is necessary for today’s hermeneutic.
Thus, in Galatians as distinct from other Pauline epistles like Corinthians, Romans and Colossians, among others, there is the frequent assuage of the concept of evleuqeri,a (eleuth̲eria) freedom which draws attention to the event of Christ salvific work. Paul clearly states that evleuqeri,a (eleutheria) freedom is a product of God justifying the sinner and imparting on such a one his righteousness. This freedom is from all the forces of life that subjected man to untold bondage of different kinds which includes: sin, flesh, demonic power, Satan and the world system. For instance, apart from the epistle to the Romans, it was in Galatians that Paul gave a distinctive use of the concept. Longeneker (1984) posits that Paul is the “apostle of liberty”. He demonstrated this by employing the noun in its dative form evleuqeri,a|- (eleutheria) to mean “freedom”, or “liberty”, and give its cognates evleu,qeroj (eleutheros) (adjective) and the verb form – evleu,qerw (eleutherō) meaning to liberate, or set free. In the overall context of this study, evleuqeri,a (freedom); of all its appearance in the New Testament times and its cognates, only twice (5:1, 13) does it appear in its dative form in Galatians. Several scholars gave attention to the concept in the context of Pauline corpus; this research however focuses its investigation on the concept in the letter to the Galatians.
Accordingly, Esler (2003) argues that Paul discussed freedom by using Sarah-Hagar allegory to support his “care associated with freedom, as potent identity-descriptor, with the action of Christ and those who adhere to Paul’s version of the gospel” (p. 206). The problem under investigation could be deduced from the efforts of the “agitators” in the churches of Galatia to impose the Jewish religious system or stipulations of the Torah upon the newly founded churches by Apostle Paul as a means of earning righteousness, thereby contesting that Pauline gospel of freedom is insufficient for gaining salvation. Thus, scholars like Capes, Reeves, and Richards (2006) posited that many argued:
The trouble makers were Jewish Christians who believed that circumcision was necessary for salvation. These were the Judaizers who appeared at the Jerusalem conference (Acts 15:1-5). They were outsiders, dogging Paul’s trail, coming to these newly established churches once the apostle left the area. The Judaizers were Pauline antagonists, trying to correct Paul’s incomplete gospel by encouraging Gentiles believers to obey the whole law. p. 107
The invasion of the Galatians churches by the tara,ssontej, tara,sswn (trouble-makers, 1:7; 5:10) or avnastato,untej (agitators, 5:10) has soon led to a sudden apostasy and confusion, even division along tribal lines. Indeed it has caused a lot of problems of instability to the believers in Christ, on whether or not to return to the Law of Moses for the help needed to live the Christian life. Paul contested that, the Pseudo-brothers were all out to spy out the liberty they (Paul himself and his converts) had in Christ through the gospel he preached with the demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit. The trouble-makers and agitators were enforcing the Jewish stipulation of circumcision, observation of special days, new moon, and special calendar year and so on. The teaching of the false brothers (yeuda,delfoi) had penetrated the churches in Galatia which was quite different in its quality and content with the one preached by Paul. Paul identifies it as o] ouvk e;stin a;llo( (“not that there is another gospel”, 1:7 NRSV). Barnes (2006, p. 9) refers to the gospel preached by the agitators as “modified gospel” while Capes, Reeves and Richards (2007, p. 107) calls it the “other gospel”.
In Paul’s Galatia, the picture painted is such that, the uncircumcised were seen as essentially social outcasts from the common wealth of Israel and consequently became object of contempt (Guthrie, 1974, p.12). The challenge was that, the early Christians in their pre-conversion days, had been conditioned to think or have their thought tilted towards the Jewish religious system they were cultured in (4:1-7). Paul warns the churches in Galatians against Judaizers, who taught the Gentiles to be circumcised and obligated to keep the Law of Moses. These Judaizers had infiltrated the church secretly and had managed to deceive many Christians.
These heretical teachers, who were responsible for this sudden apostasy (1:7; 5:10; 6:12, 13), taught that circumcision was necessary for salvation (5:2; 6:12-15), and they accordingly demanded a maintenance of the ceremonial law of Moses, or at least the observance of days and months and seasons and years (4:10, 21) (Ridderbos, 1956, p.15). Paul in confronting these enemies of the gospel maintained that the freedom the Christians have in Christ need no form of ritual or Jewish religious stipulations to be authentic or as a necessity for salvation. Paul firmly debunked ‘syncretism’ which was gaining ground in that church. Even division that arose along cultural lines or tribal lines was confronted (3:26-29).
Furthermore, Christians in Galatia were getting circumcised and keeping Holy Days, Barnes (2006, p.7) contends that, “on the surface at least, it is surprising that of all of Paul’s letters, the epistle to the Galatians is undoubtedly his most fierce worded; more so even than the two Corinthians letters”. Barnes (2006) mentioned that Alan Cole calls it ‘spiritual dynamite’. He argued further that, Paul pitted himself against the Judaizers, but not against the Jews as such, simply because, he himself was a circumcised Hebrew of Hebrews, and a Pharisees no less (Phil. 3:5). Additionally, he preached the gospel entrusted to him to his Jewish kinsmen first (Rom. 1:16) and he recognized the fact of having the privileges in being entrusted with the oracle of God (Rom. 3:1-2). Paul was so passionate in praying with unceasing anguish for Israel to be saved by turning to Jesus as their messiah (Rom. 9:1-3; 10:1). No wonder, he also took up a collection of special offering for the saints suffering famine in Judea (Rom. 15:25-26; 1 Cor. 16:1-6l 2 Cor. 8-9; Gal. 2:10), (p.8). These facts above suggest that, being Jewish was hardly the issue at stake, but being Judaistic was the bone of contention. This letter was a complex construction for Paul and indeed it was tagged ‘a letter for recovering Pharisees’ (Barnes, 2006, p.8).
There is a seemingly similar situation in the churches and societies in the middle belt region of Nigeria today. For instance, the advent of insurgences by mercenaries and Fulani herdsmen against villages and communities of the middle belt has triggered the revival of traditional religious worship and cultural practices that were abandoned for the gospel of Jesus Christ for almost a century ago. For fear of attacks and death, many have th/j ca,ritoj evxepe,sateÅ “fallen away from grace” (Gal 5:4). That is, though still maintain their church membership; they seek for other means of help for protection and deliverance against the attackers. For instance, one of the traditional cults which is sought after is the ombatse cult worship among the Eggon people of Nasarawa State. There was much agitation by most of the youth to join the “ombatse prayer group” which they believe gives one ‘power’ to withstand the enemies (insurgents) or provides one with a “shield” that makes it impossible for the marauding forces to gain access to one’s life or village communities within Eggon land.
The systemic invasion and advent of cultural imperialism in the Middle Belt by the Hausa-Fulani in pursuance of the Islamic and northern agenda is another deadly challenge. It has resulted in great political, economic and social marginalization. Consequently, religious discrimination and ethnocentricism which the Muslim Ummah is championing have brought about severe tension, conflicts, communal crises and destruction of lives and properties in a wide scale and intense marginalization in terms of denial of civic and religious freedom. Just as it was with the Judaizers (radical Judaism) and agitators who promoted the Jewish religion and culture above others, and expected the Gentiles to submit to it; also the Eggon traditional religionists are today indirectly forcing and initiating many youths into the Ombatse Cult worship. Similarly the Hausa-Fulani/Muslims expect the Christians and non-Muslims in the Middle Belt region to submit to their system of culture, socio-political and legal system of life etc. This research is a call on the Christians from the Middle Belt region to resist “the yoke of slavery”, by not resorting to enslaving tradition in response to the influences of the Hausa-Fulani hegemony and the traditional cultic worship just like Paul would say to the Galatians, kai. mh. pa,lin zugw/| doulei,aj evne,cesqeÅ ‘ and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery’ (5:1 NRSV).
The body of Christ in the 21st century is however faced with the challenge of flawed interpretation and understanding of what freedom in Christ is. The Christian in this age is pressed on every side with the global social factors. For instance, the recent trends of homosexuality, gay marriage, incest, abortion, rape, pornography, terrorism, insurgency, forceful marriage in the name of religious rights, human rights abuses, oppression, exaltation of one religion above the others, intra and interdenominational crisis among others at the global front are becoming a source of concern. These are few among many challenges of the body of Christ today especially in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria. Thus communicating the gospel in the Northern part of Nigeria is a very complex phenomenon. This is due to the fact that the level of resistance to the gospel of Christ is on the increase as a result of the rise in Islamic fundamentalism, terrorism, tribal and ethnic conflicts or ethno-religious violence, poverty and other social vices. Consequently the Northern Nigeria environment is becoming more and more hostile, violent, risky and difficult for missionaries, evangelism and missionary activities. Indeed the hermeneutical approach or strategy must change to conform to the existing context. The biblical message of freedom requires a contextual approach that interprets the text clearly and carefully to both the hearers in the church and general audience, like traditionalists, Muslims and post-modern cultures. Indeed, the Christian in the Northern part of Nigeria should exercise his/her freedom in context.
Paul’s epistle to the Churches of Galatia was delivered in particular historical and social contexts. Paul in his missionary enterprise employed the hermeneutical method of the Greco-Roman world. For example, in advancing his argument on the theme of Christian freedom, Paul uses different hermeneutical techniques of rhetoric, allegory, metaphor, typical typology, intertextual interpretation etc. in order to convince his Galatians audience to really understand their freedom (evleuqeri,a) in Christ and their new identity as the seed of Abraham by faith which gives them the right of inclusion into the commonwealth of Israel without necessarily observing the Levitical code of circumcision. This is far distinct from the type postulated by the pseudo-brothers whoever they were.
A constructive response is needed to address the problems of flawed interpretation, misunderstanding, abuse and possible erroneous application of freedom that the Christian communities have, arguing perhaps that “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty”. This would help in advancing biblical view and principles of freedom and the identity of the Christian in the global society. Furthermore, the distinctive practice of freedom and hermeneutical praxis in the wider social environment of the Middle Belt of Nigeria and exclusive community of believers in Christ would help reduce the existing tension. Consequently, people must know that irrespective of their religious affiliation, freedom is not license but is tied to obligation. The Christian also must come to the knowledge that his/her freedom is practiced within the context of love and the quest for identity should not drive one to extremism of any form.
The Church as an ekklesia (assembly) of God; therefore, is to embrace and demonstrate her God given freedom as an act of divine providence which God has accomplished in Christ alone. Thus, understanding the work of Christ on the cross is God’s salvation plan for human liberation from slavery and bondage of any kind.
