IMPACT OF CHRISTIAN RELIGION ON CULTURE
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
In this paper, Christian values are defined as those ideals or principles which Christianity cherishes. In this presentation, my aim is not to dwell on the unique worth of Christianity or its values. These are well-known and appreciated, especially in Nigeria society. My main concern is to relate and evaluate this worth in terms of a definite culture, namely, Nigeria ensemble of values. The choice of Nigeria is obvious for an Nigeria writer. It becomes attractive and obvious, too, once we identify Western, including American, culture, which Benin s, rightly or wrongly, identify with Christianity. That is, since Western culture has been perceived in Benin land as synonymous with Christianity, Nigeria culture as a recipient of Western culture bears the influence or weight of Christianity on its own culture.
My second duty will be to select certain sections of this culture in order to highlight these Christian influences. To fathom the extent of the influence of Christian values on Nigeria culture some historical and sociological perspectives will be necessary as they will mirror such influences where they exists. The missionaries came to Benin land in the later part of the 19th Century, where they met a pattern of life not all of which ran counter to Christian principles. The spread of Christian influence was balked by such elements as the 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 may have accounted for the less universal preponderance of the Christian influence on the host culture. Such claims as these may be seen as too lofty in view of the allegation of mass caving in of Nigeria culture to the invading European culture. But the assumptions that local culture and Christian values were polarized and conflicting and that Christian values dislodged their host counterparts can be maintained only with notable qualifications, for it must be remembered that the host culture was traditional and natural, that is, it was unadulterated, original or God-given. It approximated in part, and accorded with Christian values and to that degree was not in conflict to them. Equally important in this regard is the similarity in human nature which tends to minimize among differences among human groups. I have been purposely cautious because there were indeed areas where conflict existed between the host culture and Christian values. Nonetheless, since grace builds upon nature and nature exists in Benin land as elsewhere, there is much of enormous positive value in Nigeria traditions and religious consciousness.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The effect has been a more distinctive and permanent manifestation of the legacy or influence of Christianity, which is the invisible and unofficial striving to live in conjunction with both the Christian and the traditional life. Thus, the individual Christian in his subconscious and in moments of crisis clings tenaciously to, or relapses without conflict or qualms, into traditional life. But credit must go to Christianity for the tremendous impact it has had on the advancement of knowledge and learning in Benin: the opaque scales that blindfolded the people have been pulled down. All now know that all men are equal before God, and probably this new thought has been the motive force behind the struggle for Nigeria unity. Ignorance and superstition have been put to flight after contact with Christianity. And this is an invaluable achievement indeed.
1. How did Christianity influence the Benin Culture?
2. Does Christianity religion have any bearing with Benin culture?
3. Do you think Christian religion is a better religion compare to Benin culture?
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study is to:
1. Determine the bearing of the Christian religion to culture.
2. Highlight the influences of Christian religion on culture.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The research is important because it teaches us the relationship between Christianity and culture. It will expose to the Christian the importance of cultural heritage within the Benin kingdom, and also it will show us whether culture and Christianity work hand in hand.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is designed to find out the impact of Christian religion on culture of Benin. The study is restricted to Oredo Local Government Area alone.
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