CHRISTIANITY AND NATION BUILDING IN WEST AFRICA (c. 1880 – c.1980)
AbstractGiven that religion can contribute to the unity and integration of societies as well as to the reinforcement of division within societies, the role of Christianity in the process of nation building in West-Africa is studied. The article describes salient aspects of the relations between the missionaries and the political administrations and European traders, the cultural and political aims of the missionaries and the role of the Independent Churches and societies. It is concluded that the Christian Churches contributed in various ways to the processes of nation-building and nationalism in West-Africa. This section is followed with an account of the relations between the various church formations and the state in West-Africa. The whole article is concluded with some reflection on contemporary tendencies towards measuring the value of a religion in terms of the contribution it can make to national development and movement in the direction of civil religion.
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