Ecology refers to the study of the interaction or relationship among living creatures like trees and animals and between living creatures and their environment (Nwosu 2014:57). Ecology is a subject of great concern because it has much to do with the wellbeing of human beings and other creatures. For example, if the mode of interaction is not sustainable, it means that nature is abused and, the life supporting system of the earth is in danger. There is a troubling observable ecological phenomenon in Tivland. Trees are fast disappearing. Wildlife and their habitats are fast vanishing. There is growing scarcity of fish in rivers, streams and ponds. Some common creatures like crickets and edible caterpillars among many others are increasingly becoming rare. Rivers, streams and ponds that used to retain water all year round no longer do so. The land is becoming bare and, hence, vulnerable to erosion.
The above is largely due to increase in population, urbanisation, uncontrolled pastoral and nomadic activities, uninhibited and reckless deforestation, hunting, fishing and bush burning as well as wasteful methods of farming that put trees and game animals to destruction. The weather conditions have become irregular; hence, the cases of flooding and drought are common. The experience of floods and droughts are followed by poor crops yield; and the disappearance of plants and trees creates difficulties for botanists, herbalists, building engineers, carpenters and for animal survival.
The reckless felling of trees and bush burning, have created problems for carpenters, herbalists as well as building and other construction engineers. Various species of trees and plants are fast disappearing. There is the scarcity of hardwood for roofing and furniture for homes and offices. Traditional medicine men and herbalists have difficulty finding the needed plants for their medicinal preparations. Botanists no longer have it easy finding the needed species of plants either for teaching in schools or for their useful study. The same is true of zoologists. Farmers are no longer always able to provide adequate food supply for their communities. This is partly due to poor crop yield owing to droughts, erosion and loss of soil nutrients to bush burning.
Denen Aie (in a personal communication, 30/04/2016) affirms that the cutting down and destruction of forest reserves have both dispersed and destroyed wildlife in many places. Many people of the younger generations can only see certain animals in pictures or hear of them in stories and folktales. Fish population in rivers has drastically reduced due to chemical applications in bodies of water and other harmful practices. Desert encroachment, with its harsh effects on human and animals life, is attributed to deforestation and lack of aforestation. The adverse effects of global warming are on the other hand attributed to the emission of industrial and atmospheric gases, like carbon dioxide (CO2). These have constituted a depleting effect on the ozone layer. Depreciating health conditions resulting from lack of good water, malnutrition and harsh weather conditions reportedly lead to outbreaks of cholera, meningitis, skin cancer and other deadly diseases. The breakdown of good health conditions constitutes huge problems for health workers. Most earthquakes are reportedly attributed to careless geological activities like mindless mining. Human dangerous ecological activities and abuse of the ecosystem constitute a telling effect on the means of human livelihood. This, consequently, affects government policies and the economy.
This work therefore emerges from the background of the observed changes in the environment: the condition to which human activities have subjected the ecosystem and the changing state of the flora and fauna as well as changes in weather and their consequences. This observable phenomenon poses a threat to the ecosystem and human life as well. This requires the attention of every human discipline in the search for a solution to the preservation of the ecosystem. From this background, this work turns to the ancient cultural wisdom of the Tiv Traditional Religion in the quest for a mechanism for ecological preservation.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Human activities leading to the mismanagement of the ecosystem constitute a potential ecological danger to life on planet earth. According to Wright and Kill (1993), it is believed that the universe came into being about fifteen billions years ago. The earth which is a tiny fraction of the entire universe came into existence as lately as four and a half billion years ago. Human life on planet earth has existed for about four hundred and fifty thousand years (Wright and Kill, 1993:15). The above view of the world’s existence sequentially agrees with the biblical view that human beings were late comers on the planet earth (cf. Genesis 1-2:14). The late comers, human beings, are today at the centre of major decisions concerning the future of the world. In some cases, human interactions with the environment threaten life. The future of created nature and of humanity herself comes under threat here. The summary of the problem is that, “at present we, the human species appear to be destroying earth’s life-supporting systems” (Wright and Kill, 1993:9).
Past and present generations of living things have consistently relied on the natural environment for survival. Future generations too apparently would have no alternative means of sustenance than the present natural environment. The natural environment is constituted of both living and non-living endowments. This clear fact charges human beings, in their activities, with the responsibility of a responsible and considerate as well as eco-friendly interaction with the rest of created nature. Fragomeni and Pawlikowski (eds.) (1994) have rightly brought to notice the fact that “we live in an age where for the first time the human community must decide whether future generations will inherit an earth capable of sustaining life” (Fragomeni and Pawlikowski (eds.) 1994:back cover). Just as the human community has over the centuries depended on the earth’s fauna and flora for existence and survival, today, it has become even clearer than ever before, that the earth’s resources too depend on the human community for survival.
The survival requirements of both the earth’s natural environment and the human community are reciprocal consequents of human interactions with and activities on the planet earth. Human unsustainable and irresponsible ecological activities on the planet earth have become increasingly troubling. The over-exploitation of the earth’s resources has, among other things, put some animal species at the danger of extinction. This is possible where there is the destruction of valuable vegetation, pollution of the hydrosphere, atmosphere and the lithosphere. The results of these as already mentioned above include desertification due to deforestation without afforestation, global warming, flooding and earthquakes which reportedly result from economic and geological activities like mining. This research focuses its rapt attention on the ways and means through which ecological degradation and other related issues were ab initio controlled and preserved through traditional religious practices.
In this contemporary time, the issue of choice of life partner (s), mixed marriage or intermarriage has become an issue of strong debate among Nigeria Christians. Generally, Christians’ attitude towards mix marriage is not encouraging. Some Christians forbid intermarriage drawing from 2 Corinthians 6:14 which Say: “Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” Some other Christians believe that anyone has the freedom to choose his or her partner for life, and that love has no boundaries. This attitude is found most often among those Christians who may be identified as progressive or liberal Christians. This is supported by 1 Corinthians 7:12-14 with the central sentence: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband”.
In explicit terms, some Christian denominations do not allow their members to marry from other denominations. In other words, within Christianity in Nigeria, Christians discriminate among themselves in choosing marriage partners. For Madu (2001) the reasons why some churches do not allow their members to marry people from other churches are to protect the faith and doctrines of their respective Christian ladies most of whom remain unmarried only because they are waiting to marry people who are of the same faith with them.
Indeed, efforts are being made to abolish this inhuman practice of caste system in the name of religious faith and belief. The church is in the front line to make sure that people marry whomever they want to. Unfortunately, the church is still stigmatizing member’s choice of marriage and more so, when it comes to choosing partners outside their denomination. Many Churches also maintained that during courtship, partners should abstain from sexual union/ intercourse since marriage centers on holy sacrament. Indeed, among denominations that are unassailably bent on endogamy are Catholics, Deeper Life, Assemblies, Jehovah Witnesses, Cherubim and Seraphim while others are liberal exogamists (Lasswell, 1990). They try their best to let followers know that to tag another human being created by God sub-human is an abomination before God and a sin. However, as much as the churches canvass for the end of this system, their parishioners speak from both sides of their lips, for while they condemn this caste system in the day time, they hide to discriminate against the people at night. How then could this system be abolished when there are lots of hypocrisy and betrayal on the matter from some people who call themselves Christians?
In the Nigerian society, individuals choose their partners from among diverse denominations, clan, tribe or villages or within ones race and social class. An adherent to these limitations is necessary since intending couples must obtain the approval of their parents and/or from their denomination. However, education, socialization and cultural diffusion have worked to reduce the emphasis which parents placed on some of these impediments to marriage. Usually, it is a matter of who makes the choice, since marriage is most cherished when couples make the decision. Once a man finds a partner of his choice, he accommodates whatever the partner does as she is his choice, but if a choice is made by another person or the parents he will really place the blame for every problem for making the choice of the marriage on others so involved.
Actually, the idea of parents choosing partners for their children is an old tradition, as old as humanity. The assumption of this duty by parents is often motivated by their belief that their children are young and inexperienced to make the right choice. Unfortunately, while they go ahead with this, they often realize that unconsciously, they are building a time bomb within the family. Time has gone when parents influence their children’s choice in marriage since marriage is centered on “Love”. Thus, parents should know that marriage must not be centered on or be influenced by religious denominations. Thus, they should allow their intending sons and daughters to choose whom and who to marry.
Interestingly, some true Christians who are both young men and women, who really believe that all human beings are created equal before God have married each other, sometimes against the wishes of their parents just to please God. But the fact remains that these bold and courageous young people are grossly in the minority, as majority of the baptized members lack the confidence to begin the dismantling of this discriminatory practice through mix marriages. Therefore, discrimination in choosing marriage partners among Christians in the modern time cannot be denied. In other words, the issue of mixed marriage is still a problem among Christian churches, no matter how some people try to play it down. Any system which could derail the plan of two lovers to marry themselves, on account of religious belief or social stratification is definitely anti-human.
Love is the principal actor in every marriage. It is the thread with which the partners are sewn together. The epistle of Paul, explains a lot about the word “Love”. This study is an attempt to examine the extent to which religious denominations has affected the choice of life partner in Owerri municipality of Imo State.
Healing occupied a big space in the ministry of Jesus. It formed part of the mandate he gave to his Church, even at the point of his ascension, as recorded by Mark. The neo-Catholic healing ministry is a new wave of healing adopted by some Catholic priests that has a Pentecostal undertone. It is a ministration of healing that adopts the faith-healing approach of Pentecostalism, as found in the Catholic Adoration Ministries. This is a deviation from the traditional Catholic healing ministry. The Catholic Church celebrates Jesus’ healing ministry on her sick members according to the rites and guidelines established by the competent authorities, the Bishops. In the recent past, the Catholic Church in Nigeria began to notice some deviations from the established rites and guidelines, by some priests. There were also abuses of the sacraments and excesses in the use of the Church’s sacramentals. This was as a result of the influence of Pentecostalism with its sentimental approach to healing. Despite the fresh guidelines issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in 1997, some priests in Igboland have continued in the Pentecostal method of healing. The study was thus designed to critically review the activities of the neo-Catholic healing (adoration) ministries by some catholic priests in Igboland, noting the deviations, abuses and excesses. The study reviewed the traditional Catholic healing ministry to state the status quo. It also reviewed the Pentecostal faith-healing approach and the Neo-Catholic healing approach, noting the influences. It further reviewed healing approaches in Igbo traditional religion and African Independent Churches (AICs) to note other external influences. The phenomenological method was employed to collect data, and the qualitative analytical method was adopted in analyzing the data collected. Data were collected from both primary sources (participant observation and interviews), and secondary sources (library and internet materials). It was noted that although the Pentecostal healing approach had influenced the neo-Pentecostal Catholic priest-healers, both were borrowing from Igbo and AICs’ approaches to healing in the bid to indigenize or Igbonize the Christian healing ministry. This has ushered syncretism into the Christian healing ministry, and crisis of faith in the Catholic Church; and this calls for a re-catechizing of the Catholic faithful.
