Abu Ishaque’s Surya-Dighal Bari: Religious Hegemony in the Context of the Famine of 1943 in Colonized Bengal (Published)
Surya-Dighal Bari (The Ill-Omened House), published in 1955, translated into English by Bangla Academy awardee Abdus Selim, is Abu Ishaque’s first and classic novel. Ishaque is considered one the pioneers of modern Bangladeshi novelists. The background or plot of the novel is twofold. First, the time period, this is known as the famine of ‘50. In Bangla year 1350 (1943 AD), a devastating famine stroke this land just four years before the Partition of Bengal and almost five million people died of starvation. This famine was caused by some controversial policies and indifference of the British government. A heartbreaking scenario of this famine reported in “Bengal Provincial Hindu Mahasabha Relief Committee Report of Relief Works” says, ‘The streets of the “Second City of the British Empire” thronged with living skeletons, the emaciated deadbodies frequently found on the pavements of the metropolis, men and dogs fighting for a share of the garbage collected in the dustbins of Calcutta, unattended babies in the villages being dragged away by the jackals are the sights that are never to be forgotten’ (6). Secondly, the pre and post-Partition Bengal and its impact on ordinary people. The Partition was done on the basis of Hindu-Muslim religious riot the devastating impact of which is still perforating Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. After the partition, people became more dominated by religious fundamentalism. So called Imams and other leaders started to take the opportunity of the ignorance of ordinary people to dominate them. Even in the novel, it is depicted how the ill-omened house is haunted by djinns. And to be safe from them, people have to take Tabij (amulets) or other superstitious precautions. Politicians, who used religious sentiment as their political weapon, are not the characters of this novel, yet they dominate the plot. Readers can smell gunpowder though they don’t see a single gun. The famine emerged during World War II, the country became independent in the name of religion, and politicians were benefitted in various ways. This paper tends to show how insignificant this independence is for the ordinary people. Just within five or six years of independence, Ishaque realized that nothing positive was going to happen in independent Pakistan, a religion-based state. Independence in the name of religion is of no use to the ordinary people; rather, religion becomes another weapon of domination for the ‘independent religious-political leaders’. Politicians didn’t create war for economic- social- psychological freedom of these marginalized people. They wanted to fix up their own geographical border where they would practice power freely. National and international politicians created war and took their own shares. But the inextricable strike of the rodent paw of war descends on those who don’t know the who- what- why- how of the war. They don’t even know who are fighting against whom. The people dying of starvation are innocent and their only fund is some simple- impeccable dreams. One of these dreams is to have enough food for survival. This simple dream becomes an unreality when riot begins, war haunts and famine strikes. This paper also tries to show the true condition of a newly independent East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), where the infamous famine of 1943 has already stricken. It also tries to depict the condition of so called low life marginalized people. Has the controversial Partition of Bengal really benefited either Hindus or Muslims? Has it really freed people of religious, political or economic subservience? These questions are still valid because the devastating War of Liberation of 1971 again left an almost-permanent scar in the soul of Bangladesh. The necessity of the Liberation War proves that a partition on the basis of religion can never bring good luck to a country.
Boko Haram: The Birth, Geography and Hypotheses Responsible For the Sustenance of the Conflict in Nigeria (Published)
There are many states on the northern border of Nigeria with Niger, Chad and Cameroon. And in these states, there are many ethnic groups. However, it is only the Kanuri enclave of Borno and Yobe states that produced the radical Islamic boko haram sect. It is the informed position of this paper that one of the reasons why the Kanuri gestated boko haram was largely due to the international territorial advantage they have. The reason is that the Kanuri is the only ethnic group in northern Nigeria that undistorted distribution into neighbouring countries of Chad, Cameroon and Niger, with the special feature of almost uninterrupted spread. Therefore, the paper argues that this geographical advantage certainly has a fundamental role in the on-going conflict of the boko haram. It is also the submission of this paper that the version of Islam prevalent in the Kanuri enclave is predisposed to radicalism that boko haram prides with. It is common knowledge that since the conflict ensued, the Nigerian government has taken measures aimed at curtailing moments of attacks and frustrating the movement’s ambition. This desire is yet a success. Therefore, the paper appraises the methodologies so far employed, identifying why they have not worked, and probably why they will never work for this conflict that has lasted for a decade now.
