Religion and Challenges of Development in Nigeria in 21st Century

Enoch Olujide Gbadegesin, Elizabeth Ayoola Adeyemi-Adejolu


How can we be meaningfully talking about development where religion is used, misused and abused by political elitist class and people of wealth in Nigerian socio-political and economic realm? Of what values, importance and relevance is religion to economic development in a country still engrossed in the spate of senseless killings and maiming of innocent lives orchestrated by the Boko Haram insurgency? Or how thetical is religious intolerance and violence sponsored implicitly or explicitly by the clerics and pastors of Islamic and Christian religions against the African traditional religions to national development? All these questions are being addressed in this article by using sociological functional theory of religion to problematize how religion can be a source of or contributor to national development in Nigerian nation in 21st century. By bringing Max Weber’s concept of Protestant ethic and spirit of capitalism in conversation with Clifford Geertz’s Interpretation of Culture, this paper hopes to shed more light and makes its own contribution to how religion can be used to advance national development and assume a productive role in Nigerian society.

Keywords: economic development, Christianity, Islam, productive role, Traditional Religion

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