1.1 Background to the Study
The Catholic Church was established in Nigeria and Igboland in the nineteenth century. Some other Churches were already in Igboland before the Catholic Church; for instance, the Anglican Church and the Presbyterian Church. Since then it has recorded noticeable tremendous growth. Ashiegbu (2015) noted that the growth is in all dimensions: structurally, functionally, pastorally, and in relevance. He rightly asserted that “as a religious body, the Church cannot be studied just structurally and functionally. Therefore a pastoral study of the growth of the Church in Nigeria could be more profitable” (p. 1). The aspect of the pastoral growth of the Catholic Church in Igboland under review in this research is the healing ministry.
Healing is one of the main themes in the scripture, both in the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT). Jesus’ healing ministry runs through the entire gospels. In Matthew 4:24, they brought him all the sick and he healed them. In Matthew 8:17, he took our infirmities and bore our diseases, fulfilling Isaiah 53:4-5, which says that he carries our burdens, and by his stripes we are healed (also 1Pet.2:24b). In Mark 1:34, he cured many who were sick with diseases of every kind and drove out many devils; and numerous other passages.
Healing is a process which brings about restoration to health. This process of restoration, in the Christian context, according to Maddocks (1981), cannot be discussed without having Christ in mind. This means that the healing ministry of Jesus forms an integral part of his central mission on earth, which is the preaching of the kingdom of God or salvation of souls. Bate (1995) noted that “No one denies that at least the early part of Jesus’ ministry emphasized two realities: the preaching of the kingdom of God and its manifestation in signs, principally healing” (p.163). He rightly noted that the healings performed by Jesus were manifestations of the kingdom of God in signs. A sign points to the reality, and the healings (miracles) of Jesus point to the kingdom of God which he said is near and demands repentance (Mtt 4: 17; Mk 1 : 4-15). In the same vein, Stinton (2006) submitted that “Jesus’ act of healing and deliverance are far from an addendum to his ministry, indeed they are utterly integral to his messianic mission, they attest to the dawning of the new era of salvation…” (p.20). Thus the healing ministry of Jesus is not an end in itself; rather it is the “most effective” method of attracting people to respond to the invitation to his real and central mission, which is the kingdom of God or salvation of souls. The healings of Jesus showcase the beauty and perfection of God’s kingdom, and makes it relevant to his audience.
The mission of the Church is the continuation of the messianic mission of Christ (Mtt. 28:18-20; Mk.16:15-18). The healing ministry is an effective tool of this mission that draws believers to Jesus and to his Church, and it has blossomed very much in Igboland. Every priest is a healer, but Achunike (2009) made a review of some Igbo Catholic priests who practice healing in a peculiar way, beginning with Fr. Godwin Ikeobi, who was the pioneer Igbo Catholic priest healer, and Nigeria as a whole. Others include: Fr. Theo Odukwe, Fr. Emmanuel Edeh, Fr. Ejike Mbaka, and the then Fr. Ifeanyi Anozie. Some others have sprung up after his research, which include: Fr. Emmanuel Obimma, Fr. Cyriacus Anayo, Fr. Paul Martin Obayi, Fr. Magnus Ebere; to mention but a few. Priests in other Churches also conduct healing ministries.
Some deviations from the Catholic rituals as well as some abuses and excesses have been noticed in this aspect of the life of the Church,in the new Catholic healing ministry, by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, (1997). This is noted as influence of Pentecostalism in one hand, and the problem of indigenizing Christianity on the other. Achunike (2004) also made a study on the influences of Pentecostalism on Catholic priests and seminarians. The influences are positive and negative, and they have made remarkable impressions on the CatholicChurch.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN, 1997), appreciates the charism of healing in individual members, but frowns at the abuses noticed in the new healing ministries:
The CatholicChurch therefore recognizes the charism of healing in her members. Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil…He commanded his Church to continue his mission which will be confirmed by signs and wonders…Since charisms are for the good of the community, that is the Church, charisms are of necessity subject to the discerning judgment and supervision of the Church…The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria has noticed some abuses in the exercise of the charism of healing in both the clergy, religious, and laity, men and women, in recent times (pp.ii-iv).
This research reviews the new approach to healing among some Catholic priests in Igboland alongside the observations of the CBCN; noting the deviations from the traditional Catholic healing ministry and the inclination to Pentecostal methods and wave of healing, and the crises of faith engendered by this in the CatholicChurch.
In different ways, classical social thinkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries all thought, religion would either disappear or become progressively attenuated with the expansion of modern institutions. The evidence before us in the 21st century is pervasive and clear, that religion still exists, but changed everywhere. Religion remains surprisingly vibrant and socially relevant. This is particularly true in Nigeria, and in much of the rest of the world as well, where religion continues to be a potent factor in the emerging global order and its conflicts.
Modernist theories of secularization that predicted the decline of religion in the affairs of the world because they were carriers of “tradition”, and would enter into decline faced with the inevitable and overwhelming forces of modernization have failed in their predictions. Even some critics of secularism have come to accept that, while religious faith may appear to be floundering in the west due to “contigent events and local circumstances” such as sex abuse scandals by the clergy and the issue of gay marriage, diverse patterns of religiosity still exist today all over the world. In case of Nigeria, despite the crimes associated with religions, more religious sects and denominations are springing out with huge patronage from the masses on daily basis. Even among affluent European nations, rather than observing any consistent and steady conversion towards atheism or agnosticism or any loss of faith in God, religion is still alive and active (Greeleys, 2003).
Huntington (1996) argues that the world would be shaped largely by the strainged interraction among seven or eight major civilizations, namely; Western, Latin American, Slavic-orthodox, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu and possibly African civilization. He further argues that the most important differentiating factor in the world is religion and that the post-cold war optimism of global harmony would be shattered by dangerous and deep-rooted religious conflicts. No wonder, Berger (2005), formerly a leading advocate of secularism recanted and declared that, “the assumption that we live in a secularized world is false. The world, with some exceptions . . . is as furiously religious as it ever was and in some places more so than ever” (p2).
It is highly debatable if secularism, as the political separation between “church and state” is dead or alife. As it is, almost all countries separate religion from politics and all democratic nations imbibe some or most of the democratic political values inherent in secularism. Throughout this work, secularism is appreciated broadly as a constitutional device that tries to construct a political identity for a country in the context of a non-combative religious faith. This, it does by recognizing and protecting the individual’s religious affiliation and guaranteeing her or his right to freedom of religion and conscience. It also distances the state from any overbearing political influence of religion (Bruce, 2002). A religiously sensitive secular polity, according to Nchi (2013), therefore, does not need to be opposed to the individuation of religion and cultural identities in a multi-religious and multi-ethnic state like Nigeria.
In recent decades, religion has become an important factor both in public debate and as a means of political mobilization. However, the rise of religion has not happened in and for itself.It is closely linked to wider material and ideological developments that have attacked global politics (Danjibo and Oladeji, 2012). As a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, Nigeria is a pluralistic society with African Traditional Religion, Christianity and Islam as its three main religions (Onah, 2011). Nigerians are deeply religious and are acknowledged by British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC, 2004) as the most religious nation in the world. It has been argued that Nigeria has become the number one country globally in terms of the population of religious worshippers and adherents, notably, of the two major religions; Christianity and Islam (Falana, (2010)
Nigeria is among the most religious countries in the world. According to the Pew Research Centre, Nigeria is at the top of the chart in terms of intense religiosity. Both Christianity and Islam have experienced very dramatic growth over the last 50 years. They have not just experienced quantitative growth, but they have experienced very important qualitative changes – changes in denominational affiliation, changes in theology, changes in attitude towards one another (Kukah, 2007).
According to Udobata (2012), it is still an irony that Nigeria claims to be one of the most religious nations in the world and yet she is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Her citizens are insulted all over the world. Even many nations that do not claim to be religious have warned their citizens against doing honest business with Nigerians. Transparency International still places Nigeria as one of the most corrupt nations of the world. The latest Transparency International (TI) report not only listed Nigeria as among the most corrupt countries of the world, but indicates that it has the highest global percentage of citizen’s perception that corruption has worsened in the last years. Yet, Nigeria has the largest number of Christians in the Black world and sends the largest contingent of Muslim pilgrims to Mecca every year (Udobata, 2012).
Nigeria’s broad religious demography reflects the historical exposure of its Northern communities to Islam through the Trans-Saharan Trade and the success of Christian Missionary Enterprise in many of its southern parts. However, while historical alliances and shared ethnicities are closely associated with the adoption of these two world religions, religion and ethno –regional identities are cross-cutting, often reinforcing each other. Beyond the engagement with local traditions, Christianity and Islam as major religions in Nigeria have expressed a high degree of political competitiveness with each other at the least since the 1970s (Danjibo and Oladeji, 2013).
Apart from Christianity and Islam, Nigerians also belong to a range of other religious groups. The largest of these comprises followers of Traditional Religious Practice, known as African Traditional Religion (ATR), with the provision that local belief systems and practices differ widely, and that their subsumption under one term mainly reflects the fact that these practices do not (yet) hold the status of world religions (Amherd and Nolte, 2005).
Religion and politics have caused many countries to either grow or separate. In Nigeria, every government is judged by the way power is distributed. Anything contrary to attaining a religious balance status triggers a wide cry of marginalization. The struggle for power in Nigeria predated independence, but it was based on ethnic, economic and social factors. It was in the event of the 1966 coup that religious meaning and antagonism began to be associated with political activities (Anjov, 2008, 35). Some scholars argued that the Igbo as a tribe were the major target and that not all Christians in the North were affected.
Within the two major religions in Nigeria (Islam and Christianity), there has been internal divisions and sub -divisions that sometimes produce sharp contentions. Islam and Christianity are rivals to each other. Apart from being rivals to each other, they (Islam and Christianity) are suppressing the traditional religion. Religion which is supposed to be the agent of peace, unity and harmony is a sharp contrast in Nigeria and elsewhere. Nigeria has recorded series of religious crises, claiming lives and property which are a hindrance to national development. The issue of religion in Nigeria is becoming more complex with apparent hostility, friction and crises. Indeed, religion is threatening the corporate existence of the nation as well as undermining the political integrity of the country. Religious crises in Nigeria are major obstacles to peace and development in the country.