The Relationship between Religion and Morality: On Whether the Multiplicity of Religious Denominations Have Impacted Positively On Socio-Ethical Behavior (Published)
Morality until recently has been seen as a brainchild of religion and thus an essential part of religion from which it is inseparable. This assumption has even led some scholars to hold that there can be no morality without religion since morality is intrinsically a part of religion. It is therefore assumed that a religious person is essentially a moral person and that a moral life may not be possible without religion. If this assumption is upheld it will mean that with the multiplicity of major religious denominations the world will be a better place. Whether this is so is an issue that elicits fierce divergent views among scholars and people of various orientations. This works critically examines the relationship between religion and morality to determine whether the above claims and expectations are justified. Employing the philosophical tools of critical analysis, exposition and evaluation of facts experientially acquired as well as information from the works of researchers on the issues of religion and morality, the work examines whether there is a definitional relationship or connection between religion and morality and whether they are related through their concerns, preoccupations or constituent elements. This connection was not seen. The work further examined the opinions of scholars with regard to their relationship as well as what the consequences will be if ethics depends on religion. In trying to find out the root of the assumption the work critically examined the contentious issue of the impact of the multiplicity of religious denominations on socio-ethical behavior. In conclusion the work decried the lack of synergy between morality and religion, holding that though there may be no definitional connection between them and their concerns, preoccupations and constituent elements may differ, morality and religion are complimentary in forging a better society. If they synergize their efforts the world will be a better place.
Religion sits alongside other factors to determine the capacity to understand, respond and recover from Disaster. Following the occurrence of the Lake Nyos disaster and as it became clear that the horrifying natural episode marked a turning point in the lives of the hardest-hit communities, religious leaders and their faithful brought a faith perspective to the explanation and response to the event. This article focuses on these religious reactions to the Nyos disaster, and draws on published research, oral sources and previously unexplored archival sources. After presenting the pre-disaster religious landscape of the area, it first investigates religious explanations to the origins and impact of the event. Second, it explores ritual practices that were observed in response to the disaster. Finally, it highlights how the disaster was used as a justification for Christian social action and proselytization among survivors. In the conclusion, I make the case that the religious faiths in the Lake Nyos disaster area explained and responded to the event in ways that were couched in religious terms.
Allah’s Political Sovereignty, As ‘Imagined’ By Fundamentalist Muslims, and Its Role in Disapproving Secularism in the Arab World (Published)
This article’s central theme is to expose the ‘views’ of fundamentalist Muslims and radical Ulema about secularism; which is the separation between religion and state affairs. Fundamentalists and Ulema have been using many internet websites and forums to oppose Arab governments and liberals’ endeavors for secularization. Fundamentalists introduced what they call “Islamic alternative” which insist on fusing religion and state affairs. Through their intellectual discourse, the fundamentalists distorted secularism in the collective consciousness of Arab societies, and have created a psychological complex rooted in the subconscious and internal thinking that secularism is jahiliyyah (ignorance), kufir (unbelief/infidelity), Rida (apostasy) and iilhad (atheism). This fact is of great importance in the present history when the influence of Islamic extremism; that producing terrorism, is increasing throughout the world. This study focuses on the internet, websites, and forums run by fundamentalist groups and individuals, since these sites became more influential than books, because of its easy availability and lower costs.
Incessant Collapse of Buildings in Nigeria: The Implications for Religious/ Worship Centres (Published)
Building collapse is more common and devastating in developing world. In Nigeria, the trend is on the increase and religious houses/buildings are not left out. Buildings can be described as structural entities capable of securing self by transmitting load (dead load and live load) to the ground. A church building or religious buildings however are sacred places where believers interface with God. Paradoxically, church/religious buildings and pilgrimage sites are also now becoming places where people lose their lives as a result of accident and structural collapse. A building collapse occurs when part or whole body of a structure fails and suddenly gives way, the structure as a result of this failure, could not meet the purpose for which it was meant for. Assembly buildings (Religious buildings) account for 12.7% of building collapse in Nigeria. Most church building collapse are not often reported or recorded, except where the casualties is much and cannot be hidden from the government agencies. The Synagogue Church Building and Reigners Bible Church building collapse are recent incidents in Nigeria. The aim of this paper is to review the causes of building collapse and suggest ways of prevention as it concerns religious buildings.
