RELIGION IN A SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL ERA: THE NIGERIAN EXPERIENCE

RELIGION IN A SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL ERA: THE NIGERIAN EXPERIENCE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      Background of the Study

Man is notoriously a religious animal. There is no other phenomenon which moulds and controls man’s life as much as religion. Wherever we find man, we find him with his religious beliefs and practices. This goes to show that religion is very vital in every organized human society. It has made recognizable impacts on the political, physical, social, moral, spiritual and economic life of the people. Thus, religion is one of the most popular institutions that has greatly influenced man and his environment, and cannot be done away with in human society.

In the course of human history, man’s search for God has led to enormous diversity of religious expression found worldwide. Most religions teach the existence of one or more deities who created the universe (and continue to play major role in managing it sometimes bypassing the laws of nature to effect miracles), moral principles, mankind’s relationship to the deity/ies, behaviour towards fellow humans, spiritual masters etc.

Science on the other hand, deals with the study of nature, its forces, processes and development. A realistic patrol down the memory lane through historic ages to our time, will bring us in contact with the fact that science and technology have

a primordial undertone. Ab initio, after the creation of man (according to


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1.5      Scope of Study

This work tries to study the place of religion in a scientific and technological era with special reference to Nigeria. Nigeria, it is noteworthy, is a pluralistic society with three dominant religious groups. In this work, attempts will be made at exploring the struggle and challenges these religions are facing in view of the current wave of technological and concomitant innovative waves. In any case, references will be made globally if the needed arises.

1.6      Research Methodology

The basic methods employed in this study were historical and descriptive. Collection of data was mainly secondary sources, which include text, journals, dailies, periodicals, unpublished documents and internet. The data collected through secondary sources were critically analyzed, interpreted and descriptively presented. The researcher applied as much objectivity as possible.

1.7      Definitions of Key Words:

Science: In the 13thcentury Europe, Christian theology was regarded as the queen of the science. “Science”, in this sense, was a systematic expression of an area of knowledge which was ideally founded on self-evident or certain first principles. The first principle of Christian theology, it was thought, provide the most certain of all principles, since they were revealed by God. Thus, theology becomes the paradigm of science. Since that time the word “science” has changed its meaning so that now most people regard science as an experimental investigation into a physical phenomenon, where precise observations can be


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made and measurements are repeatable and publicly testable, and where

hypotheses need to be constantly tested and reassessed.

“Science” according to Eya (2007:20) comes from a Latin word Scio, meaning “to

know”. It is a term used in its broadest sense to denote systematized knowledge

in any field, but usually applied to the organization of objectively verifiable sense

experience”. The pursuit of knowledge in this context, according to him, is known

as pure science, to distinguish it from applied science, which is the search for

practical uses for scientific knowledge, and from technology, through which

applications are realized.

Science is about the application of theoretical reasoning and data analysis to

natural phenomena and it exists in two broad perspectives as both a process and

a body of knowledge – a product. Commenting on science as a process and a

body of knowledge, Ezekwe (1990:1) explains that:

Science is a process because of its structured investigation through which verifiable knowledge is arrived at and in which nature is systematically studied. As a body of knowledge, science is based on verifiable or empirical evidence which other observers can see, measure, count or check for accuracy. The body of the scientific knowledge is commutative, it grows and each one leads to another.

Lending views to the nature and character of science, Garder (1975:3) posits

that:


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implications for the other discipline. Barth (www.iep/utm.edu./sci-rel) espoused this view when he said:

Has no one explained to you that one can as little compare the biblical creation story and a scientific theory like that of evolution as one can compare, shall we say, an organ and a vacuum-cleaner that there can be as little question of harmony between as of contradiction?

Bath’s claim


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