Hank (2013) asserts that, just as football is singularly the sole and most unifying factor in Nigeria, nothing is as divisive as religion – especially when it is used as a tool of politics. Nigeria politicians have used religion to divide the country, just as they have used ethnicity to fan the embers of our national dichotomy. In Nigeria, religion has become a tool of politics and not as a belief system. We are, evidently, no longer able to maintain the fundamental principles of a secular state like religious freedom and governments patronizing particular religions. The sanction and enforcement of Sharia Laws in the criminal court by some state governments have also compounded the problem.
According to Anuforo (2013), recent developments and memories of past and continuous carnage in the North of Nigeria on the innocent and for reasons beyond comprehension, are beginning to sway the position of many, who previously frowned at the thought of alternative system of co-existing. In other words, while believing and hoping on a united, progressive and secular, God fearing country, staunch Nigerian Nationalists are now open to the possibility of a different form of mutually agreed arrangement example the breakup of Nigeria to accommodate the conflicting regional, religious and tribal aspirations of ethnic groups. The Governor- General of Nigeria between 1920-1931, Sir Hugh Clifford, described Nigeria as “a collection of independent native states, separated from one another by great distances, differences of history and traditions and by ethnological, racial, tribal, political, social and religious barriers” (Nigeria Council of Debate, Lagos, 1920). The above description in my opinion seems to vividly capture the problems of today’s Nigeria, where too many innocent lives have been sacrificed because of religion.
As a result of the activities of the Boko Haram sect in the country, there are worrying trends that are beginning to raise concerns over the authority of the President, his security agenda and the unity of the country. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan made a revelation at the 2012 Armed Forces Remembrance day ceremony that sent shocking waves across the country and the rest of the world. Speaking about the terror being unleashed by Boko Haram, the President said that, “sympathisers of the Islamist Boko Haram group are in his government and security agencies” (Anuforo, 2013, 12). He further lamented that:
The situation we have in our hands is even worse than the civil war that we fought. During the civil war, we knew and we could even predict where the enemy was coming from, but the challenge we have today is more complicated … some of them are in the executive arm of government, some of them are in the parliament/legislative arm of government, while some of them are even in judiciary … some are also in the armed forces, the police and other security agencies (BBC, 2013).
When the President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces raises such concern about security, every patriotic citizen should be alarmed too (Anuforo, 2013).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Religion has a place in the life of every nation including Nigeria. Irrespective of the faith or denomination, religion when truly practiced in its truest form and spirit, has been and remains sacred. It plays a vital role in purposeful leadership, community building, social justice, law and order, peace-making, reconciliation, forgiveness and the healing of wounds, be they political, family or personal. Religion ideally is not an arena of conflict. Unfortunately, Religion in Nigeria has given rise to conflicts between the adherents of the two main religions; Islam and Christianity.
Nigeria is not only a plural society with several ethnic and religious groups, but also one where ethnic and religious boundaries overlap. The ethno-regional cum religious overlaps add troubling twists and turns to the configuration. The need to curtail the threat this poses for nation-building informed the constitutional adoption of secularism in Nigeria. Nigerian constitutions, past and present proclaim loudly the secularity of the Nigerian state, the separation of church and state and the freedom to practice religion of one’s choice without fear of persecution and prosecution.
Human society is constantly fraught with struggle, fighting, squabble and crime as emphasized by Igbo (2001). Each section of the social stratification at one time or the other complains of being marginalized, deprived of their basic right and therefore seek for redress. In advanced societies, series of ways for seeking redress over human right violation abound and each when properly adhered to attract the attention of the authority. As such, social conflict could be said to have been checkmated to an extent in advanced society, (Neuman: 2008). However Okwueze (2004) noted that, in the African setting majority of social restiveness account for the constant total conflicts experienced in the form of civil war and community crises.
Best (2009) noted that an overview of the causes of these constant conflicts in our society suggests that human society hardly will ever exist without conflict. Hence the major problem confronting us in such a socio-economic and political environment fraught with conflict is how we can succeed in conflict management and resolution. If therefore we consider value of peace to any society, we can at least, must have understood the essence of conflict management. Best (2009) suggests that in every given society peace and conflict exist in a given ratio at which its proportion is a measure of the development status of such society. The developmental value of a society therefore depends to a large extent on the coherent elastic relative relationship between it and peace and conflict.
Conflict management, as important as it is demands a long time planning which can only be achieved through the establishment of both international, national and community bodies with the aim of instituting peace and stability in the society. For such a body to be effective therefore, we must put in consideration the vast nature of security management in our vase scientific and technologically advancing society. At this stage therefore one’s mind will be instantly focused on the persevering roll of the uniformed organizations and the judicial body towards maintaining peace and order in the society. However we are more inclined to studying, as to understand and emphasis more on the roll of the Church towards conflict management.
Piven (1988) commented that the Church as the body of Christ had over the years built the foundational frame work of striving societies like Great Britain, United State of America and Italy. The Church had always maintained a very close relationship with the society through its religious beliefs and doctrines. The Church has herself suffered constant internal and external crisis as a result of conflict. Her hierarchical order was established to institute order and as well harness the resources of the Church as to influence positively the society and as well create an enabling environment for human engineering and empowerment. The Diocese of Enugu has an out standing record of having dealt with human and social relationship for close to two decades. It has survived both eternal and external crises and therefore is suitable case study for the discussion of conflict management and the Church.
Statement of Problem
Quite often mentioned are the existence of religious crisis in multi-religious environment and the prevalent nature of the constant internal conflict existing within the Church. Little have been said concerning the contributions of the Church towards conflict management and resolution in our society.
Best (2004) agrees to a large extent that scholarly attention obviously has been centered on the exploits of the law enforcement agencies, the government, the judiciary and other non-religious organizations over conflict related issues. The Church which is one of the major stakeholders as long as our society is concerned has contributed enough towards conflict management and therefore deserves to be given a line on writing in appreciation of this fact.
Ibenwa (2012) pointed out that the Church has not been able to measure up to the wide expectation of the society over issues concerning conflict management and some factors are responsible for this laxity. Some of these factors which include secularism, denomination differences, doctrinal issues, segregation, in balance between political/philosophical/theological issues are also responsible for the co-existence of external and internal conflict within the Church. It is therefore reasonable to say that this problems need to be properly addressed.
Prosperity gospel preaching is a double-barrelled socio-religious phenomenon which is fast becoming one of the most significant expressions of Christianity and is remarkably wielding a pervasive influence within the Nigerian religious space. As a dominant strain of popular spirituality, prosperity gospel has remained a major socio-cultural force in Nigeria. The study generally attempts a comprehensive study of prosperity gospel in Nigeria and specifically, it examines the impacts and conflicting views on the reasons for the shift in emphasis of prosperity preachers from asceticism to materialism. The study is crafted using phenomenological approach for its richness and objectivity. The results show that prosperity preaching is currently the major preoccupation of the Pentecostals and has challenged endemic poverty in Nigeria through its emphasis on spiritual and economic empowerment programmes of the prosperity purveyors which is engendering remarkable social, economic and spiritual transformation in the Nigerian society. But the Pentecostals’ undue emphasis on giving as an investment for future prosperity occasioned by wrong interpretation of Scriptures by prosperity preachers resulting to misinformation and misapprehension of people about prosperity has negatively impacted on a broad spectrum of the Nigerian Christians and churches financially, socially and spiritually. At the moment, there seems to be a gradual paradigm shift in the orientation of people from hard labour to idleness and from holiness to worldliness in Nigeria. In view of the foregoing, the work, in recognition of some positivism of prosperity gospel draws its conclusion that the impacts of prosperity gospel are more damaging than beneficial in Nigeria
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TITLE PAGE i
APPROVAL PAGE ii
TABLE OF CONTENTS xi
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS xvi
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Background of the Study 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem 5
1.3 Aim of the Study 7
1.4 Significance of the Study 8
1.5 Scope of the Study 9
1.6 Research Methodology 10
1.7 Definition of Terms 12
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW 15
2.1Biblical or Theological Perspective of Prosperity 16
2.2 Pre Pentecostal Understanding of Prosperity 23
2.3 Pentecostal Interpretation of Prosperity 28
2.4 Summary of Literature Review 37
CHAPTER THREE: HISTORICAL EVOLUTION AND DEVELOPMENT
OF PROSPERITY GOSPEL PREACHING IN NIGERIA 41 3.1 Origin of Prosperity Preaching Worldwide 41
3.2 Nigerian Historical Roots of Prosperity Preaching 44
3.3 Development of Prosperity Preaching in Nigeria 52
3.4 Dimension of Prosperity Preaching in the World 58
3.5 Factors Responsible for Prosperity Preaching in Nigeria 66
3.5.1 African Worldview on Prosperity and Materialism 67
3.5.2 Competition for Possession of Worldly Resources 71
3.5.3 The 1980s Socio-economic Condition of Nigeria 82
CHAPTER FOUR: IDEOLOGY OF PROSPERITY PREACHERS
IN NIGERIA 90
4.1 Distinctiveness of Prosperity Preaching in Nigeria 90
4.1.1Foundational Affirmations 92
4.1.2 Faith as Positive Confession 95
4.1.3 Giving and Receiving 96
4.1.4 Poverty and Sickness 99
4.2 Principles/Laws of Prosperity 102
4.2.1 Be a Faithful Tither 104
4.2.2 Giving Willingly and Generously 108
4.2.3 Be a Covenant Builder 111
4.2.4 Investing in the Gospel 112
4.2.5 Giving to the Poor 113
4.2.6 Having High Regard for Spiritual Leaders and Partnering With them 113
4.2.7 Making Absolute and Solid Commitment to the Local Assembly 114
4.2.8 Confession Brings Possession 115
4.3 Purpose of Prosperity Preaching 116
4.3.1 Prosperity is Proof for God’s Covenant and for Building His Church 121
