THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH IN PROMOTING PEACE AND HARMONY IN RELIGIOUS COEXISTENCE IN KWARA STATE
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page Page Nos.
Table of Contents iv
List of Tables v
- Background to the Study
- Statement of the Problem
- Objectives of the Study
- Research Questions
1.5 Research Hypotheses
1.6 Significance of the Study
1.7 Scope/Limitations of the Study
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.2 Conceptual Review
2.2.1 The Concept of the Church
2.2.2 Concept of Conflict
2.2.2 Concept of “Peace and Harmony”
2.2.3 The Concept of Peace Building
2.4 Theoretical Framework
2.5 Conflicts in Nigeria
2.5.1 Examples of Cases of Conflicts in Nigeria
2.6 Peace building through Reconciliation
2.6.1 Church as an Actor in Reconciliation
2.7 The Role of NGOs in Conflict and Peace Building in Nigeria
2.8 Empirical Review
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Study Area
3.3 Sampling Design and Procedures
3.4 Data Collection Instrument
3.5 Administration of the Data Collection Instrument
3.6 Data Presentation
3.8 Statistical Tools for Data Analyses
DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
4.2 Data Analysis
FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1.1 Background to the Study
Christian tradition at many different levels, has made a considerable contribution to world peace (Albert, 2011). Among them include public pronouncements by Church officials, local and global action plans, peace-promoting organizations, educational programs, commemorative days, etc. Church leaders have regularly advocated for peace in recent decades. These declarations have occasionally been direct calls for peace in particular situations, but they have also occasionally published longer essays on the value of peace and its various components. Christianity’s teachings, which are based on the commands of the bible (the word of God), have long pushed its adherents to promote harmony and peace in society.
Christian leaders have historically advocated for societal harmony and peace in addition to being opposed to violence. The greatest obstacle to Nigeria’s growth in particular and the development of Africa as a whole is now widely considered to be violent conflict. Human misery is brought on by it through deaths, the destruction of livelihoods, constant migration, and instability (Barash, 2000). Violent conflict disrupts production, which also makes it simpler to pilfer resources and diverts them from being used for development to sustain war. As a result, violent conflict is to blame for the continent’s continued underdevelopment and misery, including in Nigeria (Adetula, 2006).
There is a universal desire for and longing for peace. Traditions, civilizations, religions, and society all have different prescriptions for reaching and relishing serenity. In order to achieve this, Christianity, one of the most widely practiced religions in the world today, promotes peace and urges the followers of the many faiths to work for peace and coexist in peace. With the increase in intra-, inter-, and ethno-religious conflicts around the world, the aforementioned assertion appears to be under doubt at this time. There are notable exceptions to the usually peaceful nature of most Arab and some European nations. Nigeria, which is popularly known as Africa’s most populous black nation with a population of now about 170 million people, with more than 250 ethnic groups has Christianity and Islam as its predominant religions, though there is still in existence the African Traditional Religion (ATR).
Christianity as a word means followers of Christ or Christ like. Christians therefore are those who follow and act the teaching of Christ in all ways of life. One of the climaxes of Christianity or Christian virtue is peace. The Bible commands Christians to love and coexist in harmony with their neighbors. This is supported by the following scriptures: Psalm 34, verse 14: “Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be referred to as God’s offspring (Matthew 5:9a). He should abstain from wickedness and pursue righteousness; he should seek and uphold peace (1 Peter 3:11). Follow purity and peace with all people; without these, no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). As much as it is within you, try to live in harmony with all others (Rom. 12:18).
The Hebrew word “Shalom,” which is a vital term in the Bible and the foundation of how God wants us to live on earth, is translated into the word “peace” in Christianity. As stated in the lines from Scripture above, Jesus expects us to live in peace, which is one of the main things He came to provide humanity. Jesus never taught violence; even when he was arrested by the Pharisees and one of his disciples struck the priest in the ears, Jesus rebuked the disciple and said, “Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52, NKJV). Jesus not only preached peace but also demonstrated it. This is commonly referred to as pacifism by academics. In another instance, Jesus commanded his followers to forego the traditional rule of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,” and “if one should strike you on the right cheek, turn the left cheek” in favor of “always forgiving those who offend you.” In Matthew 18:22, he further commanded them to “forgive their neighbors even seventy times seven.” Christians are expected to live in peace and harmony in society according to all these church teachings based on the Bible.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The church of Christ since its inception into Africa and Nigeria as acted as a mediator to diabolic act and violence. Living in peace and harmony with other members of the society has long been the core value of the church till date. Every cycle of violence provoking revenge, which in turn provokes more violence, is broken by the simple act of tolerating the violence and refraining from retaliation, which is something the church has always taught its members about. On the contrary, despite church teachings that promote peace as mandated by Jesus Christ, there have been more instances of disruption to peace and harmony in the world today. Kwara state for instance has been under series of tribal war and religious tussle. The mere reoccurring act of kidnapping and terrorism in the region has disrupted the peace and harmony that was previously enjoyed in the region in recent times. However, the researcher is looking into how the church promotes unity and peace in the coexistence of religions in Kwara state.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This study primary aim is to investigate the role of the church in promoting peace and harmony in religious coexistence in Kwara State. The specific objectives are to:
- Ascertain the factors disrupting peace and harmony of the society.
- Examine the dictates of the church as regards peace and harmony.
- Determine the role of church in ensuring peace and harmony in religion coexistence in Kwara state.
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the factors disrupting peace and harmony of the society?
- What are the dictates of the church as regards peace and harmony?
- What is the role of church in ensuring peace and harmony in religion coexistence in Kwara state?
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