Original Research

Religious pluralism and its implications for church development

George C. Asadu, Nicholas Asogwa, Benjamin C. Diara
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 76, No 3 | a5955 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i3.5955 | © 2020 George C. Asadu, Benjamin C. Diara, Nicholas Asogwa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 February 2020 | Published: 28 July 2020

About the author(s)

George C. Asadu, Humanities Unit, School of General Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; and, Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Nigeria
Nicholas Asogwa, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; and, Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Nigeria
Benjamin C. Diara, Department of Religion and Cultural Studies, Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria; and, Department of New Testament and Related Literature, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa, Nigeria


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Abstract

Religious pluralism model holds the belief that there is virtue in every religion, just as all religions are good and are of equal value. It does not consider religion’s particularity but is interested in the ideas that have not favoured any religion. The issue with this concept is not its assertion of the validity of all religions. It is rather with its denial of the finality of any religion as the way by which people could come to God. Hence, it allows the existence of multiple religions in a given society and encourages religious tolerance. The beauty of pluralism is its flexibility which makes religious practicing a wilful act and religious conversion a choice and not a force, although it has the tendency to encourage syncretism. This research examines critically the implications of pluralism using historical approach on the development of Christian church. Data for the research were basically obtained from secondary sources. The findings reveal that although religious pluralism has its negative sides, it gives the much needed boost to development of church if its tenets are followed. Accordingly, the article recommends that Christian churches in pluralist societies such as Nigeria should imbibe the virtues of religious tolerance, and dialogue, if they want to remain alive and continue to be relevant.

Contribution: Religious pluralism is a panacea to inordinate and incessant religious conflict, if given its proper place in Nigeria, will breed religious tolerance, peace and progress. This work would be of immense of benefit to government, missionaries and students across all strata of discipline.


Keywords

religion; pluralism; church; development; religious dialogue

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