4.3.2 Blessed to be a Blessing to Humanity 124
4.3.3 Enjoyment of God’s Children on Earth 125
4.4 Wrong Interpretation of Scriptures 128
4.4.1 Biblical Interpretation Principles 131
4.4.2 Illustrations of Hermeneutical Blunders in the Prosperity Gospel 132
18.104.22.168 The Interpretation of the Promise of “Everything”, “All Thing ”
and “Anything” in Some Bible passages 133
22.214.171.124 The Threefold Prosperity promise in 3 John2 134
126.96.36.199 The Seed Faith Principle in Luke 6:38 136
188.8.131.52 The Hundredfold Return Principle in Mark10:29-30 137
184.108.40.206 Prosperity-Bound Mentality in Luke 16:22 138
4.5 Wrong Understanding of People about Prosperity 139
CHAPTER FIVE: RESPONSE TO PROSPERITY GOSPEL
PREACHING IN NIGERIA 146
5.1 Responses to Prosperity Preaching 146
5.2 Women and Prosperity Preaching 147
5.3 The Youth and Prosperity Preaching 153
5.4 Antagonists of Prosperity preaching (Holiness Preachers) 162
5.5 Mainline Churches Response 170
5.6 Social Critic 180
CHAPTER SIX: IMPACT OF PROSPERITY PREACHING GOSPEL
IN NIGERIA 192
6.1 Social Positive Significance of Prosperity Preaching in Nigeria 192
6.1.1 Prosperity Preaching as Vehicle for All-round Empowerment 193
6.1.2 Rehabilitation of Social Outcasts and Poverty Alleviation 197
6.1.3 Improvement of Human Capacity for Self-Development 199
6.1.4 Entrepreneurial Development and Employment Opportunities 200
6.1.5 Numerical Explosion of Christian Population 203
6.1.6 Rapid National Development 204
6.1.7 Educational Development and Human Capital Development 205
6.1.8 Leadership Development, Good Governance and
National Transformation 206
6.2 Negative Impact of Prosperity Preaching 208
6.2.1 Prosperity Gospel Promotes Materialism 209
6.2.2 Prosperity Gospel Inspires Syncretism 212
6.2.3 Prosperity Gospel Leads to Declining Spiritual
Commitment and Character 216
6.2.4 Prosperity Gospel Fuels Greed and Impoverishes People 218
6.2.5 Prosperity Gospel Nurtures Fraud, Rivalry and Competition 220
6.2.6 Prosperity Gospel Keeps People in Poverty 224
6.2.7 Prosperity Gospel enslaves people 226
6.2.8 Prosperity Gospel Feeds Pride 229
CHAPTER SEVEN: DISSECTION OF PROSPERITY GOSPEL
PREACHING IN NIGERIA 233
7.1 An Authentic Gospel 233
7.2 A Different Gospel (From Asceticism to Materialism) 239
7.3 Omissions of Prosperity Preaching 251
7.4 The Future of Prosperity Gospel in Nigeria 259
7.4.1 Factors that sustain Prosperity Gospel in Nigeria 260
220.127.116.11 Astronomical Expansion of prosperity ideology 260
18.104.22.168 The overwhelming Popularity of Prosperity Gospel 261
22.214.171.124 Deeply Entrenched Poverty in Africa 261
126.96.36.199 The Desire and Search to get better 262
188.8.131.52 Prosperity promises/Allurement as Bait 263
184.108.40.206 A Simple-Easy-Going Theology of Sweatless Prosperity 264 220.127.116.11 Evangelistic Campaigns and Churches’ Proliferation as Factor 264
18.104.22.168 Numerical Growth of the Pentecostals/Charismatics
Solidify Prosperity Gospel 266
22.214.171.124 The Nature of Pentecostalism 268
126.96.36.199 Unchanging Global Trends Sustain Prosperity Theology 269
188.8.131.52 Prosperity Gospel as Immunity against Witchcraft and Problems 270
7.4.1 12 Prosperity Gospel as Socially Relevant to All Societies of the World 271 7.5 The Probable End of Prosperity Gospel 272
CHAPTER EIGHT: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 275
8.1 Summary of Findings 275
8.2 Contribution to Knowledge 277
8.3 Recommendations 279
8.4 Suggestions for Further Study 282
8.5 Conclusion 283
Appendix: LIST OF INTERVIEWEES 319
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
AD – Anno Domini
ANCBI – All Nations for Christ Bible Institute
ATR – African Traditional Religion
B. A. – Bachelor of Arts
B. TH – Bachelor of Theology
CAC – Christ Army Church
CAN – Christian Association of Nigeria
CGMI – Church of God Mission International
Christ Embassy – Believers Love World
CPA – Christian Praying Assembly
CPC – Congress for Progressive Change
DAWN – Disciple A whole Nation
ECWA – Evangelical Church Winning All (formerly the Evangelical Church of West Africa).
FCT – Federal Capital Territory
GRA – Government Residential Areas
GSM – Global System for Mobile communication
IMF – International Monetary Fund
INEC – Independent National Electoral Commission
INT – Institute for National Transformation
J P – Jerusalem Pilgrim
KJV – King James Version
M. A. – Master of Arts
M.TH – Master of Theology
NBC – The Nigerian Baptist Convention
NGOs – Non-Governmental Organizations
NIV – New International Version
PFN – Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria
Ph.D – Doctor of Philosophy
PMCC – Printme Communications Company
PRC – Pew Research Center
PTL – Praise the Lord
RCCG – Redeemed Christian Church of God
RCM – Roman Catholic Mission
SAP – Structural Adjustment Programmes
SCOAN – The Synagogue Church of All Nations
SNG – Save Nigeria Group
SURE-P – Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme
TFCI – The Foundation for Community Inspiration
The Deeper Life – Deeper Life Bible Church
The Lord Chosen – The Lord Chosen Charismatic Revival Ministries
The Winners’ Chapel – Living Faith Church Worldwide
TSU – Taraba State University
USA – United States of America
WCC – World Council of Churches
WOFBI – The Word of Faith Bible Institute
1.1 Background to the Study
The emergence of prosperity gospel preaching dates back to the 19th and 20th centuries. It is currently a universal phenomenon that is frequently preached in urban areas especially in churches and on the electronic media. It has commanded scholarly attention, debates and literature on the subject. Historical records abound that prosperity preaching began in the United States of America (USA). This was precipitated through the formative role played by Essek William Kenyon who lived from 1867-1948, and who is said to have initially put in place the cardinal principles for prosperity gospel preaching (Young, 2005; Mumford, 2012). The principles Kenyon develop was probably cultic in origin (McConnell, 2007). However, Kenneth Erwin Hagin (1917-2003) seems to have borrowed heavily from Kenyon’s ideology and developed his own prosperity theology. It is established that Kenyon’s ideologies were also adopted, propagated and popularized by television and faith preachers in the 1950s like William Branham, Oral Roberts and Gordon Lindsay among several others (Okwori, 1995). Prosperity preaching was handed down to posterity under different nomenclatures such as “word faith” or “word of faith movement”, “positive confession”, “faith formula”, or “faith message”, “hyper-faith”, “health and wealth theology”, “name it and claim it gospel”, “blab it and grab it gospel”, “gospel of success”, and “prosperity gospel” as it advanced down through the ages (Jones, 2006; Achunike, 2007; MacArthur, 1992). For the purpose of this study, prosperity preaching, prosperity gospel or prosperity gospel preaching will be used interchangeably. McConnell (1990) informs that right from its source in the USA, prosperity gospel emphasizes the “Three “Ps”: Power, Prestige and Prosperity” (p. 170).
As a student, the televangelists significantly influenced Benson Andrew Idahosa (1938-1998), a Nigerian, at Christ for the Nations Bible Institute in the USA (Emeka, 2002). History shows that within this epoch, prosperity preaching blossomed and was transported to different parts of the globe by people who contacted the various purveyors of prosperity preaching in the USA (Okwori, 1995). At the turn of events in the 1970s, Idahosa responsively brought and planted his Nigerian version of the prosperity message somewhat slightly at variant to the USA version, giving it an African context (Emeka, 2002). Idahosa, pioneered prosperity gospel preaching in Nigeria and thus emerged its true Nigerian father (Ojo, 2013).
Prosperity gospel certainly is a global subject. It is known that right from the inception of prosperity preaching in Nigeria, many Nigerians are ever enthusiastic about it and are vigorously pursuing it in the same manner that people are captivated about religion and are deeply engrossed in its activities. This desire and search for prosperity probably cuts across all religions and all fields of human endeavour. This seems to account for the reason prosperity churches are proliferating in contemporary Nigeria. In the observation of Iheanacho (2009), the more these prosperity churches multiply in Nigeria, the more “They gradually shift emphasis from spirituality and eternal life to earthly life course, here and now” (p.106).
Without doubt, prosperity as preached in Nigeria has enjoyed great patronage from the masses. Most Nigerians are probably embracing prosperity messages for its promise of wealth and health (Gwamna, 2013). Added to this is the fact that prosperity preaching is probably thriving in Nigeria gloriously because of African worldview on materialism and achievement. It is seen that in Nigeria today, material wealth has become a yardstick for measuring who is prosperous in the society to be accorded respect without which one is neglected or disrespected. It is in view of this that at the moment, there is a crazy desire to acquire wealth whether by fair or foul means irrespective of whose ox is gored. It is in line with this that Okoro (2011) seems to remark that “Unbridled pursuit of material wealth obstructs the mind’s ascent to such lasting values as the ‘after life’, moral standards and the judgement of posterity” (p.50).
The prosperity protagonists are reiterating that it is the will of God for his children to be emancipated from the spirit and shackles of poverty to a life of cross-less abundance of wealth and dominion in Christ because they are worshipping a rich God (Achunike, 2002). In their homily, they seem to interpret the Scriptures out of context as well as water down its message to some certain extent. Even though, the issue of misinterpretation of the Scriptures is something that preachers of the gospel are generally prone to if no careful study and the right method of its interpretation is strictly adhere to. By this, preachers have most times succeeded somehow in making people to have wrong understanding of the Scriptures about the total meaning of prosperity and the way God prospers his children generally.
This kind of message of hope and liberation of the Pentecostals is quite appealing to Nigerians who have all along been under the dungeon of awful lack and sufferings. This teaching appears to present a strong pull to people engendering large responses to prosperity gospel in Nigeria. It is instructive to note that all Christians believe in prosperity. To them, particularly Christians from the mainline churches, God prospers his creatures. But since the 1970, Pentecostals have been emphasizing prosperity gospel differently.
There are moderate and extreme prosperity preachers in Nigeria. It is observed that the extremists among the prosperity preachers especially from the neo Pentecostals emphasize that poverty is a curse, and abundance is equated to God’s approval and blessings (Oyedepo, 2010). Therefore children of God are simply to “Name it and claim it”, “Just have faith!”, “Give and you will get!” (Adeleye, 2011). According to Adeleye, catch phrases like these have coerced many Christians to believe that by merely trusting God with positive confession, it will bring about effortless abundance of wealth and health miraculously. But the experience of this type of teaching the world over, has shown that the Gospel of Jesus Christ does not promise prosperity without pain or salvation without sanctification (Igwegbe, 2007; Ibrahim, 2013). Iheanacho (2009) paints the ugly picture of the phenomenon better in her words thus:
With catchy and animating words, ministers advertise for harvest of miracles, which turn out to be harvest of money. Using both evil and satanic powers to draw large crowds to their churches, they convince their followers to sow ‘quality seeds’ (special levy), and wait for their miracles, coming on the way. Followers are told that the more they sow, the more the blessings that will come their way. While the minister and miracle worker smile to the bank, his clients go home in the euphoria of hope for imminent and miraculous socio-economic break-through in life. This phenomenon of materialism and commercial ministry is contrary to the teachings and attitude of Christ and the early church over blessing, and miraculous deliverance of people in affliction (p.3).
