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The Influence Of The Western Christian Values On The Culture Of The Igbo People Of Nigeria: A Blessing Or A Curse?

1917 words - 8 pages

INTRODUCTION
History has it that Christianity first arrived in North Africa, in the 1st or early 2nd century AD. The Christian communities in North Africa were among the earliest in the world. Legend has it that Christianity was brought from Jerusalem to Alexandria on the Egyptian coast by Mark, one of the four evangelists, in 60 AD. This was around the same time or possibly before Christianity spread to Northern Europe.

Once in North Africa, Christianity spread slowly West from Alexandria and East to Ethiopia. Through North Africa, Christianity was embraced as the religion of dissent against the expanding Roman Empire. In the 4th century AD however the Ethiopian King Ezana made ...view middle of the document...

The spread of Christian influence was baulked by such elements as the vast size of the area, the complete absence of roads and means of communication, as well as other harsh environmental circumstances which inhibited free movement of the early missionaries to all corners of the area. These facts no doubt accounted for the less universal preponderance of the Christian influence on the host culture.
Following numerous claims of allegations in the mould of mass caving in of cultures to the invading European culture and their Christian values such that local cultures and Christian values became polarized with Christian values dislodging host counterparts, the need to x-ray the influence of Christian values on an African culture such like the Igbo people of Nigeria becomes all the more necessary, thereby forming the motivation behind this exercise.
Owing to the fact that host cultures were traditional and natural as well as unadulterated and God-given in their own right before the emergence of the Christian faith, it only becomes natural to examine the influence of this exotic faith, hence the decision to choose this topic, principally to establish its influence whether as a blessing or curse.
PERCEPTION OF RELIGION
The typical traditional African society believed in the existence of gods. Each object has a separate creator making the society pantheistic in its belief. On the contrary, the Christians are monotheistic; their God is an omniscient, omnipotent, super-sensible supreme being. In the Christian sense, God is accessible by reason and human spirit. To the African, the gods' existence is both material and spiritual. His belief assures him that gods exist, and their affirmation and justification of their existence is the fulfilment of their contractual obligations.
The African, contrary to the Christian manner, is in daily direct contact with his gods for the good of all. While religion is a personal thing for the Christian and a salvation of the individual, in contrast, African traditional religion is usually a communal affair, practised not just for the spiritual and physical benefit of an individual or his immediate kin, but for the well-being of all within the purview of his reach.
Also, the sacredness of life in African tradition cannot be applied universally to include every human being to the same degree as the Christian faith. The killing of human beings, for example, was common in the olden days, either in the course of funeral rites as a means of providing attendant spirits to accompany a dead chief into the great beyond, or as a sacrifice to atone for sins. In each case, the victim was someone procured or bought from a distant town. Acts of injustice committed against a "non-native" belonged to a different moral species from that committed against one who was a son of the soil. There are other anti-religious practices such as the killing of twins and the ostracism of their mother, local slave trade, child-kidnapping and...

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