Much of the conflict we have seen throughout history is religion. The crusades, even the terrible inter-denomination warfare of the protestants and catholics throughout the history of England and even the recent history of Ireland. These were conflicts between people who worship the same God!
Yes, and in Ireland the country was literally split into two nations by religion. That was one solution I suppose, however in Nigeria Muslims and Christians are dispersed over the entire geography.
The solution is simply acceptance. I do not think it will happen overnight, but there are already many communities where Christians and Muslims live happily side by side. In some years this may happen all over Nigeria.
The country is currently split 50/50 between Muslims and Christians. I think some circles might want the security of being the prevailing religion in the country.
Baked into the doctrines of every religion is what amounts to the phrase, ‘This is the one true religion,’ and also ‘You must spread this religion to the world.’ When every religion thinks this, there are always going to be problems. Nigeria must promote a culture of tolerance, especially to the younger generation, as they will grow up to create the norm of the societal conscience. The Christian and Muslim communities must be integrated and not sequester themselves — it is through misunderstanding and paranoia that things develop into conflict. I believe they have much they could learn from one another, if only they were willing to talk.
That’s right. The pattern with most, if not all religions is that they go through an early phase of evangelism and then on the whole gradually become more moderate and lenient as the country grows older.
Yes religion in Nigeria can be very extreme. I read that 51% of Nigerian muslims said they believed the death penalty should be implemented for those who leave Islam. This is an example of religious extremity, which I hope can be addressed.
We talk so much about the two main religions that we ignore the stigma around atheism or irreligion in Nigeria.
I think we cannot underestimate the role that secularism plays in easing religious tensions within a country. Secular systems of power allow for the mediation between beliefs, and over time help to establish an integrated society. For this reason I think that atheism should not be so looked down upon in Nigeria. Every atheist is a potential unbiased intermediary for religious discussion.
I am an atheist in Nigeria and I do agree with this. My family often turn to me for an impartial perspective when they debate religious topics even though they are all Christians. However I think in many areas the stigma around irreligion is already lifting. I do not feel fear when telling people of my beliefs, or non-beliefs.
I think the number of non-religious people in Nigeria is higher than the reported 1%. It’s just that many people are only internally non-religious. It’s just not worth it for them to go against the grain of their family/community. If stigma around the non-religious eases, the number of documented atheists could rise very rapidly.
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