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Religious leaders urged to underscore peace in indoctrinating followers

By Lyric BAHM, Abuja

A PROFESSOR of Folk Law and Comparative Literature at the University of Abuja, Professor Adegboyiga Anthony Kolawole has appealed to religious leaders to promote unity among Nigerians by properly indoctrinating their followers on the values of peace, harmony and understanding of others.

Professor Kolawole regretted that leaders of the three main religious groups notably Christianity, Islam and Judism have jettisoned character building and the impartation of core life values in their followers with the result that peace  has been threatened wherever the three religions converged.

The academic who spoke in an interview in Abuja soon after delivering the 39th University of Abuja Inaugural Lecture series titled: “The medicine in literature, the literature in medicine,” observed that the conflict between the three religions has been internationalised starting from Jerusalem, a city regarded as holy land by the three groups.

He said the fallout of the conflict has unfortunately weighed very negatively against Christianity to the point that people are now leaving the church in droves for other religions due to disaffection with faulty way of worship and wrong interpretation of scriptures by some Christians.

“Religion by its nature is controversial but we are saying that the controversy rests with the Abrahamic religions from the Middle East. Hindus do not fight Buddhists but the three religions mentioned earlier are the source of all the problems we have in the world today.

“The harmony and peace that the world seeks must start from Jerusalem where each of the three religions are claiming and fighting to own. The irony of the entire matter is that we are propagating one religion in three different forms. All the three religions from the Middle East agree that they serve one Abrahamic God but disagree on the method of worshipping the deity.

“Every right thinking person who engages in a dispassionate assessment of this matter will come to the conclusion, like me, that we are serving or worshipping one God in three different manners.

“This is enough to promote peace among the adherents. The misunderstanding and conflicts are caused by the leadership problems in the three religions which has compounded the matter,” Professor Kolawole remarked.

He urged religious leaders who are in charge of interpreting the scriptures to stop manipulating doctrines to their advantage in their desire to enslave and control their followers.

Professor Kolawole had earlier postulated in the inaugural lecture that peace can only be attained in the world and in communities where the three groups converge when imams, pastors and Jewish priests are adequately regulated and given proper religious education to prevent them from inciting their followers against adherents of other religions.

He wondered why there should be twenty-eight versions of the Bible apart from missing portions which have watered down the spiritual content of the holy book saying this has created proliferation of churches and quacks among Christian religious leaders.

On the proliferation of fake pastors and prophets in the African continent, Professor Kolawole said since religion has become the opium of the masses, the issue can be properly addressed by education, strict regulation and the setting of standards for religious leaders.

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