Sadly, this message of prosperity in point of fact has made deep in-roads in Nigeria, giving rise to negative orientation towards honest labour, and seemingly producing a generation that abhors the principle of hard labour. This perhaps, disenfranchises the younger generation of seeming progress in all spheres of life’s endeavour. There is now a noticeable shift in the orientation of people from hard work to idleness and from holiness to worldliness, to mention the least within the Nigerian religious arena.
It is against this backdrop that this work, decidedly attempts to objectively investigate deeper into the phenomenon of prosperity preaching in Nigeria. It equally endeavours to carry out a historical survey of the phenomenon of prosperity preaching in Nigeria with a view to reconstructing historically, the origin and advancement of prosperity gospel preaching in Nigeria. The work, it is hoped, is a humble contribution to the ongoing researches on prosperity preaching within the Nigerian religious landscape. It tries to underscore the reasons for the fast expansion of prosperity churches in Nigeria while looking at the general behaviour of the worshippers.
1.1 Background to the Study
The question of the compatibility, or otherwise, of Islam with human rights has been in recent years the focus of attention of numerous scholars who have produced varying responses and advanced conflicting and competing views. Ezzat (2005:n.p) holds that “sharia law is not only compatible with human rights but also the most effective way to achieve human rights”. However, according to Fadl (2010:114), “of all the moral challenges confronting Islam in modern age, the problem of human rights is the most formidable”. Lupp (2004:n.p) also observes that “Islamic fundamentalism in its various modern forms poses a challenge to international human rights norms”. However, this is not to hold that Islam alone is the only religion that harbours the seed capable of causing or inducing behaviour that disregards or violates the rights of human beings. Surely, instances abound of where some Christian practices, for instance, are in conflict with some human rights concerns, discussion of which is nevertheless beyond the scope of this research.
Be that as it may, although Ezzat (2005:n.p) argues that “human rights violations in Muslim countries are not due to sharia law but are mainly exercised by the state and dates back to the post-colonial era”, relatively recent happenings around the world to which Islam is connected seem to fuel the hotly debated issue of whether or not Islam is amenable to human rights idea. Fadl (2010:114) adumbrates some of these happenings. The death sentence issued against Salman Rushdie for the publication of the Satanic Verses; the stoning and imprisoning of rape victims in Pakistan; the public flogging, stoning and decapitation of criminal offenders in Sudan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia; the degradation of women by the Taliban; and the destruction of the Buddha statues in Afghanistan are some of the recent Islamic practices that have struck the world as offensive and even shocking. Other similar events include the sexual violation of domestic workers in Saudi Arabia; the excommunication of writers in Egypt; the killing of civilians in suicide attacks; the shooting in 1987 of over four hundred pilgrims in Mecca by Saudi Police; the senseless taking of hostages in Iran and Lebanon; the burning to death in 2002 of tens of school girls in Mecca because they were not allowed to escape their burning school while not properly veiled; the demeaning treatment that women receive in many an Islamic enclave, and above all the tragedy of “9/11” among many other events. Added to this is the recent bomb-killing of fifty-eight Christians by Muslims in Iraq (Cable Network News, 2010, 3/11/10). One cannot also afford to skip the spiral upheavals and revolts spreading around the Muslim Arab world today as a result of sundry human rights violations and anti-democratic policies of especially sit-tight and repressive regimes. This situation certainly plays out in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Djibouti, and so on. Hence, it does not seem that Islam-motivated forms of terrorism are on the wane in spite of the demise of the al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden. All these seem to constitute a long Muslim saga of ugliness in the modern world’s sensibility on human rights, which idea and discourses have not only been globalized but also have become a significant issue for international relations (Fadl, 2010:116).
In Nigeria, the eve and the dawn of the new millennium have witnessed an unprecedented resurgence of Islam especially in the application of Sharia. Several states in the North have enacted an adapted version of the Sharia Criminal Code, which is a set of legal provisions based on the principles and morals of Islamic religion. The Sharia Penal Code, as adopted and applied in Nigeria is the subject of recent controversy among scholars and diverse groups who, among other opinions see the implementation as antithetical to the respect for some fundamental human rights. Although Sharia criminal law provisions safeguard some internationally and nationally protected rights in certain circumstances, such as Muslims’ freedom of religion, Zarifis (2002:n.p) still observes that “the implementation of sharia law violates other fundamental rights such as the right of minorities to practise the religion of their choices, the right to life, and the right to be free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, which attitudes in turn, violate Nigeria’s international human rights obligations”. The victims especially the minorities have sometimes reacted to infringement on their right to religious freedom with violence, which incident had occasioned inter-religious conflicts that have claimed thousands of lives and property worth huge amount of money since the adoption of sharia in 1999. Besides, the recent post-election violence in Northern Nigeria, which claimed the lives and property of many, among other human rights assaults, are not unconnected with religious sensibilities. This state of affairs is in concert with the recent and constant incidents of bombings taking place almost always in the northern parts of the country, with the resulting destruction of lives and property. Recently too, Nigeria was branded one of the fourteen terrorist countries alongside Somalia, Afghanistan and so on, when in December 2009 the Nigerian born teenager, Umar Farook Abdulmuttalab, was picked by al-Qaeda to blow the American Airline en route to Detroit though he was stopped aboard the Airline in Holland. It had to take a lot of pleas, lobbies, supplications and diplomatic strategies by the Yar’Adua-Jonathan government for the American deed to be undone only recently. All these have always been connected to Islamic attitude to Human rights.
The adoption by Zamfara State and later by some other eleven northern states (Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Kebbi, Niger, Bauchi, Bornu, Yobe, and Gombe) expectedly elicited many reactions. Human rights scholars, lawyers, jurists, political analysts, moral theologians, right-based non-governmental organizations and also religious scientists demonstrate intense interest on the implications of the adoption for the nation’s constitutional democracy and its tenets. Certainly, some national and international dust has been raised.
This work and research carried out by the researcher has brought new awareness to the issue of Christians and polygamy. In this work the researcher directed his attention towards the dweller and indigenes of Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State. According to the information conveyed from the research carried out, it was observed that the consequence of polygamy on Christian is pertinent. The researcher made use of questionnaire to sample the opinions of the people concerned the following result were obtained from nine localities or clans that made up the enclave, where the research was conducted many of the respondents speak on the need for Christians to desist from polygamy. The data collected were analyzed using percentage storing of each response to an alternative answer. The researcher shows that the defect can be tacked by the man himself if he fair and firm in all his actions in the homes.
Background of the study
Family according to encyclopedia America is a core group of persons related by birth, marriage or other names (such as adoption) who commonly reside in the same household. The family is both subset of an individual’s total kinship network and a key unity of the household or domestic economy. Although family composition and structure vary greatly from culture to culture in general. Furthermore, families have existed in all societies and in all periods of human history family is equally a powerful symbol of social cohesion and morally a kind of micro of community and society. When anthropologist and sociologist speaks of the family they may be referring to married parents and children or to a broader kinship units social scientists have postulated that in all societies the family is to perform a set of basic functions. a basic function may be considered any activity imperative for the continuing existence of the society. The organization of an individual is defined as a role and Is conceptualized around a specific function such as raising of children. Moreover, each role implies a reciprocal role for example the sexual functions of marriage reside both in the husband’s role. According to J.B Chitamber (1972) family is the basic social institution of an organized relationship involving workable and dependable person by ties of marriage by blood, adoption, common consent and characterized by common residence and economic co-operation. Dr Martin Herbert (1975) on his own part states that all known societies the family is the most recognized unit which resumes the function of child bearing perpetuation of the family and human rules, socialization provision of economic man tenancy and live hood, love, affection and security. According to Bas Dean (1977) there are many types of family units of which monogamous and polygamous family units are inclusive.The monogamous family unit is common in advance countries and hence it is commonly referred to us the Western type of family. It is mostly praised by some educated people, those who are religious ethnic’s permits only monogamous marriage and those legally married in the law court. Polygamy therefore is a kind of marriage that permits a person to have more than one husband or wife. There is different type of polygamy, but the researcher is narrowing his finding to two striking, Examples polygamy and polyandry. Polygamy is a process whereby or which permits a man marry more than one woman or wife, while polyandry has to do with a woman, who married to more than one man or husband. This is practiced mostly in Tibet. The effect of this marriage on the girl child is what the researcher is basing his research. This type of marriage is prevalent in Nigeria particularly, Oredo local government area of Edo state. Dr Martin Herbert and Ushio Biolonwu daintily agreed on the following reasons:Traditionally: it is practiced because of the prestige it accord a man, in the society in which he lives Religiously; most religion encouraged the practice of marrying more than one wife for example in Islam you are expected to marry as many wife as you wish, depending on your purchasing power
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In every societies of the world there are some specific structure designated to meet the immediate need of the society consequent upon this is Oredo settlement she has a robust nature of socialization which clearly defines the role of both sexes (male and female). Over the years position of women in Nigeria societies, especially in Oredo, has not be given a serious concern.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are;
To identify the consequences of polygamous family unit on the Christian in Oredo local government area
To highlight the factors which gave rise to polygamous family unit
To offer suggestion that will bring about lasting solution to this menace.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: there are no consequences of polygamous family unit on the Christian in Oredo local government area.
H1: there are consequences of polygamous family unit on the Christian in Oredo local government area
H02: there are no factors which gave rise to polygamous family unit
H2: there are factors which gave rise to polygamous family unit
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The knowledge of the study will be of immense benefit to the following: the married women because they are majority involved in this type of marriage the opinion of the Christian about the issue of polygamous family unit in Oredo local government area of Edo state the findings of the research will be carefully analyzed and interpreted through the data collected and solution will be provided to a given problems.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers consequences of polygamous marriage on Christian home. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
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.
c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
EDUCATION: Is the totality of processes through which an individual acquires knowledge, skills, attitude and abilities which enable him or her to positively contribute towards the meaningful development of the society. Encyclopedia American a defined Education as a design to affirmatively assist individual to develop their skills or potentials and to lead a productive and satisfying lives culturally, education is the process whereby society preserves and perpetuates its social valves and institutions. It is the means by which the collective wisdom of the past is transmitted to each new generation.
