Religious conflict and its impacts on society: a case study of Global Evangelical and Evangelical Presbyterian Churches in Anyako

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August, 2013
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Conflicts are often viewed as interruption in the progress of any human endeavour. However, it is inevitable in every human institution. The question is what makes people react the way they do which sometimes lead to conflict. The researcher hypothesized that religious conflict is always destructive because of its links to aggressive behaviours of the people involved in it. This research was conducted within the context of the conflict between Global Evangelical and Evangelical Presbyterian Churches in Anyako. The conflict has created tension among the church members and others and hindered development. The research seeks to find out the causes of the intra-religious conflict and its split. The possible ways employed to resolve the conflict have also been studied. The research further investigates the impacts the conflict has had on the life of the people in Anyako. Purposive sampling research technique was used and a total of 40 people were selected from the disputing groups for interview. Questionnaire was also administered. Open and close ended interview techniques were used. Qualitative approach was used to analyse the data. The results revealed that factors such as doctrinal and liturgical, constitutional matters, leadership and violation of ban on drumming and noise-making were the national and local factors which caused the conflict. It became clear that many efforts were made to resolve the conflict but they were not successful. The result also indicated that the parent church lost its members while the new church won a lot of members. People’s relationships became strained creating insecurity within homes and in the community. The conflict had negative economic impacts on the people in terms of fishing; and other economic activities which resulted in inadequate food supply for the community. This is because there was reduction in families’ income. There was also interruption of education of children and staffing problem in schools. Above all, the conflict has retarded development of Anyako. It is, therefore, strongly recommended that appropriate measures be put in place towards resolving the conflict and curbing future occurrence of such conflict. Measures should include assisting the new church (Global Evangelical) to build a chapel and a pastor’s residence; and the parent church and the new church must hold joint service monthly. Chiefs and their elders must make use of the concept of consulting Amegakpui to reach consensus in the resolution of the conflict. The two churches should form one football team and welfare association, Christians have to appreciate their Ewe cultures and traditions, dialogue and negotiation should be used, churches’ constitutions have to be flexible to avoid confusion during elections in the churches among others. This research is considered very important because the findings would help restore peace and promote development in Anyako. Again the lessons derived would be useful for future conflict prevention.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Religious Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Religious Studies.