1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Christian tradition has made significant contributions to world peace at a
number of different levels (Albert, 2011). Among these are public statements by
Church leaders, programs of action at local and international levels,
organisations dedicated to bringing about peace, courses of study,
commemorative days etc.In recent decades, Church leaders have frequently made statements in support of peace. In some cases these
statements have been specific appeals for peace
in particular circumstances, however, on other occasions they have also
published more comprehensive statements
on the need for peace and the means of achieving it. The teachings of
Christianity which is guided by the dictates of the bible (word of God) has
constantly encourage the members to ensure peace and harmony in the society.
leaders have always publicly stood for societal peace and harmony and against
violence. It is now widely accepted that violent conflict is the major
hindrance to the development of the African continent and Nigeria in
particular. It inflicts human sufferings through death, destruction of
livelihoods, constant displacement and insecurity (Barash, 2000). Violent
conflict disrupts the process of production, creates conditions for pillage of
the country’s resources and diverts their application from development purposes
to servicing war. Violent conflict is thus responsible for perpetuating misery
and underdevelopment in the country-Nigeria and the continent at large (Adetula,2006).
a universal phenomenon that everyone desires and wishes to enjoy
endlessly.Traditions, cultures, religions and societies do have different
prescriptions to attaining and enjoying peace. Whenever and wherever there is
peace there tends to be development and longevity is enjoyed (Salawu, 2010). To
this end, Christianity which is one of the predominant religions in the world
today teaches peace and encourages all adherents to the faiths to pursue peace
and live peacefully with one another. The above statement now seems to be
questionable with the rise of intra, inter and ethno-religious conflicts in the
world. While most Arab and some Europeancountries are faced with
intra-religious conflicts, an African country like Nigeria is faced with both
intra and inter-religious conflicts. Nigeria, which is popularly known as
Africa’s most populous black nation with apopulation 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).
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. Christians are enjoined
in the Bible to embrace and live peacefully with their neighbors’. The
following scriptures confirm this:Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and
pursue it (Psalm 34 vs 14).Blessed are the Peace makers for they shall be
called the children of God Matthew 5 vs 9).Let him eschew evil and do good; let
him seek peace and ensue it (1 Peter 3 vs 11).Follow peace with all men and
holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12 vs 14). If it be
possible, as much as it lieth in you, live peaceably with all men (Rom 12 vs
Peace in Christianity is translated from the Hebrew word ‘Shalom’, which is a
key word in the Bible and its at the center of how God wants us to live on
earth. One of the key things Jesus came to give humanity is Peace and expects
us to live in peace as cited in the scriptural verses above. Peace was not only
what Jesus taught but He also lived it, this in most cases is what scholars
call pacifism, as Jesus never taught violence, even at his arrest by the
Pharisees and one of his disciples struck the ears of the priest, Jesus rebuked
the disciple and said that “those who live by the sword shall die by the sword”
(Mathew 26:52, NKJV).In another place Jesus taught the people not to retaliate
any evil done to them as it used to be, an eye for an eye, a tooth for atooth, if
one should strike you on the right cheek, turn the left cheek (Mathew 5:38-39,
NKJV) but now to always forgive those that offend them and he charged them to
forgive their neighbors even seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22, KJV). With all
these scriptural teachings of the church, Christians are suppose to live in
peace and harmony in the society.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
church has always taught the members on the act of non retaliation as taught by
Jesus which helps to absorb violence instead of escalating it, hence every
cycle of violence provoking revenge, which in turn provokes more violence is
broken by the simple act of tolerating the violence and avoiding retaliation.
On the contrary, there has been increased cases of disruption to peace and
harmony in the world today despite the church teachings of peace as stipulated
by Jesus Christ. However, the researcher is examining the role of church in
ensuring peace and harmony in the society.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
following are the objectives of this study:
To examine the role
of church in ensuring peace and harmony in the society.
To examine the dictates of the church as regards
peace and harmony.
To identify the factors disrupting peace and
harmony of the society.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What is the role of church in ensuring
peace and harmony in the society?
What are the dictates of the church as regards
peace and harmony?
What are the factors disrupting peace and harmony
of the society?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
church plays no significant role in ensuring peace and harmony in the society.
church plays significant role in ensuring peace and harmony in the society.
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
following are the significance of this study:
The findings of this study will be
useful for the government, church leaders and the general public on the role of
the church in ensuring sustainable peace and harmony in the society.
research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers
interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if
applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
1.8 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
study will cover the position of the church and Christianity in general as
regards the issue of societal peace and harmony.
1. 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
2. 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.