POLYGAMOUS: This is the institution that permits the marrying of more than one wife or husband. It can either be polygamous, systematic polygamy is a situation in which a man marries a woman divorce her marries another, divorce her adifinitum. While polyandry is a process whereby a woman get married to more than one husband.
FAMILY: Family is seen as a subset of an individual total Kinsley network and a key unit of the household or domestic economy, a symbol of social cohesion and moral philosophy.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
The study on the effect of denominational practices on the growth of the churches tries to find out if denominational practices have significant effect on church growth; the study also tries to identify the different denominations in Nigeria and their impact on churches; the study tries also to know whether denominational practices contribute to church growth. Primary data was used for the purpose of the study with a sample size of 60 respondents; the study concluded that denominational practices have significant effect on church growth. The study made of spearman correlation to analysis the hypothesis. The study therefore concluded that denominational practices have significant effect on church growth and proper recommendations were made to assist in decision making and for further studies.
Background of the study
Christianity in Nigeria dates back to the 16th century when the Portuguese introduced Latin Christianity in Benin and Warri. Looking at Christianity from that early beginning to the present time, many stages of development had taken place resulting to the planting and growth of churches. The period of denominationalism and missionary activities started from 1840 when missionary bodies set up in Europe and America in the 18th century6 succeeded in converting Nigerians to Christianity and opened permanent mission stations among the people. The period was just after the abolition of the slave trade; the abolition of slave trade stimulated a fresh religious enthusiasm among the Europeans and Americans. With the support of the missionary bodies, “The freed slaves in places like Sierra Leone and Abeokuta encouraged missionary enterprises. This was a period of denominationalism when many churches from the British Isles and America sent missionaries to the coast and interior of Nigeria. The Anglicans under the Church Missionary Society (CMS), were the first but the Niger Expedition in which they came in 1841 failed. However, the first successful penetration of Christian mission into the interior of Nigeria was made in 1842, when the Wesleyan Methodists on the invitation of the freed slaves who had settled at Badagry and Abeokuta, sent Rev. Thomas Birch Freeman and an assistant William de craft and his wife from the Gold Coast (Ghana) to Badagry and some months later Henry Townsend to Abeokuta. In the more southern part of the country, on the Cross River in the old slave-trading town of Calabar, the Presbyterians sent Rev. Hope Masterton Wadded accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Edgerl A. Chishalm and E. Miller, who arrived in Calabar in April 1846, to establish the church of Scotland Mission. Their work was very successful because a Presbytery, the Presbytery of Biafra, was created in 1858. The American Baptist Mission began work in Nigeria in 1850. The Rev. Thomas J. Bowen, the Pioneer Missionary, established stations at Ijaiye and Ogbomoso. The Roman Catholicism, through the Society of the African Missions, came in 1862. The ex-slaves were organized and stations established in Lagos and Abeokuta. When the Italian Priest, Father Broghero, visited Lagos in 1863, there was a catholic church in Yorubaland. The Holy Ghose Fathers started work among the Igbo of Eastern Nigeria in 1885 through Father Joseph Lutz working at Onitsha. Samuel A. Bill started the Qua Iboe Mission in the Qua Iboe River area from 1887, though it was not until 1891 that the Qua Iboe church was established as an Independent evangelical and interdenominational body. Mission work in Northern Nigerian started in 1893 through Rolland Bingham, Walter Gowans, and Thomas Kent in 1904, the Sudan United Mission (SUM) joined the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) in the mission work in the North, concentrating in the regions of Adamawa, Benue and Bornu.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
It is to be noted that this period was characterized by missionaries activities being based on denominations and limited to the Southern part of the country. The missionaries who came were trained and really prepared, though many were swallowed up by the climate. The language barrier that had existed was reduced to the minimum by the use of interpreters and the missionaries themselves learning the language; Trained Nigerian Ministers started to emerge; churches and later schools and hospitals were erected. More importantly, baptism was administered to the converts as an indelible mark for the new faith they had embraced and the old ways they had forsaken.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The study sought to know the effect of denominational practices on the growth of the church. Specifically, the study sought to;
Know whether denominational practices have significant effect on church growth.
To determine whether denominational practices bring unity to Christianity.
To ascertain the relationship between denominational practices and church growth
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: Denominational practices have no significant effect on church growth
H1: Denominational practices have significant effect on church growth
H02: denominational practices do not bring unity to Christianity
H2: denominational practices bring unity to Christianity
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their work.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study is on the effect of denominational practices on the growth of the church. Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Denomination: A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity. The term describes various Christian denominations (for example, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and the many varieties of Protestantism).
Church Growth: Is a movement within evangelical Christianity which aims to develop methods to grow churches based on business marketing strategies.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.
This research discusses the impact of Christian religious studies on the morals of secondary school students in selected secondary schools in Jos, plateau State. It discussed the societal value that Nigeria is a country that is plagued with misplaced value. Questionnaire was employed in the collection of data from selected secondary schools and the response was impressive. Correlation coefficient was employed in testing the hypothesis to know the degree of the relationship between Christian religious studies and moral values in secondary school in plateau. The findings revealed that there is moral decadence in the society, religion plays a prominent role in the society, religious education brings about moral development; and that religious education is being handled with levity. The study recommended among others that, for religious education to bring about the desired moral development the curriculum had to be restructured to contain the necessary ingredients and the teacher should also exemplify the moral standards he teaches.
Background of the study
Christian religious is widely regarded as one of the most important subject in Nigeria today; it is evident that the study of Christian religious studies plays a significant role in the morals development of students in most of the Nigeria societies. The subject gains its root into Nigeria education system through the European Missionaries who introduced the subject as a means of converting Nigerians into white man religion (Christianity). The introduction of Christian religion knowledge (CRS) as one of the subjects in arts came into being with the introduction of other categories like science and technological subjects when the federal government of Nigeria takeover most of the schools in Nigeria. It is believed that the introduction of CRS will help in the moral teaching and development of students in Nigeria especially the youths. Morals define the pattern of behaviour that the society wants from the people. Certain behaviours are considered to be undesirable. For most societies, however, morals are not written in stone, or proclaimed by God above, but instead reflect local sensibilities. Different societies have different ideas about what is acceptable and not acceptable. according to (Dombeck and Wells-moran, 2008) stated that there are only a relative few behaviors (usually including murder, and various forms of abuse, including incest and adult-child sexual contact of any sort) that are university despised by stable societies. However People are not born understanding their society’s morals. Instead, these understandings develop and mature over time. According to (Kohlberg, 2009) stated that infants have little or no moral sense, because they are not born with an understanding of the nature of human relationships. As children reach elementary school age, they enter into the first major stage of moral understanding, known as the preconventional stage. Pre-conventional children are essentially selfish in orientation. They do not think about what behaviours will serve the greater good, but rather think in terms of what will most benefit them. They respond primarily and think of morality as a matter of following rules so as to avoid punishment. As children grow into adulthood, they typically enter into the stage of conventional moral understanding. Some children will be developmentally delayed in this regard and becomes adults who have the moral understanding of children; we call them sociopaths, narcissists, and anti-social personalities. The majority of people that do make it to the conventional moral understanding start thinking in terms of duty; a duty to promote the greater good. The study in this regard wishes to examine the impact of Christian religious studies on the morals of secondary schools in Nigeria
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
What really instigated the study was due the high level of immorality in most of the Nigeria societies. Most of the students that were opportune to have knowledge on the impact of CRS on the morals development of students tend to forget the moral teachings of CRS as a result of family background and belief. To reduce the non-adherence to morality in the society to manageable level, a vital constituent of an effective moral learning experience need to be developed for schools and homes (Ajere, 2006). It is also believed that the government has a role to play in the effective teaching of CRS in schools, families and other social gatherings. According to scholars like Njoku (2012) attributed the breakdown in moral behaviour of the students to teachers’ attitude and government lack of commitment to the teaching of CRS as some that are committed do not handle the subject well, which has made it almost impossible for learners to attain the set goals
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to examine the impact of Christian religious studies (CRS) on the morals secondary school students. Other specific objectives of study include:
To examine the relationship between Christian religious studies (CRS) and the level of morality among students
To determine the effect of Christian religious studies on the behavioural pattern of students.
To investigate on factors affecting the effective implementation and teaching of CRS in most schools in most of the Nigerian societies
To determine the roles of the federal government in the teaching of CRS
To investigate on the effect of belief on the acceptance of Christian religious studies in most of families in Nigeria
To proffer solution to the above stated problems
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: there is no relationship between Christian religious studies (CRS) and the level of morality among students.
H1: there is relationship between Christian religious studies (CRS) and the level of morality among students
H02: there are no factors affecting the effective implementation and teaching of CRS in most schools in most of the Nigerian societies.
H2: there are factors affecting the effective implementation and teaching of CRS in most schools in most of the Nigerian societies
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study on the impact of Christian religious studies (CRS) on the morals of secondary school students in Nigeria will be of immense benefit to the entire nation as it will discuss the roles the importance of CRS on the morals development of students. The study will also address the method that offers maximum advantage in attaining the learning outcomes as stated in the objectives of the subject. Since the affective and the cognitive aspects of the lessons are equally important, there is need to select appropriate methods that shall nurture the learner’s sense of wellbeing so that the desired habits, attitudes and skills will manifest in their ethical behaviour
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is on the impact of Christian religious studies on the morals of secondary school students in Nigeria. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
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.
c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS STUDIES (CRS): Alternately known as the study of religion, is the multi-disciplinary academic field devoted to research into religious beliefs, behaviors, and institutions
MORALS: A lesson that can be derived from a story or experience.
MORALITY: Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study
The research work investigated the role of Christian Religion Education in promoting peaceful co-existence among students in Barkin Ladi LGA. The sample size of the study comprised of students and 20 teachers, giving a total of 100 respondents who were selected through a stratified random sampling technique. The cross sectional survey design was adopted for the study. Findings obtained shows that the study area were lack of forgiveness, unemployment, religious fanaticism, hatred, poverty and bias reporting by the mass media. Effects of conflict were high rate of school dropout, loss of live and properties, lack of mutual trust and destruction of school building. Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are made: Government should promote peace, reconciliation and tolerance through education, curriculum planners should see the need for the introduction of a course of study on peaceful co-existence in schools, religious leaders should lay emphasis on teaching their members on the dignity of human life and parents should endeavour to give their children adequate moral training.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Peaceful co-existence is an indispensable ingredient that helps in the promotion of growth and development in a society. Peace is very essential for the progress of every society. Abindu (2002) underlined that the need of peaceful co-existence and conflict prevention movement in the society, start from the home with the examination of how children socialize and how they are indoctrinated. Peace is the actions that build bridges across social barrier, create harmony and promote peaceful co-existence and development. Peace promote social; and economic stability and so development will follow naturally, and that peaceful co-existence promotes freedom of worship of different religious groups, and creates room for the spread of one’s faith.
