Towards Religious Understanding: An Assessment of the Ambivalence Roles of Religious Leaders in Christian-Muslim Relations in Nigeria

Rapheal Ojo Joseph ORCID iD

Issue: Vol.7  No.1  January 2021 Issue  Article 2 pp. 9-20
DOI : https://doi.org/10.38159/erats.2021712  |   Published online 21st January 2021.
© 2021 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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The world today is becoming more violent than ever before. Sometimes, the violence can be political, ethnic, economic and or religious. In most cases, distinguishing the main cause of such violence from other causes might be difficult. The factors could be a combination of two issues viz: ethnoreligious conflicts or politico-religious conflicts. The religious experience in Nigeria today, as a multi-religious society so far has proven contrary to the general belief and the widespread expectation of people about religion as an institution that promotes social integration. Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria today (though being the dominant religions in Nigeria) is standing on shaky ground. The relationship is highly characterized by mutual suspicion, mistrust and distrust. In understanding this characterized reality in their interactions, this work interrogated the ambivalence roles played by religious leaders in Nigeria. And in doing this, the ethnographic research method was adopted. As part of its findings, it was discovered that there is a high level of intolerance among Christians and Muslims in Nigeria occasioned by unguarded utterances and abuse of freedom of speech by many uncensored religious leaders. Thus, setting the stage for avoidable and constant religious confrontations among the adherents of the two religious communities in Nigeria. The study recommends that peaceful co-existence can be possible if the government is responsible and responsive enough to address the basic needs of her masses which would reduce largely the manipulation of religion by clerics for personal gain. Furthermore, the place of meaningful dialogue should be embraced by religious leaders across different religious divides.

Keywords: Christian-Muslim Relations, Dialogue, Peaceful Co-existence, Religious leaders, Religious Understanding

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Rapheal Ojo Joseph (M.A), is a PhD candidate and a Lecturer, with the Department of Religion and African Culture, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria.

Ojo, R. J.,  “Towards Religious Understanding: An Assessment of the Ambivalence Roles of Religious Leaders in Christian-Muslim Relations in Nigeria” E-Journal of Religious and Theological Studies, 7 no.1 (2021): 9-20  https://doi.org/10.38159/erats.2021712

© 2021 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).