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Social Conflicts and Violence among Christian Churches and Denominations in Igboland

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Damian Emeka Ikejiama

This book is about the dangers of religious intolerance, conflict and violence oriented strategies in our contemporary society. It exposes the evangelical strategies of Christian Churches and Denominations in the Nigerian society. The process of the enthronement of ‘prosperity theology’ has led to manipulation of individuals and events through demonization, deliverance, organized healings and miracles. This type of Christianity destroys religious values and exposes the society to the danger of materialism. Christian Churches should be advocates of empowerment, freedom and dignity instead of victimization of its members. This study argues that authentic Christian witnessing can only be achieved through holistic and proper integration of its teachings into socio-cultural values of its local setting. It insists that religion should enhance good core values and not destroy it. It critically analyses the elemental causes of conflict and violence in Igboland and concludes by making recommendations towards a peaceful society.
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Chapter Four: Conflicts and Violence in Christianity

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Chapter Four: Conflicts and Violence in Christianity

We have so far presented the situation of Igbo society in encounter with European culture and Christianity. In this chapter, we wish to analyse the contemporary state of Christianity in Igboland. We intend to do this through critical and comparative analysis of the conflict and violence situation in various Christian Churches in Igboland. This will enable us to expose internal and external conflicts and violent situations in various Christian Churches and their effect on the entire Igbo society.

4.1  Conflicts and Violence in various Christian Traditional (Missionary) Churches

The traditional Christian Churches495 in eastern Nigeria include Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Lutheran and Catholic Churches. These churches dominated Igbo Christian-religious activities until what J. Bauer refers to as the "indigenisation of the (Christian) churches"496 in late 1970s and the early 1980s. Their successful implantation, expansion and domination of religious activities in Igboland were rigorously shrouded by denominational rivalry and conflicts or as Richard Burgess, in his description of the missionary activities between Catholics and Protestants, calls missions’ ‘inter-war years’ in Igboland.497 Like in any other religion, these Churches are institutions made up of leaders and the led. That invariably implies, that the mundane aspects of human imperfection come to bear in their various activities. As the Churches grew at prodigious rate, the trend of spirituality coupled with secularised nature of the society and disintegration of African culture, created friction in their structural administrations...

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