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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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General Introduction

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i.  Background of the Thesis

Religion has always been implicated in most of the world’s conflicts and violence. At the dawn of the 21st century, the situation has not changed, rather there has been more growing instrumentaliation of religion in the spread of hatred, bitterness, intolerance, conflict and violence of all kinds, especially against adherents of other religions. It is arguable whether this is part and parcel of religion. Admittedly, it is evident that factors other than religion play a large role in instigating and sustaining such acts of inhumanity.1 As this problem ranges between religions, there is evidence that some of these factors exist and perpetuate internal conflicts and violence in different religions. Christianity, as one of the world’s major religions, is not an exception. There is consistent evidence of conflict and violence in its establishment, development and expansion.2

The establishment of Christianity in Nigeria by European missionaries was greeted with mixed feelings, especially in the eastern part. While many welcomed it because of its new religious nuances due to its western origin and culture and the promised civilization, others rejected it based on the same reasons and the system of its establishment.3 However, the inability of the Protestant and Catholic missionaries to foster denominational co-operation among themselves,4 their inability to apply inclusive missionary strategies, their incapability of comprehending the deep religiosity of the people, their failure to establish a Christianity that is anthropologically ← 11 | 12 → enhancing, culturally liberating and religiously fulfilling...

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