1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Relating religion and violent conflict is a quite easy to do. Most of the violent outbreaks in the world, both past and present, are embedded in religious terms, ranging from the first century Jewish-Roman War, to the eleventh century Crusades, to seventeenth century 30 years War to the twentieth century Irish civil war to recent conflicts in Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Iraq, and Israel/West Bank/Gaza. Connecting religion and peace building is equally easy to do. History of human includes many examples where the people religiously motivated acted in different ways to bridge divides, promote reconciliation, or advocate peaceful coexistence. It thus becomes clear that understanding the dynamics of conflict—both the sources of discord and the forces of resilience—requires an understanding of the connections between conflict, religion and peace building. And yet sensitivities and uncertainties surrounding the mere mention of religion frequently stand in the way of that understanding. This general discomfort with examining the religious dimensions of conflict dynamics poses problems for development practitioners at several levels. At the most basic, a lack of awareness of the religious context may adversely affect interventions or provoke active resistance, even when large scale violence is not a significant risk. Where the risk of instability is higher, inattention to religious identities or to the views and aspirations of religious leaders may result in mischaracterizations about what the conflict is actually about or how likely it is to become violent. Nevertheless, Christian religion is a peace loving religion with well over two billion followers throughout the world, Christianity is an Abrahamic religion centered on God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. One of the big issues surrounding Christianity is that some people question the existence of the Trinity. Other points of debate are the Christian beliefs in Immaculate Conception, the original sin, the existence of the Devil, and the coming of the apocalypse. Learn more about Christianity and find out how it became the world's largest religion with holidays that are known worldwide. Where violence is a reality, discounting the Christian religious dimension or resisting engagement with Christian religious actors may result in overlooking the many opportunities to tap into religion as a force for compassion and promoting peace. According to David Little and Scott Appleby, religious peace building is a term used to ‘describe the range of activities performed by religious actors and institutions for the purpose of resolving and transforming deadly conflict, with the goal of building social relations and political institutions characterized by an ethos of tolerance and nonviolence’ (Little and Appleby 2012). Reference to our common heritage in God and a commitment to it enhance willingness to dialogue and co-operation. In spite of ethnic, religious, socio-cultural or racial identifications and loyalties, initiatives for peace and conflict resolution could be hinged on and inspired by a religious faith which could be found in a commitment to the God of all peoples (rather than merely of one’s own community or group) for instance, in a situation of conflict between christians/christian communities/groups, the “false God of Sectarian interest” would be rejected; and the stress would be on obedience to Christ which is far more important than all affiliations and/or loyalties. Faith in and obedience to God breaks barriers and creates a common ground that inspires a shared sense of belonging and oneness to one’s own country or even to one’s own local town. So, the identification of commonality in God and a shared sense of loyalty to this command may symbolize a break with hostilities. This opinion is echoed by Tutu (2010) thus: “this unity would be based on a common humanity and a common nationhood with space for diversity of cultures, races, faith and languages . He expressed this new shared identity in the notion of “The Rainbow People” (or the Rainbow People of God), a notion that had previously been invoked in the struggle against apartheid. Another metaphor could be found in the African notion of Ubuntu, referred to by Bonganjalo (1995) as a “shared existence within a radically inclusive community which welcomes the stranger”). The application of this notion, we believe, would reconstruct meaning and identity and make people to be ready to reach out to others. It is against this backdrop that we are to examine the Christian religion and peace building among residents of Akpabuyo L.G.A. of Cross Rivers State.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Religion and peace-building as a subfield still operates on the fringes of the larger field of peace and conflict resolution (PCR), which is itself situated on the fringes of international relations, a field dominated by real politik or a hegemonic power paradigm, both in academia and in politics. Obviously, there are both internal and external factors that have obstructed this subfield’s development into a more mainstream arena or gaining access to the policy making and academic center of power. Thus practitioners and scholars in this field of religious peace building need to explore more ways to strategically place the work (language, discourses, and strategies) closer to the centers of power. Religion has been identified as a vital tool in peace building, engaging Christian religious leaders and institutions in peace building on all levels is a crucial key to bringing the message of tolerance, pluralism, and peaceful resolution of conflicts to these communities. Indeed media, government declarations, and secular civil society groups are influential agencies, yet they fall short in reaching out to the communities on the ground, especially in areas in which violence is being spread and instigated in the name of religion. Research works has been carried out on religion and peace building but less has been done specifically on Christian religion and peace building. This work is meant to address Christian religion and peace building among residents of Akpabuyo L.G.A. of Cross Rivers State.
The major aim of the study is to examine Christian religion and peace building among residents of Akpabuyo L.G.A. of Cross Rivers State. Other specific objectives of the study include;
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant impact of Christian religion on peace building.
H1: There is a significant impact of Christian religion on peace building.
H0: There is no relationship between Christian religion and peace building.
H1: There is a relationship between Christian religion and peace building
The study would be of benefit to enlighten the government at all levels on the need to involve Christian religious leaders in their bid to peace building in the country. The study would also be of immense benefit to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to Christian religion and peace building among residents of Akpabuyo L.G.A. of Cross Rivers State.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
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.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Peace-building: Refers to conflict prevention or resolution activities performed by either external actors or local actors, with the common aim of establishing a sustainable peace corresponding to more than just an absence of violence, incorporating a structural transformation of a conflictual society to a positive peace available for all.
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