Demographic Factors Influencing Adult Participation In Christian Education Programs Among Episcopal Churches In Southern California (Published)
The capability of a free, mature faith response to the Gospel is more in Adult Christians than in the young Christians. It is thus imperative that the opportunities of Christian education are by extension made available to adults. This paper is an investigation into the reasons why adults participate in congregationally sponsored Christian education learning events in the church. Adult participation in Christian education is examined in relation to selected demographic variables and the religious motivation of adults. Understanding the motivational orientations of adults serves as a beginning point for church leaders and directors of Christian education to develop and organize educational programs that meet the needs of adult learners. Motivation to participate was measured using an adaptation of the Education Participation Scale (EPS) (Boshier, 1991). The factors include; Spiritual Growth, Cognitive Interest, Church and Community Service, Education Preparation, Social Contact, Family Togetherness and Social Stimulation. A sample size of 454 Episcopalian adults that constituted 63% females and 37% males, averaging 50 years participated in the study undertaken in Southern California. Statistical procedures used to analyze data in this study included Pearson Product-Moment Correlation and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). All hypotheses were tested at an alpha level of .05. In relation to demographic variables, intrinsically motivated respondents who had a higher level of education attended more programs. Singles tended to be extrinsically motivated in their participation of educational activities. Nonetheless, no correlations were found between age and the Religious Orientation
This article examines aspects of the socio-cultural institutions and practices in the context of traditional Mbaise society and culture. The process of evolution and growth of Mbaise society was predicated on a number of institutions and practices which had socio-cultural, political, economic and religious implications. Appreciating the fact that social development is a vast area in socio-cultural history, the paper concentrated on the family structure, marriage institutions, religious beliefs and practices. Traditional Mbaise society was endowed with these great institutions and others which Christianity sought to wipe out, though without success. The impact of Christianity and other western influences notwithstanding, the paper argues that these institutions generated ideas, values, and norms which crystallized into the Mbaise identity and cosmology. Against the backdrop of the popular opinion held by the western writers to the effect that pre-colonial African societies were not part of world history and civilization (and hence incapable of initiating change), we argue further that this negative and bias narrative about pre-colonial African societies is now very anachronistic and no longer worthy of intellectual attention by scholars of both African and European persuasions
The idea of “secularism” is still rejected within the Arab cognitive structure at the level of intellectual, social and political construction. So far, Arab secularists have failed to find popular acceptance for secularism within the Arab cultural- religious structure and socio political sphere. As a result, traditional religious discourse and values still dominate minds!! The purpose of this study is to discuss, analyze and explain why secularism has not become the culture and political ideology of the Arab peoples and governments. The researcher assumes that the reasons are due to: the neglect of the cultural factor by the Arab secularists, the marriage of Arab nationalism and religion, the emergence of political Islam’s movements, and the nature of Islamic religion that rejects reform. Therefore, the researcher recommends that, there is a pressing need for reproducing Arabs prevailing traditional culture by promoting, a civil culture that privatize religion and separates it from politics and state affairs
This paper attempts to examine the influence of Christian values on African culture. As a matter of fact African holds certain things to be of great value, e.g. large family, respect for old people, and believe in the existence of gods, e.t.c. It is these values that gave Africans a distinct cultural personality and enable us to make some contributions to the society. The Christian religion on the other hand means for the African fundamental changes in many of his cultural values. The paper argues that the influence of Christianity has caused certain customs and beliefs to be discarded or modified, at the same time it has caused others to be retained by one level of society while on another level new alternatives are being accepted. We argue further that Christian influence on culture has been selective. It has not been systematically complete or effective, for example in the area of human sacrifice, the slave trade, and the killings of twins have been discarded and old and new ideas have been amalgamated in the sphere of religion. Hence the position with one foot in Christianity and the other in tradition poses a serious dilemma for both Christianity and tradition in Africa.
The principal objective of this study is to investigate the impact of consumer culture on advertising decisions in Cameroon. The cultural variables used include: language, religion, individualism/collectivism, beliefs, values, customs, and pride. We collected primary data from the towns of Douala and Yaounde through the use of questionnaire, calculated Cronbach`s alpha for each of our measuring instruments to ensure their reliability. This data is analysed through Chi square analysis test, multiple correspondence analysis, the test of T student, poison regression analysis, and Spearman correlation test. We found out that prominent values influencing advertising decisions are; pride, face to face contact in business negotiation, elastic time concept, long term orientation, and high social tides. Our results showed that consumer culture has a strong impact on advertising in all the regions with the exception of the centre and south regions. It is represented in the products we buy through design. Lastly, local models have a strong positive impact than foreign models, we recommend enterprises advertising in Cameroon to practice ethno advertising, and more so new products should first be advertised in the rest of the regions and gradually to the Centre and south Regions.