Daudu (2005), added that where there is peaceful co-existence, there is integration among people of different religions and tribal backgrounds. Peace in the society bring about good management which help in doing efficient work and promote the best use of resources.
Barkin Ladi has been a peaceful local area in the state and it has many ethnic communities spread across its districts for commercial purposes, it has attracted both, Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba an Igbos. Unfortunately, the 2001 crises, both indigenes, residents, national and international communities where disappointed when the peaceful co-existence in the local area was taken over by massive killings and unwanted destruction of properties. These experiences led to mutual suspicion, lack of trust for each other to the extent that settlement in the area is now along religious lines.
The persistent conflict in the area has affected all spheres of lives, education, economic, social and otherwise. School children and the teachers are massacred, school buildings were burnt down, churches and Mosques were also set a blaze. The generation of children are growing up in an environment that is characterized with extreme violence and fear. Tank (2008), described the present situation in the area as an uneasy calm, or negative peace where the youths have become a depot from which to recruit merchants who unleash mayhem in the society. Hence the need to catch them young through Christian religion education and mould their character positively.
For the sake of peaceful co-existence diverse approaches have been adopted at various levels. Such efforts have been inspired by the different governments or their agencies NGOs, Civil society groups, individuals, as well as the school to promote the culture of peace in the local area. Peace is a state of harmony between people or groups, freedom from strife, peace is something that individuals need to adopt in the society to build a healthy nation. It is important to deeply understand the dynamic of student’s peaceful engagement from the international, national, state down to local levels. Omotayo (2005), observed that Geneva women gathered for five (5) days in October, 2002 to discuss new initiatives aimed at promoting world peace and eliminating the causes of conflicts. In line with the efforts to promote peace and its sustainability, the United Nations declared the year 2000-2010 as international declaration for a culture of peace and non-violence for schools and children of the society.
However, in Nigeria Ukeje (2004), examined the non-violent protest by students from different ethnic groups in the Niger Delta Area of Nigeria over ecological degradation as it affects their fishing among others.
Furthermore, he asserted that, students carried out peaceful protest as a way of improving the environment in which they carry out their productive activities. Similarly, when state of emergency was to be imposed in Plateau State, Nigeria, he noted that Christian students took to the streets to protest. Their protest was not violent, but effective and point to how the intellect and energy of students can be harnessed for peace in the state. As part of strategies for peace in the local area conferences, seminars and workshops were organized with a vision of peace. To reduce the rate of orphans, dropout students and economic instability in the society. Christian students in Barkin Ladi teamed up to promote peace, since students and schools are more affected during crises.
Therefore, to instill discipline and enhance peaceful co-existence, Christian Religion Education is not only to impact content of the Bible in schools but to impact moral lessons and instructions. Religion provides the moral foundation of every society. Religion teaches that certain things are good and certain things are bad. Without a sound or strong moral foundation every society or nation eventually collapses. Hughes (1999), observed that Christian Religion Education that convey the message of peaceful co-existence is concerned with the improvement of mind. Central to the development of the mind is the growth of knowledge.
Obilom (2004:3) observes that; good Christian Religious Education (CRE) that is based on sound Biblical principles brings social happenings, change situations from worst to best and provide means and answers to questions which science alone cannot provide. It provides in no small measures the patterns of life and behaviour in society. CRE is a useful instrument for social control by making the individual conform to the rules and norms of the society.
Similarly, Robinson (2005:56) noted that, the
Teaching of Christian Religion Education gives the child the right ideas about God. His will and the idea of good and evil. To produce good citizens who will be useful to God, their nation and their neighbours. Christian Religion Education also lead children to respect laws and orders and make them be good followers. Christian values such as honesty, truthfulness, loyalty, obedience, selflessness, kindness to others, and co-operation at work are all encouraged by Christian Religion Education.
Christian Religion Education be it primary, secondary, tertiary institutions, seminaries and theological colleges exposes students to principles of dialogue. Imo (1995) added that, apart from teaching, courses that deal with dialogue, students study Islam and other world religions as part of their syllabi. This would help them respect other people’s faith hence live in peace with one another
However, the teachings of Christian Religion Education has been given the bearest minimum of time allocation on the school time table. Also, very little emphasis has been placed on teachers professional training in Christian Religion education, largely as a result of them is guided belief that anyone can teach Christian religion Education, (Ishaya, 2007). Illori (2004) said the possession of training specifically in Religion education is a first priority in the mind of appointing authorities. As a result religion education has been taught in secondary schools over the years largely by teachers who have been either untrained or only partially trained in the subject.
Ilori further added that the teaching of Religion education amount to nothing less than an exercise in sheer indoctrination, the teaching of tradition and practice as if they were facts. Mamam (2007), in his view, explains that the need for peace cuts across tribal, ethnic, political and cultural lines. Therefore Christian religion education often is the bridge that connects peace to people from different backgrounds and orientations. It is the source of unity for uniting and bringing people together to form a good community of believers.
Christian Religion education teaches peace and tolerance, and its promote the virtue of peaceful co-existence such as, forgiveness, reconciliation, love, respect for life and other values that promote non-violence leading to progress and lasting peace in the school. Christian Religion education has always been a tool for peace building, because we all believe in the existence of God.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
We live in a pluralistic society with people of various social and ethnic backgrounds with different customs, religion and belief. It is as a result of this that what affect one community will most likely affects the other. Prior to the ethno-religious crises in Barkin Ladi Area, people lived peacefully with each other irrespective of their religion, culture and beliefs. The pattern of settlement has not been along religious line, they saw each other as brothers and sisters, as time went on, the peace enjoyed in Barkin Ladi Area was challenged as a result of political, ethno-religious crises that occurred in the area, the crises has been between the Berom, Fulani and Hausa’s since 200 level to date the crises has exposed most youths to violence, which has increased the rate of crime in the area.
The crisis has generated a lot of problems in the local government area which has hampered peaceful co-existence in the area. The land is now segregated along religious lines with different groups scared to reside in areas not dominated by their fellow religious members, for fear of future reoccurrence. As things are presently, Christian dominated areas, like Kassa, Heipang, Foron, Fan and Ropp. While Fulani/Muslim counterparts, dominated areas like Rankung, Rakweng, Shonong, Maseh, Dogo, Fass and Sharu. Many people are still afraid that the crises seen in the past may resurface and adherents of the two faiths still see each other with suspicion. It is almost 12 years after the crises and religious relationship that existed among the people in the area prior to the crises is yet to return. The brutal killings, destruction and fear has led to the closure some schools, which has resulted to school children not performing excellently because of insecurity.
Peace building becomes increasingly important as a means of preventing continuing hostility. As a result, many attempts to building peace have been made at various levels by different groups. The government has intervened through its agencies, NGOs both at international and national levels, individual efforts the schools and others have tried in order to promote the culture of peace that has lost its relevance but the role played by Christian education appears to be silent or non-existent.
Students are most hit during period of open violence. The researcher deemed it necessary to investigate into the matter to draw out Christian religion education roles in promoting peaceful co-existence.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to examine the role of Christian Religious Education as a tool of promoting peaceful co-existence in Barkin Ladi LGA. The study is also designed to achieve the specific objectives:
To identify the causes of crises in Barkin Ladi LGA.
To identify the effect of the crises on educational activities in the area.
To identify ways that Christian Religion Education can help in establishing peace among school children.
To identify approaches in the teaching and learning of Christian Religion Education that would promote peaceful co-existence.
To identify ways that Government and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) can promote peaceful co-existence in the local area.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions have been formulated to guide the study:
What are the causes of violence in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area?
What are the effects of crises on students’ academic activities in Barkin Ladi?
What are the efforts made by government and non-governmental organizations in promoting peaceful co-existence in Barkin Ladi?
To what extent can Christian Religion Education promote peaceful co-existence among students in Barkin Ladi LGA?
What are the approaches adopted by teachers in teaching and learning Christian Religion Education that could promote peaceful co-existence in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area?
The following hypotheses are formulated to guide the study:
Ho: The prevalence of crises in Barkin Ladi has no significant relationship with students’ enrolment.
Hi: There is no significant relationship between crises in Barkin Ladi and academic activities in the area.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is the hope of the researcher that at the end of her findings the study would be of great benefit to the following:
The study would help the students to see the need of education, to improve them in building their morals on how they will have respect, tolerance for each other and discourage them from involving themselves in conflicts.
The study would help teachers to improve their method of teachings, and to build students both physical and spiritually as values such as tolerance, respect and obedience and to see the danger of being involved in crises or destructive attitudes in the society.
Parents would benefit from this study to see the importance of schooling to educate their children to embrace peace and tolerate and to develop good commitment and grow up with the hearts of loving fellow children in the society.
To our religious leaders the study would help them educate their members by teaching them the true and right doctrines in such a way that fear of God will be inculcated in the society, members would learn tolerance and respect for each other religion and live peacefully.
The study would help our politicians to realize that the act of governance involves people not stones, and to know that love and peace are fundamental in the society, therefore this would build good relationship among people.
To the government it would be of benefit in the sense that efforts would be made to build local, national and international partnership, and to create laws that will enforce peaceful co-existence.
The study would help other researchers to contribute in transforming and correcting the understanding of the perpetrators of crises to become instrument of peace, and take the necessary steps to foster unity and tolerance in the society.
1.7 DELIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The study focus on the role of Christian Religious Education in promoting peaceful co-existence in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State. It would have been better to examine the role of Christian Religion Education in promoting peaceful co-existence in all the schools, but due to the width of the area, the researcher limited the study to some selected schools within the local government area. Presently the people are living in fear and there is division among them. Therefore the research work is focus on searching for the causes of lack of peaceful co-existence in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area. The danger caused by lack of peaceful co-existence and how it has affected the students’ academics.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Christian: Refers to a person who believes in the teaching of Jesus Christ and someone who has been born again and put faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
Religion: Refers to man’s expression of his acknowledgement of the divine or a system of belief and practices relating to the sacred and unity its adherents in communities.
Education: Refers to the act or process of impacting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the power of reasoning and judgment and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
Peaceful Co–existence: Refer to a situation or a period of time in which there is no war or violence in a country or an area, state of being calm of quietude and living in friendship with somebody.
Secondary School: Refers to a school which provides education to people between the age of 11 and 18, the level of studies between primary and under level of learning.
Promoting: Refer to help or encourage to exist or flourish; further; to promote world peace.