The history of Symbolism as a theoretical entity can be juxtaposed with the history of human knowledge. Its major expression appears to be within the confines of supernaturalism exemplified in various religions of the world. Symbols represent ideals in Africa and acts as the mirror of the unseen. In formal and empirical sciences symbols are codified and universalized for general acceptability. The universal acceptability has a double entendre and this is of vital importance in epistemology. The importance of symbolism cannot be over emphasized. However, how reliable are symbols as mirrors to reality? To what extent do we say that a symbol is a true representation of the ideal or absolute knowledge? The purpose of this paper is to analyze the epistemological character of symbolism in human knowledge.
The teaching of Christian religious knowledge is intended to lead the students to develop a critical mind and to imbibe the basic Christian religious tenets, hence there is need to transmit acceptable moral standards and to inculcate spiritual values in interpersonal and human relations in the society. In order to sustain sound human society, the survival of value education becomes imperative because of the nostalgia of the past, disappointment of the present and hope for the future generation. This paper therefore discussed extensively the concept of values education, objectives of values education, the role of religion in inculcating values, challenges of values education, relationship between religious instruction and values education. The paper was concluded by suggesting ways forward for a better society.
The Relationship between Spirituality and Job Satisfaction of Distance Education Personnel in Kenya’s Christian Higher Education Institutions (Published)
This paper is an excerpt of a dissertation research whose purpose was to explore the relation of spirituality, work conditions and the job satisfaction of extensions study personnel in Kenya’s Christian higher education institutions. The paper however focuses on the relationship between spirituality, work conditions and job satisfaction. A mixed method approach to the study was employed. The perceptions of administrators and faculty of extension studies on the impact of spirituality and work conditions on their job satisfaction are sought. The study used the quantitative paradigm. Data was collected, using a survey instrument, from 146 administrators and faculty of extension studies from six selected Christian universities in Kenya. The causal-comparative design was applied and data were analyzed using the SPSS version 19. Overall, this study found that faculty members reported higher satisfaction with work itself compared to administrators (U = 792.50, z = -3.09, p < .01, r = -.31). Global job satisfaction scores were positively and significantly correlated to awareness of God scores (r = .28). There were differences in spirituality and job satisfaction related to some demographic factors such as gender, level of education, and years of as a Christian. Women had higher scores in awareness of God (U =1148.50, z = -3.41, p < .05, r = -.21) and integration of spirituality with work (U = 948.50, z = -2.21, p < .01, r = -.32) than men. Those with undergraduate level of education had higher scores in their emotional instability in their relationship with God (t = 2.254, p < .05, r = -21) compared to those with graduate level of education. Those who were Christians for less than 35 years had higher scores in their instability in their relationship with God (scores (U = 1098.00, z = -2.79, p < .01, r = -.26). Moreover, faculty and administrators reported differences in some aspects of spirituality. In relation to level of work involvement, faculty members reported higher grandiosity scores (U = 929.50, z = -2.42, p < .017, r = -.24) than administrators. In relation to job rank, administrators reported higher scores in the disappointment with God subscale (U = 1033.00, z = -2.595, p < .01, r = -.24) than faculty members. Findings of the study are useful to faculty members, administrators and Christian higher education leaders in Kenya for enhancing the spirituality and job satisfaction of distance education personnel.
The Complexion in the Theology Concept of Moslem Batak Toba Lecturers in University: Case Study in Indonesia (Published)
This study is aimed at describing the theology concept of Moslem Batak Toba lecturers in Universitas Negeri Medan (UNIMED), Indonesia. Therefore, he methodology used in this study was ethnography approach, which is part of the qualitative method. The techniques used in collecting the data were observation, interview and documentation. From this study, it can be found that there are three (3) tendencies of Moslem Batak Toba lecturers’ theology concepts. They are naqliyah, ‘aqliyah and “new theology”. In conclusion, Moslem Batak Toba lecturers in UNIMED have complexion in theology concept but the complexion always relates to their culture, religion and ideology even though in the “new theology” they can separate the area of culture and religion.
This paper deals with the Impact of Colonization on the African Writer’s Psychological Behavior. It takes the African writer and the major role of the Psychological Behavior as stimulation factor in writing about Colonization. Therefore, colonialism is considered to be a relationship between the indigenous majority and a small number of foreign invaders in which decisions made by colonizers directly affect the lives of the colonized people. European powers became more and more interested in gaining territories for themselves. Many European countries felt that their resources were in short supply after industrialization and were keen to find new resources such as gold and ivory. However, it is probably the combination of several suppositions that is best suited to capture the motivating factors. It becomes us to bear in mind that the conquest of Africa was not carried out by a monolithic entity with a single set of objectives
Religion’ and ‘Education’ are inseparable aspects in every human society where they are found. Education has most often been considered as the backbone of development. Similarly, many development theorists have expounded the contributions of religion toward development. The responsibility that religions share in human societies are realised in different aspects of national life. Of particular concern is religions’ role in education toward national development. This work is discussed from the dimensions of the contributions of Christianity and Islam in education in Ghana. Generally, education is understood to mean to train or mould. In this study, it implies the art of learning, literacy and the process of acquiring knowledge. In the quest to advance the livelihood of members of society through education, it has become important to expatiate the task of religion in the development of education. This is to help stamp out the reluctance to consider the influence of religion in sustainable and authentic human and national development. This paper is primarily purposed to outline the contributions of religion and education to national development in Ghana. The quest for an all-inclusive development model of Ghana and other developing nations, therefore, calls for an insight into the role and responsibilities of religion toward education. In the case of Ghana, like other nations, the impact of religion on (formal) education has immensely ensured the development of individual lives, communities and traditional institutions since the 19th century. A study with an aim such as this will help promote better relationship among states and religious groups.
Nigeria is a plural society. By this is meant the country is a melting pot of ethnic nationalities, class, regions, religions and other socio-cultural markers. Its pluralism has shaped and continued to manifest in its politics. The political class, in collaboration with their religious counterparts has exploited ethnicity and religion as symbols of mobilization and instrument of negotiation for patronages and sharing of national resources. Thus, most conflicts which ordinarily could have been seen as distribution based had assumed ethnic and religious character. These conflicts are virulent and had caused destruction of lives and property of innocent Nigerians. The conflicts have also undermined the peaceful coexistence among the Nigerian peoples, thus scuttling the integration efforts of the country. This study Is both interrogative analytical. It is interrogative to the extent that it searches for the causes of ethno-religious conflicts in the country. The study is also analytical in the sense that it explains from the frog’s eye view, the variables responsible for those interminable conflicts.The study concludes that the failure of the Nigerian political elite to establish good governance, forge national unity and promote economic development is at the base of communal, ethnic and religious conflicts in the country. The study opines that the country might suffer disintegration if this trend persists, especially with the internecine Boko-Haram insurgency and the perennial settler-indigene conflicts in the Middle-belt, that is, Plateau and Benue sections of the country
This paper takes off on the pedestal of the paradoxical stance with regards to religion and the place of religion in modern society. While some scholars from Charles Taylor in his secular age to Pope Benedict suggested the growing secularization of the pillars of society, others from professor Derrida to Meyer argue for the resurgence of religion. This paper while taking a middle stand argues rather for a change in the modality of remediation of religion in modern society. So that the onus of argumentation is not about the decrease or increase of the belief culture but the changing ground of its experience and remediation by the new and prevailing media. The paper postulates that in the ambience of an ever increasing visual culture, religious representation buys into the language of visuality. So that there is a greater tendency to emphasize that which is often more visible than that which is not and even non visual aspects of religion are reduced to visibility.
From time immemorial the desire to build a just, orderly, peaceful and progressive society has been uppermost in the minds of Nigerian leaders. But due to external influences on them, their mission and vision continue to remain a mirage. These influences coupled with high level of corruption, poverty and selfishness, lack of contentment heightened their problem. This made the Nigerian leaders derail from their avowed vision and mission with the result that at the end of a leader’s tenure little or no progress would have been made. Corruption, poverty, selfishness and other social vices would be on the increase. Hence, the goal of nation building is not achieved. This is causing grave concerns to well-meaning members of the society. Religion’s stern qualities of sincerity, honesty, selfless service to humanity, contentment among other qualities appears to be a better alternative for building a progressive and a sustainable society. The methodology adopted for the study is the qualitative phenomenological approach whereby data were collected from both primary and secondary sources and treated analytically and descriptively. The findings of the study validate the fact that a progressive society anchored on the afore-mentioned qualities is essential for building a progressive Nigerian society. The study further discovered some vital innate qualities in religion that make for sincerity of purpose, contentment and selfless services irrespective of internal and external factors.